Man, I look so forward to every Monday so that I can read all of your amazing letters. Thanks so much for all the love and support. First, ZACH!!! Oh gosh, you are starting your mission papers this week? Are you serious? I honestly was tearing up at the computer screen when I read that. Wow, I am the proudest sister of all time. And to hear about how you are reading your scriptures and saying your prayers, plus working your butt off in basketball! The Lord must be beaming right now looking down at his obedient son. You are truly preparing for the greatest experience of your life. Even though it will be hard, there is nothing like serving a mission. There will be no other time in your whole life where you dedicate ALL of your time to the Lord and his work. You will be blessed with an overwhelming outpouring of the Spirit. Don't let anything stop you from this!!! I love you bro!
This week has been nuts. I never thought there would be too much to do. It is crazy trying to fit it all in. That is the best complaint a missionary can have! This week we met this awesome African American family that makes me laugh so hard. They call us the "Jesus Girls." I have never EVER been so honored. They have so many questions about getting back into church. I am really excited to start really teaching them.
Oh, and I got to go through the temple this week. It was the most beautiful morning to go.
Hermana Winder, Hermana Schmidt, me, Sister Hargadon, Elder Ashton and Elder Barton
We get to go every 6 months, so it was a special occasion. My mission president and wife were in there with us, which made me feel better. It wasn't perfect, but it was way better than the first time. When I got to the end of the session, in the last room, I felt this overwhelming homesickness feeling. The most I have felt being out here. I didn't want to go to heaven by myself, all I wanted was to be there with my family. It really taught me that this life means nothing without your family. And our purpose is to do all we can to love them and help them in any way possible. Everything else is a distraction. This is my time to help other families so that they can be together forever as well.
And then, that night I had the most amazing spiritual experience while teaching the Douglas boys. I sent you a picture with them last week. The three of them met us at the church for a lesson. We were teaching them about the power of the Priesthood. It is a real struggle for people here to believe in that, and so we brought in the Elders to help us explain the priesthood from their point of view. Oh my, all the sudden my insides were shaking from the Spirit. I could just feel it so strongly while teaching these boys. And then, Zack started questioning the power in the Book of Mormon. The elder told him to just jump in and read it. Trying to be sassy, he flipped to a random page. He turned right to 3 Nephi 23:5, which talks about baptism and searching the words of the prophets.
Then, not recognizing the Spirit, he flipped to another random scripture and read Alma 34:38 which says NOT to contend with the Holy Ghost and to humble yourself in thanksgiving unto the Lord. Are you serious? I was shocked! That is not a coincidence. He couldn't deny it that time. I have never seen someone get such direct and specific answers like that.
And then we asked the other two boys how they were feeling, the 13 year old, named Jamie, said with tears in his eyes, "I feel happy . . . lifted up." I was stunned, and completely humbled. By the end of the night, two of the three boys decided to be baptized on February 22.
When we left the church we were zooming with happiness. Oh my, I couldn't be grateful enough. And I knew the Lord wouldn't have given us the experience if we hadn't been working to be so obedient. Obedience brings miracles. I am grateful my trainer works so hard every day to receive those blessings.
It is amazing to be a part of this great work, even though I wake up so tired, and can't think clearly with everything going on. I just gotta keep trying.
If you want a great talk to read that clearly outlined Jesus Christ church and is my new favorite talk, it is called, "The Blueprint of Christ's Church" by Tad R. Callister. It was at a BYU January devotional. The people in the South are hard to convince of the truthfulness of modern day revelation, but oh man, this talk outlines what Christ's church on the earth had back then, and so what it should have now! It's clear and powerful. I strongly recommend it.
I learned this week that the Lord gives us everything we have. Food, clothes, talents, families, church, scriptures . . . you name it. The list goes on and on. Everything is already the Lords, and always has been. The only thing that is not his, is our will. That is the one thing that we have control over. Basically, our choices. That really hit me. And it's hard to let go of what we want and hand it over to the Lord, but you know what, that is what I am here for. Isn't that what we are all on this earth to do? Align our will with God's?
I don't know, just something I have been thinking about.
I love all of you!!! Thanks for all you have done for me. Pray that all the people I am teaching will move toward Baptism!!!