Hey you two! (Lookup here! Lookup here!) Haha just kidding. Love me some Three Amigos.
So, we'll just get the big news out of the way: I'm getting transferred. When I got the call, we were in a dinner appointment and it felt like I got punched in the stomach. Kind of like I broke up with 200 people all at the same time, and it was/is really sad. I love these people! There is so much that lies in store for each one of them, and I want to help them get there! But I trust the Lord - He knows who needs me and who I need to continue progressing. I trust Him, more than I ever have in my life, but I know that He loves me and will take care of me.
I don't know where I'm headed, but I know that I'm going to miss Sister Marks and my district. Me and Sister Marks finally found some common ground and now I feel like we are best friends forever. Guess what our common ground is - laughter. We take turns telling ridiculous stories that happened to us in the past, or quoting the Office, and we just laugh until we can barely breathe. I discovered a new level of laughter - it's where you're laughing so hard that you can't keep your eyes open. Who even knew that could happen? But I'll be in the car laughing, trying to be an alert passenger and keep my eyes on the road, but I can't because I have to close my eyes because my face is so scrunched from laughing. It's a real thing, I promise, and it's pretty awesome. But then when it's lesson time we sober up and bring the Spirit back through prayer and go teach. We've been teaching better in unity, which is a relief. We aren't perfectly balanced in our teaching, but we are better than before, and it's awesome. I'm going to miss her and I'm really going to miss my district.
So one thing that was a bummer this week - this less active lady that I've been working with since I got here and who was making real progress and had been coming to church pretty consistently for a couple months texted us to say that she is doing this intensive yoga teaching certification that involved training all day on Saturday and Sunday every weekend for 2 months, so she wouldn't be a church until November. I have to tell you I was devestated. We taught her about faith, and the sacrament, and the Atonement, and yet because her family is struggling financially, she has chosen to get more certification to make more money for her family. It's hard to argue with that, but at the same time, I was just like, "I can't believe I didn't do my job right. I must not have taught clearly enough, or with the spirit, or maybe we taught the wrong things." So much doubt from the adversary just flooded over me and I was so sad. But then I remembered this is the Lord's work, both she and I are in His hands, and He has a plan for each of us. And everyone had their agency. But I think I understand a little better now how Heavenly Father feels when I don't use my agency the best I can. Agency is a precious gift, but it's also a big responsibility.
But anyways, I want to tell you about God's success stories, not Satan's success stories. Here are excerpts from my president's letter:
Wow. What a week we had. So much to tell. I'll start with the miracles: T has committed to a baptismal date! We initially committed him to be baptized on October 19, and we asked him to pray about that day. We went back the next day and asked him how it went, and he said he and God had "come to an agreement." And we were like, what does that mean? And he said, I think it should be October 26. And he said it with this quiet conviction and I felt the Spirit so strong, like because T had prayed about it and picked his own baptismal date, he would be more committed to it than anything. I am so excited for him! And M (his sister who we are also teaching) and her almost-husband R where listening - I think T's conviction kind of lit a fire in them. M said she would get baptized tomorrow if she could but she understands that she has to be divorced from her previous husband, married to R, and then she can get baptized. R didn't really say much, so we asked him what his thoughts were about baptism and he said, "Honestly......I'm ready." And then he said that he wanted to shoot for January 1st, because they have a lot of stuff going on in their life right now, but M said that getting baptized would help them to have peace while they are going through every thing. It was so awesome. They were like teaching themselves and us and the angels in the room (I just felt like the room was crowded, it was really cool) just sat there and watched. We committed M and R to pray together about their date, and even if it seems impossible to get the divorce/marriage thing worked out by a certain time, setting a date would be a show of their faith that this is what God wants for them and He will provide a way. And I think the coolest thing for me is that I truly believe that God will provide a way. I have never asked anyone to aim for what seems to be impossible, but I did that yesterday, sitting in a dark living room with three people that I love with all my heart. Sister Marks and I asked them to shoot for the impossible with a sure knowledge that this is God's will and He will not let this family down. My heart was and is filled with joy at the thought that as an authorized servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I can, with all the confidence in the world, promise people miracles as they exercise their faith. I am truly going to miss this family (they have five kids, the three oldest of whom are eligible to be baptized, and they've already read through 1 Nephi chapter 18 in the children's Book of Mormon we gave them - another miracle!) but they have embraced the light of the gospel. I can't wait for them to be able to go through the temple one day.
Oh yeah, here's another miracle - so the bishopric gave us this list of less actives whose last known address is in our ward and they asked us to try to track down these people or get some information about them. So there was this one name that they were going to give to the elders because it was a single man, but we happened to be on the street where he lived after teaching M, and instead of making the Elders bike all the way down there, we called and offered to check on him ourselves, and they agreed. So we go to the complex where he lives, go to his door, and Sister Marks heard people talking in Spanish. So we knew someone was home and we knocked and no one answered. So she knocked again and yelled "Hola!" to let them know it was someone friendly. And this Hispanic man comes to the door. He speaks English but prefers Spanish, so we started talking to him in Spanish, asking him about the less active that we were trying to find, and he said he didn't know him and had been living in that apartment for a year. So, in order to not be creepy, we explained that we were missionaries for our church trying to find lost members, and he asked what church, and we started telling him about our church. Sister Marks had this great way of contacting which I am definitely going to use in the future - explaining how we teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and about why there are so many churches but one God. And right then he said, "Where's your church?" and he put the address right into his phone, he gave us his phone number, and we told him when church is and also about English class on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Seriously, he just kind of fell into our laps and when we shook his hand as we were leaving, he looked into my eyes and just had this look of gratitude and I felt the sincerity in his grip. I don't know what's going to happen with him, but I'm really excited about this man, B. This really is God's work and nothing can stop it.
So Mom and Dad, this is so awesome! I really do love being a missionary! It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Thank you for letting me come and for supporting me. Next week I'll be in a new place with a new companion and I'll fill you in on everything.
By the way, thanks for keeping the extended family informed. Most weeks I don't have enough time to write to everyone I want to write, so I'm just really thankful that y'all are helping me out in that way and in so many ways.
Love you forever!
PS: Elder Brockbank LOVED his package! He said it totally made his day! He is staying here in BR and he will be training a new elder with Asperger's. Pray for him!
PPS: Sister Marks is wondering where we got the half tees from. She really wants to order some. I think it was from Sister Missionary Mall. Is that right?
PPPS: I love you both so much! I pray for you always, and I'll especially keep Caitlyn in my prayers as she starts school this week!
PPPPS: Attached is a picture of my district. Elder Brockbank is the one whose head is sticking out in the back. Sister Tuft is standing next to me. These two have been my rock this transfer. :)
This last pic is of me and Sister Marks chilling with some froyo!