Dearest Mom and Dad-
Thank you for your emails! So glad to hear all is well, except for Jack...poor guy. And the Bulls getting eliminated....also lame sauce. I hope the Bad Boy is going to be okay. Hopefully he can make it 5 more months...? !
So YES! We get to skype on Sunday! Hooray! Is it ok if we plan for 3pm? Not sure where we are going yet, but let's plan for 3 and trust that the Lord will let everything work out :)
So thank you so much for the Star Wars package! It was so fun to receive it! We are making the popsicles today for district meeting tomorrow. Sister Biver is excited to make a planner cover our of the stickers you sent! You are just the best package maker ever mom!
Also, that sounds waaaay intense with D. That poor man. Hopefully he will have enough faith to just open his heart a little and see if the Book of Mormon is the real deal. I've been there before, and I take comfort in something one of my best friends in the mission, Sister Tiller, told me - "You can't say the right thing to the wrong person, and you can't say the wrong thing to the right person. You just have to open your mouth." I know that's true - if you speak in faith, the Lord will make it all right. Thank goodness! I will be praying for yall!
Dad, I am safe and sound. Not too much bad weather down here, we are all good. We just got our hurricane water and food supply from the mission office so we are all officially ready for hurricane season haha. We will see what happens.
SO! Big news.
R got baptized, and it was amazing. She didn't pass her interview with our district leader on Monday night because of a past transgression she hadn't told us about. She was so upset, she ran out of the church crying and it felt like I got kicked in the stomach by a horse. Man, it was awful. I didn't even care about numbers or baptism or anything at that point - I was just worried about my friend. We went to her apartment and knocked on her door, we called, but she wouldn't answer. Then Tuesday morning she texted us and asked us to set up the 2nd interview with President Wall. Thankfully, President was coming to Metairie for Zone Conference on Wednesday (which was AMAZING, I'll tell you more about it on Sunday) so we set up the interview for after Zone Conference. President did such a great job - he is so kind and loving. He let me and Sister Biver sit in with R for the first part of the interview to help her feel comfortable. And then afterwards when President said she had passed we were all so excited we cried and hugged each other and went to Sonic for dinner to celebrate. It was amazing. The service was Friday night and it went off without a hitch, it was so wonderful. The Spirit helped me to speak the thoughts and feelings of my heart, and me and Sister Biver sang "Lord I would Follow Thee" and it was hard to sing and keep my emotions under control at the same time. Such a beautiful night.
J's kids got baptized, and it was also amazing. Again, this didn't happen without an epic struggle. Monday night J texted us and told us she didn't know what to do because her parents were telling her that she is a bad parent and doing the wrong thing letting her kids get baptized. We went over after the R fiasco (Monday was probably the hardest day of my mission) and J was a little drunk and so we read scriptures with them and prayed together and the Spirit was strong. Little 10-year-old R prayed that angels would be with them that week and it was amazing. We tried to contact J each day that week and then Saturday morning comes and we get a text that says she isn't going through with it. Again, felt like I got kicked in the stomach. So we run over there and just listen to J's concerns. She was sober, so we had to believe what she was saying about not feeling good about the decision. And then Bishop Brown and his family showed up with doughnuts and orange juice. And Brother Bush, J's other home teacher, showed up with his family, and we all just packed her house and prayed with them and J and her kids each got a priesthood blessing, and when Bishop gave R his blessing he said that R would have angels protecting him his whole life, and he didn't even know what had been prayed for on Monday. It was amazing. We stayed at J's all day, cleaning and hanging out. We went and got pizza and ate together until Sister Brown came back to pick them all up for the service. The service was beautiful and as R and Veach went under the water, I was just overcome with emotion. Yesterday they were all confirmed and R and V bore their testimonies in sacrament meeting and it was the most beautiful expression of child-like faith I've ever heard. Those kids are a huge blessing to their mom, and hopefully we can all help J towards deepening her faith, getting over her word of wisdom problem, and towards lasting happiness.
When I got to church yesterday, I was totally drained. I felt like I had really been asked to live up to my baptismal covenants - to mourn with those who mourned, comfort those who stood in need of comfort, and it totally took everything I had and then some. I felt drained in every way. But something amazing happened - as I took the sacrament in faith, I felt my burden lifted. I felt healed. I felt strengthened. I knew and I know now that the Atonement is very real, and it is especially felt in our lives as we participate in priesthood ordinances. I will never underestimate the power of the Sacrament again, and I'm so thankful that the Savior would give us a chance to be renewed, strengthened, and cleansed every 7 days. What evidence of grace and mercy!
Well, I love you all to pieces! Can't wait to see what this week brings. A is supposed to be baptized on Saturday, but I don't know how that will work out. We also are going to meet with N, this awesome new investigator who has been diligently searching the Book of Mormon and said "God has been so good to me...if this is where the Spirit takes me, I will go." He kind of almost committed himself to baptism! So crazy!
I love you all! Can't wait to see you in 7 days!
I love this woman! She is amazing! This is R, Sister Biver, and I at her baptism on Friday.
J, R, and Vi with me and Sister Biver and with Brother Bush, an awesome member of the bishopric that really helped to fellowship this family.
What it says in D&C 18:15-16 is true!