First off, I started screaming in the church when I found out that I became an aunt again (the libraries are closed for Memorial Day so we're at the church). I wasn't expecting Kylie to come for two more weeks but Steph is probably happy that she came earlier this time around. Kylie had to show up her big brother. Stephen and Steph, you have a BEAUTIFUL family. I love you all so much and congratulations. :) Give her a kiss from Tyotya!
To say that this week was incredible would be an understatement. After our meeting with Elder Holland, Elder Hallstrom and Elder Dunigan, I thought, "I could die right now and be completely fine with that." And then to top it all off, we had Zone Conference and splits this week. What an amazing week of growth!
I know you're dying to know what Elder Holland told us this week and I'm sorry to say that that is completely confidential. Ha, just kidding. Elder Holland walked in and we all stood up. The Detroit Mission came as well so we had about 400+ missionaries in attendance. We all sat down and President Hess stood up and said, "Elder Holland would like to shake all of your hands. Please don't make this a personal interview with him. Just file by and shake his hand and go back to your seats." When it was Elder Holland's turn to speak he said, "I had a personal interview with all of you as I looked into your eyes. I am pleased that only a few of you are struggling and that most of you are doing great." Stunned silence. That my family, is an apostle of the Lord right there. Elder Holland truly is a master teacher. He exudes charity and love but he surely knows how to call you to repentance. He gave us a big compliment when he told us that he didn't feel the need to talk to us about obedience (2 Nephirelates to that) so instead he talked to us about the Missionary Purpose. He stressed a lot about how we can't convert people past our own conversion. He also stressed with great authority and conviction that we cannot go back to the people we were before our mission because the people we were before our mission weren't good enough. He doesn't want any of us to go inactive after our missions and it is important that we stay converted throughout our whole lives. Or else he would shoot himself. True story. One thing that really stood out to me was when he asked us why missions are so hard. He told us that the only answer he has come up with in the past 50 years since his mission is that salvation is not a cheap experience. In order to become disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to experience to a degree what he experienced. Every road to salvation passes through Gethsemane. I am so grateful that Elder Holland and Elder Hallstrom came to our mission. I truly don't believe in coincidences and I know that the timing was perfect.
And then to top it all off, WE HAD A BAPTISM!! Our investigator Sarah was baptized!! Ah, happy day! It was one of the best feelings watching someone take that step of faith despite the opposition. Baptism is a simple yet powerful ordinance and I am so grateful for the greater appreciation I have gained of that covenant. Sarah is doing well and the ward is welcoming her with open arms. Now just need our other investigators to follow suite. ;)
In other news, I can testify without a shadow of a doubt that God knows me WAAAAY more that I know myself. I never thought I would say this but I love door knocking! I do, I do! You want to know how I know that God knows me too well? He sent me out in the middle of the coldest winter ever to people who didn't want to talk to me and when we had nothing to do but to knock doors for 5 hours a day. He had to humble me and make me miserable so I could truly appreciate door knocking in the summer. Now that it's gorgeous outside and the trees have leaves and people don't mind talking to you because it lets a breeze in their house, we have TONS of people who want to talk to us about the purpose of life and why God calls prophets and how the Book of Mormon draws us closer to God. It's INCREDIBLE how much nicer people are and how many lessons we get to teach people on door steps. This reminds me of 2 Nephi 2 about the need of opposition in all things. We need opposition. Just as it says that Adam and Eve couldn't know joy without knowing misery, I couldn't know how great it was to knock doors until I understood how it was to be completely miserable knocking doors. I am so grateful that God knows me SO WELL because knowing myself and my pride, this lesson was a lot better learned this way.
I could tell you so many incredible stories this week. Sister Richardson and I are working hard and we have 7 investigators! What miracles! We have seen so many incredible things. As we walked back to our car last night after knocking a street, I could not help but feel genuine love and gratitude for my mission. I love being here and I love being a missionary. I am seeing the Spirit direct us more and more and I am grateful that I can be an instrument in the Lord's hands for this period of time. There are still challenges and Satan is very real but I know that God is the Author of this Work and He doesn't make mistakes (Elder Holland emphasized that as well). God doesn't make mistakes and we will not fail. Every dispensation before this time ended in apostasy and this one will not. How incredible it is to be apart of this!
I love you all so much! This work is the Work of God! He loves us! He loves you! Have an incredible week!
Pineapples for Peace,