I have come to the realization that as of tomorrow I will have been on my mission for 6 months. 1/3 of my time here in Houston is gone. It's hard to comprehend. Didn't I just get here a week ago? Somehow tomorrow marks the beginning of my 5th transfer out here and I get a new companion and I'm taking over Magnolia 2 area, all in one day. And I feel like I still have so much I'm learning here in this area and on the mission in general. I'm excited for change and growth and the chance to reflect on the past transfer and look to the future and improve.
Some highlights from the week:
One of the very Texan older woman in the ward called us up asking if we had dinner that night because she wanted us to help her eat a pizza. We got to go eat and talk with her. She's got a heavy Texan accent and reminds me a little of the grandma in Hoodwinked. Not that she's doing extreme sports or anything, but just her energy and humor.
We had a Relief Society Birthday party event. Unfortunately none of our investigators made it, but Sister Hassell and I had a line in the skit talking about all the past RS General Presidents. I was Louise Yates Robison. She was a wonderful woman and my line was her motto, "Welcome the task that takes you beyond yourself." It's a good motto to have, and something I want to do better at, to be bolder to work harder, to search longer.
We had another wonderful visit with our neighbors. They're the young couple that lives in our complex with an adorable little boy. The father is studying to be a minister and we've had amazing conversations just understanding each other's point of view more and learning from the scriptures. I'd been thinking a lot about how I could teach better when we talk to them and what the Lord wanted me to do and the answer I got was, "use the Book of Mormon" "whenever you answer a question, use the Book of Mormon as much as you can." So I did!
Our last visit he had asked us what question we had for him or what differences we had that made our church unique or that maybe they believed that didn't make sense to us. So we talked about things and asked questions and they asked us questions and it was an amazing discussion. We talked about the trinity, prophets, authority, faith, works, salvation... all these typically controversial topics. And every time we talk to them it's always full of love and a mutual search for understanding. They are one of the best examples of Christ like love and devotion in their everyday lives I've ever met. Christ is an intimate part of everything they do and talking with them makes me want to be better.
So these conversations are wonderful. It's intimidating sometimes because he's studying to be a minister and knows the Bible reeaaally well and he asks really good questions. But at the same time, it has lead me to a deeper study and understanding of a lot of those topics as I've listened to his explanation and understanding, and as my companion and I teach from and expound the scriptures and rely on the Spirit to help bring things to our remembrance. Using the Book of Mormon in our last meeting with them I think was vital. The Book of Mormon teaches doctrine and explains principles in a powerful way, and as you learn from and gain a testimony of that book, everything else falls into place. So it's been wonderful to develop such a friendship and understanding with these incredible people. I've learned a lot about faith and works that I'll have to just spend and entire email on later.
We helped paint a room a couple days ago. It was super fun because we painted the entire room the same color--ceiling included (it's slightly domed) and it was this creamy color, but then we added wall crystals which are probably one of the coolest inventions known to man. You add a couple packs of them to pain and then when its dry its a really subtle sparkle that you only see when the light hits it right. Its so pretty!
We had dinner with a nonmember family who have been taking their kids to mutual activities for the past several years. The kids are more willing to move forward than the parents, and they've all listened to missionaries before, but we hope to be able to facilitate greater understanding there as well.
We had one of our investigators come to church this week! Yay! She's been going through so many things and so seeing her at church was really incredible. We went to primary for the 2nd hour and got her 3 year old daughter adjusted and it took a little while, but she loved Sunbeams and hopefully future church attendance will be great for both her and her mom.
Things are going great here. I'm learning lots, looking to improve and grow in so many ways, and learning more and more how to rely on the Lord and do His will. I'd encourage all of you to look for ways to increase understanding between you and someone else. Whether it be about gospel subjects or other topics, feeling understood is so important in developing trust and friendship and working together. Love you lots! Thanks for all the great things you're doing.