Dear Family and Friends,
So we found out yesterday that they’re taking Magnolia 1st ward (huge. Average attendance 300, 360 last week) and Magnolia 2nd (my ward, fairly normal size ≤200 normally) and they’re going to redo boundary lines and make a Magnolia 3rd ward! So we’re going to have 3 small wards after the split which happens next week. We were talking with our leaders about this and why the Lord works in this way. In smaller wards people have greater opportunities to serve and to grow and develop, so when a ward gets too big and there is less opportunity for growth, the Lord inspires His leaders to change something so that we can all continue to grow and serve in the way we need to. I’m interested to know where the missionaries are going with the split. There’s sisters and elders in both the 1st and 2nd so we’ll see I guess. I'm eager to work where the Lord needs me and for the new challenge that this ward split will be.
This week has been amazing. We’ve been working hard and the Lord has blessed us enormously. We found 5 new investigators this week, 4 of them are part of the same family! I am so excited to teach a family! I think the 5 new investigators we found this week is more than the past couple months of my mission put together, and given that, I've been trying to figure out what we did differently that brought such a miracle. The only thing I can think of was that we were really good with setting our goals before we planned and referencing our weekly goals every time we set daily goals. We worked to achieve all the other lessons we wanted to teach, and tried so hard to get more member presents, and as we were doing that we found so many new people to teach! It's funny because our goal this week was just 2 new investigators, but as we made the plans necessary to achieve our goals for the lessons we could teach everyday (something a little easier to plan specifically for) we were blessed enormously with new people to teach. It was incredible. In addition to planning we tried to really talk with everyone. We found the family tracting, but we’ve found a couple of other good people just by talking to our neighbors and others in our apartment complex. We even found an investigator for the ASL missionaries! It’s certainly built my testimony of planning and working to meet goals and that the Lord is preparing people for us to find.
I also had the opportunity to go to a baptism in my past area of Spring Branch on Saturday. A wonderful sister drove me down there (She reminds me more and more of Grandma Sessions as I’ve talked with her. Mission in New Zealand, sweet grandma, good stories…) We picked up my trainer Sister Allred on the way down and it was so good to see her! The trip was supposed to take us and hour, but ended up taking 2 ½ because of insane traffic. We barely made it in time, they stalled it as long as they could for us, and singing the extra verses of some of the songs really does make a difference! It was so sweet to be there at the baptism. The man getting baptized was a gentleman I’d talked to in a parking lot on the way to an appointment and he said we could come back. We taught him, and then I got transferred, but sisters helped him quit smoking and he’s been coming to church regularly and has been so great. It was so sweet to see him take that step forward and make those promises with God. It was also so nostalgic to see everyone in my past area. Not everyone was there, but a lot of the people I was close with were and it brought back so many memories. I really love all the people in that area. They are working so hard and doing so much in a little struggling ward. They are incredible examples of faithful, diligent service.
I am loving the work here. I love my companions, they are incredible examples to me and inspire me to be better. I am grateful for you and your love, letters and support. Keep up all the good things you're doing. Look for the good in others. Something I was talking about with my companions today was our nightly prayers. We have a personal accounting to the Lord every night when we pray before bed. As I've been doing that I've tried to ask for things I could have done better and listen for answers. But something I've done recently was to ask what I did well and what the Lord was pleased with in my efforts that day. I have felt His love and encouragement as I've done that and I'd encourage y'all to do the same. Listen for answers and write them down. I know the Lord will speak to your heart as you do that. Love you all!