|The Gang: Elder Su/a, ME, Brooke, Sister McLean, Melane, Patrick, Michael, Elder Visser, Mason, Elder Neville, Elder Weaver, Preston|
I keep forgetting to bring my journal to emailing which has all my stories in it, so I'm remembering based on my planner which provides minimal memory-jogging. But anyways, there were some pretty incredible things that happened this week. The past few weeks have been some of the best of my life and mission.
So in case you didn't know, Brenham is where the Bluebell factory is located, haven't gotten to tour that yet, but I've been to the town a few times. It's also the site of another community college and we happen to have a couple sets of missionaries down there in our zone. President has this vision and fire of the potential of YSA wards. They really are the greatest place and there are so many people in that age range who are really seeking and prepared to receive the gospel and change because of it. So in order to proselyte on many of these campuses, you have to have a club for it. The church has one all set up, LDSSA, we just have to get it up and running on the campus and get people to get involved in it. We need at minimum 7 people. So we got permission to set up a board and talk to people in one of the buildings on that campus at specific hours, so we did that, and at President's suggestion, we went to help the other missionaries kick start the area. There were 8 missionaries talking to people for a couple hours while we were down there and we got 71 people to sign up as interested in joining the club that first day, and they've had a lot more success since then!!! Truly the Lord is in this work. It was so exciting to be out and talking to people, there's nothing quite like it. It was also rewarding to see the fire that came to the missionaries down there as they were successful in inviting and as they took on the challenge of making this work and following up with the huge amount of people we had.
The next day I went on exchanges to Caldwell which is an even tinier town than Brenham and way out in the boonies of Texas. For example, the sister drive a truck out there because many of the roads are dirt, all of them are one lane and their area covers an insane amount of just area with not many people, I can't remember the actual number... I also gathered eggs and fed goats while I was there, just to give you a picture. But I also learned a lot. It was very different from the Traditions YSA ward and being up by campus. The people there live very humbly and it was a wake-up call for me to realize how blessed I am in my life, but also for the area I'm in as well. It takes a really special person to work in an area like that and the sisters there are doing amazing work. I am really truly grateful for the miracles I get to be a part of here and for my area and companion and the members.... there is so, so much.
So, this was amazing, as always. President is awesome and gets us all fired up. We're focusing a lot on mastering our teaching skills. Pres. Mortensen said, "There's a difference between learning and reading and Mastering. We need master the material." So we're really trying to master the lessons and be better teachers so we can be really prepared for the blessings the Lord will give us. It's our job to prepare as best we can to help those we teach really understand so they can make the correct decision. This time around we focused on the the Plan of Salvation and teaching it with clarity and power. I've been working a lot on my teaching now. It's changed how I do things and I'm having to break some of the habits I've had to develop new ones, but Sister McLean and I are excited to work together to perfect Master Teaching. As missionaries we also got a heads up about a campaign the church is launching. Remember the video "Because of Him" that came out at Easter? Yeah. There's another one. This is about Christmas!!! It's called "He is the Gift" #ShareTheGift. Get ready, it's coming out the 28th, and it's phenomenal. Discover the Gift. Embrace The Gift. Share the Gift. :D
Kelly and Taylor got baptized on Saturday!!! Whoo!!! This is the first double baptism I've had where both of them have been people I've taught. Both of them are incredible people and it has been such a joy to interact with them and teach them. They have both been prepared in many ways and have come to where they are now because of the interactions they've had with members in the past and a simple invitation. Don't be afraid to invite!!! You never know what may happen. You succeed when you invite, regardless of their choice to accept. Miracles happen based on faith and your desire to share the joy you have found is definitely an act of faith. Miracles will follow your efforts as you seek the Lord's direction and ask to be an instrument in His hands to bring someone closer to Christ. I promise that as a representative of Jesus Christ, as His missionary. There is no greater joy.
Mission President's Fireside
This whole week has been amazing, but there were tons of miracles packed into this fireside Sunday night. We got a call Sunday right before church asking us to ask Brooke (who had been on the back up list of recent-convert speakers) if she would speak that evening because the other speaker got pneumonia. We felt bad asking on such short notice, but felt that she would be great, so we asked her and Melane to speak together and although they were a bit stressed (understandably so) they both accepted. The topic was how the gospel has blessed your life. There were several recent convert speakers, all of whom had been members no more than 2 months. It was incredible. But Brooke and Melane were my favorite. We practiced with them that afternoon and they just shared their stories. They're best friends so they both stood at the pulpit and spoke with one voice and told how they had both come to the church and their simultaneous, but unique journeys. They spoke and testified with confidence and power and I was so proud of them. They moved me to tears. I got to sit up there with them because all the missionaries sang in a choir and I was just full of joy and love at their accomplishment and growth and the Spirit they carried with them. There is nothing better than seeing an individual become better in the hand of the Lord. I am so blessed to have seen so many change so much. The fireside was powerful and Brooke's family came as well as Melane's sister-in-law. If for no other reason, I know they were supposed to speak for the people who came because they felt something. (not to mention the personal growth they had). Maddie, Melane's sis-in-law is now eager to learn more and we talked with her earlier today. What a miracle!!
I am full of thanksgiving. What a blessing to be here among so many wonderful people witnessing the hand of God work miracles among His children. What are the blessings in your life? How have you seen the hand of the Lord recently? Love you lots!! Happy Thanksgiving!!