Sorry my emails have been coming late these past couple weeks. Things have been crazy with transfers! This past week has been super busy but very good! We got 37 new missionaries this past transfer! Crazy!! I'm still in the YSA ward in Charlottesville and its so great and we actually got some elders put in our ward, so that has definitely been an adjustment! It is exciting though, president feels like the work is really going to pick up in this area and it will be very busy with school at the university of vrginia starting up in a couple weeks! Sister Tanner is gone, so it is just me and Sister Walker and it is sooo weird having just one companion! Haha it's good though, i'm probably driving her crazy :P Haha
This week we were able to set Chris Brady for baptism!!! Holllllla!!! I'm soooo excited for him!! We have been teaching him since a little bit after i got here and he leaves to go to school in Richmond soon and wants to get baptized before he leaves. I'm so stoked for him. It is soo awesome to watch him go through this conversion process. The difference in him compared to when we first started teaching him to now is amazing. He wants to meet with us more often cuz of the spirit he feels when he meets with us and he says it just helps his week go by a lot better. Just imagine how much better his life is going to be after he gets baptized and is able to have that gift of the holy ghost with him always! I love to think about this huge step that he is taking in his life and how it won't only bless him but generations to come. He has such a strong desire to learn and grow in this gospel and i know that he will get there because he has that desire. The Lord knows our hearts and if we truly have the desire to follow him, and come unto him he will help us grow in ways that we never thought possible!
This weekend we got to go to the farmers market with the relief society! It was way fun, it has been such a cool experience to watch our relationship with the ward grow. The ward is just as important as the investigators, they also need to be strengthened. They need just as much lovin'! This past week we met with a few of them to teach the restoration and to just share a quick message. It was way neat. We basically just tried to get an understanding for the way that they feel about the restoration and it was amazing how many of them dont have a strong testimony of it. A lot of them just got super uncomfortable when we mentioned it, but we also shared a message with them about how when we were in the pre-earth life we all had friends. We were so happy and we loved the gospel and lived it. However, we all were given letters which was our call to go earth and we were so excited. Some of us were called to be sent to families with the gospel in their lives and unfortunately many were sent to families without the gospel. Our friends going to families without the gospel cried and pleaded for us to please find them and to please teach them the gospel. We were sent here to earth and this is our purpose. We need to find our friends. Find those who are lost and help them rekindle that testimony that they once had when they lived with us and heavenly father in the pre-earth life.
Idk if i have mentioned much about a less active that we are teaching named Will. If i havent, he served a mission in Japan and decided with about 8 months left of his mission that God didn't exist but he served the full 2 years. Pretty crazy! We have been meeting with him for a while now and it has just felt like we go nowhere with him cuz he is pretty set on the fact that the church isnt true ... our lessons the past couple weeks with him though have been awesome!! He is actually letting the spirit come into the room.... usually before he would do everything he could to drive it away. The coolest thing was when we saw him open up his scriptures again and he even pulled out his mission journal and showed it to us and just admitted that maybe while he was trying to figure things out on his mission that he was going about it the wrong way. He still is as stubborn as ever and is still going about it the wrong way... which is logically. But although the steps he is taking are super small and may not seem like it is making a difference in his life, it definitely is. He admitted to us that on his mission he really just wanted the church to be true and feels like he did all he could to try and get answers but didnt get any. I have been thinking a lot about that.... about how he really wanted it to be true... to me, that shows that he knows there is something about this church that is right. We may not get every answer we want, or in the way that we want but i know that answers do come. I know our heavenly father is listening to us and is waiting for us to turn to him so that we can receive those blessings he is waiting to give to us. We don't have the answers to everything in this church.... neither do we have the answers to many things just in life in general but for some reason people feel like they need to have the answer to every question in religion when we don't even have all the answers to things here on the earth in general. Idk, i was on one after our lesson with him last week.... i wasn't upset i was just confused that someone who has been able to see the blessings of this gospel in his life and someone who really did treasure his mission and love the people there can think that God doesn't exist and can deny himself the blessings of the gospel just cuz it doesn't make sense logically. One thing that breaks my heart when people reject this gospel is that they are rejecting an invitation to have more peace and happiness in this life. Everyone wants to be happy right? They are rejecting a loving father in heaven and Jesus Christ who suffered everything for them so that they could come to this earth and strive to return back to our heavenly home. Everyone wants to be loved right? This gospel is a message about happiness, it is a message about love, and it is a message that will help us all live happier and more successful lives. It doesnt necessarily mean we wont face any challenges.... we definitely will. But what a comfort to know that we have Heavenly Father right by our side with us to help us conquer every stumbling block that we come upon in our lives. This gospel is so amazing. My testimony is growing in ways that i never thought possible. I know that it is true. I know will knows it as well... he leaves to go teach english in Japan (back where he served his mission) and he is going to visit people he converted and i know it will help him so much. He thinks he is a lot further away from the gospel than he actually is. He will come back, i know it :)
I know how important this gospel is. I know that Heavenly Father sent his son Jesus Christ to suffer for our sins. I know that this gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith... and i know that cuz i know that Joseph smith wouldnt have gone through all that he did from 14 years old until the rest of his life if this church wasnt true. Joseph Smith knew his purpose and he knew what he was called to do. But he didn't give in, give out, or give up. I know that Joseph went through what he did for a reason. I know that we, here on earth all have a purpose and no matter what that purpose may be or what we have to go through, the gospel of jesus christ is how we will get through it and it is how we will be able to return back to our heavenly father. Things here in Charlottesville are amazing. The church is true! I'm loving being able to help my brothers and sisters every day come to feel of its truthfulness and all that it has to offer. I love ya'll so much. Thanks for all your prayers and support! Have a wonderful week :) XOXO