Sounds like the cabin and fish lake were tons of fun! I hope ya'll had an awesome fourth of july! This week has been great and i had an awesome fourth of july here in virginia. We didn't necessarily have the day off we were just told to stay productive cuz it was really hard to meet with people cuz everyone was busy. so we went to a small town parade to watch Wesley (recent convert) in it, he restores old cars and he and his parents were driving them in the parade so we went to support! It lasted like 20 min. haha it was just a small parade but it was way fun. No one would throw us candy except the baptist church... but i'm pretty sure they were throwing it at us, not to us! haha that night we went to Wesleys for a BBQ with his family. We ate, played corn hull, had dessert, and caught fireflies. My kinda fourth of july... it was way fun! Apparently that is how it is done out here in the south ;) We didn't get to stay out late to watch fireworks but we could hear them going off while we were planning and we could see them out of a tiny window in our apt. so just imagine 5 girls crowded around a window trying to see fireworks that arent even close it was just like watching colorful dots fly up into the air. Haha i loved it. Doesn't get better than that!
Anyway, it has been so awesome spending time with Wesley and his parents who aren't members. It has been cool to watch their hearts soften towards us and to be able to get to know them better. It has been a huge lesson to me that although people may not be interested in the church it is important to still love them and still treat them with kindness cuz it softens their heart toward the church and it plants many seeds. I know that by still friendshipping them and reaching out to them that they will want to know why we do what we do and even why we are so nice to them. We aren't out here to force anything on people, missionaries are sent out into the field to help others come closer to christ and although everyone we come in contact with may not be receptive to our message they will never forget the impact we had on them. As members of the church we are always being watched. People are interested in us, the way we live our lives, and why we do what we do so i know how important it is that no matter who it is, you treat them as Christ would. Whether or not they accept this gospel you still love and care for them. They willl get baptized one day :)
This week i had a huge testimony builder of how important members are in this work. We had a member come to a lesson with us with Anthony who isnt really progressing, he has been taught everything, and we are just kinda stuck with him. it was during our lesson with him this last week that i realized that everyone needs a friend in the church. if anthony had no fellowship in the church and didn't know anyone then there is no way he would still be meeting with us cuz he is in a bad position right now to be baptized and he has been taught everything. i know the reason he still comes to church and still meets with us is cuz of how the members help him and how they make him feel. Well he told us of how he has been having a hard time lately and and how he just feels pretty alone and pretty unimportant at times. There was nothing cooler than when we told him that he has a heavenly father who knows and loves him and knows exactly what he is going through but what made the biggest difference was when the member there with us bore a solid and powerful testimony to him of the same thing and made anthony feel like a million bucks. Afterwards the member asked anthony to go to a movie with him and i have never seen him light up so much before. Haha it was so sweet to watch them walk away together with anthony holding his scriptures down by his side. i know he is going to make it to the waters of baptism soon, and it is because of the members and how they treat and fellowship him. So i just invite you all to be aware of those in your wards who are investigating the church and even just reaching out to those friends of yours at work or school who arent members. By loving them, caring about them, and reaching out to them you will make the biggest difference in their lives. You may not see it, but i promise that it is affecting them in more ways than one and planting seeds in them for when they are prepared and ready to hear the gospel.
We got to meet our new mission president this week, president wilson. He and his wife are so great and i'm excited to work with them. They havent changed too many things, they are still working lots of things out but transfers are on July 18 and they are bringing lots of new missionaries into the area i am in and getting rid of all trio companionships... which targets my companions and i. We arent sure they are doing it all this transfer or what but there is a chance one of us will be gone next week. I guess we will see! We got two stakes from the DC south mission.... Fredericksburg and Woodgate so we got some new missionaries in our mission and its just all really exciting! Lots of new changes and i'm sure more to come as president gets settled and figures things out.
This week, especially at walk and talk where we set up the lemonade stand we had a lot of people try and bring us down and not really bash with us but just try and shake our faith a little bit. I've never had it happen so many times in one week. Satan is working really hard. My testimony of this gospel and especially the Restoration is growing in ways that i never thought possible. I know how important this message is that i carry out here in Virginia. I have the most important and significant message to share with the people here it is just my job to help them remember and regain that testimony that they once had in the pre-earth life. It is not easy and the Restoration is not just a story... it is a life-changing significant event that happened in history. It is easy to just blow through the Restoration and to tell it just like a happy story. But its not just that.. the restoration is what brought this gospel back here on the earth and if we wouldnt have had such a faithful 14 year old boy and prophet who suffered so much pain and persecution for many years and died as a martyr for this gospel then we wouldnt be so blessed to have the church in our lives. I know that Joseph Smith saw what he saw... and i know that he didnt go through what he did for nothing. He did it cuz he knew his calling and he knew his purpose despite all the persecution he faced. I'm so grateful for him and his great faith cuz i dont know what i would do or who or where i would be without this gospel in our lives. we are so blessed to have it here on the earth and to have that proper priesthood authority to act in Gods name. Although we are going to go throughout life facing much hardship and temptaions of the world and the influences of other people it is hard to stand firm in our faith and to not waver. But i know that it is so important to be strong. Our hardships may not be as signifigant as Joseph Smith but if he could keep such great faith as he did at fourteen years old until he died going through all that he did then we most definitely can handle the opposition the Lord puts in our path. I know that if we face those trials the way that Joseph Smith faced restoring this church to the earth that we will be blessed in numerous ways and we will become an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord.
I'm so grateful to be out here serving the Lord and i'm so grateful to be a part of his team. We are all a part of a wonderful team with the Lord as our captain and he needs us to be faithful teammates in helping our brothers and sisters come closer to him. I know how important this work is and how important it is to share it with everyone. that is why we are here. We are here to help our friends... our brothers and sisters... that we once knew in the pre-earth life to come to know of the truth so we can all return back to our Heavenly Father. They are waiting for us and counting on us. We are all important members of this team and we all have an important job to do. The church is true! I love you all! Have a good week! XOXO