Sounds like a pretty busy week at home with school starting and everything! I hope everyone had a good first day of school today :) Well things here in Charlottesville are going good! We have transfers this week but president loves keeping us waiting in suspense and has decided to not tell us until tomorrow whether or not we are being transferred on Thursday. There are going to be tons and tons of changes.... he told us that everyone is being transferred... not literally but basically it will feel like we are all getting transferred. Haha. So it will be interesting! But things are going great and the work is really starting to pick up with all the students finally being back! It is crazy... there are people flooding the streets and the traffic is so crazy but it is awesome to have so many YSA's back in town! We have some awesome potentials we are working with!
So we have been working really hard on getting our investigator Anthony to progress.... I've been teaching him ever since I got here and he has been meeting with missionaries since January. He has been taught everything like 2 or 3 times haha and he is the most faithful church goer I know. He is there every week without fail.... the past couple months it has been so neat to see Anthony not necessarily progress in the gospel but in the ward and by just being involved with everybody. The whole ward knows and loves Anthony and he has been going to activities, he has been assigned home teachers, he sings in the choir, and he actually didn't have a place to live for a couple weeks so the ward just took him in and some guys let him live at their apartment until he could find something and it has just been incredible to see the ward totally take care of him and just love him so much whether or not he is a member of the church. Anthony though has had the hardest couple of weeks and I think satan is really working on him because he has been getting so involved and taken in by the ward.... I'm not sure I would even have time to list all that he has had to go through lately but it has been crazy and he was actually able to get a blessing yesterday which was so awesome for him and a way cool experience but what has been even cooler is that he still faithfully comes to church despite everything. He knows why he comes to church, he knows the importance of it, and it is a safe place for him where he is surrounded by people who love and care about him. Just watching him these past 4 months faithfully attend church has been such a huge testimony builder for me. Anthony doesn't give any excuses about coming to church... it is where he wants to be and it should be that same way for all of us. Imagine that you saw someone who had a bag full of 168 M&Ms and you asked them if you could just have 3 M&Ms and they refused and your like "Come on, it is just 3 M&Ms out of that big bag you have!" You would be kind of confused and a little frustrated right? I mean it is only 3 M&Ms... that isn't that much. Well... there are 168 hours in a week.... and guess what? The Lord only asks us for 3 of those :) that isnt that much right? I know how important church is and my testimony grows every week of its importance as I watch Anthony faithfully walk through those doors to forget everything that he has been going through in the week.... to leave it all behind and to give those 3 hours to the Lord that he deserves. It increases my testimony every week, that no matter what we are going through we are never too busy for church, we are never too busy to give some time to the Lord and renew the covenants we have made with him.
This week were able to meet with Pabla! A girl that we found on the bus forever ago and we taught her a couple times then she dropped off the face of the earth and we got in contact with her this week, had a lesson and set her for baptism! She is only 17 and is just a senior in high school so we had to get permission to teach her but we are super excited for her and she really blows me away. I just think about myself at 17 years old and how oblivious I was I guess to everything and how for granted I took this gospel and here is pabla, 17 years old, and a senior in high school and she is seeking for the truth and wanting to know what direction to take in her life. it is amazing to me! I love meeting people who truly are seeking and wanting to know and the perseverance and desire that they have is such an example to me that you know we really all can have our own testimony and continue to grow in this gospel. I mean I tell that to people everyday but when they actually do it is when I recognize that its real and that our Heavenly Father is so proud of them and is listening and answering their prayers. it is sooo cool
We have been working a lot with a couple recent converts... We are helping Wesley prepare to receive a patriarchal blessing which it was so cool to teach him about cuz he had no idea and is just so excited... we are also working with Jaime (himay) he is Hispanic and soooo awesome. He is a recent convert and a little less active so we are working a lot with him and helping him prepare to pass the sacrament! Also, we are helping tanna get to the temple by the end of this year! It is so fun to help these people progress in the gospel. After baptism, it isn't over. Baptism is just the gate that we enter so we can progress and return back to live with our heavenly father and there are steps we need to take to get there that will help us stay on the straight and narrow path. I love helping these people cuz the decision they have made to be baptized is sooo important and it is what will help them return back home to heavenly father but that isn't all they need to do and it is so cool to help them and encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow path. I love love love it.
One last thing real quick.... we have gotten super close with Wesleys (recent convert) parents who are non members. They had us over for the 4th and we have been doing tons of yard work for them lately. Well, they wanted to repay us this week and they took us out to eat at michie tavern which is some historical place with classic southern food it was delicious but it was hilarious cuz they were telling us how they tell all their friends about us and every person we met that day or ran into they told them what we did for them and how great we are and just built us up to everyone and Wesley says that all they talk about is us! They have even been starting to ask more questions about the gospel and what we do and everything so we are working on trying to get them to just take a lesson. It is just cool cuz they are even planting seeds to tons and tons of people and they don't even know it! It is so great and such a cool experience getting to know them and be around them! They will get baptized one day! I know it!
Well everybody, just want you to know that I know this is the true church on the earth and I know that joseph smith restored this gospel. It wasn't easy, this gospel isn't easy to live sometimes, but it isn't supposed to be. We are being tested. That is why we are here. I know why we are here and I know that as we make righteous choices here on earth that we can get back to live with our heavenly father who loves us so much. I love Virginia. I love the people and I love the area I am serving in. I never thought I could have so much love for people I hardly know but I do and I can just see a tiny sliver of how heavenly father feels about them. He loves all of his children so much and I know that as we look at each person as a son or daughter of god and seek to view them as Christ does that our lives will be much happier and we will seek to love more and criticize less. I know this church is led by president monson who seeks revelation for what we need to know and hear in our day. I'm so grateful to have a prophet. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the book of Mormon and for families and that we can live with our families forever. The church is true! I know it! LOVE YOU ALL