It has been such a wonderful week. Transfers are this week... BUT... my sweet companion Sister Pew and I will be staying here in White Oak! Crazy. I've never stayed in an area this long but i'm so happy.! I just feel so powerfully that God really does love me enough to keep me here with Sister Pew. I am so so blessed I cant even believe it! We are so excited for this coming transfer and to see the fruits of our labors. The work has really been picking up and so many miracles have been happening. God is just leading us to such wonderful people it amazes me each and every day.
Well this week we met with Rob, the guy that i mentioned last week that requested a book of mormon. His wife was feeling a little sketchy about the idea so he came to the church just him and met with us! I cant even begin to describe how COOL he is. Once again... someone who is wayyy to cool for me to be teaching. Haha. But he just sat right down and immediately opened up. He told us that he hasnt gone to any church for a while and that he simply feels like he is being led to this church. He feels like it is his calling in life and he just wants to know more. He told us that he has been researching the church... even on some anti websites and that he basically believes in everything. Even with some of the bad stuff that is said about the church he was just like "That makes no sense, why would anyone think that" haha. It was one of the most powerful lessons i have been in. He felt so completely comfortable that as we taught the spirit was so strong and testified to ME that this message is true and that everyone truly needs to hear this message. It is the most important message in the WORLD and everyone should have an opportunity to accept it. Rob has already given up smoking and is working on living the word of wisdom. He is covered in tattoos and straight up said that its too late for him to be living that commandment but that he will start now and not get any more. He said he is working himself off of caffeine and as we took him on a tour around the church and showed him the baptismal font he basically asked how long it would have to be before he could do that. Haha. It was so sweet! Ive never taught anyone who was just SO accepting of EVERYTHING and ready to just be a part of the church and learn. He simply asked us to just be his guides in this process. He said he will do whatever we ask so that he can truly know for himself. Wow. God is truly hastening his work and i am more and more amazed every day that i get to be apart of it. I am so grateful to be an instrument in his hands to help these people find the truth. Yesterday he texted us and told us that his wife would also like to start meeting with us now too! I am so excited for them. So grateful God has placed them in our path!
The other night Sis Pew and I went to invite one of our investigators to church that we hadnt seen in a while. She just happened to be sitting in her backyard and it was just really awkward and we didnt know how to approach her. So we pretended to casually walk by and then just casually invite her to church.... haha so we did just that with the situation being a little awkward as she kindly rejected our invitation. Haha well we felt silly for just turning back the way we came since we were acting like we were on our way somewhere else and our car was like a 15 min walk away so we began to trek our way around the block back to our car knocking on the doors we felt inspired to as went. We had knocked on a few as we went with no success and just as we were approaching our car both Sis Pew and i said at the same time that we needed to go knock on a certain door. As we did, this sweet girl named Cara answered the door and before we could even introduce ourselves she just immediately lit up and came outside to talk to us. As we talked to her about the church she was getting so excited and was accepting everything we said with such enthusiasm!. Then she told us how crazy it was that we had just knocked on her door because a couple weeks ago she had a traumatic experience happen to her and it really brought her down low and then just last week her sister from texas randomly came to visit her which made her so happy and then we knocked on her door and she said that she just felt so strongly that God was sending her sister and us to her to help her during this difficult time. She said that because of this experience she has been wanting to know God better and come closer to him since she has just felt of his love so strongly. She is only 20 years old and has the cutest 2 year old daughter and we are planning to see her again this week! It just amazes me how truly aware God is of his children and it amazes me how he works through us as missionaries and members as well to bring them into the fold. It happens in the most unexpected ways but yet he is behind it all.
We had a crazy Sunday yesterday... I got to speak in Sacrament Meeting and then we were in charge of the youth for the last 2 hours of church while all of the adults were in a marriage counseling class. It was awesome!! Something our mission president has really been emphasizing lately is being involved in the ward and it has made all of the difference of earning the trust of the members! It has been so fun as we have done sharing time, subsituted for classes, and working with the youth yesterday. I am just learning so much from the people here each and every day. I feel right at home in this ward and love getting to know each and every one of them. They all have such a special place in my heart. I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting about pioneers and enduring to the end. It got me thinking a lot. Especially about the pre-earth life ( i would say that is one of my favorite aspects of the gospel) I was thinking about just how our preparations for our journey coming to earth could have been similar to thos preparations that the pioneers made as they prepared for their trek. Each of us have been placed in different circumstances, with our own weaknesses, insecurities, and temptations. However, before we came we knew that this life wouldn’t be easy and that we would be tested. We knew that we would be faced with adversity that would be hard to overcome. We were all well aware of the journey that lied ahead of us and the challenges that we were about to face. Yet every single one of us chose to come here and we all knew that by living the gospel of Jesus Christ we would be able to one day make it back home to our Heavenly Father. I imagine that this is a way similar to how the pioneers felt as they prepared for their long, difficult, heart breaking journey toward Zion. They knew if would be hard, they knew that it was possible that they all wouldn’t make it there alive, they knew they would have to leave a lot behind and that they would be facing many hills of adversity. As the pioneers trekked across the United States by wagon or handcarts facing rocky roads, rugged mountains to climb, threatening rivers to cross it is apparent that the journey was not easy for them. They faced harsh weather, threats of hostile Indians, hunger, fatigue, and many deaths of loved ones including children. These pioneers set the way before us as we strive to endure the trials and tests that we face in this day and age. As the pioneers trekked over a thousand miles they are a constant example to us today as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and modern pioneers of enduring to the end.
Brigham Young said: “The men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day for this sacred goal.”
We are living in a world today with rapidly increasing temptations of the adversary around us where heartache, loneliness, pain, and setback seem to be thrown at us more and more frequently.We, as modern pioneers today are on a difficult and treacherous journey of our own…facing our own hills of adversity, our own trail of tears, and wide treacherous rivers that are seemingly difficult to cross. There’s no doubt that on the pioneers difficult and heart wrenching journey they had great faith in our Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ and we too, should follow in their footsteps of faith and diligence they had despite the opposition they faced. As we all made the decision to come to earth we exercised our agency, or the freedom to choose for ourselves. Every one of Gods children has agency. We all can choose for ourselves whether or not we are going to endure to end of this mortal journey. At baptism, we promised or WILL promise, to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. When Elder Bednar, visited this area a couple months ago he simply explained that we exercised our agency when we got baptized and we still have our agency but the only way we should be allowed to exercise it is simply by JUST choosing the right.
I really just love this gospel so much. I love Jesus Christ so much and know that he lives. He is my savior. God is real. Christ is real. This is all real. Its TRUE. Its nothing to be taken for granted. There is no greater place we could be than by focusing on strengthening our relationship with our savior jesus christ. I know this church is true with all of my heart. I love it with all of my heart. I am so happy to be in the Lords service and so very humbled that he has trusted me with so many wonderful people here in Virginia. I love my mission. It has made me into a person i never thought i could ever become and has changed me in indescribable ways. And it continues to do so. God is aware of each and every one of us there is no doubt in my mind. This journey is worth it. This gospel is worth it. ITS ALL WORTH IT. Keep on Keepin on. I love all yall so much and i'm so very grateful for the service and sacrifice that you give in order to be modern pioneers and to stand up for what you believe in. Have a great week! Hurrah for Israel! XOXO
Pic 1: Smores with Sis Dunbar!
Pic 2: Obsessed with smores mmmmm
Pic 3: What up
Pic 4: 6 more weeks of the DREAM TEAM in WHITE OAK
Wow. This week has been so crazy busy we barely have time to eat! Its so great though i LOVE IT. I love love love being busy and the work is going so great here! I cant believe how fast the time is going i seems to get faster and faster every week. There are so many wonderful things happening here in the White Oak ward and even throughout our whole mission. We have a goal right now of doubling our baptisms and i cant definitely see the miracles coming from that goal and from doubling our efforts. The Lord is indeed hastening the work and i am so happy and grateful to be a part of it and to be sitting front row watching it all happen. It is so cool to see the differences and changes our mission has made since i first got here. In order to truly have success you must change everything. Success wont come if you do the same rote thing all the time. Changes need to happen and i have seen the blessings that come from trying to make those changes.
Well..... MARY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY. I honestly wish i could explain the feelings and pure joy i have had this weekend getting to help her get to and enter the waters of baptism. It has been an unforgettable and incredible feeling. The change i have seen in mary since i got to this area has been indescribable. She is someone who has allowed the gospel to completely change her. She simply got out of the way and just let it into her life to change her for the better. As i watched her stand in those waters about to be immersed i couldnt help but feel so strongly of how much our Heavenly Father loves her and is proud of her. There were so many things in her life that were constantly eating at her and things that she felt sincere godly sorrow for and that she had repented of. But as she stood in those waters i was so happy that it was finally the time for all of those things to be completely washed away. She came up out of the water with the BIGGEST smile on her face just absolutely BEAMING. There is NOTHING in this world that beats getting to see someone take that leap of faith and come up out of the waters washed completely clean having just made promises with our Heavenly Father to stand as a witness of Christ always and to truly be His disciple. NOTHING BEATS IT. This is the most wonderful work in the WORLD. This is truly Gods chuch. God is aware of each and every one of us. Once we make that covenant of baptism many may say that we still have our agency to choose to follow our Savior. But we dont. We dont have that agency anymore cuz at baptism we already promised that we wouldnt do things that werent in alignment with His will. Its not optional to not go to church, to not read, or pray or keep the word of wisdom or the sabbath day holy. It simply isnt an option anymore for those of us who have made that covenant at Baptism with our heavenly father. At the end of Marys baptism she stood up and bore her testimony of the gospel. It sounded like she had been a member her whole life. It was so powerful and sincere and everything she said i knew was true and knew that she truly believed it. She said that this gospel has changed her life and that the state she was in when we found her was not a place that she could have continued on in her life and she knew that something needed to change. God has his hand in this work. I am so grateful to be here as his instrument and so grateful for the many wonderful people like mary that he has blessed into my life. I've done absolutely nothing but do what he has asked of me and he has placed these wonderful people in my life and i could never thank him enough.
Kevin and Kelly are getting baptized this Saturday. YAY. OMG. I love them. There are just too many people here that i love WAY too much. It kills me. Haha but love is the greatest thing. Anyway, they are so excited to get baptized this week. We had some very amazing lessons with them this week on the commandments. They are so overwhelmed with everything they have to change but they are so willing to do it. They always tell us "We will do anything to get to the temple and if this is what it requires then we're in!" I love so much that their sights are ALREADY set on the temple. There are still even life long members that are trying to figure that one out and i am so happy that that is their main goal. They were originally supposed to get baptized yesterday and with lack of time to teach them everything we were the ones that had to push back their baptism and it broke their hearts and then this weekend being memorial day there wont be a lot of people there and they are bummed but they arent letting any of that stop them. They want to get baptized ASAP to get to the temple ASAP. It is so amazing. They are such an inspiration to me. Kevin is so in tune with the spirit it amazes me. He says he knows that God has called him to this church and with their past they have definitely been prepared like crazy their whole lives for this time to embrace the gospel. I learn so much from them cuz they are just thirsting to have the gospel and spirit in their lives. They will do anything to have the spirit and to quench their thirst with it. It is such a big example to me because i know at times in my life i have truly thirsted to have the spirit in my life but it should be like that every day. That is how it should be for all of us. the gospel should be a part of us and it should feel weird to go a day without reading our scriptures or praying or doing something that will build our testimony in this gospel. I know the importance of those small and simple things and the differences that they can make in ones life. I've seen so many differences be made in others lives through those small and simple things. That is where it truly all begins and where we can start to become completely converted to this gospel.
Idk if i have talked much about our investigator Tim haha he is probably the coolest investigator i have ever had. I wish i was cool enough to teach him. I just dont live up to his level of coolness. His wife is a less active member and he has been investigating for 5 years. Heres a little brief of what Tim is like... He is trying to start up a heavy metal band, both of his arms and probably his whole body is covered in tattoos, he has a long pony tail and wears a doorag. Hahaha. HE IS SO COOL. We have a secret "sisters handshake" haha anyway it has been so so hard getting him to set a baptism date but he says he is ready to get wet whenever he feels like it! He wants to get baptized in the river and wants to just call us up whenever he feels like he is ready. Haha well we werent givin into that so last night we set him to be baptized on June 7. HUGE MIRACLE. Missionaries have been trying to set him forever and he finally agreed. My companion and i were caught so off guard but i know that many prayers of him having a softened heart have been heard and answered!! I am so excited for him!
Wow. This work is so amazing. The experiences i have had these past couple of weeks makes me want to go out and do everything i can to find every single person in this area who is prepared and to never stop looking and never stop finding. This gospel message is like handing out 100 dollar bills to people every day but it is something much greater than 100 dollar bill. When people dont accept it and think they can live without that 100 dollar bill i am offering then i move on and offer it to someone else until God finally places in my path someone to accept. I thank God every single day for placing me here in Virginia. I cant imagine NOT being here and NOT serving a mission. This is a part of me. It has become a part of who i am and who i am becoming. I cant believe God loves me enough to bless these amazing people into my life that i have met these past 13 months or so and will continue to meet. I know that i was sent here for a reason and i know that i am here in the White Oak ward for a reason at this time. God has been so good to me. I know with all of my heart that this work is real and it is true and it is the most important thing in this entire WORLD. I know that this gospel is true because i have lived it and i have received my own personal witness from the Holy Ghost that this is true and this is right. Ive seen this gospel change lives for the better. I have been blessed to be a part of others conversions but the biggest one of all that i have been a part of is my own. I hope by the time i am done here in Vriginia that as i head off that plane and come home that God will be confident in me as a true representative and disciple of Christ that he knows i will NEVER leave and who will always stay true to Him and His gospel. I love yall so much. thanks for everything. Have a wonderful week. Share this gospel with those you meet. Amazing things can happen. LOVE YOU. XOXO