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