HELLO MY DEAR FAMILY!
Ahhhh, I just loved all the pictures of you guys and Ashy. I feel like I was having deja vu the entire time. Same restaurant, hotel room, pictures at the temple (except the weather looked nicer), and Gabby Gabby was there and by chance you guys got to see Jeff! So cool! Ashy looks so adorable. She is going to be one cute missionary! I'm so excited for her to start on her adventure because the whole leading up to leaving is just so stressfull and hard. Once you get there, it's just nice to know it's all finally started. I've been thinking about you guys and her a lot this week. Can you believe we have two missionaries out from our fam now? INCREDIBLE! This is such a blessing! I am beyond excited for us to be out at the same time because I know when I'm having a hard day, I can just think about her and know that we are going through very similar experiences and feelings.
OHHH I cannot wait for Mother's Day! So so so EXCITED! WE GET TO SKYPE! I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep it together this time! hahah I don't want to repeat what happened when I called at the airport but I can't promise anything! I'll probably be a little bit emotional, but hey, it happens! When you only get to talk to your family twice a year and hear their voices, I think it's completely normal!
Well, this week was a little bit of a slower week for us. We had tons and tons and tons of appointments set up, but people have this thing called agency, and a lot of the time they choose not to be there! haha As missionaries, each day we plan our appointments and then we plan out two other back up plans for each appointment so if/when they do fall through, we still have other plans so we stay busy. This week was special though because a lot of our plans and back up plans all fell through. But hey, these kind of things happen in the mission and so we just start knocking doors and talking to people. If there is one thing I have learned about being a missionary, it is that you become an amazing planner. I feel like this was something I was kind of already good at, planning and organizing, but on the mission I have learned to stay positive and happy, despite all plans falling through (and that was something I wasn't good at doing before the mission).
So this week, we didn't find as many new investigators and people to teach like we had hoped but we did focus on a lot of the people we already are teaching. We have been teaching this guy named Nokomis for about two weeks now. We have commmitted him for a baptisimal date and HE CAME TO CHURCH!!!! :) He rode the bus for an hour and a half and then walked a mile to get to church! He's so great! I love him! He's in his 50's and we found him about a month ago on the bus. We set up an appointment with him about three weeks ago but when we went, he wasn't there. We were bummed, but that's kind of the norm so we didn't think too much of it, but then he called us the next day and asked why we didn't come. SAY WHAT, he called us! These kind of things never happen! It turns out we just both mixed up the times, so we set up another appointment with him and we've met with him about 4 or 5 times in the past two weeks. He is progressing pretty well. He does have a Word of Wisdom problem but we are working on that with him. Victor is doing great! We have been trying to figure everything out for his baptism this past week (like who's going to baptize him, the program, his baptismal interview, etc.) so it's been pretty busy. There's a lot more work that goes into that than I thought! We are going to be meeting with him like four times this week just to make sure everything is good. Continue to pray for him! If all goes well he is suppose to be getting baptized this week! YAY!!!! :) I sure do love him and his wife June! They are both pretty interesting characters, actually pretty much everyone in our ward is! hahaha But, I have come to love this ward and area more than I ever thought I could. The thought of one day having to leave this area makes me so sad. They all have a really special place in my heart. I have learned so much from serving here thus far. I have learned that as we pray for charity and go out and serve, we are capable of loving everyone, even those that to us seem hard to love or different from us.
One thing I was pondering a lot about yesterday at church, was how important our role as member missionaries really is. We were in a meeting with the bishop and he told us about two scenarios that happened in our ward. He first talked about a teenage boy a few years back who had come to the ward for the first time. At that time, bishop was serving in the high council and he decided, knowing that it was this boys first time, he was going to follow him around for the day. (Now this sounds completely creepy haha but he wanted to see what someones experience was like for their first time in the church) He didn't make it obvious or anything that he was following him from class to class, but he just sat back and observed. He said he was completely devasted as he watched that not a single, NOT A SINGLE person welcomed him, introduced themselves, or took him under their wing. He then talked about another family in our ward that joined the church three years ago. He said when he talked to them about their experiences when they first started coming to church, they kept talking about how they had never felt so loved and included before in their lives. They are still completely active. This other boy did join the church but he is now struggling deciding whether he's going to go on a mission or not. Bishop then talked about how people do have their agency, but that we are the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, Christ's true church on the earth today. WE MUST FELLOWSHIP visitors, new members, and everyone in our ward. This new push for missionaries will do us no good if we do not have ward members who are willing to play their role in missionary work. This is just something I thought a lot about yesterday, having Nokomis at church with us. It is true, not too many people came up and said hi or visited with him. We (the missionaries) had to initiate almost all of that. It just breaks my heart because I got to thinking, being in an investigator's shoes, why would they want to return if not a single person welcomed them or said hi to them and if they sat by themselves in priesthood (when the sister missionaries had to go to relief society). Being a missionary, has really helped me to see just how vital a members role is in this work. I invite you guys to think of ways you can become better member missionaries because I know we can all improve. I know I was not a good member missionary before my mission and I wish I would have been. We need to be there for these investigators and new members as they are making this huge transition. They need love and support! Sorry for this huge long tangent, but this was just something that really tugged at my heart yesterday as I also tried to watch, as bishop did, how someones first experience of church is like sometimes.
I sure do love you guys! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord fulltime! I know that this is His church, that He is directing it today. I know that He lives and that this is His sacred work. Why on earth He has trusted us, His imperfect children, to be a part of such a sacred and important work, I'm just amazed and feel so humbled. I know He allows us to participate in this work, because through it we become forever changed, we become more like Him.
Pues, Les Amo Mucho! XOXOXOXOX Cannot wait for Mother's Day! :)