Well, I was humbled a lot this week. Which is really great, I love knowing what I can improve on. I have a long list of "to do betters" now :)
The first thing I had to learn (again) this past week was that what I personally want is quite often not what Heavenly Father knows is best. Long story short, Bernard was not baptized like we were planning on. Not through any fault of his own or any unworthiness at all, we are just waiting until Paula, his mom, is ready to be baptized so they can be baptized together. President James had some concerns about baptizing a child without a parent being baptized at the same time. We talked to him about their situation and his recommendation was to wait for Bernard's mom. That was not the answer I wanted to hear, but President left the final decision up to us. We spent a lot of time praying about what was right and I personally had to pray a lot for peace. It was a really hard decision to make, but I know that it is the right one. Prayer works! It was hard to give up what I wanted and ask Heavenly Father what He knew was best, but it was so worth it! We were able to talk to Paula last night and ask her what she thinks would keep her from being baptized. She opened up to us a lot and we know better how to help her now. She has a great desire to be baptized with Bernard and is so willing to change! I am so grateful for an inspired President and answers to prayers, otherwise Paula might not have this strong of a motivation to progress in the gospel.
I have also been learning a lot this week about what it means to be a missionary and recognizing the weight of my calling. I am literally representing the Savior. I carry His name next to mine every day. I have been called by a prophet of God to share the Gospel with everyone I meet. It is a humbling thing to realize all that that entails and how often I come short of what is asked of me. But I also know that I would not have been called to be a missionary if Heavenly Father knew I would not be able to do it, with His help of course. I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for the Atonement and the opportunity I have every single day to repent and become more like my Savior. It takes everything I have and then some to do all that is expected of me as a missionary. I know that I wouldn't be able to do any of it without His help. We had a lesson with Earnest this week where he told us how much he appreciates us. He told us that he could tell from the very first time that he saw us that we came with authority. That was such a powerful thing to hear. As the Lord's servant, I really do have His authority to preach His gospel. I am so incredibly grateful for this time that I have to literally bear His name and take His gospel to all those who are willing to listen.
We also had a semi-lesson (she is not technically an investigator yet so we can't officially count it) with a friend of one of the ward members. (Side note: PLEASE give the missionaries referrals if you have any non-member friends who are even remotely interested. It is incredible to see how the Lord prepares people.) Candice is amazing! She has incredible trust in God and is very aware of His hand in her life, guiding her to make the right decisions. She met with us and asked us questions. I was expecting the typical questions like "do you worship Joseph Smith" or "what's up with no coffee?" or "are you Christian", but nope. Candice's questions were all about our personal religious lives and what our prayers are like and if we feel God directing us. At first that was a little strange and it felt like a really private thing to talk about, but then I realized that that is what matters to her and what she is looking for. She talked about how her prayers have changed over time and how much she gets from them. It made me really step back and evaluate my prayers. Since we pray at least 20 times a day as missionaries, it can be really easy to get into a routine and become less sincere. I have been focusing on really praying sincerely and not just saying things I always say. I invite all of you to do the same thing. I promise that as you really focus on your prayers and become more sincere that you will feel Heavenly Father's influence in your life even more and you will come closer to Him.
I know without a doubt that this gospel is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is truly Christ's church that has been restored in its fullness. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith's promise that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book" is true. Read it, pray about it, live what it teaches. You WILL come closer to God than you have ever been, no matter how many times you have read it before.
In other news, Dame's Chicken & Waffles was SO GOOD! Sister Workman was confused by the concept of fried chicken and waffles together, but she saw the light :) It is quite probably the best fried chicken I have ever had and the waffles were amazing too. If any of y'all are ever in Durham, you should definitely go! It's a good thing it is a bit far and a little more expensive (but still totally reasonable) otherwise I might be tempted to eat there more often :)
This came with maple-pecan flavored butter. I am full again just looking at it :)
Yep, that is indeed a sheet of ice :) NC gets ice storms in February, apparently. (two more weeks, two more weeks)