This past week was full of amazing things! Here are the things I was grateful for each day, along with explanations for the more interesting ones.
Nov 7- Electricity.
Nov 8- Promptings/inspiration from the Holy Ghost. Sister Ruske and I had gone to stop by someone who was interested, but they weren't home. Neither of us felt like that area was where Heavenly Father wanted us to tract, so we prayed to know where we should be. I felt/saw a family and felt like we should go find them. I was telling Sister Ruske about it and said that I felt that there was a family with a little girl we needed to find. As I told her that there was a little girl, she asked "like that family that is sometimes at Corinthia's"? Ummm, yeah, actually. We knew which building they lived in, but not the exact apartment. So we went to that complex and knocked on the door we thought it was. No one was home, so we decided to just tract the rest of the building. We knock on the next door and end up teaching the woman who answered. When we asked her who she knew that would also be interested in hearing our message, she told us she lived with her brother and sister-in-law. They have a two year old daughter. Yep, we found the family I had been impressed to find! Heavenly Father is definitely involved in all the details of this work. I am so grateful for the guidance of the Holy Ghost in this work, there is no way I could do it on my own.
Nov 9- Kindness of the ward (also partly inspiration). We had a couple lessons set up for the next day but we hadn't found members to come with us yet. We were texting and calling all the people we could think of, but none of them were able to come or they didn't answer their phone. One member told us she wasn't really feeling well and couldn't come with us. By this time it was , so we prayed to start our nightly planning. Sister Ruske prayed that we would be able to find a member to come with us to our first lesson, because we had one for the second. Not even 1 minute after we prayed, this member called us back and said that she could come with us. She had felt bad about saying no and didn't want us to miss a lesson because of her. So even though she had originally said no, she ended up taking us. Not all of our prayers are answered that quickly, but it was wonderful to see the Spirit working. When you follow a prompting, you just might end up being the answer to someone's prayer.
Nov 10- I am grateful for the Atonement. It is incredible that the only perfect person to ever walk the Earth voluntarily suffered and died for each of us.
Cool story of the day: meeting Bonnie at Costco. Another story where we didn't feel like we were in the right place and Heavenly Father led us to where He needed us. After an appointment fell through, we didn't feel that tracting was what we were supposed to do, at least not in that complex. After praying to know where we should be, we felt that we should go to the Costco right around the corner and talk to people in the parking lot. We weren't quite sure how to go about contacting people, but Sister Ruske had the bright idea to offer to help people unload their carts and then we could talk to them. So that's what we did and we met Bonnie. Sadly, she lives in the Raleigh stake, but she was so cool! She was super sweet and kept telling us that she appreciates what we are doing to help more people learn about Christ. We gave her our number and told her to call us if she wants to get in touch with the elders in her area. It turned out that she had already met the elders! They had knocked on her door one day while she was making dinner. Her husband answered the door and they were talking to him. They commented that whatever she was making smelled good and the husband offered them some :) Too bad for them, it wasn't ready so they gave the elders apples instead. We're hoping that the next time she sees the elders she will stop them and invite them in for a real dinner. And then get baptized, of course :)
Nov 11- Such a great day!! We set a baptismal date with two of our investigators, one of whom was a referral from the Hermanas. Her name is Christina and she is amazing! The Hermanas told us that they had seen her a couple times when they were in the neighborhood and had stopped to talk to her. One of them (likely following a prompting) asked Christina if she would be interested in getting baptized and she said "she would definitely consider it"!!!! How awesome is she!! Anyway, so we went to contact her and it was amazing! She told us that she had gotten mixed up and thought she had a doctors appointment at the time we were supposed to go see her. So she went early to her appointment, only to find out that it had been earlier and she had to reschedule it. She had just barely arrived home when we knocked on her door. We taught her the Restoration and the member who was with us bore a powerful testimony. Christina asked a question about why the Sabbath is celebrated when is the seventh day. Our member was able to explain that to her, telling her about an article she had just read a few days ago. Missionaries are not the only ones who receive the promise that we will be given what to say in the moment we need it, that promise is given to all who open their mouths to share the gospel. As we talked to Christina and explained that our role as missionaries is to help others come closer to Christ through baptism and learning about his gospel, the first thing she said was "what do I need to do to be baptized?" After a moment of being speechless, Sister Ruske and I happily told her that that is our job :) She is so prepared and I am so excited to keep teaching her! We committed her to keep meeting with us and prepare to be baptized on .
Our next lesson was just as incredible! We met with Twanna, who we had found the past week. She had ordered a Bible online and is really interested in the gospel. Sometimes I am not as excited as I should be about people who order a Bible, thinking that they just want the Bible and nothing more. Twanna has proved me wrong and given me more faith in media referrals. She has already been baptized, just like 99% of the population here in the South, but she "doesn't feel like she has been fully baptized". She is Baptist, so she believes in baptism by immersion. When she got baptized in her church, though, her face didn't go under the water and the person didn't do it again. So she has spent the past 20some years wondering if her baptism really counted. When she gets baptized on , it will though so all is well :) Hopefully this ward gets used to having a baptism at least monthly, because Heavenly Father keeps sending us incredible people who are prepared to hear the gospel.
The evening was spent doing work for the elders. They have been really struggling to find people to teach, so night 4 other sets of missionaries came here and we all went out and found people for the elders to teach. It was amazing. In an hour and a half, 12 new investigators were found for the elders to teach, and some of them were families. It was powerful to see the other missionaries coming together to help the elders. Tracting for someone else was so different than tracting for ourselves. I am always excited to find people to teach, but doing it for someone else made it so much sweeter. I felt more love for the people we met and more of a sense of the importance of the gospel. I am so excited that the elders have more people to teach now and I am excited for their investigators to progress.
Nov 12- LAURA'S BAPTISM!!! We spent most of our day at the church; filling the font, printing programs, setting up the room and studying. The baptism was wonderful, there was a great turnout from the ward. So many people came that every seat was full and there were still people standing in the back. Standing room only at a baptism is probably one of the greatest things that has ever happened. Sister Wall and Sister Huang, who were the sisters before I came in, were able to come for her baptism and that meant a lot to Laura. After her baptism there was time for Laura and some of the missionaries to bear their testimony. It was so sweet to hear Sister Wall bear her testimony and express her love for Laura. (It was also really weird to realize how long Sister Wall has been out. I was here in Durham when she came out, almost 9 months ago. Which means that I have been out for longer than that and I'm not sure how I feel about that)
Nov 13- Oh my goodness, the miracle of today is definitely that Laura got confirmed. Church starts at 11, so we told her to be there at just to be safe. Of course, that didn't happen. 11 comes around and she is nowhere to be seen. Sister Ruske and I start getting antsy, but we're trying to stay calm. She was supposed to get confirmed right before the sacrament, but when she wasn't there, they moved the confirmation to after the sacrament. So we had a little more time, but we were still worried. Laura finally walks in right after the sacrament is over, at . She had told us she couldn't stay long so we were hoping she had enough time to stay for the rest of sacrament meeting. She walks into the chapel and immediately gets called up for her confirmation. When she comes back to sit with us, she immediately has to leave again. She had been called in to work last minute and literally had just enough time for her confirmation. Also, I got to hold a ferret today, which was fun :)
OH! I almost forgot! The story behind the bird picture! we were eating lunch when we hear a thud outside our door. Thinking someone had dropped something off, we opened the door but didn't see anything. Then we look down and see this little bird just laying on our sidewalk. He had hit our door and must have been stunned. He didn't move or try to fly away, even when we got close enough to touch him. We weren't sure what to do about our newfound bird friend, we didn't want to kill him but we also didn't want him to stay there to get eaten. Eventually we decided to move him to a box and hide him in our bushes. When we came back from a lesson, he was gone. There wasn't any blood or feathers left in the box, so we are assuming he was fine and ended up flying away.
Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows"
I know that Heavenly Father is intimately aware of the tiny details of our lives. Every single aspect of every single persons life is known by the Father who loves you perfectly and eternally. No matter how insignificant the world may think you are, there is always someone who loves you. A perfect Father who sent His perfect Son, your brother, to feel everything you go through. Never forget how much you are loved.
The other two sisters were involved in Laura's teaching. The blonde one was here for 6 months and got really close to Laura. It was so sweet to see the two of them so happy to see each other <3
I made a new friend!
We had dinner at a member's house last night. While waiting for the last bit of food to be ready, one of the boys brought me his pet ferret! Funny thing about being a missionary, it has changed my perception of what smells bad. The family told me that ferrets stink and that this one needed a bath. He didn't smell that bad too me, I have been in places that were worse.
Our bird friend
This was the bird that decided to fly into our storm door. He ended up being totally fine :)