To celebrate Sister Wall's birthday, which was the next day, we decided to get Chinese food for lunch. (Also, 5 of my 7 companions have had their birthday with me. I don't know what the odds of that are, but it's been fun!!) So that was nice, there's not a lot of Asian food in NC. It was a pretty uneventful day. We went to go find a recent convert who is in the YSA ward but the address was wrong. The lady who lives at her old house was super nice though! She let us right in out of the cold and drew us a little map to find the right house. She wasn't interested in learning more about the gospel, but she was still the highlight of the day. Also, the recent convert totally wants to come out with us while she's home from school!
Side note: don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry. Especially when there's a birthday coming up. You will end up buying nothing by junk food and you will be sick of it .
Sister Wall's birthday! We had a leadership meeting in the morning and then the day just kept getting better and better! We found 4 new investigators today, which according to President James was a "post-missionary broadcast NCRM record" for new investigators in a single day. Birthday miracles never cease. We also had dinner with members of the ward who found out it was Sister Wall's birthday. The member asked her what her favorite kind of cake was. Sister Wall couldn't decide so we gave her a couple options. Well, when we show up for dinner we find out that the member couldn't decide either....so she decided to buy all 3 kinds. Plus she had made danishes for dessert. Plus she bought Sister Wall a candy bouquet. At this point we have 3 kinds of cake, plus danishes, plus candy. Just from this one member. Then another member made cookies and Sister Wall got 2 cake mixes for her birthday. That's not even including the cookies we bought . PSA: If you ever want to send a missionary treats for their birthday, send them vegetables instead. I promise they will be so grateful, especially if they're serving stateside.
Oh my goodness this was a day of miracles! We found this trailer park that we wanted to knock, but pretty much every single person spoke Spanish. For whatever reason, we kept on knocking. I'm so glad we did because we met this awesome lady named Melissa! We met her at the perfect time and she knew it! She was raised Catholic but has recently been disenchanted with the Catholic church. She broke her ankle last week and can't get permission to get Communion brought to her. She told us that she's falling away from the Catholic religion but looking for something that will allow her to keep the good parts of Christianity but will be more interested in her as a person. She knew that it wasn't a coincidence that we showed up that day at that time. She has had missionaries ( or Jehovah's Witnesses, people tend to mix us up a lot) come before and she hasn't ever been interested. She told us that this time she was open to learning more and was searching for something else. We were able to teach her the Restoration and testify to her of God's love for her. It was such a powerful lesson and I felt so much love for her as we taught her. We didn't get a chance to share the First Vision with her. We gave her the picture to look at and she immediately started tearing up because she felt the Spirit. She instantly felt that it was true, even without hearing Joseph Smith's words. (Full disclosure, Melissa called us a couple days later and said that she felt that this religion wasn't for her. We were heartbroken but I have absolutely no doubt that we were supposed to be there that day and teach her. I don't doubt that she will accept the gospel later, she has already felt the Spirit testify of its truth.)
We also met Jimmy today. Jimmy is not a member, although his wife and two boys are. We had dinner with them but he wasn't home from work yet. Jimmy walked in right as we were starting to teach them the Plan of Salvation. He joined us for the lesson and it was completely led by the Spirit. We focused a lot on baptism and how it is a necessary step in order to enter the celestial kingdom and live in God's presence forever. Jimmy has heard the lessons before and half-joked that he would just wait until he died, then his boys would go to the temple to get baptized for him. Sister Wall was amazing, she read Alma 34:32-34 and testified to him that this is his time to be baptized, that he can't delay his repentance. She was so bold and unafraid in testifying to him. I felt strongly that I needed to tell Jimmy how much he was loved, both by his family and even more so by his Heavenly Father. It was interesting to realize, after the lesson, that Sister Wall had been the super bold one and I was the super loving one, it is usually the opposite. I know that it was definitely the Spirit leading that lesson. Jimmy's heart was touched and he sincerely committed to pray about being baptized.
Amazing lesson with our investigator Barbara. The member who came with us last week invited us to teach in her home and it was amazing! We taught Barbara the Plan of Salvation and she already believes it! The spirit world and the degrees of glory, which are often the parts that most people struggle with (even though they are found in the Bible), were things that she already strongly believed! We asked her what she thought happened after we die and she told us she believes that people have a chance to learn about Christ!! She also quoted John 14:2 when we introduced that there were different degrees in heaven. How cool is that !?!
Exchanges with the trio. We had a great day together and we found some great new investigators in their area! I love going on exchanges, I always feel like I learn so much more from them than they learn from me. Sister Xiong and Sister Tagge are such great missionaries and they have incredible testimonies.
Bill. We met Bill a couple weeks ago but haven't been able to get up with him for a little bit. We were finally able to get an appointment to see him and he was actually home! And excited to meet with us! His wife wasn't home, so we froze on his porch while we taught him the Restoration. He told us that he had wanted to learn more before we came, so he went on Amazon and ordered a copy of the Book of Mormon. AND had started reading it already. All without us asking him to, just because he wanted to! Similar to Melissa, he was raised Catholic but doesn't go now. He had a lot of questions that the Catholic church can't/won't answer (along with questions caused by their doctrine and practices) that we were able to answer for him. He wants to read more of the Book of Mormon before we come back, but he is for sure going to read!
Zac passed his baptismal interview! We knew he would, but it's always nice to be official :) He will be getting baptized , but sadly we can't count him. He decided he wants to be baptized into the YSA ward, so they get to count his baptism. Oh well, he's getting baptized so it doesn't really matter who gets to send in the number.
Chad finished 1 Nephi and has been praying about being baptized every day since we first met him.
Tanisha hasn't had any coffee , ever since we taught her the Word of Wisdom.
President and Sister James came to another ward in our building so we ran into them. I always love seeing them <3
All in all, a week full of miracles and tender mercies. You know, as per usual when you're on the Lord's errand. I have seen too many miracles to think that this is not God's work. I know that He is directing every step of this work to spread His gospel to His children. I know for a fact that He loves each and every single one of us. His gospel is all about His love for us, that is why He sent His Son to suffer and die for us. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and return to live with Him. He has prepared a perfect plan for us to accomplish that end. His Son Jesus Christ is at the center of that plan and the heart of everything I am blessed to teach. No person is unnoticed by Heavenly Father, no one is unloved. The Creator of infinite universes knows your name and loves you.
Sister Grimsman came out with Sister Ruske so we have met before. We were way too cold to take our hands out of our pockets so we decided to just take an awkward picture instead :)
Trio for a day :)
We went on exchanges this week and I got to be in a trio for the day! Sister Xiong is from China and Sister Tagge is in the middle.
The wonderful Helblings
The mom and her two youngest boys got baptized in September 2016. They are getting ready to go to the temple soon! They're also slowly working on the other son who is an atheist. I love this family, they make me laugh so much!!
I tried jackfruit this week
A family in one of our wards fed us dinner and had jackfruit. They found it at the Asian market in Cary and we were the guinea pigs. You only eat the yellow part. It was kind of like eating really thick flower petals that tasted vaguely like bubblegum.