How are you all doing? I hear the blog isn't being updated? Those poor poor people who don't know how I'm doing ;) Haha, just kidding. I'm not too worried about it! Man, I am in such a giddy mood right now, but let's start at the beginning of the week!
It has been a tough tough week. Tuesday was great! We had our last zone conference with the Howell's. They go home at the end of June. The Spirit is so strong and we are always so excited to work after zone conferences. We went out and talked to 30 people that night and had 10 QGC's (Quality Gospel ) by using the suggestions from zone conference! It was awesome. But, we still had no potentials :( (Background on our investigators, the one we have had has been too busy to meet and flies home, so we have to drop her :( and the other one, we have finally come to the conclusion that he is not accountable for his actions and will not need to be baptized, so we lose our only other one, so we are back at 0) We have been working hard on getting our two programs up and running, there is a lot of technical and organizational work that has to be done before you can get something running. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent on the computer this week typing up names and sheets and things to glue on the back of our pass along cards and all that good stuff. After Tuesday the week went pretty downhill and the work was pretty discouraging. We did everything we could to keep our hope up. It's been hard because this next week is "Set a date" week in the mission in preparation for our 60 baptisms in June. We want to be a part of that SOOOOOOOO bad! So, we are out searching for YSA's but, have yet to find any. We got a couple referrals . We had a good feeling about going to see them so we stopped by them . The first one, her dad said that she wouldn't be interested (man, why must parents make decisions for their children?). The next one, isn't technically a YSA but is divorced with 4 kids that she home schools and the elders felt she would be more receptive to sisters. So we went by...and the timing was interesting to say the least. We knocked on the door and this woman came out, we asked if she was Roxy, she said no and called Roxy out. As soon as Roxy got to the door this woman, who's name is Michelle started chewing us out about and about how everything we have ever been taught is a lie. We stood there and listened, until I got tired of listening to her and interrupted her to find out if she had read the BoM. Sadly, she said yes. So, next we just testified of truth and that the only true way to know truth is through prayer. Only God can let us know truth. She left to go to a wedding and we spent 1 1/2 hours talking to Roxy. She wasn't very receptive but now has some questions about the bible talking about Christ preaching to the Spirits in Prison. Aaand she's gonna ask her pastor :( Somewhere in the middle of our conversation though, she went in to find her bible, and while she was inside one of her sons came out. His name is Gabe and he is 6. As we walked toward us I said hi and asked his name. When he saw me though he sort of looked surprised and he said: "I know you! You look very familiar." Then he looked at Sister Stokes and said the same thing. Sister Stokes and I looked at each other and we knew that it wasn't just a random thing that he "knew" us. I wish Roxy would have been there at that moment, but that was inspiration for Sister Stokes and I not to give up on her. So, we will be going back to offer service, hopefully in time that will lead to her softening her heart and wanting to know more. All in all that visit was very frustrating and that feeling remained with us up into .
I have never realized how stressful ward council can be! But I have never realized how AMAZING church is. By the time announcements were done in I was feeling much happier and less stressed. (It is so tough to get these programs running! But we are almost there!) Church always leaves me feeling happy and energized. So we had dinner after church, then went out to tract. We ended up on the street we had planned, and of course I needed to go to the bathroom, so we decided to stick with only one of the circles we had planned. The third house we came to, a man opened the door. His name is Philip. He came out and told us that he had just talked to our "friends", the missionaries in Apple Valley, while he was out on a walk. He proceeded to tell us what they had told him and how it made sense to him. He also had a dentist in California who was mormon and had given him a BoM. We talked for a bit and he stated that he was raised Catholic, but he didn't feel that they had the truth and he has been searching ever since. I felt prompted to relate his experience to Joseph Smith. So I shared the very basic story of Joseph Smith and Christ restoring the fullness of the truth through him. He stopped me mid sentence and held his arm out toward us, pointing and said "look." I was confused but then I saw the hairs were raised on his arm. He had goosebumps. He knew that what we were saying was true. We continued on our conversation and eventually he told us his youngest sibling had died in a car accident and, after Sister Stokes shared a story about how and when she found out the BoM was true (involving the death of her grandma) he said that his dad was dead, and sometimes he still talks to him. The Plan of Salvation didn't come up in conversation, but I wanted him to know about it. So, we gave him a BoM and Plan of Salvation pamphlet. When he turned to go inside his wife had walked by and shut the door and locked it, not realizing he was outside. haha, he joked about coming with us to tract the neighborhood, and then we left to finish the circle. After we walked away from each house he would come back to the middle and talk to us for a couple more minutes. We let him use our phone to call inside a couple times and by the last time we talked to him he had read the first page of the Plan of Salvation pamphlet which talks about pre earth life. He said he liked that idea. He is such an awesome awesome man! (And yes, he finally got inside). As soon as we got in the car we called the Elders to give him his address and phone number. It was such a miracle and I really hope he gets baptized. Even though we still have 0 investigators, it was an incredible experience! :D Oh I just love it! It's moments like that that make a rough week like this completely and totally worth it!
This work is hard, but it is the most incredible and most fulfilling work I have ever done in my life. So, the programs we have been working on are in the works. We are trying to encourage our members to read the Doctrine of Christ. (2 Ne 31:2-22; Alma 5:7-15; Alma 7:11-16; 3 Ne 9:20-22; 3 Ne 11:31-41; 3 Ne27:13-22; Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:18-20) These scriptures have been a miracle to the mission! It has changed the way we, as missionaries, think, act, and approach our work. It is incredible how much understanding the very basics can change your attitude and understanding of everything else! Understanding the DoC (Doctrine of Christ) has really increased my understanding of the Atonement. The gospel rests on the Atonement. Without the atonement we have no faith. And faith is the very first principle in the Doctrine of Christ and leads to repentance, baptism, gift of the , and enduring to the end. They all work together to build the gospel. Those things are what we need and must understand in order to be truly converted to Christ's church. It's awesome. I suggest studying it at least as a family, if not trying to bring it into the ward as well. Our next step is helping members feel comfortable inviting friends to activities, church, and dinner with the missionaries. They all have invited friends to church before, the have 1 Sunday each quarter that they dedicate to inviting friends. So now, to get 1+ going, they need to bring their friends to our dinner appointments. We know that if they will start doing that, then the branch has the potential to become a ward (which is saying a lot, because they are at the scary edge of almost being dissolved for the lack of priesthood holders). Next, we have started our visits, the Branch Presidency doesn't quite get it. They want us to be able to set up appointments with everyone so we KNOW we are getting in, instead of stopping by 3 people and not talking to any of them. But, it doesn't work that way in missionary work. We get stood up all the time, and the reason we must drop by people is because that is our best bet of making contact with them. So, we are trying to get those up and running and hopefully they will be successful at fellowshipping others and inviting them to the branch!
Man, I just keep going on and on and on and on. Things are awesome! I am glad that the girls camp garage sale went well! That sounds like it was fun, yet stressful. Mom, I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for forwarding Josh and Deanne's email! I am so excited that they can finally have a kid :D Adoption is such a miracle and I'm grateful that the Lord put me in the right places to be able to help in a very small way with that. :D I am extremely jealous that you are going to Kirtland! I wanna go! But in the words of my amazing companion, "Yeah, but you are doing something so much more amazing!" Which is true, so I hope you aren't jealous or anything ;) Are you gonna see Michael and Paola? Tell everyone hi and that I love them! Ok, well that's everything. Sort of. But I really have to write my mission president! ahhhh I wish I could just convey everything going on! I love being in a position to see so many miracles take place!!!!
Have fun at Kirtland! take pictures for me! I'm gonna attach pictures from here in Northfield, I don't think I've sent any yet. Maybe I did? I dunno, I'm attaching pics though. Love you all!
(The First few are from Minneapolis (Dinky Town) we went to the sculpture gardens with a couple girls from the branch. Stephanie is AWESOME she was baptized teh day before I moved to Dinky Town. Jen was baptized a little over a year ago. The next one is a view from my bedroom window in lakeville and then one of sister stokes and i as we were in the car waiting for the elders to bring us the key to the church....it was pouring that day.)
Oh and we tracted in the rain the other day, it was awesome. We taught a lesson to an older man who accepted a book of mormon and he seemed pretty cool. It was sweet! As for the tornados, hope you weren't worried. They happened in Minneapolis, we had nothing but pouring rain south of the cities! So, we are safe! Love you!