Wow. Where to start! This week was GREAT and went by EXTREMELY fast. We had three large meetings take place this week so it made the time fly right on by. The first was Zone Training on Tuesday. Our zone got together and learned from our leaders about a various subjects. We then watched the talk by Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient". LOVE IT. Dad actually sent me this talk about a month ago, so it was already familiar to me. But I could never watch/read this talk enough times! Go watch/read it if you haven't already! It'll change your life. I know it's already changed how I phrase/approach things in my missionary work!
At Zone Training, they also announced that our zone, McLean Zone, is the NUMBER ONE zone in the mission on baptismal invites and baptisms! We have been for awhile now, but I just forgot to tell you! Because we were number one, we actually had a BBQ last week provided by our mission president. Don't I feel special?! And so blessed to be in the most recognized zone in the mission - in my very first transfer! I'm learning so much from my zone and have a lot of respect for each missionary! I've attached a picture with my zone leader, Elder Hanson. This was his last transfer EVER so I took a picture with him and our name tags (Hanson and Hansen, get it?).
The next day, Wednesday, was interesting. My companion, Sister Evans, has had problems with abcesses (sp?) in the past and had one that needed to be trained. So guess where we had to go? The emergency room! I've never been to the ER before! We were there for 3 hours because of the wait. But it turned out well! She had her procedure done by a Mormon physician's assistant! What are the chances? But she's been in a lot of pain since. I feel bad, but I think it's getting better!
On Thursday, we had a meeting called Return and Report, where I was able to meet up with my old MTC buddies! It was AWESOME. I got to see Sister Mitchell again (my MTC companion) - what a wonderful reunion! We heard from our mission president and his wife, so it was a great meeting. We even had ANOTHER meeting on Friday called Sister's Meeting and it was all the sisters in the WHOLE MISSION. So cool! I have that picture as well. I feel so blessed to be in this mission and to learn SO MUCH from SO many different people.
We taught three lessons to Sharon this week! They've gone REALLY well, but she's still having difficulty grasping organized religion because of her bad experiences in the past. I hope that we can teach her that church is yet ANOTHER way to receive revelation for ourselves - to find out those things that God is wanting us to know! He has these blessings that He is ready and willing to give us... but we have to go out and get them! Faith without works is dead, right? For some reason, it's tough for people to understand it. They think that as long as they're engaged in certain service projects that they'll be fine. Nope, not enough. We have to devote our time inwardly as well as outwardly - through prayer, scripture reading, and church attendance! It's all important and I hope we can get Sharon to realize that! Oh and get her to move out of her fiancee's house. He says we can't have lessons there anymore :(
One funny experience I must share. There's this old woman named Nina (pronounced Nine-Uh) who is a potential investigator. Not quite interested in the gospel, but LOVES visits from missionaries. We went to her house on Saturday night to see how she was doing and she talked for DAYZZZ. But it was awesome. She eventually let us in and showed us ALL of her garage sale finds (she's 88 years old and a hoarder, mind you). Eventually, she showed us her cool accordian/organ piano thing. She plays it to help relieve stress in her back. We didn't really understand that until she showed us. She started playing beautifully... then all of a sudden her hands would stay on notes for awhile and she would lean over, almost hitting her head on the actual keys. Sister Evans and I looked at each other - is she dying right now?!?!? Just picture this REALLY old woman completely bent over with her tiny piano, eventually holding notes that weren't as pleasant. But then just as suddenly, she pops back up! I started dying laughing because I really thought she was losing her life while playing the piano.
...I don't know if this story made sense. Maybe you had to be there, but it was HYSTERICAL. I love meeting crazy people. One of the perks of being a missionary, I suppose :)
Thank you for ALL of your love and support! It means the world to me. I feel your prayers everyday and they help fill me with the desire to keep serving and teaching! I can't even put into words the lessons I've learned since being out on a mission - there's too many... and it's only being 2 months! I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. One scripture I found this week after pondering why God blessed ME with the gospel, why I was born into this church, how did I get so lucky, and so on - 1 Corinthians 10:15. Peter explains it beautifully.
"But by the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM (emphasis added): and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me".
I am a member of this church for A REASON. He put me where I'm at because He knew I could handle it. He knew that I could live His higher law! I'm so grateful for His trust in me and I don't EVER want to let Him down.
LOVE YOU ALL!
1. Elder Hanson (my Zone Leader) and I
2. Sister Mitchell and I - REUNITED!