I just love that song. We sang it twice this week and it reminds me of baseball games :) I LOVE AMERICA!
This week was a wonderful one. We worked hard and saw results. First, we went on an exchange with the Fairfax sisters. I went to the Fairfax area with my good, ol' friend Sister Gray (the sister in that polaroid picture I sent a few weeks back). She's been out since December and we were roommates for a transfer when I was in the Potomac Ward. Here's a miracle from that day:
We went to a less-active family's house that night - this family is infamous for their mild profanity and lack of desire to keep commitments. However, they ALL have testimonies, so the missionaries keep working with them. Sadly, the missionaries in the past have been sucked into this trap of only chatting with the family and playing games with them - sometimes for three hours! When Sister Gray got into the area, she knew that that wasn't right and has been trying to change it ever since. But she gets scared - and it can be scary! But, I was SO proud of her that night. We talked with them for a bit, then Sister Gray said, "Stone family, you need to know that as missionaries, it is not our job to just hang out with you each week. We can stay for no more than an hour and you have to let us devote at least five to ten minutes to sharing a message and extending a challenge to you. Deal?" They all just looked at her in shock. She did so well! We shared a great message about being "spiritually fed" and they all agreed to read 3 minutes or verses of the Book of Mormon each day. I pray that that family will continue to let the Sisters teach them, but if not, I know that Sister Gray did her best in stating our purpose!
This week, Sister Kartchner and I had another BIG miracle happen. We had a dinner with a member out in Nokesville, VA (middle of nowhere - it's where I took my "Book of Mormon" picture on facebook), so we decided to check on a referral that lives out there as well. An elder in our district had met this cute, YSA-aged girl at BJ's - she was their waitress! They talked with her for a little bit, and eventually got her information. Months later, they remembered to give it to us. So we decided to try her house! Well, we drive up to a neighborhood of the BIGGEST mansions I've seen in my entire mission. YES, even bigger than in Great Falls or McLean. I don't think it helped that each of these houses were on 10+ acres of land. Welp, this girl's house was one of them. We parked outside of the driveway and walked ALL the way down it to get to her door... such a scary, long walk!
The dad opened the door and seemed a little suspicious, but let us in. He called down to his daughter (she was in the basement) and she came dashing up to greet us. She said immediately, "I would love to talk to you about your church!" WHAT?! This doesn't happen very often! But I'm grateful when it does :) We had a good lesson with her - she asked lots of questions and expressed sincere interest. Meanwhile, her father was pacing in the background (just outside of the living room where we were), waiting for us to be done and listening the entire time. He came in towards the end and we asked if we could offer a prayer. He said, "As long as it's in the name of Jesus." We assured him that it would be. I offered what I thought was a simple, humble prayer. We scheduled an appointment to meet with her at church because she said she wanted to come!
As we got up to leave, I talked with the dad while Sister Kartchner talked with the girl. I tried to soften his heart as much as I could! Found out that he has a brother who lives in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA that is a MEMBER OF THE CHURCH! What in the world? We had no idea. Maybe this is why he is bitter? But what's crazier is that an elder serving in our YSA ward is from that tiny Orange County town and knows that brother. Too much! Sad to say, as soon as we left, the father talked her out of meeting with us and she is no longer our investigator :( But I KNOW that when she moves out and gets on her own feet, this girl will be led to the gospel again. Her heart was pure and she was ready. I pray that she'll find her way or that others will find her.
I'm so grateful for this gospel! It brings me more happiness and peace than I can comprehend. It doesn't mean I don't have trials, but I know EXACTLY how to get through them. I don't have to "explore my options" or ever have to wonder where relief is found. What a blessing! I owe my family thanks for being great examples of true positivity and having that eternal perspective :)
LOVE YOU ALL!