It sounds like everyone's doing well! I sure pray a lot for you guys, morning and night. Sister Luke and I had a fabulous week as well. Heavenly Father has just been so nice to us! It was miraculously cool for the first few days of the week-- tons of thunderstorms and lots of rain. At one point it got down to 77 degrees, and it felt coooooooold. So that was miracle number one!
Miracle #2 has a name and it's Tory. How do I explain Tory? He is not an investigator, he is not taking the lessons, and we don't have a teaching record for him, but he did come teach with us for 4 hours. Whaaaaat?! When Sister Luke first met Tory, before I got here, she asked him if he'd be willing to listen to a 20 minute message and he told her that that would be a waste of his time. But he started coming to activities with our recent convert Michael, and he's pretty hooked on the social aspect of church. He told us he has a deep respect and admiration for the LDS people and their standards. He even said, 'I would wish the Mormon lifestyle on anybody." Tory still won't take the lessons, but... we have ways around that. ;) At FHE we jokingly asked him, "So when are you coming teaching with us?" And he replied, "How about ?" And he didn't come to just one appointment, he came to three, and met us at our dinner appointment to practice the lessons, AND called us beforehand to find out what he should wear. He was really taking this seriously. It was amazing to have him at those lessons. He made one investigator feel more comfortable and understood, he explained the Atonement perfectly for the next, (?!?) and evenprayed at the last lesson. He came to Zach's baptism and church the next day. We have faith that he will come to grips soon with how this Gospel makes him feel and that he'll be baptized. Just wait and see! :)
Speaking of Zach's baptism. Zach is now the newest member of the Robindale YSA ward! Man oh man the adversary did not want that baptism to happen. What a crazy day. But it all worked out and the baptism was wonderful. Including the part where we forgot to tell him to plug his nose and he came up coughing and spluttering, haha I think he mentioned that to you Mom. :) The Relief Society room was packed with people. The ward LOVES him! He is just a big ton of love and energy and happiness in one teeny tiny package. He was confirmed the next day in Church, and Sister Luke and I gave him a picture of the Savior with a letter from us written on the back.
I went on my first ever exchanges! I served with Sister Pantoja for the day in the richest area of the mission. No joke, Marie Osmond lives there. It was humbling to see how much more difficult it was to find people there to teach and I realized just how blessed Sister Luke and I have been. Never ever taking my area for granted again!
We got to spend nearly the entire day in the Las Vegas temple. :) The new missionaries and their trainers did an endowment session in the morning, and Sister Luke and I got to come back and watch the ward baptisms that night. Because Michael was going! For the first time! They let Sis Luke and I stand right up at the font and watch him like proud parents.
While waiting for everyone to finish, Sister Luke suggested I take some time to pray about what had been on my mind in the endowment session earlier that day. Excellent idea. I'd certainly had a lot on my mind earlier that day. So I sat in that busy baptistery and prayed. Essentially, I asked, "Heavenly Father, why is this so hard?" I've been so blessed, and there's so many things I love about a mission, but even with all of that, a mission is a really hard thing. It's a huge and abrupt adjustment for sure. So I told Heavenly Father how I ached for my family and friends and the life I've put on hold, how I needed a change of attitude, and especially how I needed to know my Savior better. And then I opened the scriptures.
Mosiah: "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger to him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?"
Cue the tears :)
How do I expect to come to know my Savior if I don't serve Him? And if I don't turn my thoughts and the intents of my heart to Him? That's what I want, isn't it?
The chapter goes on: "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable... that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his..."
Wow. There is nothing more that I want out of this life than to know Jesus Christ so well that I am sealed His. I can pray in His name, I can even put on a nametag and try to represent Him, but I want to be able to look up at my final day and recognize Him because He has been permanently written on my heart.
Well I cried in the endowment and I cried during baptisms and I'm sure the whole ward and all the temple workers are worried for my mental health. :) But that's okay because I got a much needed answer and a huge shot in the arm of motivation to work hard and have faith.
We've started taking a ward survey. Every time we're riding in the car with a member, we've started to ask them, "what's your favorite thing about the Gospel?" One girl, Tersa, told us that her favorite thing is Jesus Christ. She told us a story where she was at a Girl's Camp doing a simulation-type thing, when a voice came over a speaker and all the girls jumped at the noise, except for Tersa. Why did I not jump? She wondered. But then she realized it was her father's voice, so of course it was more familiar to her than to the other young women. Then she said, "When Jesus Christ comes again, the world is going to jump. I want to be one of the people who recognizes his voice."
So that's my new goal, to be one of those people too. I'm confident that this mission is a huge necessary step for me in reaching that goal someday! Love you all so much!