One more funny story to report. We spent Thursday knocking a lot of doors and visiting potentials. At 6pm we show up to our one appointment of the day-- a less active visit. We make it halfway up the yard (of dirt and rocks. Arizona yards are dirt and rocks.) when I step on a cactus. I yelp, and Sis Hame turns around, "what, didja step on a cactus?" and steps on a cactus. So we stand there like idiots, each balancing on one foot, trying to hold on to each other, our scripture cases, our family mission plan, and pull the stupid barbs out of our feet... meanwhile the kids come out of the house, "didja step on a cactus?" and tell us they're leaving... so they all drive away while we hang out like a couple of storks in the middle of their treacherous yard. Sometimes, missions are hard, and also hilarious.
Dearly Beloved Family!
Wait, Katherine went to Triple Play?? I went to Triple Play when I went to All-Northwest! Please tell me she went down the spinny funnel waterslide thing. It's so magical. I really hope she didn't miss out on that.
Also, Dad, I'm really excited that you talked about grace and the Holy Ghost in ward conference. Too many people, even members of the church, I'm finding, misunderstand grace. We often run into people that tell us things like "yeah... I used to be a member of your church... but they expect you to be perfect and that's too hard." Well of course-- it's a tall and impossible order to perfect yourself. I love that scripture in Moroni and how it says in so many times. We are made perfect in Christ, we are sanctified in Christby the grace of God. As Brad Wilcox says, 'Christ does not make up the difference, Christ makes all the difference. We are not earning heaven, we're learning heaven." The more I learn about grace the more patient I am with myself and my many weaknesses!
I will definitely keep the Porter's in my prayers! I love that family! And oh my gosh TELL SARAH I LOVE HER WHEN YOU SEE HER ON SATURDAY <3 I'm so proud of her! She's such a champion!
Aren't the Cornelsons awesome?! We ate dinner at their house last week and had a blast. I said something and Bro Cornelson goes, "how fortuitous!" Which is a phrase I've started saying a lot, but Sister Hame thought fortuitous wasn't a real word... we couldn't agree... so I go, "I TOLD YOU IT WAS A REAL WORD!" And we had 'em laughing pretty hard :)
This week started out looking like a challenge but ended up being a huge blessing. We had a few empty days with no appointments-- not the most common thing in this mission-- and we were looking at our planners like, "whaaaaaa?" But it gave us the opportunity to talk to lots of people, try new things and be creative. We have a ton of new ideas we want to get going to help out our wards, especially Boulder Springs. For example: We met with the young women president and they're going to have an activity where the young women write their testimonies in copies of the Book of Mormon and mark their favorite scriptures, so we can give them to people we meet. Something simple that they are willing to do that will help them get involved in the work! We're going to try and get the Young Men on board too.
We've been teaching a little boy named Gavin who is about to turn 8 soon. His mom Helen has been investigating for 2 years now and has only not been baptized because her husband Gary won't legally marry her. Lame... so she has seen both of her older daughters get baptized and now Gavin is ready to get baptized too. We are praying really hard that Gary will have a change of heart so Helen can get baptized with Gavin. She's already a Mormon, just needs to add water. So she's been waiting for a long time. Gavin's lessons are so fun and so hilarious. This week, we gave an FHE lesson at the Bishop's house with Helen and Gavin and Bishop's cute little kids. We brought nerf guns (a Christmas present from Momma Hame) and had a lesson about "avoiding the firey darts of the adversary." They got to shoot down scriptures to read about church, prayer, scripture study, etc. They loved it!
Doug D-doug doug accepted a date d-date date! He had been praying about a baptism date we extended, and he felt like it was too soon... So we asked him, "well, when do you feel you'll be ready for baptism?" and he picked April 18. So now he's working towards that! Hooray!
Quick update on our recent convert Carlos: He finally found a new job! And his daughter is turning 8 soon so he gets to baptize her! We're so happy for him :)
Sister Hame and I sang an arrangement of I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go in Church this Sunday. She was really nervous for her solo verse but she sounded like an angel. It's fun to get to do stuff like that!
The elder's quorum in White Cliffs put on a Valentine's Day family dance, which was a huge success-- for the nonmembers, anyway! I think we had just about as many nonmembers/investigators there as we did active members. Our next-door neighbor, Franco, came, which was HUGE because we have been trying to get him in the church forever. After the party we were able to show him the chapel and he goes "Wow... I feel really good in here. I haven't felt this good in a long time." He and his mom just moved here from Vegas to be the new manager of our apartment complex. We've been establishing a great friendship with them-- the ward even brought them dinner when Franco was in the hospital a week ago. Hopefully they will continue to soften towards the church and we can start teaching them soon :) Andy and Anna also came, a big step for Andy! Having a small number of members there was a tender mercy because he felt comfortable rather than being overwhelmed. He brought his brother, Mark, who drives truck and lives with them when he's not on the road. We went over for a lesson last night, re-taught the Restoration, and invited Mark to be baptized with Andy and Anna! He accepted the date! Andy is a great missionary already!
Alright, here come the quotes of the week.
Brock, after learning about quorums and classes: "So the young women are the beehives and marmalades?"
Sister Hame, sharing what she learned from the New Testament: "...and then I learned I can't call anyone 'raca'... it's a temptation sometimes, but I avoid it"
Sister Hame again: "The real reason I had you drink out of the straw first is cause I was afraid there was a spider in it."THANKS.
Explaining how last year around Valentine's day, all of her investigators dropped her: "I thought my mission would be a time where I was free from breakups. I get broken up with on a daily basis."
Also, this week, I was told by a street contact that I look like Mary Magdelene. Well gee, that might be the best compliment I've ever been given!
A couple nuggets of wisdom from Sister Hame as well:
"I realized that I can be sad and discouraged and then the Spirit can't trust me, or I can expect the Spirit to guide me and He really pulls through."
"Even when I'm miserable, I'm happier than I've ever been."
Amen and amen! The past 8 months have been the biggest blessing of my life. Serve a mission, you guys. Every split second is worth it. Love you all!
<3 Sister Browning