It's thundering and lightning outside right now so I'mma type fast and hope the power doesn't go out!
Well it sounds like this week was pretty challenging for you all, and I tell ya what, it was challenging across the board. Mom, I don't know how you feel trying to be the ringmaster for a circus of construction, projects, improvements and setbacks, but I can definitely relate to you on the exhaustion thing. Lately I've been feeling a lot more tired than a sister who hasn't been out a year should feel. I think that's one of Satan's biggest tricks-- just to make us feel like we have to give in to exhaustion. Joke's on you, Satan! We never have to give in!
The week started out with a wonderful, spirit filled district meeting. Just as we were leaving Sister Koyle got landed with an $800 speeding ticket. Somehow neither of us noticed the school zone lights until a second after the cop clocked her speed. We got to sit there as all the missionaries, including our district leader, zone leaders, MSTLs, and one of the APs drove by. They've been teasing us about it ever since. Miracle 1: She gets to keep her license. Miracle 2: She gets to keep her driving privileges. Miracle 3: Neither of us cried. Miracle 4: We've got each other so we've been laughing about it all week.
After he gave her the ticket, she gave him a mormon.org card. #fearless
A lot of hilarious things happened this week. We've had some really great laughs. For example, I got proposed to again. Once again I turned the nice gentleman down. Sometimes I'm not sure we should give out so many cards with our phone number :P
Shortly after this, we met a guy who looked like he was having a bad day so Sis K offered to say a prayer for him. In the middle of the prayer his buddy named Jpac interrupts by angrily speaking in, like, tongues.... "Shamabalakihokalaramabadofremada" and so forth.
After about 10 bewildered seconds of this I say very sternly "excuse me. My friend Sister Koyle was saying a prayer, do you mind if she finishes?"
He let her finish.
Here's my focus 5 plus 1 for the week: Brissa, Patrick, David, Juan E, Karina, and Kenneth. Brissa is doing wonderfully!!! She is still on date for June 27th. Everyone else either missed their baptism date by not coming to church or didn't accept one. Patrick finally had work off this Sunday but slept late and missed sacrament meeting and half of Sunday school. He probably won't have a Sunday off again for awhile because he is military police. We're praying to know what the key is to helping him have a stronger desire to know the truth. He's been coming to activities, though, and he's got some great fellowshippers. David has been tricky to teach because his needs are different than anyone else I think I've ever taught. He was baptized when he was 15 and had his records removed a year later because of some anti that he found. Now 10 years later he is ready to investigate again. He has asbergers and doesn't like it when we ask him questions about how he feels. So trial and error, we've figured out how to have really effective lessons with him. On Friday we had a really great lesson with him about the Atonement. We are just waiting to find out if he can be baptized.
We've also been witnessing a lot of sad and, well, just horrible things lately-- lots of accidents, violence and crime. We're definitely in Las Vegas. I won't re-hash everything that we've seen but it does take a toll on you. I think part of it is because we're missionaries and we're living so that we're close to the spirit; because of that everything we see kind of affects us personally.
Amidst all this stuff I started to feel like, "Why can't I do something that will have a practical, lasting effect for the suffering people here?" Couldn't I please feed the homeless, stop crime, and stand up against domestic abuse? But as I read Preach My Gospel I remembered something very important: "You will help people most by teaching them the Gospel of Jesus Christ." As Ezra Taft Benson said, "only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family." I know I am doing the most important thing I could be doing right now.
On Saturday night at 8:00 we were walking through an apartment complex and met a woman named Stephanie. I've always heard stories about missionaries who got to randomly wash someone's car or help someone move but typically they see the skirts and won't let us help. We could see she was carrying some heavy boxes and we were pretty persistent, and she opened up to us. She told us that she was a single mother of two her husband had just left her, and she was trying to move from the front of the complex to an apartment in the back all by herself. She had a baby on the way and a sprained ankle and wasn't supposed to be lifting anything but didn't want to ask for help. We showed up at the exact right time. As we helped her move her belongings into her new apartment she told us that she was a strong Christian and knew God loved her and that she had a purpose but she didn't know exactly what it was. She was looking for a good group of women who were going to be loving and genuine friends. We had an hour with her just to listen to her, help her move, testify of those restored truths that she desperately needed, and help her feel her Savior's love. Before we left we gave her a Book of Mormon and said a prayer with her and her two kids for their first night in their new home. Thank you, little black name tag, for allowing me to help a stranger in a way I may never have otherwise. Serving Stephanie was one of the most fulfilling feelings I've ever had.
We were able to get priesthood blessings from our assistant ward mission leader on friday and they were incredible. I'm so grateful for the Priesthood. Neither of us had cried all week until those blessings. Mine was very specific and tailored to exactly what I needed. In my blessing I was directed that if I poured my heart into my studies and studied with real intent, then I would see my investigators' progression and their real intent. Each morning since that blessing I haven't let myself waste a minute of my personal study. My investigators' salvation depends on it!
For my 11 month mark, Sister K blew up 11 balloons and piled them on my study desk for me to find in the morning. Whatta keeper :)
The Gospel is so simple and beautiful. I'm so grateful I get to share it. The Priesthood is real and has been restored to the earth. Even though I struggle I know I can keep trying. My invitation for you is to think of what the Savior does and "do likewise!"
Love Always, Sister B