It has been such an amazing and FULL week that I don't even know where to start! We got to go to the temple on Valentine's day with our little branch! We did baptisms and confirmations (since most aren't endowed) and then a session... which actually no one showed for, so we just had a nice session. :) It was great to go.
Yes, we are staying together this transfer!! Quite honestly, thank goodness!!!!! Sis. Carolan is helping me in such great ways. And she's a real friend. I know because she prays for each of you, and specifically too. She knows that you are what means everything to me!
This last week was one of service for us and not a lot of lessons. Claudia didn't talk to us for a few days, but we finally met up and, yeah, she has all those questions, but she and Greysi are doing good. She really did just have some things happen that made it difficult to get back to us. On Wednesday we actually did Greysi's science project with her. It was an experiment to see what brand of paper towel is the most absorbent. It was so fun! She's so smart and it was great. We're going to go see her presentation today at the school. Claudia really liked the heart attack surprise we left on her door. I think she just has so many people telling her different things, she just needed a little love! :)
We had a musical fireside that the missionaries put on. It's something that's been coming up for a while, and we've been working really hard to invite everyone. It was a night full of music about Christ. We had a good amount of people who showed up from our little branch! Including Claudia, Greysi, a less active mom and her children, and Jonathan (a potential that we're going to try to start teaching. We met him through English class. He's even come to church once!) It was a good way for them to feel the Spirit. There was a number where the primary children went up to sing "I am a Child of God", And Greysi went up to sing! I was playing the piano, but Hermana Carolan told me that she could see that Greysi seemed to know the words and was singing right along. She's only been to primary twice! I was a part of an opening "Living Christ" number where there was a big slide show of pictures of Christ, and an Elder read The Living Christ while I played an arrangement of “I Need Thee Every Hour”. It was pretty neat. Greysi brought two daises to give us after, it was so cute. At the end, all of the missionaries went up and sang a medley of "As Sisters in Zion" and "We'll bring the World His Truth." It was really quite special. We made Sister Wall cry, and she made President have us do it again after so she could video it. I think Claudia really felt the Spirit during that number. I know she knows she felt something, but I think she just doesn't know yet what it is. There's something about a group of Saints united, or a group of missionaries united. It's powerful, and strong. Sometimes I forget the power we can bring. We bringing the world His truth. One person at a time in lil ol LooeEziana!
Now for the two items of BIG news!!!!! As you can see from the picture, we met Elder Perry!!! And it was a shock! Here's how it came about... Saturday there was supposed to be a meeting with Elder Suarez (of the seventy) with just our branch, and then a baptism. That meeting with him was cancelled at the last minute due to an emergency, but the baptism was supposed to be at 3. We got there about 2:30 to set up and practice the piano. When we pulled up to the church, we saw a lot of people in suits outside and there were tons of cars. What is going on?? we wondered. I said, "I feel like there's security here. Why would E. Suarez have so much security?" So we parked and went into the foyer, and one bishop started talking to us. We asked what was going on. He said, "well, that's Elder L. Tom Perry. The apostle... you might have heard of him." haha...um WHAT?! We were so confused. We looked into the chapel, and there, with his back to us, is Elder Perry!!! Woah!! Just him and two other people in the chapel. His bodyguard looked over, saw us outside, and said "Sisters!" and motioned for us to come up to them. We were so surprised! Sister Carolan right there said, "you have your camera, right?" I always do. :) Next thing I know, I'm face to face with Elder Perry, shaking his hand! I was about to have a heart attack! He asked where we were from. He said he's been to Sandpoint! and that it's beautiful! He asked how "our discussions" were going. We replied that yes, the lessons were going good, and that the Spanish was coming along. Right then the other man introduced himself in Spanish, it was Elder Suarez. He spoke to us in Spanish. Elder Perry made a comment that German was getting more rare, Danish was dead, but that Spanish was useful. And... that was pretty much it! We could tell they were going to leave. So I mustered all the courage I could and asked if we could have a picture to send to our families. He was so happy to do it, so we stepped out into the foyer and took a picture. Then his bodyguard person was directing him where to go, and next thing he was gone! Wow. If we had been a minute sooner or later, we wouldn't have had that opportunity. ... I just have such a strong testimony of the restored gospel! I know a prophet lives on the earth. I know there are 12 men who are apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was so cool because I've been studying the life of Christ and His original 12 in the New Testament. So to meet an Apostle was really neat. Wow!
There was just one other experience I had yesterday that shocked me almost as much as meeting Elder Perry. It's about a woman I don't think I've ever even mentioned. Her name is Tanya, she's 19 and she lives here with her aunt and family (members). Tanya was an investigator, but really wishy washy. I've met her once in the last 5 weeks, and Sis Carolan only taught her maybe twice the previous transfer. She's been taught almost everything, but really didn't retain anything. We've been trying to keep reaching out, but nothing ever comes of it. Ever. Well, she called us when we were at Claudia's last night. I knew I had to answer, so I did. Plus, she never calls us. I answered, and after the normal pleasantries, she told me she's ready and wants to be a member of the church. She wants to know when she can be baptized. She only speaks Spanish, and I was wondering if I'd understood correctly, but I did. I almost fell off the couch! I asked her if everything was o.k, and she said yes. We know something must have sparked it. We were excited, and maybe a tad skeptical. We believed her, but were very curious to know her reason. I mean, I don't know if anything could have been more out of the blue. I've never even taught her before. So we went over and talked to her about the covenant of baptism, and were really clear about what it means. She wouldn't really open up to why the change. She said she wants to be closer to God, and that worldly things only bring bad things. So something happened, but we think she'll open up as we begin to teach more. Anyway, she was for real! So we talked about meeting a certain amount of times a week, and church, and keeping commitments. She was all on board, and the Spirit was saying she's serious! Wow!! She got a calender and picked the date of March 9. If she does everything she says, it'll work out. I don't know if it'll happen that fast, but it could! If she reads the Book of Mormon like she said, she'll gain her own testimony. Wow!!
The Lord truly does work with the hearts of His people. Something that we know, and that we have hope and trust in as missionaries, but to see it, and in this mission, wow. It just isn't a common occurrence. With faith, miracles happen. We've had faith, and sometimes the miracles have been small things. Now we're seeing that the miracles can be big things too. Also, President Hinckley once said something about great things always being done by people who didn't feel quite their best. Yesterday was one of those days for us. Hermana Carolan felt flu sick and achy, my back made it difficult just to stand when I woke up, and quite honestly, we just wanted it to be P-Day. We pushed through, and that's what happened. By no means do I mean that it happened because we were so great, nor do we always receive such noticeable and immediate blessings when we push through, but they do come. I was reading a talk yesterday morning. It was about how Christ taught to "go the second mile." Why is that? the question was posed. The answer he gave was because all the blessings are in the second mile, and we have to go there to get them! And other things happened yesterday, too. We went to appointments where people ran from their deck into their house with five beer bottles, and ignored us. Another locked the door right as we were about the knock on it (uh, you know we can hear you right? :), and another fell through. But I guess those were all in the first mile of our day!
I love you all dearly! I hope you have a great week!
P.S. Scripture for the day: Mormon 7:33
And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.