Ok, so this will be kind of shortish this week cause we don't have too much time. But, I have to say, before reading any of your emails, the first thing I did was open up the pic dad sent because I've been thinking of, and praying for you all week and have been so anxious to see pics (from the Trek). Anyway, so I open up the pic and to my surprise, I see FIVE people standing there!! William! what the heck?! Haha, oh my goodness. I have one thing to say about that: you would. You would! Last week I hear that you can't straighten out your leg much, next thing I know you're just out there walking and walking and walking. (like those pioneer children! :) That's so sweet! It must have meant a lot to Christian, and also to you to be able to go. Talk about hard though! You must have totally been a hero to the rest of the those kids. I can just see it! And Erika and Garret, what about you? What was your favorite part? What was the most difficult thing? And mom and dad, you survived! Haha, I knew you would! I'm so glad to hear it was a positive experience. I prayed for you all week that you would be strengthened, and you were all in my thoughts each day even more than usual. So, in a way, I just kind of tried to "be" there with you. Haha. Do you have any more pictures? No rush, once you get settled back in and caught up on everything, then send them my way!
I'll just tell you about two experiences this week. One: Rob Wade. Last week an American man, Rob, showed up at church with this latina lady and two little kids. We didn't know who they were, but got their info. We went and taught them this week and it was the awesomest thing! His fiance, Brenda, is a member but has been inactive for years, and the two children are hers from a different relationship. Rob is not a member, but is such a rockstar. They both are! As we were first getting to know them, Brenda apologized for changing the topic, but just jumped into their goals, and what they want, which is he really wants to learn about the church, change, learn about the Book of Mormon, the temple, and if all is right, go to the temple together. It's already in their sights! Basically, they were just for real. Real intent! They say they want to go slow, but if he reads the Book of Mormon like it looked like he was going to, he'll get there faster than they think. He explained how he's been skeptical of organized religion in the past. But he's come through things that have given him a different perspective.
The second miracle is all about rescuing. That's truly where my heart lies. I think there's a part in all of us that needs to be rescued. This is all about Myara Galeas. I met her in March, nothing really came of it. She's an inactive. Last couple weeks, I have really felt like we need to find where she lives (I couldn't remember) and help her. Like we need to bring her back!! Before meeting her, we actually included her in our vision for the area for this transfer. I've just felt so strongly about her, but didn't even know her or her situation or anything. Friday we finally found her home and we had a really spiritual experience with her. First we got to know her, and found out she was baptized 10 years ago without her husband (yes, legally married, legit husband. Rare in Spanish work!). Five years ago her marriage was on the fritz. She was about to leave her husband when she said they should try one time. That he had to shape up, start going to church or gain a relationship with God, spend time with the fam, etc. He said ok, but any church but the Mormon church. So she just stopped going and they went somewhere else. And that's how it's been for 5 years. They've been going to the Healing Place, a HUGE church. Like huge is not the right word... gargantuan!!! Typical south. Rumor is there's ATM's on the outside, and they have concerts. I think maybe Enrique Iglesias performed there. That's a pop star and apparently just because Iglesia means "church" in Spanish, they think it's a good idea to have him there for a concert. :) Ok, exaggeration. Anyway, you get the idea. Literally the great and spacious building. Fancy, pulls pretty much everyone in from BR. But, Myara said, they haven't been going for a little while. She said she sees how it's all a show, she sees it as a stage. She then said lately she's been praying a lot for help, and to know what to do. Then we show up. As soon as I heard that, I just knew I had to tell her how impressed we were to come and find her. I just was straight forward and loving. That made her cry. Then my eyes got a little teary and I was so happy because the Spirit was touching her heart. Then, she said through her tears, "We need to come back. I know we need to come back." Say what?!!!! It was so awesome. She was just touched so much. The Spirit had already been working in her, she just needed to someone to come find her and tell her we love her and we want her back! And that is exactly part of what we said. People just need to be told why you're there! I have such a strong testimony of that. Show them through your actions, but also tell them! It's all part of rescuing. She, before we extended the invitation, said she was excited to come to church, and asked for us to call her Sunday morning just to make sure she was up. I gave her a hug when we were leaving, and she just held me there. Just held me and thanked me. Those are the moments. Those are them. The one's I pray for, and work for, and hope for, and have faith in. The one's that make it all worth it.
Ok, this is not shortish! Ah!! But you have to know... Judy. We taught her and she told us all this new stuff her husband had told her. Of course it was all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. That's the easiest thing for ignorant people to attack. She sat there, after tell us all that he'd said and basically was just pleading to know the truth. She wants to understand. For real. She wants to study out all those issues and truly understand. So we taught. I rarely get to teach in detail doctrine about the BoM and Bible, but she was ready for it, and the spirit said do it, so we did. We taught out of Ezequiel and 2 Nephi 29, as well as some others. It was powerful for sure. When that kind of truth is being discussed and hearts are open, the Spirit is powerful. Many times in my mission, I've wanted to open to those passages: "a bible! a bible! We already have a bible!" Especially with some Jehovah's witnesses. But anyway, it was never from a good place in my heart, it was always definitely because I knew it would put people in their place. But here, it was to increase understanding. And it was so awesome!
While we were teaching, it hit me so hard at one point, just how strengthened my testimony is of the Book of Mormon through constantly going through experiences like this. I don't really know how to explain it. It's just that nothing could shake me from this faith and knowledge. It's, well, there aren't words sufficient. I read a quote that said, "God builds us to accomplish His work." I feel that. For so long I've been wondering if I'm changing, and have just kind of tried to forget it, and have faith I would see it. Part of the “if I lose myself, I'll find myself promise” :) I see it every so slightly. I'm changing. God is building me. I've always had a pretty strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, but it's becoming unbreakable. I'm being built to accomplish His work. Here, as well as the rest of my life. Anyway, Judy. We'll see what happens as she continues to study those. She had us write those down, but she was definitely liking what she was hearing. She told us she didn't care about what Jimmy did this Sunday (yesterday) she'd walk for real if she had to. Ok, she lives a good 20 miles from the church. But she had it all figured out. What bus stop she's go to, and take, where to get off. She said to not worry, God would help her and she'd make it. I fully expected to see her yesterday walking up the road to the church.
Unfortunately, neither of those people showed up yesterday. Actually, none of the people we worked with this week came to church. But it's ok. And afterward we went out to visit and find people. And it was raining pretty good. Ten doors in a row we knocked. Members, less actives, and investigators. Ten! Start naming 10 families in a branch, it's a lot of people! Not one answered! Some just weren't there, some looked through their blinds and then didn't answer. You just have to laugh! I mean really, what a sight we were, standing, dripping wet, on all those doorsteps. But I didn't really have to fight any discouragement. That's just missionary work some days, and it doesn't phase me much anymore. Because I know who I am, I know God's plan, and I know He sent me here to Louisiana. But I also know that in a way, He came with me. He works with me. President Eyring recently said, "We are never alone in the Lord’s service. We always work with our Master." How benefited each of us would be if we worked each day and each hour thinking that! Take the promise literally! I only know the promise is true because I've come to know the Savior. I know Him. I might have appeared wet and repeatedly rejected on the outside, but He kept me dry and a light of joy burning in my heart on the inside. What a blessing. Then we went home, dried off and made pancakes, did our planning, and figured today was a new day :) Pancakes always make things better. Too bad we were missing those magic potatoes you once gave us :)
Ok, great, now I really have to go!! I'm pretty sure there was something I needed to tell you that I can't remember. Oh, my toe. I go to the podiatrist torture chamber Wednesday. I'm totally nervous, but it's just one of those things. What can ya do? Thanks for letting me blabber a bunch about me today! Well, I guess you didn't really have a choice :) You all make such a difference in my life with your letters! So thank you! So much. I hope you each have a wonderful fulfilling week! Make it count! We never know what tomorrow will bring, but we always know we have this day. So make it a good one :)