There are few things that put a smile on a missionary's face more than:
a. Finding out your recent convert of a week is already in Alma 26 in his Book of Mormon reading
b. Finding out that your past recent converts are progressing in the gospel and doing well
c. Finding out that when you contacted someone on the street, you were literally an answer to their prayers
And this week we had all of the above happen!
This week, we had stake conference! It was crazy to be back in my old chapel in Stuart and to think that one whole year ago I was at stake conference in the exact same place! I got to see some of my recent converts from Stuart (who are almost not recent converts anymore since it's almost been a year!) as well as some other people that I love from that ward. Aww! It was fun. Sister Garrett, the Stuart YW president, told me as she was leaving, "You're still one of our favorites!" I've loved all of my areas so much but I truly just became a part of the Stuart ward and will forever hold the people there dear to my heart. We had a huge miracle in being able to get our Spanish family up there. As much as I love stake conference...it's hard as a missionary to tell people that they need to drive an HOUR just to go to church. bleh. So we were SUPER grateful to get some investigators there.
Also awesome was getting to talk to Brandon, one of my recent converts from Stuart. He is 19 and finishing up high school. I asked him what he wanted to do after he graduates, and he told me he wants to serve a mission and go to BYU! :D Oh my, what a great feeling! Especially because when we started teaching them, this was a kid who was on drugs and had very little knowledge of Jesus Christ. The gospel is TRUE!
President Anderson was one of the speakers at stake conference and he shared the experience I sent home a couple weeks ago about the bishopric coming with us to teach Luigi! It was so powerful...at least I know that I felt the Spirit so strongly as he shared it! It was awesome to hear it, especially since we had Luigi sitting right next to us, now as a recent convert! This week we have one of the senior couples coming up to Wellington to start family history with him and we are so excited about it! When he got confirmed, one of the things mentioned in his blessing was that he would bring the gospel to his family and be an example to them. He is already doing that with his immediate family and we are excited to help him see how he can do that for his ancestors as well.
The past couple weeks, Sister Johnson and I have had the chance to learn about humility as we have faced various setbacks in our area. This last week, I dedicated a personal study to looking at people in the scriptures who were able to say, "Thy will be done" and just do the Lord's will rather than their own. It is something I have thought about a LOT on my mission, as I truly have the desire to do the Lord's will. However, something I have struggled with is knowing WHAT His will is. As I studied people in the scriptures such as Jesus Christ, Mary (the mother of Jesus),Nephi, Alma and Amulek, and Abinadi, I discovered a very important principle that I hadn't recognized before; committing to do the Lord's will is something we do long before we understand exactly what His will is. Most of these people didn't know what the Lord would ask of them, but in the moment they were able to do His will because they had already made a commitment beforehand. So this week, I made a commitment to the Lord that from now on, I will always do His will, even if I don't always understand exactly what it might entail. I will act on guidance and promptings I receive and move forward in faith rather than focusing so much on "What does God want me to do right now?!"
A cool miracle this week and a confirmation that God is truly guiding this work occurred when we were at a members' house having FHE with our awesome Spanish family. The family really connected with the members and Carlotta, the mother, opened up a lot. She told them about the day she met us and the miracle that it was, which we had NO idea about! It turns out there was a Spanish family that used to be in the ward who lived with her (Carlotta) a couple years ago. Last Tuesday, she was on the phone with them and was telling them about how she was really struggling and just needed a lot of help. The member on the phone told her, "Carlotta, you need to find the missionaries. Find the missionaries and go to church with them." It was at THAT EXACT MOMENT that we walked up to her and contacted her, introducing ourselves as representatives of Christ and letting her know that He had sent us to leave His peace and blessing with her. It is so amazing to see how the Lord can use as instruments in His hands! When I walked up to that woman on the phone, I had no idea who she was or how much (and how quickly) I would come to love her and her family. I am so grateful that the Lord trusts me enough to put his prepared children in my path!
As my best friend Candace said in her email to me today, "Life is good. It really is. There are moments when I have to remind myself of that, but it is oh so good."
Life is good! Especially life as a missionary in the FFLM!
abrazos y besos,