So last week I experienced the coldest day of my mission, a brisk 55º day. I know, I know, I can feel your icy glares all the way from here. Seriously, though, for us in Miami....it was FREEZING!! Oh my goodness!! I am so grateful I wasn't sent to Russia or Minnesota or somewhere like that. I was shaking all day because I was so cold. Luckily it was back up to 80º 2 days later.
Speaking of warm temperatures....I am so excited for Nathan to head off to the MTC this week and then on to the Philippines! Oh my goodness, how exciting! I can't believe our family will have 3 of us out. Guess we're not really a cold-weather family, following in our parent's footsteps of going to Spain and Taiwan on their missions...
Oh, and by the way, I'm not planning on coming home in March; I can't do it! I'm staying here! I am in denial! I thought I was okay with it but I just realized that I'm not! Sorry Mom!
As my mission is flying by, the biggest thing I have been focusing on recently is continuing to stay in the present and to just love every moment--not to focus on what happened 3 months ago or what will be happening in a few months. This week I was able to stay really focused and it made a huge difference. Rather than feel stressed out, I was able to just love doing the work. I was definitely "delightfully exhausted" every day, but it's a good feeling. :)
We have been witnessing huge miracles in our area! The last couple weeks we have been working with Sybil, aka the most amazing, faith-filled investigator of my LIFE. She is so prepared. She has been searching for the truth and is so receptive to the Spirit that she just KNOWS when something is true. And she KNEW God sent us because she had been praying for guidance and a way to come closer to Him, and BAM! Two sisters show up at her door. She obviously knew this was an answer from God. Because she knew we were sent and because she could feel the truth of our message, she has been so willing to do everything we ask her...especially to keep the commandments. The amazing thing is that she has literally had to change EVERYTHING about her life to be in harmony with God's commandments. She used/partook of every one of the restricted substances in the Word of Wisdom on a daily/weekly basis, including smoking both cigarettes AND weed. And she told us these things at the beginning of the teaching process, so I'll be honest, we both were kind of nervous about how teaching her would go. But we showed her love and taught true doctrine...and yesterday she got baptized, just 2 weeks later! She has been so prepared by God. All we had to do was teach her truth and she said, "Okay, well if that's what He wants me to do, I'll do it." So she drank her last cup of coffee, smoked her last bowl of weed, and threw out all the remaining cigarettes. And she was SO excited to be baptized, because she knows this is Christ's church! I really do love her so much. I felt very strongly when we started teaching her that she was one of the people I was sent here to Miami to find and teach. The whole thing is just a huge miracle. I feel like I'm still looking back and thinking, "Wait...did that really just happen?!?" Even though I've put so much mental effort into her and her lessons and have been super emotionally involved because of my great love for her, at the same time at all seemed really easy. We just taught her doctrine and she said, "Ok, I"ll change." My own testimony has been so strengthened during this process. The church is true. The gospel is true. And because of that, the doctrine really does change behavior. She knew it was true, she acted in faith, and Christ gave her the power to change! I am so grateful that I got to teach her and see the Atonement in action. So cool. Christ's church is for everyone, and He knows who He needs in His church, and He'll lead us right to them. I LOVE THIS WORK!
In addition, we've seen lots of other miracles related to God's timing. As we follow promptings from the Spirit, we end up EXACTLY where we need to be. Sometimes it's for a different reason than we think, but it always ends up being a blessing. For example, on Friday night we prayed about a harvesting spot for Saturday and were inspired to just go to a random intersection we'd never been to. The next day we showed up and started harvesting, only to face rejection after rejection from every single person. We didn't leave a single prayer on the whole street. After a bit we felt like God surely hadn't put us here just to knock without success; so, we started walking back to our car and as we did, we recognized Remington's car parked outside a martial arts studio. As you may recall, Remington got baptized a couple weeks ago....but he didn't come to church last week to get confirmed and we'd been having a hard time getting in touch with him. (Every missionary's nightmare!) But then God sent us right to him! Wow! What a miracle. We were able to testify boldly to him that God had sent us directly to him to tell him that he needed to get confirmed the next day. He obviously couldn't deny that God had sent us....and yesterday he came and got confirmed! Perfect! Our God is an awesome God.
Well, I love you all. Nathan, you are going to have an amazing time in the MTC and an even more amazing time serving among the people of the Philippines. In a lot of ways I am envious of you, just NOW starting out on this journey. I wish I was at the other end of things!! Honestly, though, I know there are good things ahead for ALL of us, no matter where we are right now in life's journey. I encourage each one of you to go out and enjoy YOUR present. Savor every moment. Things change so quickly. (Speaking of change...I am NOT going to tell you what week this is in the transfer; just know that this transfer, like all the other ones, has gone by WAY too quickly!)