With Christ Nothing is Impossible
This week we had a really great dinner with the C's. She made homemade Nicaraguan burritos with all the fixings. It was DELICIOUS! Brother C really likes spicy food, so he bought this salsa that was so hot it made me cough. That hasn't happened in a while. But what was really special is the message that Sister H came up with for the dinner thought. She found this talk by Neil F. Marriott that talked about letting our lights shine as bright as temples and what a great comparison that was. It reminded me of this story that everyone out here mentions when talking about the temple. Apparently, soon after the Washington D.C. Temple was built, there were a lot of complaints. You see, that temple is similar to San Diego in that you can see the temple from the freeway. Also considering that it is the second largest temple in the world, it was beginning to be a distraction to many drivers on the road. In fact, it was causing man, many car accidents because of the brightness and grandeur. So the people went to the city and ask them to demand that they turn off the lights of the temple. So they asked around with different people, occupations, etc. And they found that there was no way that they could turn down the lights, let alone off, because the pilots had begun using it as a landmark so they knew where they were in the darkness. Isn't that spectacular? We always say that we need the temple to be our beacon of light in the darkness, but who knew that some actually use that literally? I just felt the need to share that with you because of the feeling of amazement that it gave me. So I do hope you enjoyed that story.
We were also able to have a lesson with our investigator, N, this week. She is so excited and anxious to learn more and to expand her knowledge. She said something that really struck me as amazing. She said that after we left her home from teaching the restoration, something happened that really made her want to do her own research about the church. That concerned us as she was telling us, because as we all know, there are some very horrible and very false things about the church on the Internet. So we brought that up with her. She said she did come across those things, but she chose not to read them because she has no interest in negativity. We were overjoyed! She said when she was doing her research, she was really impressed by three things. -Our Church Services, -Our Service Involvement, and -Our Missionary Work. We were so happy! We talked some more about the Book of Mormon, paid clergy, service, love, etc. We basically taught 1/2 of the lessons in 1 lesson. But yes, we are still going to go over everything. She is just amazing.
We also had District Meeting this week. I really like how Elder C does his District Meetings. We had a training on how our investigators would thank us when we get to the next life and how they are going to be so grateful that we were there to help them and to save them when they were "the lost sheep of Christ's fold." It almost brought me to tears. Let alone Elder C, he was almost sobbing as well. Then we had a "Book of Mormon Counseling Circle." We basically all got in a circle, (there is 10 of us in our district), and we shared things we have learned from the Book of Mormon, study helps, etc. Little did I know that we aren't supposed to be using the institute manuals for further understanding. I shared that as one of my tips, not knowing that President C told the mission a few months ago not to use them while on our missions, whoops. Guess that's what happens when you are exiled to the top of the mission in Pilot Mtn. News must not travel that far... ;) But that's alright. You live and you learn. Looks like I'll just have to read them when I get home. Then we had Role Plays. But you see, Elder C doesn't like regular Role Plays. So for this District Meeting, we were paired up with someone else in the district and we had 60 seconds to list all the things we are grateful for. I think the top score was somewhere around 80. But his point to doing this exercise was that if we were given 60 seconds to think of all the things were weren't grateful for, it would be a lot harder and we probably wouldn't be able to accomplish nearly as much. That was influential and something to really think about. Because it's so true. We need not focus on the things that we don't appreciate, but rather focus on the blessings that Heavenly Father has given us.
We went over to see two members of the ward, B and A. They are SOOO funny. They had us laughing for a long time. In fact, it took me a few minutes to get serious enough to share our message with them. They are the best. I have never seen B smile so much. But she was happy and giddy that whole night. They made us cookies and everything. But I have mentioned before I think that A sometimes gets sick. Well, she and her mother are both working on getting to the temple before the end of the summer/year. They are so excited. When we brought it up for the message that night, they were just beaming. We asked what we could do to help them get there, and they said they couldn't think of anything. But they are so excited. We gave them little tidbits of hints and tips that we had that helped us when we were preparing to enter the temple. And we were able to bear our testimonies about temples and temple work. It was such a special occasion. I can't wait to hear about it when they get to go. We shared the Ensign article for this month about temples and preparation for those of you who are wondering. It is such a good article to read. :)
We went over to teach N again later in the week to teach the Plan of Salvation. She just absorbed everything. She realized at the end of the lesson that her beliefs and our beliefs are practically the same. There are just a few minor differences. Her fiance was there the whole time and kept giving us pretty funny looks or just laughing at what we said. It was disheartening at first, but N told us just to ignore him and keep going. We had many spiritual discussions during that lesson. Including, but not limited to, the Holy Ghost and how we can feel it, Adam and Eve's story as a blessing, and the Three Kingdoms of Glory. She really liked that Heavenly Father has given us a way to return home. Which I just have to completely agree with. There is no way on earth that our loving Heavenly Father is not a God of second chances. HE GIVES US SO MANY! The spirit world, yes. But even here, we mentioned that there is not an act or a mistake that we can not repent of in this life. She loved that! On a slight side note: We can see really great things happening with their family and the gospel. In fact, we were able to get N's daughter N to church yesterday, and we didn't even know her name yet. N couldn't come because she got food poisoning, but N loved it. Even though her fiance isn't thrilled about it quite yet, we still see so much promise from them.
We were also able to go see Sister G this week. We read the talk, "Latter-Day Saints Keep On Trying", with her. That talk is AMAZING! Not only did it give her the strength that she needs, but it was inspiring for me as well. There have been times, not only on my mission, that I have truly felt like giving up. But that talk perfectly describes how we need to look toward the Savior for hope and "Keep Moving Forward." Yes, that was Walt Disney's favorite quote. Just had to throw that out there. ;) But the line out of the whole talk that stands out most to me is, "God cares more about who we are and who we are becoming, than who we once were." It is so inspiring and really testifies of the Atonement to me. He doesn't care what we have done in the past or how we have felt. If we repent of those things, they are promised to be wiped clean and we are given a fresh start. If y'all haven't read it yet, read it. It is so great! It will change your perspective on things really quickly. :)
Apart from that, we are just trying to find, find, find. We know that Heavenly Father has elect sons and daughters in this area that we are meant to find. And we will find them. I have so much faith since I have reset my vision of what I am capable of and what this companionship is capable of. :)
I can't wait to hear all about Parker's farewell. I am so excited for him to join me in the South! What are they going to do? Two Irwin Missionaries within a few states of each other? CHAOS! ;)
I am sad to hear about Uncle Arden. He was getting old though. And now he is in a much happier place with people who love him there as well. :) I didn't know he served in WW1. That is so interesting!
Looks like when I get home, I'll have to get my ankle all fixed up so I can jump on the marathon bandwagon. I have always wanted to run one, but I have never gotten the chance, or been in shape enough, to actually do it. ;)
I am so glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Tell me where you go camping. I want to see pictures too. Sister H and I both really like camping, so that is one of the things I want to do after I return.
I had the same thought today. Where DID the summer go? I can't believe it's already august. That means I have almost been out 10 months. It doesn't seem real. I am savoring every moment. I can't even express to you how influential this mission has been on me and will be for the rest of my life. I have learned way more than I ever would have on my own.
The work is going well. I have a lot of hope and faith in N and her daughter N. They are both so open to learning and they love what we have shared and the spirit they feel. We are working hard on planting seeds and harvesting them soon after. We are literally talking to and inviting everyone that we can.
Today we went to do the river walk in Downtown Danville, then we went out with Sister T and her daughter and did ALL THE THINGS, haha We went to lunch, Hobby Lobby, Sally's and Walmart, and now we are going to the C so we can have dinner with them and Sister H can cut Sister C's hair. Did I mention she is a hair stylist? Did I also mention that it is really tempting to have her dye my hair? But then I would lose the pretty natural color and length that I have worked so hard for. So no. haha
But I think that's all for this week. I will talk to y'all next Monday. I love you to the moon and back!
Ash :) <3