Happy first day of school! I'm so excited to see pictures and read all about it. Hard to believe how old everyone is. When does Jake head back up to school? (P.S. I laughed when Jake said my emails are too detailed.. Sorry Jakey! There's just too much to say about missionary life)
So this week was so awesome, but also so hard. There were some points that just felt brutal. One morning, I just broke down basically sobbing in the car.. sometimes the weight of our responsibilities and my frustration with my weaknesses is too overwhelming. Sister Cook is so good to me, though, and always knows just what to say to encourage and strengthen me. She immediately called Brother Mundy and asked if he could give me a blessing. He'd just gotten home from work, so we stopped everything and headed over. He told me that days like that day will come, and that I'll feel Satan working especially hard on me because I am "a choice daughter, and Heavenly Father has a great work for me to do". I know he's right, but sometimes it seems next to impossible to fight off discouraging thoughts, so I do what you've always told me to do, Mom.. just let myself feel it, and then get over it and get to work. I'm not sure what we'd do without the Mundy's though... they are our go-to family. We love them so much. Earlier this week we went over to their home to have a lesson with them at the end of the day (we try to schedule in appointments with members at the end of the day because contacting is hard at night - especially in Havasu since there's no street lights). We shared some thoughts on CHANGE and how that is the central purpose of the Gospel; to change our natures to become more like God. We had them listen to a clip from Elder Holland's talk "The First Great Commandment" from October 2012. Oh, his words are powerful. His message boils down to this: once we have known the Savior, and felt the power of His Gospel, and partaken in the goodness of His Gospel, nothing is to ever be the same. We cannot go back to who we were before - we must work and sweat and labor and further His cause. He expects "our love and our loyalty at EVERY stage of our lives." (please go listen to it all; it's a message each of us needs to hear again and again) Then we had them watch the "Because of Him" video the church put out at Easter. I never tire of watching it. Both Brother and Sister Mundy were touched and said, "You two had no idea coming in here what we're going through at this time. But that was EXACTLY what we needed to hear. Thank for being the deliverers of that message. You are so in tune. Whatever you guys are doing throughout your days is exactly what you're supposed to be doing.. Whatever you're studying in your studies, whatever you're saying in your prayers, whatever you're talking about and thinking about - you're doing it right. Because that was powerful." WOW, what better feeling than to feel that you're doing something right, despite your inadequacies? I know the message didn't come from us, but it sure felt good to be the mouthpiece.
Sister Cook and I have worked really hard the past few weeks to get organized, and it has been paying off! Our numbers have increased, our faith has increased, our obedience has increased, and our success has increased. We saw quite a few miracles. I can't remember if I've already told you about him, but we're teaching an investigator right now named Jose. The way we found him is a testament to the importance of talking to EVERYONE when street contacting. One day about a month ago, Sister Cook and I were walking down one street and came upon 2 drunk hispanic men, sitting in their truck with the doors open. I thought that maybe we'd just walk past them, but Sister Cook (of course) walked right up to them and started talking to them. We soon discovered that they didn't speak English, and that they were probably too drunk to really comprehend anything we were saying. One of their wives came out of their house, and said, "Oh, don't listen to them! They're just 2 crazy drunk men!" So we started talking to her instead. She didn't seem too interested, but she said, "Hey, I actually think my son has been to your church before! You should come talk to him; he needs to get to church." So she gave us his phone number and his work schedule so we could come by at a later time. We tried a few more times over the next couple weeks, but weren't able to get ahold of him. Finally, one day we stopped by and he opened the door. He was super friendly and invited us in. We shared the first lesson with him on the Restoration, and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon to read and pray about. I don't know if he was just being open because 2 nice girls his age showed up on his doorstep, or because he was actually interested, but he listened intently and with enthusiasm regardless, haha! We set a return appointment for a few days later. He called us to cancel, but we went by this week and he was home, and agreed to have us over again on friday. We tried to think of a member close to his age (18) that we could bring with us, and it hit us to invite the Bishop's son, Kory, who's 23 and just moved back to Havasu to go to school here. We were excited to bring him out because he's a returned missionary, and seemed like the perfect guy to befriend Jose. plus, he lives about 1 minute away from him. We sat down for the lesson and Jose basically started to give us what we call "the drop talk". I.e. "Well, I'm going to be honest with you, my life is just crazy right now and I'm not looking into converting or anything.." Both Sister Cook and I were preparing ourselves to lose Jose (which would actually be devastating because our teaching pool is low right now, and he's really solid), when Kory stepped in and just took it away. He explained how the Book of Mormon and the church will change his life and how important it is for him to read and pray about it. We were SO GLAD he was there because he said things that we couldn't have. At the end of the lesson, Jose agreed to come to church with Kory . And he came! And he knew 3 Brothers in the ward who were his coaches/teachers in high school. And he participated in Gospel Doctrine and he sang in sacrament, and he's coming to the YSA activity with us and another investigator, Dustin, tonight! What would we have done if Kory hadn't been there to save the day? Members are so important. We don't want to do anything without them. I have high expectations from the members now, because I don't know how it can get much better than what you find in the Crossman Peak ward!
One thing Sister Cook and I have really improved on is our communication. She has been so good about addressing any conflict that may arise between us, and asking what she can do to help me or to improve the situation. We have regular comp inventories, which basically ends in us crying and telling each other how much we love each other (are we sister missionaries or what?). I can see her changing and becoming a more refined missionary. She is so loving and kind-hearted and I constantly think, "Oh my, whoever marries her will be one lucky man!" Haha. Transfers are coming up on and we're already dreading it. We're planning a joint birthday party on the 13th because we won't be together to celebrate on our real birthdays ( ). We're so excited.
Some days are so very hard, but I love every minute of my mission experience. I learn so much each day. And I feel myself growing spiritually all the time. I constantly have to stop and ask myself how I got so lucky to have this opportunity??? I love being on the Lord's side, and doing His work.