It's so funny to go back and read my letters from previous weeks because I see how much I sound like a missionary! I guess I've really gotten into this new chapter of my life full swing, haha!
Will you tell Slade and EG thanks so much for their messages to me? What an incredible experience for Slade and his family to have going to India... I got chills the whole time he was telling me his story on how he felt Heavenly Father confirming his plans to move out there. I have no doubt the Lord will work miracles through him and his family during their stay in India. They are missionaries in every sense of the word!! Whether they realize it or not, they are accomplishing His purposes in the Eastern part of the world. I can't wait to hear more about their adventures! Also - tell EG that Sister Cook and I just saw on our calendar yesterday that there is a Pineapple Festival coming up in Havasu this month! Sister Cook pointed it out and we laughed at how random it was, and then EG mentioned it in her recording and we both giggled some more. Haha! Hopefully whichever of us is here then can stop by!
I can't believe BYU beat Texas!! Woohoo, 2 years running! That's awesome that y'all got to go. And Morgan and Hannah going on a double date, too??? Wow, y'all are getting so old!
This week was fun, but also bittersweet. Sister Cook and I know our time is running out, so we're trying to work our hardest and enjoy every minute we have left together. So many people in the ward have told us what a great companionship we make... Brother Hauck told us this week - "You know, it will be sad to see one of you go. You two make a great team and get along so well, anyone can see that. We have loved having you serve with us!"
Last Monday night we scheduled in to stop by a less-active member's home, Sister Schneider. We drove up to her house to find a huge moving truck and boxes everywhere. We walked up the drive and offered our help, and discovered that Sister Schneider (who is a single mother of about 55) and her 2 daughters - about 15 and 22 - were doing it all themselves! Oh my heavens, it was chaos and there was so much to do.. I don't know how they were doing it alone! They were just at the tail end of packing things into the truck to move drive over to their new house just a few blocks away, but we called up the Elders Quorum President, Brother Duncan, to call some brethren up to come out and help unload. Sister Cook and I thought the chances of many men showing up were slim - it was a Monday evening and Labor Day, no less. "I'm thinking we'll get 1, maybe 2, men out here," Sister Cook said, and I nodded in agreement, starting to feel a little overwhelmed at all that was left to do. When we got to the new house, we begun unloading the truck, and within a few minutes 3 brethren were there to help. And then 3 more came. And then the bishop and his brother. And then 2 more. What?? We couldn't believe the turnout... We had the whole truck (which had taken 2 days to load with just the 3 of them) unloaded in 20 minutes! So many helping hands! Sister Cook and I left that night just beaming. As we pulled away, I said: "Sister, I imagine that it was heaven is like: we make it up there, and then slowly - one by one - our friends and family show up too. And we're just rejoicing and crying with joy and saying 'You made it? And YOU, too? And you? I'm so happy you're here!' We will just laugh and cry and think how incredible it is to be with OUR people, who are just like us, who have worked just like us, who have endured just like us." We both agreed that there is a familiarity that we feel with those who are faithful saints - a certain countenance, certain characteristics that just fall in harmony with how we're striving to live. I realized that it must be the character of Christ growing in each of us; We truly do become like Him, and in that sense, we become united. I love this verse from Moroni in the Book of Mormon:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
I think someday when we stand before our Savior, those of us who have kept His commandments, and served with all that we have and are, and been changed through His Atonement will be stunned at just how much we already know Him. What a glorious thought!
We have a baptism coming up this weekend for Nancy's sister Kathy. She is mentally handicapped (she is in her 50s, but has the mental capacity of a 7 year old), but she has a strong desire to follow in Nancy's footsteps and be baptized, so we are excited for her! We haven't been able to meet with Jose this week (he started a new job and has been super busy) - it has been a little disheartening, but we are continuing to reach out to him and try and get ahold of him! His baptism will have to be postponed, though.
Sister Cook and I have made a concerted effort to increase our finding efforts this past week. We have nearly tripled our contacts each day! I'd like to say that it gets easier going up and talking to strangers and declaring the message of the Restoration, but it's still hard for me each day. One night we walked up to a group of people in their garage, and found ourselves in the middle of a gathering of drunk men. They began sneering at us, saying the most vile and vulgar things. I couldn't believe how inhumane they were acting! It was something that you see in movies. Sister Cook and I literally just turned around and began walking away in the dark. One of the men followed us down the driveway, yelling horrendous things about Joseph Smith and something about the Meadows Massacre. When we got to the street corner, we just ran for our car. We were both a little shaken up, but I really feel like I'm developing a tough skin! I just thought, "What sad, sad people. They really don't know what they're missing." I actually think that every time someone rejects our message.
I like what Sister Browning told me in the MTC: "There's no comfort in the growth zone; There's no growth in the comfort zone." That is so true! I am stretching myself and my Spirit is literally growing! And as you always remind me Mom, I know I can do hard things!
I am so happy to be where I'm at. The kind of experiences I'm having right now are invaluable, and are preparing me for the rest of my life, and for the eternities.
Here's a whole load of pictures! Enjoy!
I love you all so much,
P.S. I got Jake's letter this week! I love you Jakey! Thank you for writing! What's your new school address? Also, yes Elizabeth can email me :)