Congratulations to Haley and KC on sweet little Austyn Jane! She looks perfect. What a wonderful experience for the whole family - there is nothing better than a little one straight from heaven. I'm so excited to meet her next year! She and Tenley will be celebrating birthdays together in the coming years, I'm sure :) Happy birthday this week, my Tenley Mae!! 2 years already!
Wasn't "Meet the Mormons" awesome?? We got to see it at President Interviews this week - President Snow had a screening copy and let us all watch it. And I heard a rumor that it was one of the top ten box office hits this weekend? That's crazy! We have been passing out cards that our mission made to hand out while contacting each day, and we've had quite a few people say they want to see it, and will keep an eye out for it when it comes on Netflix. Obviously the end of the movie hit really close to home... there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I am so impressed with the church's efforts to increase public understanding of our beliefs through the media. The movie was so well made and displayed, and seems to be a pretty big success!
Did I mention we got a new ward mission leader? Brother Hauck was released a few weeks ago... it was bittersweet. He's devoted so much time and energy to the missionary work here in Lake Havasu for the past 3 years. His leadership in his calling was phenomenal, but it was time for a change. Bishop Hansen called Brother Deru (the bishop who served before him) to take Brother Hauck's place, and we are SO excited to work with him. We met with him last week and discussed the work in the ward right now. Things are really going to pick up in the next few months with his additional efforts and support.
We saw so many miracles this week. They keep me going. I'll share one. A few days ago, Sister Walton and I had scheduled in a man named Howard, who was on our potentials sheets from last year. We stopped by and he was super friendly and conversational. He explained that he'd met some sister missionaries some time last year and they'd had a nice conversation, but he hadn't met any since then. He also said that he's very involved with his Episcopal church here in town, but that he appreciated us stopping by. We pulled out a "Meet the Mormons" card to leave him with, and then said that one thing we like to do as missionaries is say prayers with families in their homes. We asked if we could come back the following evening to pray with him and his wife. He agreed, we set a time, and returned the following evening. We had Brother Mundy and another member, Brother Batt, with us (they both speak Spanish, so we'd brought them with us to a Spanish lesson right before, and we want members with us always, so we just invited them to come join us in this "blessing contact" - that's what the mission calls them - with Howard). When we got there, Howard and his wife welcomed us in, shook our hands, gave us each a glass of water, and invited us to sit down. We thought we were just going to say a quick prayer, but it turned into a lengthy conversation about missionary work and, eventually, about the church. Howard said, "Well, you know, I checked out the website on this card you gave me" (a MIRACLE - hardly anyone actually goes to the website! Mormon.org) "and I saw this picture of the Book of Mormon and the Bible? I know nothing about the Book of Mormon... what is it? Can you tell me more about it?" You can imagine our excitement - we're all thinking "YES Howard that's why we're here!!!" Haha! We all jumped right in and it turned into an incredible lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. It was so powerful - they were so engaged and interested and receptive. They are the kind of people we, as missionaries, pray to find every single day. Finally they were like, "Well, where can we get a copy of the Book of Mormon?" Ah, we were over the moon! They said they'd read it and pray about it. We're planning on going to see them again in a few days, so I'll keep you updated :) There are people out there who don't even know they're looking for the truth, until it's staring them in the face. We need to find those people. More joy and happiness awaits them then they've ever imagined.
Another one of the highlights from this week was going to the Aston's home for dinner. Sister Aston is the Relief Society president, and is one of the most dedicated leaders I've ever known! I admire her and really have learned so much from her example. They live in a humble home - it's really small. Brother Aston worked at the high school as a coach and teacher for years (he just got a new job with a car company) - so I obviously feel a connection there. And Sister Aston teaches ballet classes. They have 4 young kids who are the CUTEST. I wish i had a picture. Right before we went over, Sister Aston texted us and asked if we could teach her daughter, Emma, a Restoration lesson in preparation for her baptism coming up . As we taught her after the meal, we were so impressed with how much she knew, and how receptive and excited she was to the message we shared. I love being in their home - not because it's big or beautiful or squeaky clean, but because it is filled with so much love. The Astons clearly have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, and they have taught their children well. I want my future home and family to be that way someday.
Sorry this email is short - I'll hand write another letter home this week! Have fun with Ann, Momma! Tell Wendy I LOVE her honey. How's your Preach My Gospel and personal study been? And family evening and prayers? And I can't wait to hear about the play results for Morgan! WOW, star of the show!! Thanks for the Fall decorations pictures too! I love our home.
I love you :) Have a wonderful, wonderful week!