I am loving the cooler weather here. It's still only like 80 degrees, but I am busting out the scarves and sweaters! This morning while doing some shopping, Christmas music was playing over the radio... YIKES, it's still way too early for that, but I'm still giddy about the holiday season! What are y'alls plans for Thanksgiving? We'll have our big feast of the day at the Hauck's. Sister Hauck is an amazing cook, so I'm excited.
I got the letter you sent in the mail, Mom. I can't tell you how happy handwritten letters make me! I'm writing you and Borgs back today.
We had quite the week. 9 investigators dropped us and more than half of our appointments fell through. It would have been incredibly discouraging, except we knew that we'd done the best we could, so all we could do was continue to look forward. A midst those occasional setbacks, I feel the Spirit move the work (and me) along all of the time. It truly is miraculous.
Our Area Seventy, Elder Foster, came to speak to the mission this week. We got to take another trip up to Vegas and spend the day there with him. I so enjoy hearing from our leaders. It never seems to get old; rather, its become more and more satisfying as I get older. He taught us about working with members and how much more powerful and effective the work becomes when we convert THEM, because they will then feel an increased desire to convert their friends, family, and acquaintances. It was very inspired counsel.
We stopped by our investigator Isa's house this week to try and get ahold of her, since she's dropped off the radar the past few weeks. I don't think she's really very interested in learning more about the Gospel (because she doesn't fully understand where we're coming from), but she likes us too much and is too nice to tell us that point blank. When we rang the bell, she answered warmly, welcomed us in, and invited us to sit down at the kitchen table. She was in the process of finishing a cake (I don't remember if I told you, but she bakes cakes for a living), and could tell we'd had a rough day, so she offered us the top of the cake that she'd cut off from the different layers she was icing. It was red velvet - vanilla almond, with white icing - straight from heaven. I've never had better cake in my life. We sat and talked with her for about 30 minutes. Finally, she asked us this question: "How do you guys make decisions in your life, when you have absolutely no idea which direction to take?" OH, how we love when people ask us such questions! We told her about receiving personal revelation and guidance from heaven; how to seek and find answers from God; what it's like to receive an answer to our prayers. I felt prompted to show her the 'Patterns of Light' videos produced by the Church, in which Elder Bednar explains what "light" is, where it comes from, and how it's manifest in our day-to-day lives. They're so good. The visit was a tender mercy for both Sister Walton and me. We needed the cake, and the discussion. Though we aren't consistently teaching Isa, we hope we've touched her in some way, and pointed her in the right direction.
We had dinner with a "snowbird" couple in the ward this week - The Crawfords. ("Snowbirds" are the couples who leave hot places for 6 months in the summertime, and then return for 6 months of clear skies and 75 degree weather). They got back to Havasu from Utah a few weeks ago. Immediately upon walking in their home, I felt peace. They are a lovely couple in their 60s, so gracious and kind, and they love each other so much. They're both converts to the church, so we asked them about their conversion stories and how they met each other, etc. I was so intrigued by their lives that I could have sat and talked with them for hours. I made up my mind that someday, I want to be like them, mostly in the way it feels like to walk into their home, and enjoy a conversation in their presence. I hope to someday be as happily-married and rock-solid in the Gospel as they seem to be. One of my favorite things about being a missionary is observing the lives and examples of other members of the church. They, and many others, are setting a high standard for me to mirror in my own life.
I have a quick story to share before I close. I forgot to include it in my email last week. Last Sunday night, Sister Walton and I pulled in for the night a few minutes early, so we decided to take out our recycling. The large recycling bin is across the street, and, as it was dark and chilly, we were in a hurry to run our load of water bottles, cereal boxes, and milk cartons over there and get back inside. We were making light conversation and just about to cross the street, when all of a sudden I heard the light tingle of dog tags and abruptly looked up to see this large black, beast of a dog charging right for us out of the shadow of the bushes! You can imagine my terror, especially as Havasu doesn't have any street lights, so I couldn't see clearly what exactly was headed our way in the dim light. My immediate reaction was to yelp and run. So i did. I was convinced that this large creature was going to attack us both and bite off both our legs, so I left a trail of recycling behind me so as to hinder the path of the dog who took off after me. I'm not exactly sure how it all happened... but one moment I was walking across the street to drop off our load, and the next, I was inside the apartment, not a thing in my hands, a shoe missing, the door bolt shut behind me... and my companion still out on the curb! Hahaha the moment the door slammed I realized what a terrible companion I was and quickly peaked my head back out to see if she was okay... (how awful am I?) I found her heading towards me in the dark, bent over and making some strange gasping sounds. I couldn't tell if she was laughing or crying, but I was horrified that she'd been seriously hurt and I'd been the one to leave her out hanging! To my relief, I soon saw that she was bent over in fits of laughter, repeatedly saying: "Don't run! Don't run!" I looked around to find my recycling strewn everywhere, and my lone shoe laying turned over on the sidewalk. HAHA. Apparently it was just a friendly pup who'd run out to play as his owner had a smoke on his doorstep. Oh, we had a good laugh about it. How embarrassing for me. Sister Walton was laughing so hard she was silently crying and I just turned red, hoping I hadn't woken the neighbors with the commotion. We picked up the recycling and finally made it to the big bin across the street.
I love being a missionary. There's no place else I'd rather be. Here's to 13 more months of miracles!