This week was full of events. The biggest news is that transfers are tomorrow, and Sister Arnold got transferred early (on Wednesday)... we weren't allowed to know why until Saturday. FINALLY we're in the know... She's spending her last transfer on her mission as one of the Nevada Last Vegas mission's first sister assistants to the president! She is so perfect for the job and we're all thrilled for her, but we'll really miss her out here. I love her so much. Sister Lowry is staying here for another transfer (she's been here as long as me!), and Sister Walton and I are too - surprise! Also, Sister Browning (my MTC companion) is getting transferred out to Kingman, AZ - which is in our zone! I'm so excited to serve by her!!!
As for the work... Tom (our miracle) is doing well. We had an awesome lesson with him at Bro. Deru's house this week. The church put him in a hotel here in town for 7 days, and now he's working to get his life back on his feet. He came to church yesterday and has been progressing well. We are so excited about him! Yolanda dropped us yesterday. It was tough because we love her so much, but she wasn't keeping any of her commitments, so ultimately it was a blessing. I sure hope someday she'll pick up the Book of Mormon and read it cover to cover and have a change of heart. We're teaching a good number of other solid people - they're keeping us busy.
Sister Lowry has spent the past few days with us waiting for her new companion to arrive tomorrow, since Sister Arnold got transferred early. We made her a pallet on the floor in our room to sleep on, and we've just been 3-packing it everywhere - haha! I enjoy having her around. Being in a trio is fun. On Saturday we spend half the day in her area and half the day in ours. In the morning, we went to see a few of her investigators in an apartment complex on the south side of town. We stopped at a few doors of people she knows before we our appointment at with her investigator - a grumpy old woman named Mae. (I wish I had more time to write you about her! I'll write a letter home about her) First we stopped by a man named John's apartment. We had a member with us - the stake President's wife, Sister Lundeen. John is 35, lives alone, and really isn't doing anything with his life. He opened the door and immediately the odor of some horrific smelling drug came encompassed us. He was dressed in all black, with dark eyes and countenance. Sister Lowry asked if he'd read the Book of Mormon chapter she's left for him. He hadn't. That led into a 20 minute discussion on his doorstep about man's quest for definite truth. He thinks he'll only find out the truth about the Gospel if a spirit physically appears to him and tells him - "an apparition", he called it. He had lots of other flawed ideas and skewed perspectives of reality, and it basically a dead beat conversation. We left for Mae's appointment, and the enormity of his dark reality weighed heavily on my shoulders. I caught a brief glimpse into the loneliness and despair and confusion he must be feeling. My heart hurt. I so badly wanted to reach out to him, "shake him by the lapels" and tell him that ULTIMATE TRUTH EXISTS and there is a very real and personal way for him to find it! I reflected on the fact that there are millions of people just like him the world over - fixed on their own ideas of God and life and man's purpose of existence. I think of this quote from D. Todd Christofferson's talk in this past general conference:
"Misunderstanding God’s justice and mercy is one thing; denying God’s existence or supremacy is another, but either will result in our achieving less—sometimes far less—than our full, divine potential. A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist. A world without God, the living God who establishes moral laws to govern and perfect His children, is also a world without ultimate truth or justice. It is a world where moral relativism reigns supreme.
There are definite, ultimate truths out there - laws that exist, whether we choose to accept and apply them, or to resent them. Living by God's laws, accepting His truth, brings ultimate freedom and happiness. HIS way is the only true and lasting and enduring way to "happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come" (The Living Christ).
I'm out of time - it never feels like there's enough! I love you all.