I got a text from the sisters assistants (we called them Mission Sister Training Leaders) yesterday that said: "Sister Robinson! Guess you came to sacrament today! The Skousen family! :) They say hi!" Of course I was confused and overjoyed... I texted back: "What??? What are they doing here?? Tell them that I love them!" Haha. Later that night at a fireside they told me that the Skousens were in town for Brynn's gymnastics meet and they'd decided to come to church at a nearby chapel - which just happened to be the location of the mission office and President's ward! They left some notes for me that I'm picking up later today. It made me so happy to hear that they were in town :)
Oh yes, and as for transfers... Sister Cook and I are staying here, but now we'll be covering TWO wards - Villa Bonita and Greenbriar. Sister Cook is a little overwhelmed, but I'm excited! We will be kept so busy, the time will just fly. I'm still wondering how it's all going to work out... double the meetings, double the members, double the investigators, double the area... we'll have to figure out how to balance it all but the challenge of it excites me. Please pray for us to be organized and efficient and successful!
This week we went on exchanges with the STL's in our zone - Sister Eager and Sister Blanchard. Sister Eager came out with Sister Lowry, who was my STL in Lake Havasu for 6 months. They go home tomorrow! I went into their area in the East stake with Sister Eager for her last exchange, and oh my, I loved it! I always enjoy serving in other sisters' areas for a day or so to gain perspective and insight on the work. Sister Eager made me feel like a million bucks with her showering of compliments and accolades, ha! She is a good leader. Though I haven't served around her for long, I'll really miss her.
I also got to go back to Lake Havasu for a baptism this week. Sister Myers (our assistant ward mission leader's wife) was willing to drive me. "I was a missionary once, too," she said when I asked if she'd be willing to drive me all the way down there. "I know what it feels like to be anxious to get back for a baptism!" She was a lifesaver. We had to arrange for other ward members to go out with Sister Cook in our area for the day so we could make all our appointments, but it all worked out great. I don't know if you remember me writing about her, but Brittany (the young mom Sister Walton and I were teaching in Havasu) was the one getting baptized. I'd missed our investigator Megan's baptism right after I left for Paradise, which had been hard on me, so I was overjoyed that I could make it back for Brittany's.
This is what I wrote of the experience:
"Yesterday Sister Myers drove me out to Havasu for Brittany's baptism... oh, the joys of being back out there! We were 20 minutes late when we walked in and Sister Aston was speaking. I walked in the back doors of the Relief Society room and Sister Aston smiled, paused, and said: 'Sister Robinson just walked in.' Haha! I smiled and crept my way to the front and found a seat. After she spoke, Sister Walton gave a spiritual, powerful talk on the Holy Ghost. Bishop Hansen then got up (he was conducting) and, upon reaching the front, looked at me, smiled and waved, then said: 'Hi Sister Robinson' with his knowing, calm voice. I was already choked up from the spirit of it all and for Brittany, so through my watery eyes and cracked voice, I smiled back and chuckled: "Hi Bishop." We proceeded to the baptismal font in the Primary Room and I embraced everyone along the way... Sister Aston, Sister Sturgis, Sister Bayne, Sister Shepherd, Sister Abbott, Sister Cawthra and Tessa... Oh, it was so good to be there. The baptism was beautifl. Afterwards Sister Corry sang and we had refreshments. Megan and Adrian, the Haucks, the Derus, the Testas, "the Widows", the Hansens, and few others I didn't recognize were all there. I loved and caught up with Sister Walton. She kept saying: 'Oh, I've missed you so much! I have so much to tell you!' Sister Myers was so sweet to be my companion for the day and be surrounded by so many strangers.
We stuck around for a while and were one of the last ones to leave. We stopped by the restroom quickly and then as we headed out, I caught Bishop out of the corner of my eye fixing the stereo system in the gym for the stake dance that night. Naturally. He's always doing something with his hands. He saw me and turned up the country music and said: 'Texas! This is for you!' I laughed and acted like I was dosy-doeing around. I walked up to tell him goodbye and shake his hand. He said: 'Hey don't be too much of stranger around here - me a text or something every now and then!' I laughed and said I would. I saw Sister Aston again as we left the building and as I walked out, she called: 'We love you Sister Robinson! So much!" I was just overwhelmed with joy - it was brief and quick, but meant so much to me to be there."
I've been thinking quite a bit about the Book of Mormon this week. I reread the talk "Safety for the Soul" that Jeffrey R. Holland gave in 2009. Do you remember it? He gives the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith that I have yet to hear. I could quote the whole thing and share my thoughts - but while spoil the fun of it for you? Please read it this week. I remember when Zoie and I shared the first lesson with Samantha over Skype for our mission prep class up at BYU last year. Near the end of the lesson, Samantha asked the question: "Well, if the Book of Mormon teaches us just what the Bible does - why do we need it? What more can it do for us?" At the time I was honestly a little stumped by the question. All I had to offer then was that I knew the book taught us more of Jesus Christ - of His reality and divinity - and that I knew it was true through the powerful confirmations I'd received of it through the Holy Ghost. My understanding is much larger and deeper now. I understand now that the Book of Mormon is physical evidence that we can hold and look at and read for ourselves to know whether or not Joseph Smith really was a prophet - for if it is true, which we come to know by reading and praying about it, then he really did translate it by the power of God and the fullness of the Gospel really was restored to the Earth through him. I know that it is the "keystone of our religion" and that it gives us pure doctrine from prophets of old; that its been translated only once from sacred, ancients records, versus the Bible, which has been translated countless times and passed down through many hands. I know that it expounds on, clarifies, and enriches that which we're taught in the Bible. I know that it is evidence of God's love for all of His children the world over, in every time period and on every continent and in every land. I know that it is a "safety for the soul" - each soul, every soul.
"I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. I hope I have a few years left in my 'last days,' but whether I do or not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon Is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.
Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: 'Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived' - and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you. Of this I earnestly testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." (Jeffrey R. Holland)
I love you. Have a wonderful week!