Tuesday, February 19, 2013

and it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness!

To my favorite people ever!

I am staying in Spokane Valley and so is Sister Sanchez! I knew we would. We just had to. And neither of us had a feeling that we were leaving. I knew when I was leaving Moses Lake that's why I was more surprised when I stayed-but alas, eventually I did leave. I know I keep referring to this but it was our transfer theme and I really feel like the Lord was so, so great to us. We're just two little chiquitas working our tails off and the Lord blessed us with miracles! 

yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

We had nothing happening at the start of the transfer and just this week we have 3 people on-date for baptism and we are working with so many wonderful, wonderful people. It was miracle week for sure. And the miracles will continue to happen, I'm sure! I'm super glad I'm staying here. We are really earning the trust of our members in both the ward and branch. Oh, I love the members in the ward. There is a young family, the Nielsens, who are just the BEST. There is always a family in each area that you just looooove. Like how Jake loved Elder Davis. The Nielsens love us! And we love them! They have two cute little girls, Brother Nielsen is in law school at Gonzaga and Sister Nielsen is super adorable. And this week Brother Nielsen asked three of his friends to start taking the missionary lessons. How cool is that?! I am constantly surprised by how great and willing the members are to share their testimonies!

My first sunday here, an elderly sister, Sister McCullough, started talking to us about her grandson who was living with her and how he really needed to change his life. It was a long conversation and all that came of it was that she didn't think he was ready to start learning from the missionaries. But then last Sunday we went over for lunch before church. We had just had our training about being direct and bold so we asked him straight out if we could start teaching him and he said, yes! Our first lesson was on Thursday and it was amazing! Thankfully we had the pamphlet to teach with because we had three big talkers with us and we would've gotten nowhere if we didn't have pictures to grab their attention. We were talking about how we know that God never leaves us and that he is always reaching out to us, today even through modern prophets. He said that he felt that same way about himself-God is always reaching out to Him even when ,especially when, he makes mistakes. We asked him how happy he was and he said, "I'm 31 and living on my grandma's couch. That's how happy I am."  He really knew he needed to change and so he accepted a baptismal date for April 6th! It is exciting to help somehow change and repent and feel the power of Christ's Atonement working through them. Our Savior can heal all wounds. We can't ever walk outside the bounds of God's love. I know that's true.

A few weeks back, we visited another young couple in our ward, the Judkins. They are both returned missionaries so they really get the importance of sharing the gospel. Sister Judkins had referred us to visit a less-active in the ward who lives in her complex. So we went to go see him. Chris is 24 and living with his pregnant girlfriend right now. We had the most amazing first lesson with him and asked him to repent and change his life. He grew up in the church and so he felt bad like his life was just so different than what people would expect. He felt guilty walking into church because he didn't serve a mission, he's having a baby out of wed-lock and he hasn't been to church in forever. We explained the repentance process and told him that true peace and happiness comes from turning to the Lord. He's come two sundays in a row now and he talked to the bishop this Sunday. It's amazing. Miraculous! Then we had a lesson this last Sunday before church and his girlfriend sat in too. She was so open to listen and learn more. She accepted a baptismal date for April 6th! I feel so excited for Chris and Jessica because as they change their lives spiritually and as they welcome a baby into their family, their life will be so happy! They will make covenants and grow closer to God. 

Our mission leader in the Spanish branch is really great. He told us about a sister to a sister in the branch and that she had started attending one of the English wards in the Valley. Sister Reyes joined the church three years ago and she is a very strong member. I imagined that her sister, Aridai, was interested because she's seen how it's bless her sister's life. Our mission leader, Brother Lopez, didn't have her contact information but he just told us to ask her sister. Later that night, we had two appointments fall through and we sat in the car looking through former teaching records to find someone to go visit. Wouldn't you know it, we grabbed all the wrong records and we only had the addresses for people who had moved. Which basically does us no good. But then we saw a record for Aridai. And there it was! Her phone number and address. So we called her and set up a time to visit her. We went and saw her on Tuesday and it was incredible. She is so lonely, and so sad. She's been looking for the truth her whole life. She doesn't know if God loves her and she doesn't know the reason for living. I felt so much love for her immediately. We taught her a lesson about the restoration and she decided to be baptized on March 23rd! She's been reading the book of mormon this week and oh, she is so great.

Lots of really great things are happening each day. I wish I could tell you about every lesson I teach. It's amazing to be the Lord's hands. People love the missionaries. I've never felt so loved and appreciated in all my life. Members feel the Spirit we carry with us and they love to have us over. The less-actives we visit love us too. They yearn to feel the love of God and as we open our hearts and share with them their faith increases. I'm just little 'ole me but God allows me to be His hands. 

This morning, we got to fear bust the new missionaries. SO fun! I was only fear busted 4 months ago. Can you believe it? I'll be out for 6 months at the end of this transfer. Boy, time flies. There were 21 missionaries that came in today. The numbers continue to soar. Oh, I'm super excited for all those going out! It's so great that the work is hastening!

I love it here. I reeeeeeally am SO HAPPY I am staying another transfer. And I'm so happy I'm staying with Sister Sanchez. Good, happy miracles to come! I know this church is true. I had a dream last night that President Monson came to visit us. Even in my dream I felt his power and the spirit testify to me that he is a prophet of God. We've been listening to the conference talks in the car all week and I am continually touched by the words of these inspired men. President Monson is an example of Jesus Christ in all he does. He testifies of our Savior and invites us to do the same. I feel my Savior's love and I am so touched that He loves me this much. It's amazing. 

Love you!

Hermanita Em

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