Monday, July 15, 2013

but that they might receive the word with joy

Heyo familia!

Chee-town (as we affectionately call Cheney) is picking up speed. It was a really good week. I love the sunshine and the warm weather. When everyone finds out I'm from Texas they always ask, "so you must be loving the weather right now?" which is funny because in the winter they'd always say, "so you must be hating the weather right now?". I love everyday. I love Washington so much. I really think I'm moving back here someday. Cheney is so beautiful. Rolling hills and trees and green. I turned to Sister Haynes the other day and said, "I think that when God was a man, he was a painter" because the sunsets here are like the most spectacular views I've ever beheld. Divine!
We passed by the Fuentes this week because they have been so hard to get a hold of lately. They work SO much. They were out behind their trailer eating all my favorite foods that grandma makes and when they offered us some I had to seriously remind myself that we had just eaten dinner. It smelled so heavenly. But we talked about keeping the Sabbath day and trusting God. I love them so much but they just don't move. The Elders and I are trying to team effort this one and so hopefully soon good things will happen.
On Thursday we had leadership training and it was so, so great. I feel like I've been spending a lot of time in meetings lately but it's always good and uplifting. We talked about having natural and normal conversations and inviting EVERYONE to be baptized. It was really great because now that we have SO many new missionaries, sometimes we really need a repeat of all the basic things so that our mission culture doesn't shift too much. We are an obedient mission. We invite. We talk to everyone. Those are the things we want to be embedded in all the Washington Spokane missionaries and I'm really seeing how I make a difference as a Sister Training Leader.
I went on exchanges to South Hill with Sister Jensen and it was the best time of my entire life. SERIOUSLY. I LOVE Sister Jensen. She is the cutest, sweetest. Oh, I love her. She works hard. She knows her purpose. She is motivated by love and her testimony in the Savior. This is her second transfer out and she is actually waiting on her visa to Brazil. She spoke in Portuguese and I spoke in Spanish. Lots of fun :) I was so thoroughly impressed with her. She went to BYU for a semester and she was hoping to study vocal performance and she has a lovely voice. We went on a church tour with one of their less-actives, Nancy and it was the most spiritual experience of my mission. Nancy was baptized when she was 8 but never went to church after that. She knows nothing about the gospel. She hasn't been to church since she was a child and now she is in her 50s. She has lost three family members to suicide and the sisters knocked on her door at the moment she needed God most. So her heart was softened and she finally felt ready to come to church. The moment she walked in the building she was tearing up. She doesn't think she has faith but we told her to walk through the church doors was an act of faith. Oh, it was so powerful to feel the spirit and to help her feel it too. At the end of the tour we stood in front of the picture of Christ being baptized and Sister Jensen explained that when Christ came out of the water, the Father spoke and said, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." and she told Nancy that God says that about her as she chooses to follow Him. I have witnessed so many times on my mission and I firmly believe it, but the best thing to testify to people is that God is their father and He loves them. Then Sister Jensen felt prompted to ask to sing a hymn so she pulled out "where can I turn for peace?" and the moment her mouth opened, warmth engulfed us. I have never felt such a powerful witness of the Holy Ghost. It was a profoundly touching experience.
We also visited a little Mexican-Indian family while I was there. Sister Jensen really wanted me to use my spanish to impress the mom and grandma (dad is from India and doesn't speak spanish).  They were the best family. Both parents are doctors and their little 5 year old twins were precious. When they met me they were super excited. "yo hablo un poquito espanol" is what they said in their mini voices. Oh I wanted to take them home with me.
It was the Cheney rodeo this weekend and the parade was on Saturday so lots of people were in town. I love small town spirit! We talked with lots of people and it was so great because Cheney usually turns into a ghost town come Saturday because most of the college kids like to book it outta here. We stopped by to invite Porche to an activity. She has been MIA lately and not responded to our texts and so we thought we'd give it another go but she didn't answer the door and just yelled through the window, "Umm. I don't want to talk right now. Can you come back later?" She just sounded really annoyed so we decided that we'd leave her be for now and maybe in a few months she would have a desire to hear more. But then she called us at 7 pm on Saturday to apologize and asked if we could meet. So we had an impromptu lesson at 8 at the institute and it was awesome. She said that she was having a REALLY hard time and we knocked on the door right in the heat of things. But she felt like she needed to be doing better at reading scriptures and saying her prayers to show God she loves Him. Talk about compelled to be humble. We watched a Mormon Message with her and then asked to close with a prayer and she said, "Could we read a little from the Book of Mormon before we pray?" Umm YES?! So we read some and she told us to write down the Mormon Channel website and the chapter we read from the Book of Mormon because she wanted to look it up. It was not the lesson I was expecting at all but it was awesome. I have a good feeling about her. I always have but I'm glad she is back on board.
And then yesterday Arthur came to church. He's a big Samoan guy that grew up going to church with his Mormon Uncle. The sisters before me taught him for a while and I met him my first week but he told us he couldn't get baptized until he was more self-sufficient because he didn't have a job or go to school or anything. When he came to church he sat in the foyer all three hours and slept. So he was off our radar and we haven't seen him in a long time. But he came yesterday and he looked great! He had found a job and then after church he came up to us and said, "I wanna talk to you. Somethin serious. I wanna be baptized!". Sister Haynes was floored. It was awesome. So he's getting ready to be baptized on August 11th. It'll take a miracle to get him there but it was already a miracle that he got a job and is bringing his life together. God is good!
It's been a really good week on all fronts. Lots of the less-actives we are working with have been coming to church consistently which is just so sweet.
Love it here. Love the Lord. Love Sister Haynes. We have two weeks left in the transfer so I think we'll be seeing lots of crazy miracles.
Love y'all.
Hermana Em

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