Great Scott! I'm going BACK to the Valley! I was honestly shocked. I thought for sure I'd finish my mission here in the West Stake. I'm still surprised. But super happy. I've grown SO much in the year since I served in the Valley. I get to apply all these good things and see all the people I taught and loved. It's a surprise but a true tender mercy. I'm not at all the missionary I was when I first got to the Valley. I've changed so much. My heart is so much softer now. I just love this work.
I'm really going to miss Hermana Walton. She's been my best friend these last six months. We were expecting her to leave. It's my fault. I've been talking up the idea to her for the last few weeks. So she's a little stressed to stay. But she's going to be amazing! We found a family last week! We actually just had tons of beautiful miracles!
First and foremost, the most beautiful baptism of all time! Seriously, Miguel and Ramon were so prepared, so happy! The spirit was just so strong. Everything went smoothly. We even sang a musical number (it rocked! I'll try to send the video) and they bore their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. So solid! They wore white shirts and ties and new shiny black shoes to church. All that was missing was their missionary badges! And I will do everything I can to make that happen! I'm sad, I won't get to teach them anymore, but I'm also excited to be their FB friends in a month. Is that so crazy or what? (editor's note: 42 days, but who's counting?)
Ok, so we fasted last Sunday as a mission to find, and I can just see the Lord working here. We've met more spanish potentials in the last 3 weeks than in our entire 3 transfers here combined. Incredible! Last week, one of our lessons fell through and we felt impressed to go to the Windsor Crossing neighborhood. It's old military base housing and they don't allow missionaries to proselyte there but we saw some members' names on the english ward list and we thought we'd give them a try. We weren't even sure if they were active or not. We tried three families and none were home. I just felt like maybe I'd heeded the wrong prompting and we weren't actually supposed to be there. So we prayed and I felt the impression that we needed to be diligent and keep trying! So the next house we try there was a little hispanic boy, AJ, standing at the door. I was floored. They had JUST moved in that same week! And we asked him if they went to church. "yeah, we used to go to the mormon church." I knew it was NOT a coincidence. His mom wasn't home so we tried back again this week. When his mom, Jessica, answered, she was not very warm. We stood on her doorstep and politely asked her a few questions about why she stopped coming. Then she let us in and we stood in her front entryway talking a little more. Her heart was softening and she said, "If you MAYBE wanted to stop by-but I'm not promising anything! And I need some time-but if you maybe were to stop by you could come on a Saturday." And then we asked her if she had a Book of Mormon and she let us give her one and then she said, "And so if you WERE to stop by on a Saturday in a FEW weeks from now, you could mark up some scriptures for us to read and give us a list or something." and then she said, "do you want to sit down?" Her heart had softened SO much. ALL in a matter of minutes. So we shared Helaman and talked a lot about how building her foundation in Christ will bless her family. She loved it. And then we asked if there was anything we could do for her family and she said, "well, AJ needs a tutor for school. could you help with that?" And we were like HECK yes! And so she said, "well if you were to find a tutor, you could stop by earlier than Saturday, we'll be home after " HAH! So God is good. We asked a sweet sister in our branch to help and she is more than willing! I am excited for Sister Walton to bring this family back to the gospel!
THEN another day we were trying a family in a trailer park but they weren't home. But the Spirit nudged me strongly to stay. So we prayed to know which side of the park we should knock. It was clear. Go Right! So we got out of our car and walked right and THERE was a little mom with her baby chamaca girl! A new Hispanic family! Like, prayers answered. Crazy! So Chayla let us in and we pulled out the Book of Mormon and showed her the pictures and explained how it would help her family come closer to Christ and she said, "how can I get one of these books?" YAY! And she said, "my husband only speaks Spanish. your church is in spanish?" HECK yes it is! She was loving the whole message. It was amazing.
I'm so grateful the work is moving along and that Sister Walton still has her whole mission FULL of miracles ahead of her. I'm going to be with Sister Taylor, Hannah's old roommate. I'm really grateful because I needed a little change so that I'll stay totally focused to the end. Because I was really not expecting it I didn't even really say goodbye to a lot of people but it's better that way. God knows my heart. And I love Him for that.
I finished the Book of Mormon this week. This was the BEST transfer reading it so quickly. Oh, I love that book! I love the Gospel. Watching Miguel and Ramon get baptized was one of the highlights of my mission. This is TRUE!
I love y'all! I will send some pics and hopefully videos in a bit!