Best week ever!
Last Monday night we went out with the Relief Society President to teach a woman we found while looking for a less active member. I actually contacted her several weeks ago with Sister Wright and she kept being unavailable and just telling to us to call her again on a certain day. I did so for most of last transfer and all of this one, and we finally got to teach her. It was at a time when she needed it. Her granddaughter had been taken to Birmingham with a brain tumor to receive medical care. We learned this after normal small talk upon entering her house. She looked at me and started to cry a little bit and thanked me for never giving up on her and said she knew that we were sent by God to her. She was in a humble, teachable state and received the first lesson beautifully and said that she felt peace and a burden lifted after the lesson. It's amazing how God has a hand in timing. We are teaching her again tonight.
The multi-zone conference was AMAZING. Elder Kopishke taught things that I needed. I have changed the way that I approach studying, now focusing 100% on my investigators and resisting the urge to puruse topics I want to learn for myself. Interestingly enough I feel a stronger connection with my investigators and am learning for myself like crazy! A focus that stood out to me was always approaching church, study, and anything else with a question. It opens the door for revelation and makes it much more meaningful. We always encourage our investigators to do so now, and I love being able to promise them that they will receive answers to their questions if they diligently seek them. Sister Kopischke is awesome. She has so much energy and enthusiasm, I learned a lot from her.
I got to accompany Elder Madsen, a crazy talented violinist in the mission. We played a neat arrangement of I'll Go Where You Want me to Go. I love getting to be a part of that, and always love seeing my 6'6" 300something pound mission president turn into a bawl baby.
Sister Ray and I were both excited coming back from the multi-zone conference and visited a less-active member. She has a strong testimony, but won't come to church. We have been seeing her for quite a while and have seen her nephew pop in and out, normally completely exhausted from work. Lately he has been talking to us a little more and even sat in for a few minutes. When we left he flagged us down and said that he wanted to start meeting with us. He is going through a divorce with his wife whose mental stability and reliability as a mother has spiraled downward. We look forward to being able to offer him and his children the peace and blessings of the Savior as they go through this.
Afterwards we taught the wife of a less active member who has come to church a couple times. She is very quiet and difficult to read sometimes, but she opened up more and was actually way more receptive than we expected her to be. I was so happy, I couldn't stop smiling that evening.
We got two new investigators in one of my favorite parts of Montgomery. The neighborhoods of full of people sitting out on their porch, and it's a very open, friendly community. When we went to teach one of them, a young girl with a little boy who wants to marry her boyfriend in the temple, by the end of the lesson, the porch was full of some of her friends who wanted to listen to our message. More investigators. :) I love how much people love Christ and love hearing and sharing about him.
In one of my studies this week, I was in 2nd Nephi 11. I love the connection that Nephi seems to feel with Isaiah because as Nephi sais, "he verily saw MY redeemer." he goes on to say that his brother Jacob has also seen him, making three witnesses, but God sends more to prove all of His words (us). We all have relationships with Jesus Christ and there is a unifying element that comes with that within our wards, and here in Montgomery with many others. The missionary's job is to help them foster that relationship through Christ's restored gospel.
Friday was Sister Ray's birthday. :D She is now 21. That was a great day. I wanted to do something for her as a surprise, but that gets difficult with a companion since she is with me ALL THE TIME. When she was in the shower, I scattered happy birthday notes all over the apartment including in the freezer, in her cereal box, etc. She will be finding them for weeks, haha. That morning we did some service helping an elderly lady in the ward make snowmen packets for the young women to assemble (we never know what our days will entail), then went to a yogurt bar where one of our investigators works. We hadn't had contact with her in a while as she wasn't returning our calls, but yet again, we came at a time when she was humble and needing some peace. The place was more or less empty so we got to share a good message with her...and eat yogurt for Sister Ray's birthday :). We had a great district meeting and ate cookies afterward for Sister Ray's birthday. We sang at a rest home that was having a birthday party for all the Spetember birthdays in the residence and ate some cake...perfect. The missionaries in our area aren't the best or strongest singers this transfer, and I had to use a keyboard since they don't have a piano, but they still loved it.
We visited a less active member who has been attending another church. She homeschools and is very clsoe with God, she said that she has been feeling little pulls to come back to our chuch, and since we have been coming around says that she knows it is time to come back and is starting to cut ties with the other church she has become very active and involved in, that was amazing to see.
We tried to see our investigator with the missing daughter. We were surprised when her daughter was the one who opened the door. Her mom wasn't there, but we did teach her and have a return appointment. This could be the perfect time for her, so that was a BIG deal. God is amazing.
We had two other succesful stops that night. We went by an inactive guy's house and asked him to help fellowship one of our investigators. This got him to church even though the investigator didn't make it. people love to be helpful, giving them an opportunity to serve is one of the best ways to help them come closer to Christ.
I treated Sister Ray to dinner, and when we got home we decorated a strawberry cake with chocolate frosting and dark chocolate M&Ms as is her birthday tradition. It was great fun. I also love that she had a birthday because we got music!! Her family sent some great stuff.
I'm super excited for a family we are teaching. They are active in a Baptist church and have declined invitations to come to ours since it conflicts with theirs, but we have spent time serving them through yard work and taught them the first three lessons. They have been reading the Book of Mormon and love it. They said that they consider us family and said that they wanted to start coming to our church. So excited, I love love love this family.
I spoke in church yesterday on being a leader. The talk went well and I got really good feedback, and also some loving counsel from a member of the Stake Presidency on how I could make it even better. I'm almost anxious to speak again so I can follow his counsel and make it better, but I'm happy with how it went. The ward is awesome, and the rest of the meetings were great. Sidenote: I have played organ for the ward several times including yesterday, and it is the puniest organ I have ever played, I had the volume on full blast and it was still super quiet, someone told me the speakers aren't set up. Be grateful for the organs that at least produce some sound.
While there are plenty of moments of frustration in this work, the small (and large) miracles always outweigh them. I am so happy serving. Sister Ray is the best companion ever, and these are great great people, and I'm grateful that God works through the small and weak which allows us to serve them.
Take care family,