I don't even know where to start this week, there's no way to really convey the experiences from this past week.
The week flew. We blitzed with our sister in Gadsden on Tuesday and definitely saw miracles in finding them people to teach, and being led to less active members who needed us then.
We had personal interviews with President Hanks on Wednesday. Crazy, unexpected experience. I know that I was called and assigned to serve under President Hanks for a reason. So grateful that he is my misison president.
I was reading Abinadi's story in Mosiah during personal study, and it struck me how easy it is to pass off direction from God, because it comes through a man. We can easily recognize flaws in our leaders, and allow that to cloud the instruction we are meant to receive from them. The Lord doesn't always speak to us directly, He sets representatives, imperfect people, to carry his message to us. As we overlook their imperfections and misunderstandings, we recognize that denying or rejecting their message, is denying and rejecting the Savior. This idea has both given me confidence to declare the things the spirit puts in my mind and heart as being from the Savior, and given me increased confidence in my leaders, in sacrament speakers, sunday school teachers, etc., they are standing as witnesses of the Savior, and it behooves us to give attention and adherence to their words as we allow the spirit to confirm them.
Thursday marked my mission turning a year old. I woke up, and went into the living room where I do insanity to see a big poster reading "Happy Uno Ano!" (bless their hearts) with sweet notes and memories from all the sisters in my zone. So sweet!
In the morning, Sister Dodini and I got to provide the music for a funeral. Crazy circumstances behind it. Thursdays we teach our bible study class, awesome experience. We had the kids in two groups, Sister Dodini worked with the smaller group, and I worked with the larger group. Over the class, all of the kids in her group ended up leaving to go home early except one. I first thought that I should send some kids from my group to her, but the spirit said no. She ended up being able to teach the teenage girl left the restoration. This girl doesn't feel loved by her family as they abondoned her, and is dealing with some crazy things. Amazing how God was able to minister to her through Sister Dodini and make the circumstances perfect for it.
We continued the celebration of my year mark with Happy hour Sonic slushes for our weekly planning. After planning, we had plans to go to a recent converts' home for his birthday. We had put together a photo album for him of pictures of missionaries who worked with him and their testimonies, leaving space for future ones. We were so excited, had invited Mark, and were looking forward to good dinner, cake and celebrations. They texted us saying they had broke down and would have to postpone the party. We were soooo bummed. We discussed different people/places we could go to instead, and nothing really felt right. Sister Dodini asked to take me to dinner and we discussed different options. We decided on a place, but then, a less active came to my mind who lived in the opposite direction, so we picked a different place that would be on the way to the less active's. We went to a cute little place called "Rusty's BBQ." We got food, and got to see a former investigator working there, Jonathan, who we hadn't been able to contact in quite a while. It was slow, so we got to discuss his previous lessons, and had a very, very deep, meaningful discussion with him. He is investigating again with greater purpose this time. We taught him again yesterday, and he is in it. Again, God lead us to the perfect circumstances to find the right person who needed us at the time.
Friday we got to see Samantha! It's been a minute. She picked up a second job leaving her little time. She went to a Lindsey Sterling concert and was excited to tell us about it and show us pictures. Sister Dodini and I grinned at each other before we shared her "I'm a Mormon" video and that Sister Dodini knows her from her home ward. Too cool. Samantha loves the Book of Mormon, and is still in it, we still hope that everything will fall into place as she reads it prayerfully. After that appointment we had our district meeting in Sylacauga and did exchanges with the sisters there. Awesome. I got to bring Sister Salmond to my area, and see her shine and add value to any situation we came across. Miracles! We found prepared people.
Saturday we switched back and met some more amazing people. Attended a farewell party for John who leaves Wednesday for the Mexico MTC in preparation for his mission in Phoenix. He brought several of his non member friends and family--including the Bowmans. We were invited to share a message at the end, such a neat experience to share about the mission, what John would be doing, and what it means.
Sunday was John's farewell, and the Bowmans came to church to hear him speak, and see him sing in a quartet, "The Army of Helaman." Special Sunday.
So many things this week, but what I have written suffices me. :)