It was a long, awesome week.
My testimony was definitely strengthened in my last few days with Sister Dodini. We taught Tim, our recent convert, service from Lesson 5, and watched "On the Lord's Errand" with him. It hit me so hard the kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person that if the Lord needs something done, He will know He can count on Liz Sheffer to do it. President Hanks told us in a council about how thankful he is for the missionaries he has who he can send anywhere in the mission with full faith they will be happy, make their companion happy, and they will do the work and baptize. It doesn't have to be inspired, or meant to be for us to volunteer our services and just do it for the Lord!
Sister Dodini and I shared the Plan of Salvation with the Lusane family on Tuesday. Ms. Lusane has lost two baby girls, one a still birth, and one died 3 months into her life. As we shared our beliefs about their purpose in coming to earth, and what happens after death, she immediately started crying and said, "That means so much to me that you tell me this, no one has ever told me this, but it's what I always felt about Quinlee and Storie." This family has such a special place in my heart. The kids were super excited to come to church, they said they had been looking for a church that focused on families. They didn't make it on Sunday, and haven't been responding to our contacting them recently, but we still feel good about them, and aren't going to give up yet.
Wednesday was transfers!!!
I am now serving with Sister Ella Rae Madsen. She's adorable! I LOVE this girl. She's from Santa Cruz, CA, and is a total beach girl. Even though she's really unassuming about it, she's hard core--surfer, skier, lifeguard, taught a bootcamp thing type deal for kids, and she's just a bucket of fun. I was excited when our pictures popped up together on the transfer slideshow. I didn't know her well before, but I remembered that at some of the misssion functions, she randomly would give me super sweet compliments. From several months ago: "oh my goodness, you are so pretty! Brown hair and blue eyes is my FAVORITE combination, it's what I'm hoping for in the resurrection!" From Wednesday morning before we knew we were going to be companions: *comes up and touches my hair, "Oh my goodness, this can NOT be natural! You are so well put-together!" She is the sweetest sister in the mission, I'm positive.
After the transfer meeting, we were loading her bike onto the car, and she asked if we bike a lot in our area, I told her yes, we only have enough miles to use the car when we're driving to other areas for exchanges. She said, "Oh my gosh, God is so good! I LOVE biking!" Most positive bucket of sunshine ever!
While being so cute, little, and adorable, she is BOLD in approaching people and inviting them to be taught. I love it. People fall in love with her instantly.
Thursday, we had three appointments in the evening that all fell through. We tracted a little, and decided to go contact someone a little bit away. As we started to head in another direction, a door caught my eye, and I asked if we could do one more. She happily agreed. We found at this home, a lady who had taken the discussions previously, and said she had just been thinking about it, and missing the gospel. She is active in another church, and said some thigns had happened recently that had been calling her to rethink things. She wasn't feeling very well. We testified boldly, that God had led us to her that night, and she was the reason the rest of our plans for the evening cancelled. By the end, she committed to reading the Book of Mormon and accepted a soft invitation to be baptized. It was powerful. Before we left, she said she felt so much better, that even the physical pain in her chest was gone, and she knew it was by God that we met. It was dark by the time we left, and the street was bare. Sister Madsen starts jumping and dancing, and said "I know I'm not Pentecostal, but sometimes I DO feel like just dancing and praising God for how good He is!" She then did three airborne heel clicks! This girl, I seriously LOVE her.
I'm happy anyway, but I can't help but be uber happy around Sister Madsen. She is the healthiest companion I have ever had, and being so hard core, is the most physically-challenging comp I've had. We've been motivating each other in our food/portion choices, and exercising. We have literally walked all day every day in the heat since Wednesday because her bike is out of commission at the moment. I have seriously already lost some weight being her comp. We run and do insanity in the morning. She's a champ. She got sore from insanity, and I got sore from running, and we're just happy.
We talk about the gospel all day while we're walking to and from appointments and finding opportunities. I'm amazed at how she gleans precious truths from everything and retains them. She will quote things I said a few days previous and then connect it to something else, so we are learning so much from each other already. I'm so excited for the influence she will have on the sisters in the zone. She is going to be so good for them! Our zone changed quite a bit from transfers, and we're super excited to start our exchanges and training this week.
None of our investigators came to church yesterday. We were expecting many people who committed to come who had recently found, and who we had been teaching previously. It was really disappointing to me, but I know we go through every struggle and disappointment shoulder to shoulder with the Savior. He suffered sacrifices and gave His all, even if people wouldn't accept the gospel and repent, so we do the same. The disappointments are only an opportunity to become better-acquainted with Him. I was thinking about all this during sacrmanet meeting, and starting to feel better after being a little down and just deeply disappointed about our top investigators falling off. I glanced up and saw our convert Tim sitting at the sacrament table. It was his first time blessing the sacrament. There is ALWAYS ALWAYS reason to rejoice. It made me happy.
Nicole texted us that she biked to Oneonta to see her boyfriend. That's a 7 hour bike ride. She is still up there as far as we know from her grandma, and we haven't been able to reach her.
At the end of the week, none of our investigators were progressing, but we saw multitudes of miracles. Random lady we met in the park yesterday said we carry a special spirit, and knew that God led us to meet, and she referred us to her son. I got to make some Spanish contacts, and we have several appointments this week from people we met, so we will see what comes of everything. Always an adventure!