Hi dear family,
I just returned from a lacrimation session in the Library bathroom. I told President Hanks in my letter to him that since the news I received this morning, I would go bolder and testify with more conviction the things that I KNOW to be true. I know that God's plan of happiness for His children is real. "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 2 Peter 1:16. In our zone conference yesterday, the idea of standing boldly and defending the faith, and having confidence in our testimonies was weaved through every meeting. I know that the Plan of Salvation isn't a fable or a fairytale. It's a real thing. As I was reading Abinadi's sermon in my personal study this morning, I took a big step back to look at those with whom I am working. We are a part of the Lord's work, something so much bigger than ourselves. We are working with innumerable forces on both sides of the veil. Abinadi is still working. I'm excited to meet him someday, because I have some questions for him. They're not untouchable. One day we'll get to have lunch with them, and "sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." Helaman 3:30. The more I read the Book of Mormon, the more aware I am of the sense of family. Numerous times, we see success prevail when people remember the deliverance of their fathers. We all work together in this. I feel that I will get to work more closely with Uncle Vince now than when he was in Maryland.
I have told all of my companions about Vince and Val. The most down to earth, classy, gracious, and intelligent people I know. The senders of the one boxed package I have received on my mission. Just good people. I am so happy that God has allowed his sealing power to be on the earth so incredible people like them can feel the power of that bond through life, death, and beyond.
The fruits of the gospel are sweet.
Last Monday, we created a jeopardy game for fhe with Morgan, Scott, Colby, Max (5 yr old) and another family from the ward. It was fun and covered all of the lessons we had taught them. For missionary work, we worded the answer "what Colby wants to do when he turns 18" (Colby frequently expresses his desires to serve). It was the other team's turn, but when we read this, Colby shouted out "GO ON A MISSION!" Then he seemed so touched, and asked, "Is that really what the card says?" We affirmed it, and he asked if he could keep it. He keeps it in his wallet as a reminder of his goal. Such a good kid.
They had their baptismal interviews on Friday night. Our district leader, Elder Price, said, "well Morgan, you can go first, unless Colby is dying to." Colby was in the gym at this point, but as soon as Elder Price said that, he flung open the gym door, and marched across the hall to the room we had designated as the interview room. Smoothly flinging his hat to a chair, he said "let's do this!"
The baptism went so well. Everything was beautiful. We held the towel for Morgan, and when she came into the bathroom, she was glowing, and said "that was awesome!" She demonstrated to me, Alma's description: "[she] came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit."
Her father came. His wife passed away in August. A sister from the ward put an early thanksgiving dinner together after the service for Morgan and her family as well as her own family who is close with Morgan, and a large part of her joining. At the dinner I had a good talk with Morgan's father. He said that with time he will take the missionary discussions.
Cool experience for me: Morgan's best friend's name is Becca. She and Becca were attached at the hip growing up and even into their adulthood. This is how Morgan came into contact with the church initially. Becca's brother Scott lives in Madison. I got to know him and his wife Cortnie when I served in Madison a year ago. Cortnie was dating Scott in high school and she was not a member. Cortnie is super cute, and Scott's siblings teased him about having a 'trophy girlfriend' as she didn't dress very modestly. Scott's mom always encouraged him to invite Cortnie to church. He was too chicken, so finally his mom invited him to church. Cortnie happily accepted the invitation, took the missionary lessons, and was baptized. She threw all of her immodest clothes away, as she didn't want anyone else to wear those clothes either. She now has two children, and teaches Sunday school. She and Scott are a powerhouse couple, and we taught a discussion to a nonmember in their home when I was in Madison. Cortnie joined the church here in the Alabaster area. They came down for the baptism, and it was wonderful to catch up with them, and hear how awesome it was for Cortnie having been baptized here 14 years ago, now get to see Morgan be baptized.
We taught the full first discussion to Barbara, and she was blown away. We invited her to be baptized, and she says she wants to continue learning, and believes it is true, but just has a hard time leaving her church she grew up with. She did attend the baptism, and called us later to thank us for inviting her. She wants to visit church, and has meant to, but hasn't been able to get ready in time in the morning. She is the sweetest lady.
Michelle Ray, my second companion back in MOntgomery passed through Alabaster with her parents. When we were companions, I was very strict with my diet, and refused to eat donuts, despite her on MANY occasions, trying to tempt me. I promised her that after her mission, I would eat a donut with her. We met up when they were here, and got donuts. It was amazing. She is beautiful. The owner of the donut place, unbeknownst to us, is the sister of a woman in the ward. She is not a member. We were happy to meet her, and hope that in time, she will allow us to send missionaries to her home. She doesn't live in our area.
Morgan and Colby's confirmation blessings were amazing! I scribed as much of it as I could and will type it up for them to keep. They have great blessings coming for them. Colby's spoke of his mission and the impact it will have on the work. Colby has great sway with people around him. His charisma is too large to be contained in a single room. He is going to be a powerful force as a missionary.
This gospel is true, and we are part of a great work.