Long week. So good.
We organized Ms. Barbara's junk room. She doesn't like to get rid of things, but sometimes we can convince her to throw things out. I love her and she loves us too. She called us to thank us and tell her that she considers us family. She said we make her want to be more zealous in sharing Christ, and in praying more meaningfully for people. We were really touched. I think she's the sweetest woman I have ever met.
Wednesday morning was quite emotional. We said goodbye to Sister Wong and Sister Farnsworth. We couldn't even talk because we were all crying so hard. I've never sent a companion home, but that's what it felt like. It was so weird to think we wouldn't see them at the next missionary event, but that they were leaving for home. They are such stellar people.
That morning we cleaned out our apartment to prepare for the elders to move in, and then moved our things into the apartment with the Spanish sisters. We had to clean that apartment too. As Sister Jones says, "You can't preach the gospel like an angel and live like a pig." We got it clean and cute and feel settled in. The elders that got transferred in are awesome. They are both brilliant and learn quickly. The ward already loves them, so we are very grateful they're here. I knew one of them, he had to go home 4 months ago after tearing his ACL playing basketball. He recovered remarkably fast and fought to come back out. The other one is newer and HILARIOUS, upon meeting him, he says, "Sister Sheffer! You're my Grandma!" He started his mission in Clanton when my daughter Sister Warren and a former roommate from Madison were serving there. He says Sister Warren helped to train him. Man, I'm getting old.
We did not stay in for Halloween. We were expected to continue working in safe areas. We went to one of the counselor's in the bishopric's homes. We love his family. His daughter and wife have both teamed up with us before and are wonderful. In fact this is the family whose home we taught Natalie in last Sunday. She came to church yesterday. :) They got a fire going on their driveway, and we hung out there and passed out candy with pass along cards. I met a Spanish family that had been taught by missionaries before. It was cool. The kids actually really liked the Jesus pictures, and we got some teenagers to commit to going on mormon.org. I'd say it was pretty successful.
We did service at a place that missionaries rave about. It's called Delicious bakery and the Spanish branch president who is a convert of a little over a year owns it a works it with his family. They were excited that I spoke Spanish, and we got to fold boxes, and sample pastries. pretty good deal. they showed us their missionary board of missionaries who have come and served. Many of them I recognized, and then he pointed to a picture of Iris Mendoza and said she was the one who taught him when he was baptized! I was excited to tell them she went to seminary with me! So crazy. They love her.
Saturday there was an 8 year old baptism in the ward. It was quite an experience. The family of the child getting baptized has 9 kids--blended family with adopted children, it gets really confused. He is very hyperactive, but has such a strong spirit. He wouldn't sit still during the service, and the whole program was unconventional, but I felt the spirit so strong! This child wanted to be baptized because he knows how important he is. He was confirmed, and again, it was SO STRONG.
We did the Family Mission Plan lesson with two families yesterday. One was the Relief Society President's family. Love them. Lesson was awesome, and then another adorable little (in stature) family. They're so cute. I love watching the spirit work with these families. This generation of youth has no fear with missionary work. I am amazed at the youth, they have desires to share and they do! Afterward, plans fell through so in the last hour, we ended up at Walmart. We don't typically do store contacting on Sunday (or at all if I can find people another way), but we did last night. It was amazing. I taught a man in Spanish, and his demeanor definitely changed by the end of the lesson. His wife is expecting their second baby soon. It was neat that we could even feel the spirit teaching in the back of Walmart. We were talking to a couple younger people, and a young worker approaches us and asks who we are. When we tell her, she said she had some questions about the mormon faith. She has been attending lots of different churches trying to find truth. She is so open, and said the lesson we had with her there really opened her eyes. We're stoked to meet with her again. She works in our area, but lives out of our area, so other missionaries will do the primary teaching, but we will continue to fellowship and answer questions at work. Both of those lessons were miracles. We find lots of prepared people who don't live in our area. We give lots of referrals to missionaries in surrounding areas, which we love, but also have wished that we could find prepared people who live in our area. I honestly am just happy to be doing this work. I love to teach and it renews my spirit every time I get to teach a solid sit down lesson, but we have to work hard to find people prepared.
I feel that Heavenly Father shows us how much He loves us, by placing people in our path who are ready to be taught right then. Yesterday was a wonderful fast Sunday. We had fasted as a mission on Friday, and were happy to fast again. God inadvertently answered prayers by allowing me to play the organ for sacrament and teach Gospel Doctrine--Isaiah 40-49 :). There was no notice for either of those, but I loved it. I love that the mission has changed me, but I also love feeling like myself. Whenever I get to edit someone's essay, teach a class, play the piano, or speak dance or hockey with someone, it makes me happy. At district meeting this week, I trained on virtue from chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, and discussed how we feel the power and authority of our calling more when we keep our minds focused on our purpose in all hours of the day. I love when God allows us to use our unique traits and personality to fulfill HIs purposes. I have seen in some other service we did this week, how meant to be the timing was, because my companion and I happen to connect so well with certain people where other missionaries wouldn't, and vice versa. Speaking of connecting with people, Mally is here!!! We're going to lunch after this and it makes me so happy to see her.
Sister Liz Sheffer