Hey y'all, this week FLEW!
All of our investigators who lived a ways out have dropped, which is a blessing because the Lord is leading us to work a closer proximity around our own residence and the church, which will save us on time and miles, and help us to find the elect who can make it to church on their own. We have spent a lot of time tracting and have found awesome people.
Hermana West and I were walking down a street, originally planning on walking a ways down before starting to knock. We passed this house with three red trucks, and a sign that said, "Alabama fans parking only," and a UA flag proudly waving over the porch. Hermana West is still getting used to the football culture here, so we figured we'd knock it and get more acquainted. A man walked out of the side door, and I said something like, "hey sir, we're the local mormon missionaries, and we came to say, 'Roll Tide!,' and we have a unique message about the Savior that will bless your life. What do you think happens to unbaptized children?" Something like that, I don't really remember, but he let us in. He had strong misconceptions about mormons that we straightened up, and we have a wonderful conversation with him. His wife was very soft spoken, and would occassionally try to correct some of the myths this man was expressing about mormons. Upon engaging her more in the conversation, we learned that she was mormon herself! She was baptized in the 60s, and hadn't attended church for decades. She is adorable. It was fun to meet them, she gave us all of her info so we can find her records, and her husband committed to read the Book of Mormon and let us come back.
As we were making visits encouraged by the ward council, we passed a street that had several mailboxes that said "West." Naturally, Hermana West wanted to tract them, and we had good reception from one woman who we are going back to. Hermana West is so excited! I'm excited too.
All of Thursday was spent in Mississippi for a zone training. It was amazing! I had never been to MI before and was happy to set foot there. Also, the training itself was fantastic. We were all jazzed, and the training was put together so well. It really made me proud, especially since one of the STLs was in my zone when I was an STL, and I had worked closely with her. I reflected and was proud to see that this training was better than any I had helped put together when I was an STL. That was a good feeling to see those I helped train grow into such wonderful leaders. I am also so thoroughly impressed with all the new missionaries. These kids are incredible! I know the mission will be left in such good hands. At the end of zone training, I was invited to give my testimony as a departing a missionary. That was really weird. I had seen many other missionaries give their departing testimonies, and never really thought about when I would stand and give mine. My emotions got the best of me, and I promised these missionaries that every sacrifice of the mission is worth it. Every bible bash, every failed appointment, every moment of frustration, every headache, the allergies...everything. Alabama will always be a hallowed place for me because it is where I learned to love the Lord and His children.
Elder Westling works in the Florence ward with us, this is his second transfer. He is hilarious, but loves the work. He promised me that Jeanine, a non-member in a part-member family we've been working with will be baptized. I know that. He promised that she would be this transfer while I am here. She absolutely could be. I have faith she could do it, but I see it differently now. If she is baptized this transfer, awesome, if she is baptized January 31st, or even the next month, awesome. I don't really care what Saturday she gets baptized on, I just want her to make those covenants and secure her family for eternity.
I remember looking at our mosquito bite-covered legs last summer and joking with my companion that with each bite, our husbands got a little hotter. We were instructed by our zone leaders to go home immediately Saturday around 5 because of a storm. The skies were clear, so we decided to contact a referral on the way that was super close to our apartment. WE had a good conversation, and took a polite rejection, and during this, it starts POURING rain. We were biking and soaked by the time we went the short distance to our apartment. I had to spend just a minute or two playing in the rain in our parking lot, before we went inside and the thunder and lightning started...all out of nowhere, good old Alabama weather. We reported to the zone leaders that we made it back to our apartment safe, sound, and soaked. When they learned we were biking, they told us our husbands just got a little hotter. I honestly don't care if there is a reward anymore. Every little sacrifice itself is just worth it. I'll take the mosquito bites, the biking in the rain, the tracting in the cold, because the work is simply worth doing. It's a privilege, really. I'm happy. Alma 37:34 teaches me that the only way we ever can be truly rested is if we work our tails off. Work bring happiness, especially work for the Savior.
We spent lots of time tracting yesterday between making short visits and lessons to both active and less-active members. We have met mostly the nicest people I've ever met. We have a few return appointments and are excited to see what comes. I love tracting at night.
I absolutely love this work. So privileged to be here.