Can I just start by saying that I love serving in the Lord's vineyard? :) This week was incredible. Last Monday for preparation day we drove out to Apex to have a basketball competition with another zone. And as all of you know, I'm very athletic and very talented at basketball (terribly sad joke). So I brought an ironing board and I just skinnied ties instead. It was actually really entertaining! There was a sister missionary there that told me about how she found my album somewhere and loves listening to it. She told me that it got her through the hardest transfers of her mission! I couldn't believe it! Neat little tender mercy to see that I was able to help someone out! Tuesday morning, Elder Summers and I received notice that we were going to give an instruction the next day in zone training! So we took some time to plan an instruction together and it was amazing to watch it come into play in the little time we were given. Elder Summers is so smart! Later that night we went and taught Josie, our recent convert, and she gave us hand-knit ties!! And hand-knit beanies!! They are beautiful. I was so impressed. She is doing very well and is progressing towards getting a temple recommend and doing baptisms for the dead! Whoo!!! The day of Wednesday we had zone training! It was a really great meeting. We instructed on "becoming fishers of men". Focusing heavily on the point of conversion for the great rock of the church, Peter. The first time around he served the Lord in action. He followed with exactness and did all that was asked. Yet he did not give his heart into the work. He at many points doubted and questioned the ways of the Lord. When on the tempest-tossed ship, when found asleep in the garden, and of course, when he denied having known the Christ are just a few examples of when this lack of devotion was made manifest. It wasn't until the Lord came to him again inviting him to feed His sheep. That is when this great apostle of a man began to put his heart into his actions and became the powerful witness of Christ we remember him to be. He even came to the point where the people came to him hoping that merely his shadow would pass by, that they might be healed. We learn and taught boldly that being on a mission is different than serving a mission. If we go through these two years and never put our hearts into our labor, we will not be changed. Nor will we ever be happy! Even if we do the very things that bring happiness! Happiness only comes as we give our hearts. There were many in tears as we shared our message and I was found among them. I know that the Lord loves us!! It was a great meeting. A little later that day we had a slightly less positive experience.. We were driving along heading to our dinner appointment when a woman in the lane to the right of ours decided to pull a u turn across the street into the other direction of traffic, cutting right in front of us! We were going about 45 MPH and I had to slam on my brakes as hard as I could not to hit here! Thankfully we were safe, but it was a close call. Elder Summers said there was even less time to stop than when we got in the accident! The Lord definitely blessed us that day with safety. I know that is thanks to my mother's faithful prayers!! THANK YOU MOM!!! We had a great night after that though teaching the restored gospel with power and authority. We are truly witnessing miracles out here! Late that night, President sent us a text informing us that is was time again for interviews and that we were going to have them the following morning at 8!!! Our mouths dropped... He then sent us our interview questions and requested that we come prepared with a 12-minute lesson plan based off of Elder Oak's conference address titled "Sharing the Restored Gospel" and a 5-minute description of how we were going to use it. We threw an outline together quickly and went to interviews the following morning. They actually went very well!! President was very impressed with our outline and told us that it was "obviously better than [his]" and that he was going to, with our permission, incorporate much of our outline into his. Whether that was true or not, the interview was beautiful and I was again reminded of the love of President and Sister James for us! They thanked me for always keeping a happy smiley attitude about me. :) We weekly planned later that day and changed to a different venue. We thought it would be good to get out of the apartment and let people see us, so we went to a local water fountain and planned at one of the tables there. It was a beautiful day and we will now be found there every Thursday afternoon. As we went out working that night, we set a covenant for our tracting efforts. After praying and pondering the will of the Lord, Elder Summers told me he had felt we were to get 2 of something. I turned to him and let him know that I was feeling we needed to find 2 new investigators. So we prayed and went out knocking. As we knocked a feeling came into my mind that we were about to find these investigators together. That we were about to find a family! We kept knocking and in the eleventh hour (classic...) we found them! The mom's name is Belkis and the son's name is Willy. Though there were many children running around and having fun, we shared one of the most powerful restoration lessons I have ever shared. They had a real desire to know the truth! When we asked if they would read the Book of Mormon, 14 year old Willy quickly accepted the invitation. Him and his mom both became promising new investigators. Another testimony to the power of covenanting (involving the Lord in His own work)! I felt the Spirit so strongly as we got back into our car. It was such a humbling yet comforting feeling to know that we had just been made instruments in the hands of the Lord. The following day we gave service to the family that is moving to Idaho by helping them paint their walls. But I forgot my camera so no pictures there.. oops. But that night we found another promising investigator by the name of Jacquelyn. She was raised a Jehovah's Witness, but fell away once she got older. We shared the restoration with her and as we did so, she began to cry. The Spirit was powerfully there and we bore fervent testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Saturday, we went to lunch at a pizza buffet and it made me sick for the rest of the day.. Some members then took us to a Greek restaurant for dinner and we ate gyros. Although it was incredibly amazing, I was stuffed to the brim!! Sunday we had our primary program and it was so beautiful. I love children. We went to see a less active after church and she told us that she had had a dream about the church the night previous! She genuinely thanked us for coming and bringing the Spirit into her home. So touching! We ended our week on a strong note as we went to teach the Jesus and Bryan, the husband and son of Josie. Her and Rony have been waiting for a while for them to be baptized. We talked about the plan of salvation and focused heavily on baptism. As we closed the lesson, we invited them to be baptized. They accepted. We invited them for a date. They accepted that too!! Together. They then each asked for Priesthood blessings and we gave them gladly. As we did so, the Spirit flooded the room and we all felt it. By the end, there were few dry eyes. Josie was filled with such excitement and joy as she watched her husband and son take the decision to be baptized. We walked away from that lesson without saying a word. We drove home in silence. We had indeed just witnessed a miracle performed by the hands of God.
Finding the joy in the journey,