Well hello there, everyone! Elder Nadauld and I have had another incredible week!! It seems that miracles after miracles are happening. It is truly inspiring to be witnessing the hands of the Lord in His work. Last Monday we had a district activity down at Wrightsville beach where we watched the sun rise! Wow, what a beautiful experience!! We went shopping after and I used some Christmas money to buy a new hair cutting set! Oh man, what a difference. So precise! We did our deep cleaning on Tuesday and it feels so good to be living in a cleanly place! Cleanliness definitely brings happiness. And the Spirit! We went out on exchanges with our Branch President (served his mission in Spain) that night to visit some Hispanic investigators and we had a great time! We taught with power and he was a huge help to us!! Haha it was funny, as we walked from one appointment to another, he told me that in the 5 years he's been going out on exchanges with the missionaries, my Spanish is the best he's ever heard! I felt very flattered, but quickly acknowledged the help of the Lord because I don't get to speak Spanish very often and I feel like I'm losing a lot of it haha! It was truly a great day and after coming home, planning, and getting ready for bed, we got a phone call from the Assistants. They told us that one of the missionaries had escaped. He had ran away and had left his companion. They sent us out to go searching for him and in the process, they sent us to the Wilmington airport! Around midnight! He was eventually found and the situation was handled, but man! What a crazy night.. We had district meeting the following morning and got to meet the two new missionaries in our district! Elder Nmesirionye and Elder Miller! Both excellent missionaries, very excited for them! We had a great day teaching many investigators and at one point had to make a run into Walmart. While we were inside, one of the cashiers called us over to talk with her! We began a conversation with Tawnya (the cashier) and it turns out she is from American Fork! She grew up in the church and has been surrounded by Mormons for most of her life, but never became a member herself. We shared a brief message and asked if we could come visit her someday. She told us that her mom had passed away a few years back and that she felt this was her mom reaching out to her! It was so neat to be able to meet this woman and hopefully help her feel a connection with her mother! We helped an investigator move some furniture later that night and while doing so, we found a dead smashed mouse on the floor! We saw it and almost died ourselves! Haha we tried not to make a big deal, but once they saw it, they flipped out! Haha it was hilarious.. The next morning we had a zone meeting with all of the district leaders and the sister training leaders and got some great planning done for our zone training tomorrow! We are thrilled to have this chance to ignite our missionaries and help them improve their efforts! That night, Elias and Gaston were interviewed for their baptism on Saturday and they both passed with flying colors! Whoo!! While they were being interviewed, we taught Masimango (another Congolese) and he is very strong. He promised he would read the Book of Mormon that night and even pray about it! Upon following up with him this past Sunday, he told us that he had read and prayed! After praying, he felt a lot of peace and just felt very happy. He then fell asleep and actually had a dream about the Book of Mormon! He now has a strong testimony of its truthfulness! Friday and Saturday we were very busy teaching, teaching, and teaching! We taught a man trying to give up smoking and decided we would fast with him. It was a great lesson and he was excited to turn his life around! We taught quite a few lessons and at one point even went to a drive-thru gas station! It's a place called Monkey Market and you literally drive through the center of the building and once inside, you tell the workers what you want and they run around the store bringing it to your car! So that was exciting! We also went to a Christian bookstore and put pass along cards in a lot of their Bibles hehe! It was so much fun. It got really cold this past weekend though! It got down to about 16 degrees and with it being so humid right here next to the ocean, it was bone-chilling!! Thankfully, church wasn't cancelled though! I loved the testimonies given this month. There actually was a Hispanic man wanting to bear his testimony so I got up there and translated for him to the congregation! We had a baptism that night and it was a NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!! Other than the fact that the water was freezing cold, everything went perfectly! Elder Nadauld baptized Elias, the father, and I baptized Gaston, the son! Directly following the baptisms, we also performed the confirmations and there was a strong spirit there. The entire group of Congolese sang to us at the end of the program and it sent chills down my spine! They invited us over to their home afterwards to eat some authentic African food and it was delicious!! They were all so happy! It was very touching to be back in that home, the very room where we began teaching them, and to think about how far they've come. Three of them members of the church! :) Gaston, the son, was simply radiating the entirety of the night. He announced to everyone that he didn't even need dinner because the Baptism had left him feeling so full and so satisfied! So complete! Wow, I love that family with all of my heart. It has been the biggest blessing to know them and watch them come so far. To be baptized! Three weeks now of baptisms, and three times being able to step into the water with these individuals and help them receive these saving ordinances. I couldn't be more grateful! And yesterday was another great preparation day. We accounted with President yesterday morning and he told us that he has never had zone leaders report as many total lessons taught as we did this past week! It was a new record for him! We definitely cannot deny the Hand of the Lord moving forward His work in this area. Last night we visited a few investigators and had some especially neat visits. We stopped by to see one woman and she expressed to us that two of her close friends had passed away that same day! We were able to share a gospel message and hopefully bring the Spirit into her home and into her heart to help her heal in this time of need. We also felt inspired to visit a man by the name of Sergio. He is a middle-aged Hispanic man and was taught about a year ago, but stopped receiving the lessons after not progressing. As we knocked his door last night and were let inside, his face lit up in excitement that we had finally returned. We shared a very powerful lesson about the Book of Mormon. Him, his brother, and his sister were all locked in as we let the Spirit testify to them. Upon inviting Sergio to read and pray about the book, he told us that although he had done so a year previous, he felt in his heart that he needed to try it again and this time a little harder. We testified of the importance of having real intent and he asked us to come by again as soon as possible. We knelt in prayer with them and offered praises to God for the miracle that visit was. I am such a happy person at this point in my life. And I know that is because I am choosing to be. Yes, there are trials. Yes, there are things to get us down. But we cannot afford to focus on them! Let us lift our heads high and never cease to smile as we bask in the warmth of our Savior's love. I testify that it is real.
Making the most of every day,