Oh my goodness gracious, that was a week full of learning, new experiences, and joyous memories! Last Monday we had an office meeting wherein President James, Sister James, us, and the office staff all get together and we discuss the administrative needs of the mission. We had a great time together and then went to pick up the new missionaries from the airport! What a special memory that was! They were all very nervous and we took each of them around the airport to do some contacting. They did great! We got their luggage and drove back to the mission home! We had a wonderful dinner provided by our office staff as well as my personal favorite, nanner puddin'!! A testimony meeting then took place and we were able to testify to these new missionaries of the blessings and joys that come as we serve our missions! We got home pretty late that night and then had to wake up extra early to be able to get to the mission home and wake them up at 6:30! The signature breakfast was provided (oat waffles with ice cream, apple sauce, and a special kind of syrup) and it was delicious! After breakfast we carried them all in our van to the church and we had a few meetings for both the trainers and the trainees. It was a pleasure to instruct them at both! All the transferring missionaries then got to the church and we helped them find their new companions! It was fun to see all of my favorite missionaries!! I have come to love literally every missionary in this mission, they are doing great things being out here on a mission! After sending them all away to their new areas, we gathered the departing missionaries in our van and we drove them to the mission home. We had a party! We had a delicious dinner, played a lot of ping pong, and had a powerful testimony meeting. It was incredible to see the difference in testimonies from the night before. Such strong missionaries. The mission is going to miss those great examples of obedience and hard work! We continued to play ping pong after the testimony portion and President even got in on the action. He's pretty good! We ended up going to bed around 2 in the morning and then woke up at 4 to take them all to the airport! After helping them get through security, we traveled back to the mission home and updated the transfer board in President's office. We were so tired!! We hadn't slept in days! We finished the board, cleaned up the mission home, quickly ran to the store to buy groceries and then went home to take a President James approved nap. I guess it's a tradition that every Wednesday after transfers the assistants take a short nap! Even though it was only an hour, it was wonderful! We woke up, ran to the office to update a few things, and then went to teach the gospel! The first investigator that I met here in Falls Lake was Rich, he is extraordinary! He has read through the Book of Mormon once and is now reading it again! He has a baptismal date for June 10th and he is going to make it for sure! He has a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the restoration! It was a blast to teach someone so elect!! The following day I met even more elect people! After having gone to the office in the morning to plan out some things, we visited Mike! Elder Barlow tracted into him the week before I got here and had shared the restoration with him. Upon our return, Mike had taken a pad of paper and had written out a list of questions to ask! He is so prepared!! The Spirit was abundant and he very firmly agreed to come to church! I asked him if he would get baptized upon receiving a confirmation from God that this church is true and his answer was "Well, I would have to!" We are excited to watch him progress! I then got to meet a Russian investigator by the name of Yulia, she is great! She has been meeting with missionaries since December and is all ready for baptism, she is just waiting for an answer! She is progressing and now believes that God not only can answer her prayers, but that He will! A neat experience happened in our lesson with her this week. We were teaching her about the Spirit World and we had explained that it is a place of waiting, a place where those that have died can learn of the gospel and accept baptism through our proxy work. She wasn't agreeing with a lot of doctrine having to do with the Spirit World, but all of a sudden she stopped mid-sentence and said in her thick Russian accent, "Wow! I see it now. I understand what it is that you are talking about." She continued by explaining that 15 years ago she had had a dream wherein she saw her deceased father and grandfather. They looked pale and sad. There was a beautiful purple door with light coming from the other side of it, but they told her that they couldn't' move towards it. They told her that they were waiting. 15 years later that dream was brought to her remembrance and she then understood not only the doctrine of the Spirit World, but the need to be baptized in behalf of our dead. We feel she is very close to baptism and will make it there shortly! Finishing the night, we visited one more investigator and he told me that he thinks I should be on a toothpaste commercial! Haha not the job of my dreams, but we'll see what happens! Friday we had a leadership training meeting and thankfully everything ran smoothly! I instructed on what information needs to be communicated between leaders and the most effective way to do so! We were blessed to hear from President James as he gave an incredible instruction on how to be a good leader. He is one of the best! I received a tender mercy during the meeting, we were talking about the influence we can have on our missionaries by going on exchanges with them and an Elder there shared a story. He explained that early in his mission he was pretty disobedient and he didn't have a desire to do many things. He went on to share the story of an exchange he went on with me during that time of his mission. He explained that I taught him that we can still be "cool" while being obedient. He said I taught him how to have real joy while doing the work and what fun on the mission looks like. It seemed to have really impacted him, yet all I remember was trying to lift and inspire him! It is amazing how the Lord will magnify us and will make our influence to be great when we simply show up and have the courage to open our mouths! After the meeting we went out to work and began to knock doors! We quickly felt that we weren't in the right area so we said a prayer and felt that we needed to start driving north! We began to drive and did our best to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We found ourselves in a very nice neighborhood and as we drove along, a white truck stood out to me and I told Elder Barlow that we needed to stop and talk to the family in that home! We knocked on the door and a man immediately let us in! We quickly discovered that he was actually a member of the church! He asked us what brought us to his home and we told him that we were on an errand for the Lord. The family gathered together and let us know that they were in need of a message. We opened the Book of Mormon and 3 Nephi 22:10 came to mind. As we shared the powerful verses, the Spirit engulfed the room and the mother began to cry. We testified of our Savior and felt to promise very specific blessings. As we did so, the mother began to cry harder and after a few moments of sitting in silence, she looked up at us through her tears and said "You're like a little prophet!" We asked to have a prayer with them and as the father offered it, he too was brought to tears and it was a tender moment. We left that home not knowing exactly what we had just been a part of, but we knew that the Lord will guide us to those in need. If we simply listen for his voice, we will be lead! Imagine the miracles that would happen if Elders quorum presidents or home teachers were to devote a night to prayerfully visiting families in need! We tracted the rest of the night and felt the Spirit abundantly. Saturday morning we had our weekly transfer meeting with President and we were able to make a lot of progress with the policy changes we are planning on making to the mission! We had a great lunch with him afterwards thanks to Sister James and my favorite part was the traditional chocolate milk float! We tracted the rest of the day and found a woman by the name of Johneisha! Sunday was outstanding. Both of the wards that we cover here are amazing!! A few of our investigators came to church and they loved it! We were blessed to be able to talk to our families and I wished my mother the biggest happy mother's day!! She is truly such an incredible woman and I am blessed to know her and have her as my own!! It was a great skype call and it was actually my last one of the mission! We were able to share many scriptures and stories and we had a lot of fun. It was a great day and a great week! The best week of my whole mission!! I am loving my time in the Lord's work and I am doing my best to love, cherish, and enjoy every minute of it!
Blessed with the greatest mother of them all,