THIS. WEEK. WAS. AWESOME!!
To explain this weird pic, we all pelted each other with socks full of flour to reenact hunger games.
Anywho, we had some amazing lessons this week!! This little boy had me count all 207 of his Pokemon, so that was truly the highlight. We met with E. and he told us all about the crazy patients he had as a psychiatrist for 30 years. He convinced me that that’s a profession I NEVER want to pursue!!
The week started out a bit rough, but God is so good, He always delivers us after a trial!! For a Relief Society activity, we had a Cafe Rio-style dinner and it was AMAZING, it was pretty close to the real stuff and nothing has ever made me happier, I miss that place. And a refugee from Burma came and spoke about her journey to America and how she got established here. It was super inspirational, it really made us all appreciate what we had and where we are, this is one of the few places where you can work hard and rise up.
We met with B., the recent convert’s daughter, and she is doing great! She accepted a baptismal date for the tenth and her mom bore the most AMAZING testimony about how the gospel has blessed her life. She said that she wants her baptized so that she can have extra strength and guidance as she goes through life and school and whatnot. She's been reading and praying and has seen a difference in her life as she's come closer to God!
We saw K. again and talked a bit about what we both learned from Elder Bednar! AND it was on Sister W.’s birthday, the person that introduced K. to the church! They’re all headed out to Utah as we speak for Thanksgiving. K. will be getting a tour of BYU, going to a game, going to Temple Square and a few other fun places, we're so excited for her!! Keep praying that her mom’s heart will soften so that she can get baptized!!
We were trying to figure out what to do to be where we needed to be. There are people all around us who are searching for the gospel and just don’t know where to find it, and Sister Hayes and I decided to pray and pick a street on a map of our area. We started walking around and talking to people and we met this nice couple. They had a strange experience with missionaries in the past and they thought we didn’t read from the Bible or believe in Christ. We were able to resolve some of their concerned and introduced the Book of Mormon. They were totally turned off at first, but once we kept talking they opened up about how confusing it is to have all the churches and how they just want to come closer to Christ. We were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and how it was given to us for just that!! They accepted a copy and are excited to read! They said they felt like God sent us, and when we told them that we were only on their doorstep because a prayer led us there, they said they felt like God was watching out for them.
I love being a missionary and being able to be and instrument in God’s hands!!
Aaand my FAVORITE FAMILY FROM A PAST MISSION AREA, AND MY BEST FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL, BOTH CAME AND SAW ME AT CHURCH and words cannot truly express my joy. Both were surprises, it’s as though God knew I needed an extra boost and He delivers! I am so grateful for all the people and experiences in my life. Juliana is a best friend from high school in Maryland, and is now a student at Stanford, and an activity fell through, so at the last minute she and some friends decided to drive down to Death Valley, which takes them straight through Bakersfield. After a few frantic texts between Juliana, her mother, my parents, and a contact in my ward here, a plan was hatched, and after Sacrament Meeting I found Juliana in the church foyer, waiting for me. We only visited for a couple of minutes, we both had places to be, but at parting I was able to say “See you next month!” We were only together for a few minutes but it was glorious.
We had a zone conference and talked about the Savior and His sacrifice. The thing that struck me the most was a few scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants. The first is the incredible promise made possible through Jesus Christ. It’s in section 58:42-43 and says, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them." God promises us complete restoration to a pure and innocent state as we fully follow Him. Not a patched-up job, not mostly removing a stain, but a perfect fix. And how that is possible is explained a bit in section 45:3-4, "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him— Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified." We don’t do anything on our own. We don’t even plea our case before God on our own. Heavenly Father is satisfied to look on Christ and pardon us and our trespasses. He looks on one who is perfect and who paid the price for our sins and then forgives us. No strings attached, we just need to follow in His footsteps. What was cool when we were teaching B. is we asked how she would feel if every mistake she’s ever made would weigh on her forever. Through the Savior, those burdens are lifted. I know this is just kind of a strange ramble, but I’ve been pondering a lot of how sweet Jesus Christ is and how perfect God’s plan is. I am excited for the miracles that will continue to come!!
For Thanksgiving, we will have some weekly planning in the morning, then eating dinner at a member’s house.
p.s. We DID pray for food again and God DID deliver, about 10 members gave us something substantial in 2 days, life is grand.