Theresa. We met Theresa while trying to find another person who is less-active. We taught her the first lesson and invited her to be baptized. Her response: "I'm already baptized Mormon." Hahahaha. Well, we invited her to church and she came and loved it! It's been about twenty years. She is the sweetest lady.
Joy. Joy is Penny's sister. We actually met Joy before we ever met Penny. Joy knows the church is true, but she is just hesitant about making the commitment. Keep her in your prayers. Both her and Penny have a lot of trials due to family members' situations.
Time is short, and I'm not sure what to talk about this week. I guess I will write about how much the people here have blessed my life. There are hard days and weeks, but I can't imagine life without the experiences I am having- without the people I have met. Brother Dalton bore his testimony again in Mission Preparation class yesterday and again, we were all in tears. His testimony strengthens mine that this gospel is the only thing that can bring true and lasting joy in people's lives. No matter who you are or what you know, the gospel will bring you joy.
We went to a family's home- the Mickelsen's- Saturday night. Their little boy, Jackson, squeezed himself between Sister Frost and me and YELLS everything he says. Hahahaha. I can't imagine life without him. Brother Dalton's "thank you" every time we shake his hand. The Whitney's and their crazy dogs that somehow sneak into our bedroom while we are gone and leave a little gift on our carpet every couple weeks, haha. And then there is Penny, who we call daily simply because we need a little "Penny" in our life EVERY day. She makes me laugh constantly.
I am just grateful to be doing this work. It truly is God's work. Joseph Smith really is a prophet who helped restore this gospel to the earth. It's here, and we can have it in our lives.
This week we have seen a lot of little miracles. We have found several people to teach and even two families! That's what we have been praying for- two families who are prepared to received the gospel at this time. Four families have fallen into our laps! Miracles happen.
Alexis Ramos and her family are one of the families. We met Alexis while she was moving into her apartment two months ago. We were going into the apartments to meet someone else there and started helping her move in. When we asked her if we could share some of our message with her, she said yes, and for the past two months, we have been trying to contact her. We taught her and her nine year old son, Colby, the other night while we were around her area and decided to try to catch her home. They both said yes, they want to be baptized! We are trying to get back in with them, and are excited to meet the rest of the family.
About a month ago, we tracted right around our house. Down the street a ways we met this family and talked with the mom, Heidi, for a second. They had just gotten home and were unloading groceries and said to come back the next night. Well, that's when we got really sick, so we couldn't come. Since then we have been trying every chance we have but they are never home. Since we didn't have their last name, we have been calling them, "Our family." When are we going to try our family again?" We'd say. haha. Well, we finally caught them home last night! We were out with the Gillett's, and the appointment we had fell through, so we went to try our family. We were able to go in and sit down with Heidi and share the restoration with her. When we shared with her the First Vision, she said, "How come I have never heard this before?" Like, where has this been all my life?? When she was invited to be baptized she said, "Yeah!" She has to talk to her husband before committing to a date, but she accepted a Book of Mormon and the Spirit was so strong. The Gillett's were able to share their testimonies, and it was incredible. The missionaries knocked on their door a year and a half ago and they accepted the gospel and have been blessed so much since- they just want to help the missionaries every second they can and share their testimonies and conversion stories with everyone we teach! Members' testimonies add SO much to a lesson.
Then last night we went over to Penny's sister's house. She said beforehand, I'm not getting baptized! Haha, but she let us come over anyways. We chatted with her and Penny and she toured us through her house because she said it is a museum, haha. We looked at all her pictures and she told us how angels are looking over her house. We sat down then and started to talk about God's love for her. Soon she was in tears. She cried and said she knows He loves her. She just is going through such a hard time, and she just needs to keep going. When we shared the First Vision with her, she said, "I know it's true. I know it happened." The same thing Penny said a couple months ago. She is incredible! I know the church is true again and again when I hear the First Vision in the words of Joseph Smith. The Spirit fills the room and fills my heart, and I know it's true. It is exciting when others feel it too and desire to change because of it.
This week we also had a couple lessons with Cory Clark. I don't remember if I have talked about him yet, but he is the husband of a less-active girl, Shaya, who has recently come back to church. She is twenty-two and he is probably late twenties. Well, when we went over to see Shaya the first time, Cory was there and we taught the first lesson and invited him to be baptized. He pulled out his research about the mormons and we just bore our testimonies and set up another appt. Well, since we have been back he pulls out his Book of Mormon (completely marked and tabbed) and his Bible (the same) and his papers of quotes he has found online about Joseph Smith and charts he has made proving why the church is not true. We try to teach, but it's quite difficult. He is the nicest man though and truly believes that the church is not true because of logic and all these things he has found. But, I can honestly say I have felt the Spirit so strongly in only a few other lessons before. As we testify to him, the Spirit fills the room and we all feel it. We don't argue, we won't even address the things he brings up because we have no clue what he is talking about, haha, but we invite him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. On Tuesday, he said no he would not pray about the Book of Mormon, but we know that he will get there at some point. He is the coolest guy and his wife is AWESOME. It's only a matter of time. I know that the scripture in Moroni 10 is true- that anyone who reads the Book of Mormon, ponders it, and prays about it, will come to know through the Holy Ghost that it is true. P.S. hilarious fact....he said he wanted to give us things to read if we were going to assign him things to read, so we were expecting anti-mormon literature or something. He gave us HEBREWS! Hahahaha, we laughed forever about that one. Haha.
One of the highlights of my week/life are when our recent converts bear their testimonies and we see the changes that they continue to make in their lives since they have been baptized. On Sunday, Nathan bore his testimony in Gospel Principles class. The room was so silent as we all listened and the Spirit filled the room. He said how three days before we arrived at his house, he had reached his all-time low and for the first time in his life had gotten on his knees and pleaded with God to show him a sign, some way or path to go. We started teaching him about a week later. It's incredible how the Lord knows His children. Us sisters were doubled into this area that week and the Elders in the area said, hey, stop by the Dalton's. Her husband isn't a member and she recently started coming back to church....
I know that God loves all His children. I have a testimony of that. I am grateful to see that and to feel it. I am grateful to see the power of the Spirit as it works on our investigators and recent converts.
It's still cold in Montana. I dress like it's summer and then I'm cold for the whole day. I'm in denial, but I'm tellin' ya, it's coming soon. SUMMER :)
Well, that's all for now folks! We have to leave the library now so I don't have time to write anyone who wrote me this week. I'm sorry about that! I love the emails though. Thank you for the time you put into them and all your love! I love you all!
Well, this week, a lot is on my heart and mind. It's been an awesome week. As always. It's so hard to write the email each week because I can't remember half of anything, except that it was Awesome, Hard, and I'm alive and well. Haha. Today I wanted to tell you about all of it because for once, I can remember it pretty well :)
The week started out with a visit to Russell who loves with his less-active grandma. It was during preparation day hours, and I was a little not excited about that because Preparation days are stressful enough to get everything done, but it was the best time for them to meet, and Sister Frost is my best example and said, "Sure! Works for us!" Good thing, because we went over and had a wonderful lesson with him, and told him, k, so Russell...we are going to see you every day until your baptism. (Russell is 11 with little glasses and the cutest little smile ever- he is my favorite- along with the rest of Montanans, but really..he's my favorite.. :) We told him we would stop by every day and he has to answer the door. If he doesn't answer the door, we will call him. If he doesn't answer his phone, we will climb a ladder and knock on his window...stalkers much?? Haha. He thought it was funny and actually we have seen him every day but one!! His dad who has not been supportive of him being baptized, said yesterday that if he wanted to be baptized, he could!!! Miracles!
Katherine is someone else we are teaching. She is 17 and amazing!!! She just soaks up the gospel and wants everything about it. She even signed up for Trek...and is excited about it! She also wants to serve a mission and told her less-active mom about it who cried and wants us over for dinner. Katherine's uncle who lives with her just joined the church a few months ago and ever since we have been coming over to teach Katherine, he raises his arms, looks up, and says with a huge smile on his face, "Thank you!" Hahaha Keep in mind he is huge, tall, and has long brown hair and a long beard- like Santa Claus except its brown. To say the least, this makes me so happy every time, haha. I am so grateful for Katherine and her faith and example to her family. We teach her in her bedroom, and her little four year old brother, Noah, comes in and lays on her bed with her and gives us hugs every time we leave. He says, "Katherine is getting bap-i-tized."
Kyle Hughes....oh, Kyle Hughes. Yes, another one of my favorites....He is ten, and hi-lar-ious. We taught him his last few lessons this week before his baptism this weekend. As we went through the interview questions with him, we asked him the first simple question, and he looks at us, like, "Are you seriously asking me that?" and says, "Well, yeeah!!!!!!" and throws out his arms. Like duh! When we taught him the ten commandments, he commented the whole way through, and when we got to Though shalt not kill, he's like, "I would never do that!" And same with though shalt not steal. Except he says, "Well, unless I have to steal, like if me and my family's life depended on it, and then he gets into this whole conversation with his mom who rolls her eyes at everything he says. Haha. It's the cutest mom/son relationship I have ever seen.
At his baptism, Kyle wore his sunglasses on his head (keep in mind...MONTANA WINTER..) - so stylish, and wore a tie and collared shirt. He was excited and looked great! I wish everyone could meet him.
I hope you all know that there is seriously no way to describe my life here. Words don't do anything justice. That's probably why I have such a hard time writing about it....but don't worry, Mom, I will continue to write :)
K, one proud mama...that's me. Nich and Nathan=AMAZING. I'll explain. We got a call a couple weeks ago from this random number and this guy left a voicemail saying that he found our number on a blue sticky note in his house and wondered who it is. Well, anyone who knows me and my sticky notes knows that probably half of Great Falls is covered in sticky notes by now, so we had no idea who this guy was ;) We had tried to get a hold of him since, but no success. He finally calls early this week and we answer! He says he wants to know the truth. We teach him on the phone and then he invites us to come over that night. So who do we bring? Nich Willard. We felt impressed to bring him out with us earlier in the week, but we didn't know who to take him to. The opportunity fell into our laps. We went over with Nich and taught this guy, Josh, and his roommate Preston. They sat and listened while we taught the first lesson, and they said, will this book (the Book of Mormon) bring me hope? How do I know the truth? As we were teaching, Preston said, "I can't believe this is happening. It's strange to have visitors, and they aren't our co-workers bringing beer over. It's so much happier." Josh asked a question that Nich had asked a few weeks prior as we were preparing him for baptism. So, he chimed in and bore his testimony and answered Josh's question. Both Josh and Preston are moving in the next couple days, but they have member friends and now own a Book of Mormon which they said they want to read and pray about. I am so grateful to be a servant for the Lord and be able to bring the gift of the gospel to people. Even if I never see the end results in this life, I'm excited to see Josh and Preston one day and see how everything went.
Nich passed the sacrament yesterday! And invited his member boss and his wife, from another ward, to come and watch him since they couldn't be there for his baptism. Nich has lost all his friends since being baptized. (But gained some new ones:) He has stood up for his beliefs. Even though he still has so many questions, he knows it's right, and he is sticking up for it (1 Nephi 8). He is so happy.
Nathan is doing so well. Yesterday we had a lesson with him and his home teacher, and when he explained principles of the gospel, I just looked over at Sister Frost with the biggest smile ever...I feel a tinge of what Heavenly Father feels like when we remember the things He has taught. So proud for them.
Lastly, yesterday after stopping to see Russell and his grandma, we drove next door to see Russell's great grandma. Well, everything is covered in snow here so a big pile of snow doesn't necessarily mean that it's flat there. I drove to the side of the road onto the snow, and what do you know, there was a ditch! So, Sister Frost was trying her best to maneuver me out of there without success, when a truck backs up to us and two guys jump out and start attaching a big rope to the car to pull us out! Long story short, we get out after a few hiccups and Russell's grandpa came out and helped us. His name is Kevin. Kevin is not a member of the church and has never wanted to be from what we have heard, but he is so kind. We were able to talk to him for a second, and he was able to help us out. Then, as we were leaving, we found this drunk man down the road who had been snowmobiling and was getting frostbite. We called Kevin, and he came to help. Although it was a really weird day, I know it was a blessing to get stuck in the ditch because Kevin was able to serve us and get to know us, and we were able to seek his help with the drunk man. The Lord works in mysterious ways. One thing I know is that those things in our lives that seem like trials? They are blessings. As a missionary, I feel at times that I know what Heavenly Father is thinking. Then, I get humbled and remember, oh yeah, He knows more than I do. And then I try again to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and act in faith.
I can't not write about Penny and Marissa. They are going through so much right now- more than anyone I have ever met. Every time we go over, which is every day, we are not sure what we will find and what they will be going through each day, but we follow the Spirit. My heart is heavy when we leave most of the time. But, I just love them so much. I know without a doubt that the gospel will bring them so much happiness. They know this too. Little Gavin is Marissa's son and Penny's grandson. Last night he finally said, "Jesus," when we showed him the picture of Jesus! He smiles and says, buh bye, buh bye" every time we leave. I love that lil' guy.
Well, if I haven't said enough, I love you and thank you for all your prayers and support. While I recognize every day I am weak, I remember the scripture, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." And that the gospel is to be preached by the weak and simple. We can do it! Don't give up! Follow the Spirit, even if you don't know if it's the Spirit. That's when miracles happen.
Now it's a while later....
A man came up to us at the library and asked us to preach the word to him. We walked over to a table in the library and taught Roy the gospel just now! He told us we have a power about us. He can feel it. He told us how the world is so hard and bad right now, and he needs to make some better choices in his life. I am so grateful for the opportunity we just had to teach him. He just strengthened my testimony that when we pray for those opportunities to share the gospel, they come. I am grateful to be a servant for the Lord and to be able to declare His true gospel. It will go forth no matter how crazy this life gets.