Today I have so much good news to share! It was an awesome week and I am just so grateful for everything.
This week we stayed in Worland all week long, and we were able to have some wonderful lessons. Sister Smith hasn't been feeling too great, but she pushes through pain, so we still did many things, with some naps in between.
We had a lessonwith a lady we call Grandma. Haha. We even asked her if we could call her Sister Draper, and she said no. She wants to be called Grandma. So it is :) She is reluctant to change- she says she is stubborn and 74 years old- but that means nothing to the Lord, so we invited her to take the lessons anyways. Her daughter is a member. So when we came over for her first lesson, the apartment was crowded and noisy and busy. There were lots of people there and someone yelling outside, but we asked if we could pray, and it got quiet and stayed that way the whole lesson. There was even a man there who says he has been tossing the idea of joining the church and wants to learn more! Grandma says she will consider being baptized and we are meeting again with them .
There is this family- the C family- who I love! The dad totally wants to change his life around and join the church, but he is SO busy with work that it's really hard to get things going. Every time we meet with their family, though, the Spirit is so strong, and this week was no exception. The wife, who is less-active, said a beautiful prayer. She has been pretty bitter and sarcastic in previous lessons, but when she feels the Spirit she becomes soft and kind. It's amazing to watch the change in her. The dad and one of the daughters want to be baptized, and we are praying that we will be able to meet with them and help them get there. Oh, I just love them. I feel like I've known them for years.
Tom Milburn. You might remember me talking about him last week or something, but we met him a little more than two weeks ago, and he got baptized last night! He is a salesman from Texas with the most awesome Texas drawl. He grew up Southern Baptist, but when he experienced some things that contradicted what he had been taught, he decided maybe he should start listenin,' as his wife told him to. He says, he has started listening, and he has felt the Spirit as he has read the Book of Mormon,m come to church, and learned. He is sixty eight, but says he is now listening, and God has spoken to him. It's amazing! It's been two weeks, and he has changed. He will be the first to admit he has much more to learn, but he bore his testimony at his baptism yesterday and said he read the "book", it's true, and he feels good about everything.
He has so much faith! I have LOVED teaching him. He talks and talks, and I've prayed in so much gratitude for the Lord helping me teach him, because I had to interrupt him a lot, and I don't like doing that, haha. He is so appreciative of us teaching him, and we are SO appreciative of him! He has taught me how much the Lord can do when we open our hearts to Him and listen.
The night before Tom's baptism, we went with him and some members to Thermopolis for Art's baptism! Remember him? The one we met that one night tracting, and he cried because he was just so happy! Well, he got baptizednight, and that was a really special experience. We went over to the font for him to be baptized, and as he entered the water, he was crying with his hands in the air saying, "Thank you Lord...Thank you Jesus," over and over. After he came up out of the water, he did the same. He was just SO grateful to God for washing him from his sins. I felt the Spirit so strong as I watched him cry in gratitude for the gift of being baptized. It made me think how often I take things for granted. It made me think about the ten lepers and the one who returned and thanked Christ for healing him. I always thought that was crazy and that I would never do that, but then I got thinking about the blessings I receive that I don't thank the Lord for- I just expect- like the Sacrament. Every week, I am being baptized in a sense, when I partake of the Sacrament. How much do I thank my Lord that I have been washed clean once again each week.
Art got up to bear his testimony and started getting really excited and raising his hands and pacing and everything, so he said, "Now, I better sit down before I start preachin' to ya'll!" Hahahaha. He is so awesome. He really loves the Lord. He talked to Tom and then came yesterday to Tom's baptism! I'll attach a picture. It was awesome!
It was an eventful week. It was filled with lots of opposition, but many blessings. Sister Smith was sick for a lot of it, and stress built up as we ran out of time for most everything. But, the opposition was followed with SO much peace. For example, yesterday we were running late and nothing seemed to be working out as planned and we finally got to the baptism, flustered, but then the baptism was FILLED with members from the ward, Tom was happy as could be, the music was beautiful, and the Spirit was strong. Sister Smith and I were just SO HAPPY. I mean, you just need to meet Art and Tom, and you will realize you just can't NOT be happy around them. Anyways, this opposition and blessings thing has got me pondering about some things. When Adam and Eve were cast from the garden, they experienced sadness and trials now, but, with that, they could now experience the joys of life. Without the opposition, they wouldn't know what true joy felt like. It would pretty much be neutral all the time. Boring. There is opposition in all things. Life isn't supposed to be neutral. I'm grateful for the hard times because they help me really feel the joyful times!
One last thought. Today we are in Riverton. As we were driving this morning the hour and a half drive, it was SO beautiful. As I watched the beautiful mountains, plains, canyons, and rivers pass by, I was just so grateful. We were listening to some songs, and one of them has the line, "God loves Broken things." I changed it to "God loves beautiful things." He created the beautiful land, the clouds reflecting on the mountains, the water, the people...I have seen how when the gospel enters someone's life they become more beautiful- to themselves and to others. God fills them with light and joy. God loves making things beautiful. Change is beautiful. I'm not explaining myself as clearly as I'd like, but I am grateful for the beauty that God creates around and in us.
I love this gospel. May we all share the gospel the best we can and rely on the Lord for help.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth slavation; that saith unto Zion, They God reigneth."
Sending my love from the great land of Wyoming :)
Sister Hixson <3