Yeaahhh that sounds super cheesy, but it really has. I am so grateful for the family fast, I have definitely seen the fruits of it!
So it's been pretty hard, not having our investigators. But I have to give you an update on at least one of them that I've heard of.
I told you last week, if I remember correctly, about our experience with Gabriel and Elders Ravsten and Traasdahl, who are now his missionaries. Well! When we talked to them later on this week, they told us about the incredible lessons they have had with him! They took a sorta-less-active member with them to the lesson, and GABRIEL offered HIM a ride to church! He even signed up on their dinner calendar (even though he doesn't cook for men, hahaha). But apparently he's really solid, and he has a great testimony. I'm still planning on his baptism for November 9th!
We were able to meet the Feasels this week, too. Brother Feasel is a less active, but getting back into church and going strong! The Elders were meeting with him and teaching him. His wife is not a member, and would never sit down for their lessons. But when she heard that we met with Bro Feasel without her she was super disappointed. So the next day? We had a lesson with her! It was awesome. We taught her the restoration and the whole family was at church yesterday. And guess what? She has a baptismal date for November 30! We're so thrilled to be teaching her.
We also were able to meet Annie. Annie is 17, and was almost baptized last April, but her parents called it off the day before! She's truly incredible. She was introduced to the gospel back in December by her boyfriend, and started meeting with the missionaries in January. She's had all the lessons and is basically a Mormon. She even spoke in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago! She's going to start coming out with us, and she's never had sister missionaries before, so we're hoping that we can soften her parents' hearts and help her be baptized before the date that they set for her (which is in MAY! :( ) We have so much hope for that.
We've been able to meet so many members this week. This ward is going to be a missionary ward, we can feel it. We will have so many members' friends to teach that we will never tract again! ;) But truly, the Spirit of change here is present, and the Lord's work is hastening so much here. We're on board with the ward mission leader, and we were able to teach Relief Society yesterday too. That was an incredible lesson. There was so much power in the testimony. And then I played "Nearer My God to Thee/I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me" on the harp at the end.We went to an awesome event put on by our new bishop (that they've been doing annually for 12 years) - a Trunk or Treat! The ZL's put their truck up and we had lots of BOM's and pass along cards and things, but mostly we just gave out candy. There were some impressive costumes! I was super jealous. We dressed up too, though! .... Like missionaries. :) Super creative, right?
We had an incredible Zone Conference and Specialized Training Meeting this week on Wednesday and Friday. The lessons were centered on Obedience and Repentance, of which I hadn't recognized the connection before. But they were pretty straight up about all the blessings of obedience, and also talking about how disobedience is rebellion. I'd never heard it like that before. It makes sense, though. One of the things I really loved about it was the observation that while the Lord's work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39), OUR work and purpose is to be obedient to God's commandments. Our whole reason for being here is to show that we love Him and can obey His commandments, because without doing so, we cannot be sanctified and perfected, and we can never become like Him. When I was baptized, and when I accepted my call to be a missionary, I covenanted not to be mediocre! I don't carry a white flag; I don't give up! I covenanted to be obedient and to take upon the name of Christ. D&C 31:5 says that if you thrust in your sickle with ALL your soul, your sins are forgiven you and you will see the fruits of your labor.
Heavenly Father doesn't want a portion of our time, of our goods, of our talent. He wants YOU. Give Him all, and He will return it to you times infinity. I know that's true.
Heavenly Father has promised to be with you ALWAYS as you do what He has asked you to do. He loves you so much, more than you could ever know. You have the opportunity and the obligation to help others feel that love. Reach out to them. Share that knowledge that you have with them and He will be nearer to you and bring your families nearer together as well. You have been blessed to come to this time, here, now, and to associate with the people that you do. It's not a coincidence! Elder Bowen said, "Without the Restored Gospel, no one can return to Father." If you have a desire, you are called to the work (D&C 4:3). You are not inadequate to do this work. He needs you, and the people around you that are unable to feel that love, they need you (D&C 123:12).
I love you all so much. I have a strong and real testimony of this gospel. Whenever my testimony is strengthened, it is only because I've had to have faith in the gospel and act first. Take the first step. Be brave! Luke12:32 - Heavenly Father wants to help you and give you the blessings of doing His work.
P.S. I almost forgot. We also had an incredible experience last night! We met with Chris and Jess, who have been passed around a few times, but are now ours to teach. They've been homeless for quite awhile, and were recently very blessed to find an apartment to live. When we met them the first time, we just went to schedule a time to teach and to say a prayer with them. They were so kind! When we asked what we could pray for, they just told us how blessed they were to have this place to live, and so grateful that the water had just been turned on! They asked us to pray for electricity and food.
They are the most humble people I have ever met. When we were teaching them yesterday, we shared our testimonies of the Savior and of modern day prophets. They shared their experiences of how grateful they are for all that they have. They told of one experience they had, where a man walked up to them and handed them a $20 bill and a bag of groceries. He told them to take what they needed and share the rest. I think many would have thought, "well, I just need all of it!" and taken the lot. But they took out a bottle of Gatorade and a bag of chips and then took the rest to others that they knew were in need! They called the man an angel and told us how he was just there and then about vanished. They also told us that they knew God was looking out for them, and that they knew that as they did good things for others, they received it back as blessings - if not from the people they served, then from others. They are so prepared for this gospel. We don't have a date set with them yet, but they agreed to be baptized if they come to know of the truth, and Jess has already had a spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon!