Dear Family,It has been one great week. It was kick started with an amazing zone conference on Tuesday. I was sitting in zone confernce thinking about how I used to go to EFY for a week to learn about the gospel and have a good time, and Mom and Dad paid so I could go have a great week. As a missionary, this is my life! I get to learn about the gospel every day and live it! And President Eaton is a top quality teacher. We had an amazing discussion about the Atonement at the beginning of the conference. There were about 50 missionaries in one room, all studying and sharing about the Atonement and what we had learned about Christ on our missions. It was a powerful discussion. One scripture that was shared that I loved was D&C 3:9-10
" 9 Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
10 But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;"
The Lord tells Joseph that he has made mistakes, but because of the Atonement of Christ, Joseph can repent, and he is still a chosen servant. Each of us are the same. We will not be called to be prophets of God, but we each have a role to play in God's kingdom, whether it be as a teacher, leader, missionary, friend, or a mother! And we are not perfect and we make mistakes, but we can always repent. We never lose value in the eyes of the Lord. I love the talk by Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient." He talks about how Christ's grace doesn't "make up" the difference. It makes ALL the difference. You can find it on lds.org if you just put it in the search box.
The rest of the week was great as well. We are working on talking with everyone we see. We find miracles when we do! But sometimes it can be discouraging, when people don't want to talk with us, appointments fall through, or people just aren't as committed or honest as they seem. But it's all in good fun. We "just keep swimming!" as Dory did. Sister Evans-Bottoms quoted that this week to a lady who was recently baptized. I think that's fitting. But anyways, we had a lesson with a man this week who wasn't at a previous appointment. We saw him walking down the road one day, parked and jumped out of our car, and talked with him. He said we caught him and that he would meet with us again! He seems to be holding a lot of weight about the things of his past. He believes in Christ, but is having a hard time allowing Christ to help him. He lives alone, and he is on oxygen. We taught him on his doorstep about the Restoration. We invited him to church, and he said we would come, but we weren't sure if he would. It got to be Sunday, we were sitting in church, and Sister Evans-Bottoms tapped me and told me to look over, and he came! He had to leave early, but he told us to stop by on Tuesday! It was so exciting! It's the best thing ever when we try so hard to help them understand how Christ can help them, and then to see them enjoying church, or reading the Book of Mormon, or praying with us, especially when they are going through a lot of trials. Best feeling ever. The gospel is just so awesome!
We had two awesome opportunities to serve this week! One, we helped move a family into their new apartment. It was so fun to get to know them and help them and to see their burden be made just a little lighter. We love to help people do physical labor, but we don't get a lot of opportunities to do it. I think people don't realize we have pants we can change into and that we don't always wear skirts! Something that touched me was that the oldest daughter in this family thanked us for listening to her talk about her art hobby as we took a short break in the moving process. It feels good to know that we can help others just by listening to them. Sometimes that means the most to people! Another opportunity we had to serve came from the downstairs neighbor of one of our investigators. This lady's name is Lori. She has an amazing story, and I feel ok sharing it, because she says she likes to share it to help others. The reason we were helping her was because she just had knee surgery! it was funny how we met her too. We were just coming out of a lesson with our investigator and this dog came running at us, barking. Lori told us he was harmless and then we started talking with her and found out about her knee and we offered to come help her with stuff. She readily accepted! It was awesome how Heavenly Father placed her in our path. We came over the next day and helped her clean a little bit, and she shared her story with us. She is 31 but has been through enough stuff for 3 lifetimes! She suffered different kinds of abuse when she was young. She left home at the age of 14 and was homeless for a while. She used some pretty awful drugs in the process. And she was atheist the whole time. She had had some pretty bad experiences with church. Then she started to wonder what she was missing that her friends of faith had that she did not have. She said the last thing she turned to was God. But when she did she really turned! She has such strong faith now in Christ and has become a completely different person. Her face was glowing with happiness even though she had been through so many awful things. She truly has become a "new creature in Christ," she told us. (2 Cor. 5:17) She told us she has many atheist friends that are so upset with her change, but that she keeps telling them of Christ. I shared with her the story of Abinadi in the Book of Mormon, and how he was preaching to people who wanted to kill him! But he kept preaching, because he knew that's what Heavenly Father wanted and needed him to do. And because of that Alma heard the message about Christ and went on to teach and baptize hundreds. She appreciated that story. She said that her door is open for us if we ever need anything. She is such an awesome lady! By the way Mosiah 12-18 might just be my new favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. They are so awesome! They tell Abinadi's and Alma's stories. And they are all about the coming of Christ!
Well, I've got to go! Love you all sooooo much!