Dear family and friends,
This week has gone by honestly so fast! I feel like I was emailing home just yesterday! I loved reading through the emails I received from everyone! It sounds like it was a fast week!
Bryan, sounds like you had a great week in your new area! I loved the pictures you sent home! It sounds like there is a lot of less-active work that can be done there! Holy cow there are so many in just your area!
Marissa, congrats on passing your driving test! I'm sure proud of you! I'm also sorry to hear about your phone! That's kinda funny though that it is totally smashed!
Lachlan, it sounds like you are soaking up all the basketball you can get! I'm glad you enjoy going to the high school games with dad!
Alexa, I loved the picture mom and dad sent us of you dancing! You're so cute! I'm glad you all also had fun while grandma and grandpa H and Sara C. was there!
Also, I am so excited Crystal is getting baptized this Saturday! It is so special that she has decided to join the church. I remember talking to her about what I was going to do as a missionary at the Ward Party during the summer at the VanderSloot ranch and now she has taken the lessons and found the truthfulness of the Church. Be sure to take tons of pictures and send them to me! Can you also get her email for me? I'd love to send her a email!
As for my week, like I said, it went by really fast and I learned a lot!
I was able to finish the Book of Mormon this past week for the first time on my mission. I started while I was in the MTC. I know without a doubt the Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Christ and brings so much joy and peace into my life. I am so grateful I live in a time where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been restored to the earth and we have the fullness of the Priesthood. I am so thankful for the prophet Joseph Smith. I am thankful he had a question and after reading James 1:5, taking his question to the Lord. I definitely am humbled by what Joseph went through to restore Christ's Church. Sis. Gearhart in my ward at New Beginnings a couple weeks ago said something along the lines of 'the pioneers gave their lives for the gospel and we just have the live our lives for the gospel.' That quote is so true. God had given us commandments to live by so that we can be happy.
I challenge you, if you have not yet done so, to read the Book of Mormon and do as Moroni's promise says in Moroni 10:4-5. I know that if you sincerely pray and have a desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true, you can know for yourself, the truthfulness of its' teachings.
Last Monday, February 2, we had our dinner appointment and FHE with the Taylor family. FHE was really fun. They have 4 kids-the youngest being 6. We split the Plan of Salvation up into 9 different parts and each of us took a part to teach. To mix it up, during your turn to teach, someone else had a white board and marker and wrote words you had to use as you taught your portion. The funnest one probably was their son Cannon, around 15 years old, was teaching about physical death. Sis. Grant had the white board and one of the words she wrote down was 'ginger' So Cannon said, "and yes, gingers have spirits too." It was really funny because Sis. Cook and I are both 'gingers'. So, we all had a good laugh at that.
Tuesday was an awesome day! It started off with having an appointment with our investigator, Cami. When we got there, her neighbor was there as well! She was interested in what we teach and she stayed for the entire lesson with Cami!! I can't remember if I said this last week but we are now starting Cami on Family History which she is really excited about. This appointment was mostly to help her set up her familysearch.org account and to help her fill in some of her information. We also talked a lot about what she is currently reading in the Book of Mormon. She is currently in Mosiah. The hard thing is is that whenever we talk to her about it, she always brings up the verses that don't make sense and to her, talk about the Trinity. (But, we had an appointment with Bro. and Sis. Goss on Thursday and we talked to them about all the Trinity sounding verses in the Book of Mormon and I learned so much. It all makes sense now! Bro. Goss is a Seminary/Institute Teacher and an EFY director) Colleen, Cami's neighbor, had some really good questions for us! One of them was what our belief was about babies who pass away before being baptized. It was really neat to talk to her!! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she accepted our invitation to read it! We have a return appointment with her too!! I am so excited to be able to talk to her and start teaching her the lessons and what we believe and know to be true! I'm so excited to have a new investigator!
We also had a door basically slammed in our face Tuesday evening...Looking back, it's all good but I was really sad when it happened. We have been trying to contact a Less-active for months and never had any communication with. Her family is from Utah and she went out to visit them a couple months ago and told them she wanted to become active in the church again. From her family informing missionaries, and us hearing word, we have been looking forward to finally making contact. Well, her husband/boyfriend answered the door and as soon as he saw us, said, "oh, no." before we were even able to say anything and shut and locked the door. He's not prepared yet, but one day, I hope and believe he will be open to hearing the gospel.
Tuesday night we had a FHE with a part-member family. We did the armor of God lesson and had their 7 year-old daughter, Roz, go around the house to find things to represent the breastplate, sword, helmet, etc. We then had nerf guns where each bullet would represent a sin. Sad to say, our lesson was a fail...First of all, I helped Violet, a 6 year old sweet girl adopted from CHINA!! who has down syndrome shoot 3 bullets but then Roz's mom went to shoot, she said, "This is for not eating your broccolli." The pillow was right below her eyes and the helmet was right above her eyes and Roz's mom shot her right in the eye. We all felt so bad. Roz started crying and it took her a while to settle down. Yeah, lets just say that lesson is going to have to be taught a different way...Bro. and Sis. Hyatt just got married July(ish) of last year. Bro. Hyatt's first marriage, he and his previous wife adopted two little children from China. Sadly, I can't remember the city but it sounded really familiar. He adopted Violet at 18 months and Sam when he was 3 years old. Sam was at his mom's when we were there so I couldn't meet him and Violet knows no Chinese but they are so cute! Bro. Hyatt and I talked a lot about China. I guess when you go over there to adopt a child, the agency is very strict on where you can go. He was able to visit the Great Wall of China but he couldn't go to the Terra Cotta Soldiers in Xi'an. It was really neat to be able to talk to him about his experience there.
Wednesday went by really fast. It was pretty much just a normal day of work other than having weekly planning in the morning. We had dinner with the Jacobs that night and then an appointment with the Jones family. Bro. and Sis. Jones are the ones that both served missions. What I learned is that Sis. Jones was on the gymnastics team for BYU on a scholarship. We did an object lesson with the 3rd lesson, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. They kids, Kai, Finn, & Bre and so cute and so educated. The oldest one is 7 and knows the answers to every question we ask!
Thursday we had a great lesson with Sister Liggett. Her husband is a nonmember but Sis. Liggett has decided after being married for 30 years that she wants to go to the temple and take out her endowments. The lesson we had with Sis. Liggett was amazing. We talked about what she needs to do to prepare to enter the temple and we also discussed the first lesson, the Restoration. We had decided to go through all the lessons with her again. I am excited for her to start preparing to enter the temple. Thursday we also helped Sis. Shirk clean her home . We had some stopbys and then had dinner with the Carpenters. After dinner we had appointments with the Boulander family and the Goss family.
Friday morning we had Zone Training down in Colorado Springs. We talked a lot about using our time wisely especially during the daytime hours. We had lunch with the district. We went to Five Guys and then came back to Monument. it is about a 30 minute drive. We had some time before our service appointment with Sis. Jacobs-we helped her make Relief Society Visiting Teaching handout things. With our extra time, since it was 70 degrees outside (SO NICE!!), we walked around a neighborhood. While we did this, we were able to hand out multiple mormon.org cards and we were able to give a Book of Mormon to a young mom named Shawna. She was at the park with her 1 year old daughter, Piper, and she seemed somewhat interested in learning about the church. She lives in our ward boundaries as well which is a plus! We are hoping to be able to make contact with her sometime this next week. It was definitely a very successful day! We also ran into Ryan, a Priest in our ward, and he was really excited to see us! He came over to us and told us he was able to give a Book of Mormon away to a girl at school and how they have had two conversations about the church and what we believe! We were so excited for him! The work here in Jackson Creek, is starting to hasten very quickly! It is so neat to see and be apart of!
Saturday we had appointments all day long. It started with a less-active/part-member family. We taught the Plan of Salvation and had a good conversation with them about the life after this. We then had a lesson with Danielle, a 13 year-old less active. She is extremely smart and we are hoping that she comes around and comes to church. She told us she would come to church this Sunday, but she didn't :(. So we will continue working with her. We also went over to the Germano's had continued to help them with their home, they are staining, putting in new carpet, and all of that stuff. I absolutely love Sis. Germano. She is such a neat lady. Saturday night, we had dinner with the Gonzalez family. We played Bananagram with them. It is a really fun game.
Church on Sunday was really good. We sat with Sis. Hyatt's two children, Roz & Landon because she spoke. They were really well behaved. Ian was also there so we were able to talk more about Christ and the Plan of Salvation with him during second hour. Relief Society was also really good. We talked mostly about Agency and the power to choose but recognizing that we must face the consequences of our choices. Our Sunday afternoon was full with Choir and stop-bys. We had a great conversation with Jenn, we were able to make contact with Sis. Hayes and set up an appointment with her this Wednesday, and visit the Castle's who had a baby about 2 weeks ago. They named her Inga and she is the tiniest thing! We had dinner with the Tuft family. Sunday was also Sis. Grant's 21st birthday so we celebrated all that we could.
This morning we were able to go to a gymnastics place for 1.5 hours! The owners live next to some members in the Monument ward and they are so nice! We had so much fun as a district. I was surprised that I could still do a lot of what I did when I tumbled. But of course, not the backwalkover..Mom, remember that one competition, our very last one, and I did a back walkover and then I could never do it again? haha that was a good day :)
I sure love you all and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve. Sadly, there are no updates on my visa. I continue to pray for it to come but I guess it will come when it comes but most importantly when the Lord wants me to go to Taiwan. Please continue to pray for my visa. :)
Have a great week!! Love you!!