Well, this week has been one of the best and craziest in my entire life! We got our car on Monday, and we went crazy all week driving around trying to find new people to teach, teaching people, and trying to get people to come to conference. Although it was a very stressful time, we saw many miracles and had the best weekend ever in the end! I loved conference SO MUCH, it’s even better as a missionary! On to the week real quick:
Monday: After our P-day, we stopped by a bunch of referrals, and had an awesome lesson with Destani. We reviewed what we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and prophets at Temple Square on Sunday, and then set up lessons for the rest of the week in order to make sure she’d be completely ready for her baptism. She learns stuff so well, asks wonderful questions, and is so in tune with the Spirit!
Tuesday: In the afternoon we went over to a member’s house to do service. A young couple had just moved in and are currently renovating as they unpack and thus have quite a hectic household at the time. Elder Firpo and I went over with the four Tongan missionaries and cleaned up their front and back yard from debris and bushes. It was pretty cool, because although we were serving just to serve and we thought there was little potential for “missionary work”, one of the construction workers walked up to me, stared at my nametag for a few seconds, then asked what I was wearing. I told him, and he said, “Get me a book of Mormon, would ya? I’ll be back in an hour.” It made me realize that missionary work IS service, whether spiritual or physical service, and that as we help people spiritually, we have opportunities to help them physically, and as we help people physically, we have opportunities to help them spiritually. At four we went to Destani’s and taught her about the doctrine of Christ, namely, faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I love teaching people about Christ’s doctrine, because it’s so simple and pure yet so powerful and relevant to our lives. We told her to read 2 Nephi 31 in the Book of Mormon with her Mom and little sister that night. Afterwards, we went to Temple Square to have a lesson with Lupe, her boyfriend, and her two kids. The lesson went really well, the Spirit was strong as we talked about the baptism covenant. Her and her two daughters are going to get baptized on the 19th of October! We had an appointment with Rosa, our other investigator, right after our lesson with Lupe, but she didn’t show up. Despite that, it was a wonderful day.
Wednesday: In the morning, we went to Welfare Square to do service at the bread factory with our District leader and his companion. Once we finished up, we went back to the Box for lunch, and then went on splits. I was with Elder Barker, our District leader, and Elder Firpo went with Elder Lusk. Elder Barker and I were going to work my area, which was a little scary at first because I didn’t have a fluent companion with me, in fact, it was completely up to me to talk to people in Spanish. At times it was a little difficult, but I’m grateful to report that the Lord plays His part when we need Him most, and for the most part I was able to understand everyone and get my point across. After an afternoon of biking around taking to people, we came back to the Box for dinner, and when we came out, Elder Lusks bike (the one I was using) had been stolen, the lock was cut right through. My favorite quote of the week came from Elder Barker upon discovering the stolen bike (They got one stolen last week, too!): “I’m going to take finding to a whole new level…” We’re always taking about methods of finding people to teach, though that time he was talking about finding the culprit. After our little fiasco with the bike, we walked to the chapel and I taught Rosa. She talked about how she wasn’t sure if baptism on the 12th was the right thing yet because she hadn’t seen a miracle to confirm that the Church is true. I taught her about Ether 12:6, where Moroni talks about the nature of Faith and that we receive the confirmation and miracle AFTER a trial of faith. I love a quote that’s on Elder Barker and Elder Lusk’s fridge, (though I don’t know who it’s by) “God doesn’t use a voice of thunder when a still, small one is all that’s necessary.” She talked about how good she feels at Church, as we teach her, and as she reads and prays, and I told her about the Holy Ghost and how we receive answers to our questions. I invited her to conference Saturday morning, and she told me that she was going to get evicted from her apartment in a week and Saturday was her only day to look for another one. I promised her that if she put God first, that she would find a place to live and everything would work out. (See 3 Nephi 13:25-34) She agreed to come, more on that later. Later that night I taught Destani. When we asked her what she remembered from 2 Nephi 31, she basically described the entire chapter perfectly with a perfect understanding. Elder Barker’s face was priceless! Haha! She is very smart and was so excited to get baptized! We watched the Restoration video with her, and that was our night.
Thursday: We met Rosa at Temple Square for a lesson on prophets to prepare her for general conference. She showed up forty five minutes late, and the sister missionaries had to leave so we only had a time for a twenty minute lesson. We were all kind of stressing out as we taught, but we came to an exhibit on President Monson where you can choose life subjects that he has spoken about and watch short clips. She chose one about trials, and after watching it began crying as she explained the way she felt and how the Prophet’s words had spoken to her heart. She has a seven year old and a two year old, and her husband was deported back to Mexico and can’t come back for ten years. She works a hard job and barely has enough money to get by, and is going to get evicted because she can’t afford the room she’s renting from someone. The short clip talked about how it’s so easy to face life’s trials with an attitude of “why me”, but that if we turn to the Lord and rely on Him, we will be able to make it through even life’s hardest challenges. I’m so grateful that we have a real living prophet who speaks to us as God’s mouthpiece and addresses all of our challenges and hardships. You can always trust the prophet. We had a rather disappointing afternoon after that, with two lessons cancelling and no one home we were getting discouraged and frustrated, but knew that at six we were going to teach Destani, who is always home and always reliable and always makes our day, and so we looked forward to our lesson with her. At six we showed up to find a sweet but disappointing note left for us on the door by Destani that said she had gone out with her Mom and would see us the next day. At that moment, we were REALLY bummed. It would have been easy to go home and give up, to quit trying for the night. We kept on trying though, and though we didn’t have much success, we were able to stop by Destani’s later that night and teach her about the commandments. Just because we do our part and live the gospel doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy or that we won’t have trials. We go through trials to learn, and they are an opportunity for us to turn to the Lord and learn and grow if we humble ourselves and approach them in that way.
Friday: After zone conference and planning, we stopped by a ton of people to try to get them to watch/come to general conference to hear the words of the prophet and apostles. We ended the night by teaching the commandments to a family who has a recently baptized 9 year old girl who has been less active lately. I’ve come to love teaching the commandments this week! The amazing thing about the commandments is that they are for our own good, not to restrict us, and that we receive blessings according to our level of obedience to every commandment. (See Elder Bednar’s talk on tithing, sometimes blessings from obedience to laws aren’t obvious, but they are always there).
Saturday: Was the craziest day of my entire life. Well, not THAT crazy, but it was intense! We had found a member of the branch to watch Rosa’s two little kids for the morning session so that she would be able to come to conference, and we told her to drop them off at 8:45 so she could be at the conference center to park at 9 in order to be in our seats by 9:30 before the doors close (they usually close them 15-20 minutes before the session starts). We called her at 8:45 and she said she was just dropping off her kids, and that she’d be there soon. 9:30 rolled around and we still hadn’t heard from her. about five minutes before 10 we had pretty much given up on the idea of getting into the conference center, and figured we’d just watch it with her at the Tabernacle. She called to say Jovita, the lady who was babysitting her kids and talks a million miles a minute and way too much, had offered her breakfast and than kept talking to her so she felt bad leaving, but she had just left and would be there in ten minutes. She couldn’t find parking, so we ran up main street in Salt Lake City looking for a place while directing her to where we were, met up with her, and told her to go flip a u turn to be able to pull into the last spot on a side street. 5 minutes went by and then she called to say she had gotten stuck in the middle of the street after crashing her car on the sidewalk! We ran to the end of the street to find a line of cars honking and waiting for her as she and ran her car up on the sidewalk and blocked the entire street. We tried pushing it, but she had it in neutral and somehow hadn’t figured that out. I had to jump in, back the car out, and parallel park it for her. By then it was 10:30 and we were positive that the doors were closed, but miracle upon miracles they let us in the last door for handicaps and gave us better seating than our tickets were on the back row of the lobby! She loved conference and said she felt good, the same way she had as she watched President Monson’s message before and she had forgotten all her problems and just felt peace. We watched the afternoon session at a members house, which was a much needed break, and then went to Priesthood session with Luis, the Peruvian who got baptized last week. He really liked it and said he’d listen to the sessions tomorrow. He told us about numerous miracles he’s seen in the week following his baptism, including having a place to stay free of charge and more work. I ran into Stephanie as well, I sent the picture with the others. It was awesome to see someone from home!
Sunday: We had another crazy morning, as we were going to have Lupe (investigator) and her boyfriend Cesar (member) go pick up Destani (investigator) and all go to conference together. We didn’t hear anything from them all morning, so we just went in and watched the session in the conference center. Luckily they had gotten there and watched the session and everything, they just weren’t answering their phones. We watched the afternoon session at someones house, and then spent the rest of the night preparing for Destani’s baptism at 7:30. The baptism was amazing, the Spirit was so strong and as I was changing after baptizing her, I overheard her telling her mom that she felt so warm and happy and clean, and her mom telling her that it was the Spirit and that her baptism had made her clean. I’ve gained such a stronger appreciation of the ordinance of baptism since being here on my mission, I’ve come to understand more just how important it is and the power it has to “open the doors of the celestial kingdom” to those who have faith, repent, and come forward with broken hearts and contrite spirits to make a sacred covenant with their Father in Heaven. Destani was absolutely glowing with the light of a fresh start after she had been baptized. I love being a missionary! Buena Vista is amazing, Elder Firpo is amazing, Salt Lake City’s amazing. Hurrah for Israel!
I love you all so much and pray for you all always. Thank you so much for your letters, the package, and all your support. I couldn’t do it without you all, and so often a letter from one of you is exactly what I need to lift me up and keep me going.