Grandpa Norm: Happy happy birthday to you!! I miss you and think of you ALWAYS. I hope you are well and enjoy your special day. I love you so much, Grandpa Norm. Thank you for your example to me and for loving us grand kids. You're amazing!!!! I hope you enjoy my letter to you and Grandma coming soon in the mail. I LOVE YOU!
Stake Conference!!! Wow that sounds amazing. If you can get any of the talks I would really really like to read those! I loved what you said about the trees... I just taught a lesson this week about trees and faith so that's funny haha :) I love that analogy they used. It's so true. We have to sink our roots deep into the Gospel. Also, about the receiving answers to prayers thing you learned in stake conference-- that was also something I was feeling--a non-answer. I've been praying about school and work and other sorts of things, but I'm not feeling an answer for any of it. I've come to the conclusion that God trusts me to just make the choice.
So this week I was feeling a little bit anxious about Carolyn's death. I just felt this heavy weight of not being able to be at the funeral and with the family, so I got a blessing from my district leader and the blessing was really sweet. It said that my desire to do family history would grow. It also talked about even though the trials I will face and that come to me here in my mission may seem scary, I will know that I am never alone. Anyways, a really great comfort for me-- the Priesthood. What a blessing to us all. (Thanks Dad and Bry and Jake and Grandpa Norm and Grandpa Seastrand!)
THIS WEEK in the great giant city of Candelaria: Mostly, I’m still new. I’m just trying to get a feel for the area, with all the far away barangays, etc. Probably one of my favorite experiences (next to training Sister Ricketts) here in my mission happened this week. This is WHY I’m a missionary. We have an investigator named Jen. She is 20 years old. She has a 4 year old boy and a baby on the way. When I first came to this area, she wasn't as serious about our message, and actually really silly and giddy. But Tuesday, we taught her the restoration and the Spirit was super strong. I could tell she was getting more serious. Then on Thursday, we came back and felt like we should teach about faith and the real definition of faith. We used Alma 32 and the Spirit completely washed over me as I watched her read about faith. We watched as the Spirit began to enlighten her understanding and her face was so light. I felt the light get brighter as I testified of faith and drew pictures of seeds and trees and primary tactics on my planner to help her understand better. The Spirit was the KEY in that lesson. Sister Rafisura and I talked about it after as we walked how much she is changing. I literally can see it. It's a tangible feeling that I LOVE. She's becoming more confident in us and we're feeling the trust start to come for her to really open up to us about her feelings. I can't even express how much I love her and LOVE seeing the SPIRIT work on people. I could have had 4 bad days in a row and that experience would make it all worth it. I'm a missionary for Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. If I am faithful and obedient, I will be His servant with the Spirit. My calling is greater than anything I could ever do, or be.
This week, I can't explain it. I just feel a big change that's coming over me in so many ways that I have been praying for for so long now and I feel so grateful to Heavenly Father. I feel Him helping me change…the changes that I need to make to fulfill my purpose.
As far as the ward goes, we have a new bishop here who really needs our help. We're still building trust with members. I can feel their trust in me that they didn't have before with the past sisters here. I feel a big responsibility to share the love that I've been born with, with these members. Heavenly Father needed me here for the one thing I'm good for that I think I possess: Charity. I think that’s why Heavenly Father wants me here. This week was good, everything is still new. It's a big area so I'm literally exhausted every day just walking and teaching. But the work is progressing. I love building up the kingdom here in this ward. I love them!
We contacted a referral from the office who lived in the FURTHEST barangay in the entire area. She rejected us, but I felt the Lord was satisfied with my effort in all our walking and asking people if they knew her. It taught me obedience. The Lord wants us to be happy, and we will be if we are obedient to him. I know that If we obey him, we will be blessed in all things temporal and spiritual.
How grateful I am to be a missionary of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I don't want to LEAVE! Work, work, work--that is the secret, The San Pablo Mission is the best! :) wala ng iba! I love you all so much, and thanks for everything. Literally I couldn't do this without you. You're the BEST. I hope you have a great week. :) LOVE YOU SO MUCH!