Ariel's Birthday Week!

What a unique and unusual week it has been! Wild, of course; a gong show, always; but it was completely perfect.
Loving my birthday milkshake!

Well, on Tuesday, we had a birthday celebration for me/going away party for Sister Walker. The wonderful wonderful directors of the Family Tree, the Jermans, made milkshakes (they know it is my favorite treat!) They had a wonderful breakfast prepared and then they scooped, blended, and poured milkshakes for each of us.

The Jermans, makin' milkshakes

We had a lesson with the Burtons that night, where we watched the Restoration video. As we watched, Sister Zeiner leaned over to me and told me that she felt really really sick and that she didn't know how much longer she could stay. Almost immediately after her comment, the Burtons TV made a popping sound and turned off! It reminded me of that part in Matilda, where Matilda is forced to watch the TV and then she stares at it so hard that it blows up! It was kind of like that. We quickly wrapped up the lesson and rushed outside, where we walked around the corner, and Sister Zeiner got sick on the grass. (I feel like each of my companions have helped me prepare for motherhood in one way or another...) I held her hair back and everything!

Well, on Wednesday, Sister Zeiner was still very sick and so I went out with a member (my first time going on splits with a member, by the way!) I had a few referrals at the Powderwood apartments in mind, so we headed over. We had gotten Howard as a referral and were told to contact him on Friday or Saturday, but I felt like we should visit him before then, just to see. When Howard opened the door, he seemed very surprised, and said that he wasn't expecting us until the weekend. He said that he had to go soon but I asked if it was okay if we could come in and share a brief message. He accepted. After we did How to Begin Teaching and got to know him a little bit, I shared 2 Nephi 9, verses 21 and 23 with him. I invited him to be baptized on April 21 (which would give him time to go to church for 3 weeks). He said that he was moving to Michigan on the 15th and so he could not be baptized.
Well, that night I went home and talked to the district and zone leaders. After explaining the situation about Howard, they said that we could prepare Howard for baptism on the 14th, after only attending church 2 times. So on Friday night, we had another lesson with Howard and extended the 14th to be baptized. He said, "Oh man... I wish that I could be baptized on my birthday," and explained that he wanted a new start. We asked him when his birthday would be and he said, "April 9th." What a miracle to find someone who wants to be baptized in less than a week! However, he said that he still had questions and would think more about his baptism for the 9th.

Scott & Malena Stevens, Sister Zeiner and I, and Howard!! our favorite Jamaican man!

Long story short, Howard watched all 5 sessions of General Conference, including the Priesthood session, where he met the bishop and several of the men from the ward. We told him that he cannot be baptized until the 14th and he is okay with that. He answered each of the baptismal interview questions perfectly and is so excited to live the standards of the Church. Ahh, he is absolutely wonderful! We are celebrating his birthday with him tomorrow night, even though he can't be baptized yet. We will go to the Livingstons (my first member I went on splits with) and the Ward Mission Leader, who has become friends with Howard, will be there, too! I bought decorations for his front door, to surprise him on his birthday, and also chocolate ice cream for his birthday party, because he said it is hisfavorite treat! :)

I agree that General Conference was great!! On Saturday, we watched the morning session with the Johnsons, who I love so dearly! They are a couple who has started coming back to church in the past couple of weeks. After we watched the session, they prepared us a birthday meal! We had lasagna (my favorite!) and an amazing cookie dough ice cream cake!
Me with the Johnsons and my icecream cake!
As we ate, we talked about conference, and Brother Johnson said that his favorite part was Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk about the tomato plant. If you don't remember that one very well, it talked about the little girl who neglected her tomato plant for a while and so it wilted. But when she watered it and gave it sunlight, it came back to life. It relates to those who have become spiritually under-nourished, neglecting their priesthood duties and church responsibilities. Elder Ballard taught that we each have unlimited and divine potential, that we just need spiritual nourishment. Brother Johnson told us that the talk reminded him of himself and his wife. He said that we came along and watered them and gave them sunshine. I said, "You are our little tomato plants!" and he said that he would forever think of himself as that. We went to the Tree for the afternoon session and watched it with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Stevens, his wife, and Howard. It was really really good and Howard loved it as well!
In front of the SLC temple <3
On Sunday morning, we watched the first session at the Tree and then 4 of us sisters drove to Salt Lake. We got a parking pass for the lot RIGHT beside the Conference Center, which was nice. We had seats on the left side of the stage, right in front. We could perfectly see the right sides of the prophet and apostles' faces. haha. Elder Holland spoke first. It was a dream come true. He did SUCH a lovely lovely job. He speaks with such conviction and power. You can tell that he has had divine experiences that have lead him to KNOW that the things he says are true. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he spoke. What a special experience it was to be in the presence of those wonderful men. 

Sisters Marlow, Zeiner, Walker, and I in the Conference Center
I hope that Michael enjoyed Conference. I have been praying for him! Is he still preparing to get his Patriarchal blessing? What a miracle.

Of course I am not mad at Rachael McCarl! haha. I don't take any offense at things that people say about locking your heart. It's such a joke anyway... Like I even have a heart to lock! ;)

Have fun in Gettysburg!! I loved the picture of Babe-raham.

We get the information about transfers tomorrow, so I don't know what will happen yet... Here is what I wrote in my email to President Miller this week, though:
"Also, I just wanted to ask you to let me stay in this area next transfer :) I am willing to work so hard because I know how much potential and growth is possible for Park City West. We are working with several families: serving them, teaching them, extending commitments to them. Nonmembers, less actives, and even member families. I have so much love for these people and I have a great desire to help them come even closer to Christ! I would love to continue to help the people in this area grow! That is my sales pitch. That's all. Thank you! :)"

There will be a new mission, the Salt Lake City East Mission, in July. Both SLC South and SLC East will have new mission presidents. We don't know where the boundaries of the new mission will be, or which missionaries will be put there. It is assumed that Park City will be in the new East mission, but no one knows who will be switched over! I am guessing that I might stay in Park City and be switched to the East Mission. I love it here and I love the Family Tree, but I am making the guess because my whole mission has been a crazy gong show, so it would only be understandable for the craziness to continue!

Sad! I did not get a birthday box! Maybe Elder Jerman will let me open it on my birthday if it arrives this week! My birthday is the day after transfers. Sister Zeiner and I both feel like she might get transferred to the Valley because she has been in this same area for the entire 6 and a half months that we have been in the field. It's not for certain, but we are thinking that President might transfer her.

Well, I love love love you! Hope all is well! Miss you like crazy! MWAAAH.

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