I had a dream last night that I was home from my mission. I was online, trying to look at pictures of people that I hadn't looked at while I was gone. It was taking so long and I felt so tired and (in my dream) I thought, "What am I doing? Why aren't I reading the scriptures? Why am I not doing missionary work?" I woke up, feeling so strange and anxious. I just want to stay here forever.
On a more positive note, I love being in Holladay!! It is getting colder outside and we are walking more than biking. Members have been very helpful in offering us rides. There hasn't been significant snow, just little raindrops that turn to flurries and melt.
I cannot believe that Shane is in the MTC and is officially a missionary! I am so so proud and happy for him. My heart is filled with love for my mission! I LOVE the gospel. I was able to go to the testimony meetings of a few different wards on Sunday and I was overwhelmed by the Spirit that I felt as one bishop talked about missionary work. I thought of Shane going to France, diving into an entirely different life than he's ever known before. I am excited for the changes that we will see in him as his testimony grows. He will go through so many hard things that will challenge him and test his faith, but he will be so strong because of it all.
It has been a Halloweeny week. Wild and gongshow and lovely and difficult.
Last Monday, we played soccer outside as a zone. It was basically a storm. The leaves were blowing all around us and my hair was a crazy mess of tangles. We had so much fun. Sister Talbert and I walked home in the rain. One of my favorite comforts is to arrive at home after being in the cold and to feel warmth! We sat on the couch underneath blankets, writing letters, and eating soup until Pday was over.
We went to a Halloween party and a little bit of their Trunk-or-Treat. We didn't eat, we just walked around, trying to get to know people. There were some adorable little kid costumes and some really funny adult costumes. The old ward mission leader dressed as a superhero and had these disgusting and hilarious sideburns that extended to his mouth. For the record, Halloween is such a strange time to meet new people.
That night, we had a lesson with these two sisters, whose mom won't let them get baptized. We do the lessons at their grandparent's house, who are members. We had each person choose a word or phrase from the Book of Mormon, and then write it down, and we played charades with them. The 10-year-old wrote "inhabitants" and Sister Talbert had to act it out... hahah! After the game, everyone had to come up with a question, and then open up the Book of Mormon to a random spot, and read until they came up with an answer. It was a revelation-seeking activity, and it worked out SO well!! Before we left, the grandmother, hugged me and said, "Thank you for being INSPIRED!"
On Tuesday, we visited a Less-Active, who was referred to us by the bishop. Sometimes less-actives are scary to visit because they left the church for a reason and then they become bitter. But as soon as the woman opened up the door, she was SO friendly! She hugged us and pulled us in, gave us soda and treats, and opened up her story to us! As she was talking, she was crying because we came! She said she had been thinking about coming back to church, and she knew that we were an answer to her prayers. Ahh. So wonderful.
We had a wild lesson with our stubborn ole' man investigator. His fellowship, who is like his daughter, came with us. It started out good because he was telling us that he read his assignment, but then he went off about how he knew that the Book of Mormon wasn't true and how he had grown up Jewish and would never be Christian. Well, our fellowshipper, who is a return missionary/super mom, was SO passionate and wonderful. She was hollering and crying and bearing such strong testimony. It was a spiritually overwhelming experience. We couldn't get through to him because his heart is so hardened and he is very not open to feeling the Spirit right now. We left feeling completely drained!
After our dinner appointment, this young boy was complaining about his homework. I asked him what homework he had and he said, "English." I said, "I love English! What do you have to do?" And he told me he had to write a poem... I said, "Perfect! I love poetry! Let us help you!" ...So we sat with him and co-authored this very lovely poem about how wonderful the color orange is. We went through the seasons, describing what the color orange was like throughout the year. I wish I had a copy of it, but you should know that it was a very wonderful poem.
That night, we went to a Relief Society activity. It was a Japanese cooking class for the women, and there were 2 non-members there. It was like watching Food Network live, but better because we got to smell all of the wonderful things being made!
Wednesday, we had a gongshow lesson with one of our investigators. Her LDS friends have been giving her all of these church books that they say will help her understand the gospel more easily. The problem is that she is reading all of these books, finding things to be offended at, and avoiding the Book of Mormon! We had a very firm talk with her about putting aside all other books for now and just reading the Book of Mormon to find out if it is true.
Wednesday, we got to go to the Jordan River temple with most of our mission (excluding Park City and Wyoming). Ahhh. It was beautiful and wonderous and I just loved it.
Thursday, we got a ride from the bishop's wife and she gave us a giant bag of candy! We got a bag of 100 Hi-Chews and shared them with our district at district meeting. I was asked to share a scripture and experience from my mission that correlated with the Atonement. I talked about Howard from Park City and tied it with the Laborers in the Vineyard story from the New Testament.
That night, we had a Halloween party/musical talent show at the mission office. I got to see all of my daughters together- Villoso, Kiser, and Talbert. It was fun.
|Sis. Kiser, Sis Talbert, Sis Wall and Sis Villoso|
Our ride will be here in a few minutes so everything else will be watered down, Lo Ciento!
This weekend, our zone had a challenge to invite 50 people to be baptized. So we went a little crazy. Here are some of the text messages I sent to our district leader, reporting on how it went...::
"We invited Maggie to be baptized & she said she will pray about it! We invited Bob to be baptized & he said absolutely not!"
"We invited Brother Wall to be baptized! He said he never will be!"
"We invited Larry to be baptized! He said he's already been baptized, but that we can come by Tuesday. He's Catholic!"
Sunday... Our investigator told us that she hasn't stopped smoking, and so she can't be baptized this next weekend. Her less-active husband, however, stopped smoking last week because I chastised him!! He said that when he was outside and I said, "You better not be smoking!!" he went back inside and hasn't smoked since!! haha! Chastising is the ticket!
Also, Sunday, the Relief Society came up to me in church & told me that she was inspired by my testimony of the Book of Mormon at Tshering's baptism a week ago. She said that my testimony and love for the BOM was so powerful, that she went home and decided to read it in one week! WOO HOO!
My testimony before my mission seems like a tiny little thing compared to the overwhelming Spirit that I feel now as I bear my testimony. I LOVE to bear my testimony. My soul feels too big for my body and life feels so joyous and I am reminded how important this work is to the Savior. I need you to know that I believe in what I am doing here. I feel the truthfulness of it every single day. I want this for myself; I want it for my brothers; I want it for my family; I want it for the strangers here in Utah. I know that the Lord is coming. I love Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives. I love that we are given commandments to help us feel the love that can only come as we are obedient. I love the temple. I know that it is the House of the Lord. I am absolutely in love with the Book of Mormon!! I love every bit of that book. Every time I read it, I am uplifted. It invites me and entices me to do good and to be good. It is a book of Light and knowledge and joy! I love my mission. I am completely indebted to the Lord for allowing my to have this experience. This gospel that I am sharing is eternally significant. I am grateful for the Atonement, which allows me to change more fully, improve day by day, and to feel the Spirit deeper than I ever have. I love this work. I bear testimony that I am engaged in the wonderful, glorious, perfect work of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I bear testimony of these things in the name of Jesus Christ.