I don't know how much information I've included about our home or the area, so I want to include a few things to help you understand how blessed I am!
Our landlady, Cecy, is borderline offended when we buy our own food. She is from Chile and is very generous. She vacuums our room, makes us meals, and encourages us to take a Vitamin-C every day. She's basically our nanny.
The members are really lovely. We honestly have at least 4 types of cookies at home, as well as cupcakes, a caramel apple or two, a bowl full of fortune cookies, a bag full of candy, many chocolates, and a box full of pie. We end up sharing so many of our desserts with people who we teach, but the more we give, the more we receive! Don't judge me if I am super large when I come home.
We have been so blessed to receive winter things, rides to our meetings and appointments, notes of encouragement, photos of my companion and I sent to my mom, waves on the street, free Apollo burger every Wednesday, dinner almost every night excluding Mondays, and so much more! From time to time, I feel guilty and attempt to not accept these favors, but the members are so generous and wonderful. It's like that song, "Enoch was a prophet; he taught what was good. People in his city did just what they should. When they were so righteous that there was no sin, Heavenly Father took them up to live with him."
So.. About our week!
Tuesday: Sister Talbert and I went to the home of a part member family. A member at church came up to me after bearing my testimony and told me that I NEEDED to visit her neighbor because I look "exactly like his daughter." So we went and knocked on the door. He let us right in and then I explained about his neighbor. He said, "You DO look like my daughter!" We talked for a while about the Book of Mormon and he said he would consider reading it. I said, "Well, what does that mean?" and he said, "It means that I will consider it!" haha. We kept talking and while I was in the middle of a sentence, he stopped me and told me that I will be the first woman to be an LDS bishop! hahah
The highlight of Tuesday was our Stake Bishopric Council. We met with all 5 bishops, their counselors, all 5 ward mission leaders, and the Stake Presidency. It was so empowering to be surrounded by these worthy Priesthood holders. They talked about us like we were the Queens of the world or something! One after another, they shared experiences they had witnessed or stories they had heard about us. They were so complimentary and just the best! The Stake President is very missionary minded and asked every single person in the room to pray for us by name in EVERY PRAYER! He said, "and that even includes the prayer over the Cheerios."
Wednesday: We went over the Plan of Salvation with one of our tough-cookie investigators. She asked questions all along the way, but we referenced the Bible for every doctrine we taught and she seemed to approve.
We had dinner with this family and they had the funniest little four-year-old. I wanted to put him in a box and write down everything he said! At one point, I said, "Chill out!" and he said, "You chill out!" and I said, "You chill out!" and very calmly he said, "No, let's both chill out."
That night, we went to a senior dinner. Everyone offered us dinner and wanted us to eat so bad! They kept putting plates in front of us and then came out with 3 boxes full of food for us to take home. Ahhhh! We watched them all play Bingo. We sat at the table with the Bishop and his family. He was so competitive and we all were laughing so hard!
Thursday: Ahhh, I was having back problems and wished I could see my good ole pal, Brother Passey! The elders came over to give me a Priesthood blessing and the zone leader, Elder Clark, gave me a blessing to be healed by the next morning. Well, since then, I haven't been hurting! Miracle!
That night we had an AMAZING lesson at the Diedrich's home. We started the Stop Smoking Program with our investigator and she was very willing. She has such sincere desires to stop!! The Diedrichs are awesome and bought all of the little supplies such as grapefruit juice, cinnamon mouthwash, fresh fruits, etc. Sister Diedrich went crazy on Pinterest and printed out all of these adorable signs with motivational saying for our investigator to hang around her house!
Friday: We went tracting as a zone. We went on exchanges again, and this time I was with Sister Day. We didn't have any success because it was the middle of the day and only 2 people were home. Both of them were on drugs. Eesh.. Also, I knocked on one door and accidentally pushed it open! Woops.
We went to dinner with some members.
We went to Tshering's for a lesson and she is so great. She could basically teach us the entire Plan of Salvation. I asked if she had any questions and she said, "Yes, it's about the meat again." haha. She always wants to talk about eating animals! We told her that it's okay to be vegetarian and she says that she feels like God doesn't want her just to be vegetarian, but to convince other people to stop eating animals. I said, "Tshering! You can't just tell people what to do before you even do it!" hahha. She went on and on, asking me questions. I told her that I eat eggs and she chastised me, but I said, "Hey Tshering! You can't tell me not to eat eggs while you aren't even vegetarian!" She's so cute.
That night, we stopped at a single sister's house to get warm. She invited us in and told us all about her 3 kids who are less active. She was so so sweet. She reminded me a lot of my mom when she talked about her children and I hugged her and said, "I'm sorry, mom!!!"
Saturday: Cold day!! Freezing. We still are on foot. Our stake is too uphill to ride our bikes, so we walk mostly. Sometimes we get rides when we have appointments, but we do a lot of walking.
We walked to our investigator's house, who is trying to stop smoking. She had all of her signs up around the house. It was so cute! One of the Emergency Procedures to stop smoking is to drink raw grapefruit juice when you get a craving. So during the entire lesson, she was taking shots of juice! hahaha. She is supposed to keep herself busy to keep her mind off of it, so she went out and bought a ton of yarn and started crocheting. I am so proud of her!
Sunday: Sister Talbert and I spoke in one ward, taught a youth Sunday school lesson in another, and attended Relief Society in a ANOTHER ward. We went to two ward councils. Sundays are NOT days of rest in the mission field. They are so exhausting! Sister Aldous, the young women's president in the 10th ward, is an absolute ANGEL and made us brown paperbag lunches! So so sweet.
Our talks in the 3rd ward went really well! One lady came up to me at the end of the meeting and handed me a little note. It was so sweet. She wrote about how grateful she is for me sharing my light :)
And when we got home, our landlady and I were alone in the kitchen and she told me how much she liked my talk. I thanked her and she said, "No..Sister.. You have a very powerful testimony!"
That night, I got a feeling to call Madeline, our friend who is putting her mission papers in at the end of the month. She sounded sad and I asked if she was okay. She said she was fine and I said, "You don't souuuund okay," and she said, "I'm not okay." So we went over there to talk to her and I hugged her and she started crying on my shoulder. She said that she was having a bad day and that she was sitting on her bed and started to cry, but that her phone rang and it was us calling! AHH! I absolutely LOVE the Spirit and how it directs us where we need to be!
I heard part of an Elder Holland talk yesterday at church, and today I printed it to read. One line that sticks out to me is when he says, "There is a sheepfold and we are all supposed to be in it." I love this work. I love being the shepherd leading the sheep to our ultimate example, the Savior, our Good Shepherd.
Love you all! Also, Happy birthday, Sister Summerhays!