Monday, June 23, 2014

Baptisms and a Transfer

It's been a wonderful week. Lots of good things have happened. But I think the best thing that happened was the family we've worked with got baptized and confirmed! It was a wonderful baptism service. We were able to find clothes that fit everyone, thank goodness, although it was a close call with the mom who is very pregnant. The bishop performed the baptisms. They all were so happy, and lots of ward members came to support them. 

The most exciting part of the whole thing was the fact that they were doing this together, as a family. It's a saying in our mission, "Baptize families", but I'd never really understood how wonderful it was to see a family join the church together until I saw it this weekend. It's just a different spirit, everything seems more complete when a family joins the church together. I am so excited for a year from now when they will be able to get sealed. I'm also excited for the baby to come in a few weeks, and I'm glad that I'll still be in this area to be a part of it. 

Sadly, Sister Winsor is being transferred. I'm sad to see her go, but I know it's right. We were talking about all that's happened this past transfer the other day, and I thought back to the beginning of the transfer. I came into this transfer feeling this sense of urgency, that there was something very important that needed to be done. I thought that feeling meant that we were going to be teaching and baptizing a lot of people. But what I realized as Sister Winsor and I talked the other day was that we were the ones who were taught and changed. Because we already knew each other, were already comfortable with each other, we were able to help each other see what areas we had room for improvement and then work on those areas. I really have grown so much since being with Sister Winsor. 

And so I realized that the urgency that I felt was because I needed to learn and change so much. I'm not saying that either of us were bad missionaries before we got put back together, because we weren't. That's another thing that I've recognized since being Sister Winsor's companion again--I've changed a lot in the past year, and so has she. But there's still more for us to do, more for us to learn. We can still be better missionaries, even though we've been missionaries for a long time now. God has definitely used this time that we've been together to focus us on what more we can do and helped us to see what our full potential is. I'm grateful for that. I'm excited to get a new companion, and for all the wonderful adventures that we're going to have as we both try and learn this area together. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Wedding and a Farewell

It's been a really great week. As you can see the wedding did happen and it went so well! It was absolutely wonderful. The ward members put it all together and so many people came to support them. One of the members did the ceremony and it was so sweet. Dan cried, and their kids were adorable and very well behaved. 

We had the wedding in the Relief Society room, and then while we were outside taking pictures the ward sisters brought in all the food and we had the reception in there as well. Dan sang Latisha a song before they cut the cake, and he has an amazing singing voice. As soon as he finished singing, all the ward members where commenting that he really needs to join the ward choir. They're super excited to get baptized; they were telling all their family and friends who came to come back next week for the baptism. I can't believe how fast everything is falling into place for them. A month ago they didn't have a place to live, Dan didn't have a job, and now they're settled down, and married, and about to be baptized! It's a miracle. It's a testament to me that when people are ready, God makes things happen. I'm so excited for them. They're already setting their sights on the temple, and they want to be sealed a year from now.

Other than the wedding, we've had a very interesting week. Sister Winsor and I have both had a cold. We really weren't up to doing much, but between teaching Dan and Latisha, and having a member dinner every day this week we still stayed busy. But whenever we didn't have something we needed to do, we were sleeping. And it seems to be mostly gone now. 

Which is good, because I had to give a talk in church yesterday. I talked about Heavenly Father's plan for us, and how we can see how much He loves us by this plan that He has. It was a really interesting thing to study, and it helped me to recognize all the little tender mercies that Heavenly Father has shown me throughout my mission. It's so true that God knows us individually and is actively involved in each of our lives.

We also had our last zone conference with President and Sister Holm. It was basically like a super long farewell, and then President gave us some instructions on what will happen when President Turner and his wife get here in July. We'll get to meet them within the first few days. It's really hard to see President and Sister Holm go. We all cried a lot when the time came to give them the last hug and handshake. But President stressed throughout the day that we will see each other at mission reunions or he's going to come hunt us down. I've learned so much from them, and I love them so much. But I also know that it's a blessing that I'll be able to have two mission presidents, and get to learn from two wonderful couples. This will be a hard but good change.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wedding Plans

I don't know if I mentioned this last week or not, but a family that the elders have been teaching moved into our area last week. They have three kids and one due next month. They've been boyfriend and girlfriend for ten years, but that all ends on Saturday. Because they're getting married! And then they and their daughter are going to get baptized, probably on the 21st. That's what we're hoping for. We're really excited for them. They're very ready to be baptized, and they would have been baptized a while ago, but right as they were about to do it, their lives fell apart. But now things are all straightened out, thanks to the ward members, and they're excited to be baptized. So between the wedding on Saturday and teaching them the rest of the lessons it's going to be a very busy week. We're excited. There's nothing better than being a busy missionary. Missionaries are always busy, but there's a big difference between having productive things to do and having to find productive things to do.

Other than this family, we have a lot of very good potential investigators, but none of them have made much progress from last week. It was funny though, we got a text from one of our investigators, and he said "Just thought I'd save y'all a trip out here and let you know I wasn't at church because I had to work". It's funny that he knew because he didn't show up at church that we were just going to go over there. Our investigators know our persistent ways :)

I'm glad to hear that New York has been so much fun, and I'm excited to see the pictures. It's amazing to think that it's been over a year since I was there. I was thinking about that this morning, that a year ago today was my last day in the MTC. Missions go by too fast.

It's interesting that y'all were in the Sacred Grove and the Hill Cumorah, because we've been having some interesting conversations about Joseph Smith lately. The most recent one happened about an hour ago in the middle of Wal-Mart. Both the guys we talked to had done a lot of internet research on our church and Joseph Smith, and so I think you can guess how those conversations went. I don't know what sources they were getting their information from but they certainly weren't our church websites. People will believe the most interesting things. I'm glad that I know who the real source of truth is- our Heavenly Father. He will always help us to know what is true and what is false. I know that all the confusion about who Joseph Smith really was, and what he did, is not coming from our Heavenly Father, and if people will just sincerely pray about it, with a real desire to know the truth, then they can recognize by the power of the Holy Ghost what the truth really is.

Come to Church

You know that part of The District where the sister missionaries are working with that lady who never comes to church and one of the sisters says, "Just come to church!" That's kind of how Sister Winsor and I have felt this week. We've had a lot of good things happen this week. We stopped by to see this lady we'd met a couple weeks ago. She's been outside looking for her cat, and we told her we'd keep an eye out for him. We went back to see how they were doing and we talked with her for a while. She and her family (a husband and daughter) just moved up here from Florida and are staying with his dad. And she's been feeling like she needs to start going to a church. She was raised Catholic; her husband was raised Baptist, but neither of them want to go back to those churches. So we talked with her for a little bit about our church and testified as to what a big difference it would make in her life and we invited her to come, and she agreed. And she was really excited to come, and bring her husband and daughter. We also set up a time to go by after church and teach them a little more. That was on Wednesday.

Friday night we stopped by another family. Their son was going to be graduating the next day, so she invited us over to the party. And then we got into a really good conversation about the importance of keeping the little commandments, like prayer, scriptures study, and church attendance. She told us she really feels that their family needs to "get a solid church family" was the way she put it. Her work is the big challenge for her, because she rarely has a Sunday off. She says she's been praying to know what she can do, because she needs to help support her family, she loves her job, and she also really wants to go to church. Then her husband came out and we asked him if they'd discussed being baptized, and he said they hadn't got around to it yet, but that since she had work off till Thursday they'd talk about it. We went back to the graduation party for a bit on Saturday, it was very fun, and we invited them to church again, but since family was in town she didn't make any promises.

Then later on Saturday we went out to see this man that we'd met a week ago. He wasn't home so we went out tracting for a bit. As we were walking back to the car, he found us and told us that he saw our car and he'd been looking for us. Apparently, ever since we talked with him and prayed with him, he'd been getting lots of calls from people about job interviews. He was so excited about it, and he told us that he really felt it was because of our prayer that this was happening to him. He also said that he'd been about to read a little bit of the Book of Mormon and when he did he got the same feeling he gets when he reads the Bible, only more intense, and he can understand it better. I told him that that was the Holy Ghost telling him the book was the word of God, and he very excitedly agreed. We said another prayer with him, invited him to church (he said he'd try his best) and set up another time to meet later this week. It was a really sweet moment.

None of those people came to church, and when we went by for the appointment that afternoon no one was home, so that was a little disappointing, but's it's ok. We'll get them all to come next week. But a couple of the elder's investigators, a family with 4 kids, did come to church. And they just moved into our area so now we'll be teaching them. The husband even got up in fast and testimony meeting and bore his testimony. They're not married, but that's the only thing keeping them from being baptized. So we may be having a wedding pretty soon, hopefully.

Sister Rudy on May 29, 2014--the One Year Mark!!!