So, sorry I didn't email you all yesterday. So I'm emailing you today... hope that's okay. Yesterday we went to the Temple Visitor's Center for the FIRST TIME with our AMAZING investigator Michaela (I'll attach pictures at the end). She's just amazing. She was able to feel the peace that accompanies the temple and she started crying while watching the #BecauseOfHim video. AND we got to meet (and learn from) a Member of the Seventy, Elder Gillespie! What!? So cool. Yesterday was a great day! AND to make this week even better, our mission temple day is Wednesday, SO I get to go back to the temple to do a session tomorrow! Twice in one week! What a blessing. That temple is beautiful. And I've never seen something so gold until yesterday. So much gold. I can't wait to go inside tomorrow.
So, this last week has been pretty fantastic! We met with this old guy named Gary who we met while we were walking in Shepherdstown and he shouted at us out his window for an appointment. Not going to lie, he's kind of a creep, so we only visited with him one more time to give him some comfort after his son died. He read most of the Book of Mormon, but he refuses to be baptized again, so it's been more of a service for us. We'd turn him over to the Elders, but he refuses to meet with anyone besides Sisters. Like I said, kind of a creep.
We had dinner with our Bishop and his family last week and it was right before Bishop Van Vliet was about to teach the youth at Youth Conference and it turns out he taught his youth the same lesson we taught him 5 minutes beforehand. So basically we taught all the youth at youth conference via bishop. I just thought that was funny.
We also "stole" the Elders' investigator PJ, who is living with our member friend Holly while he is playing pro baseball (living with her in a non-romantic way; she's married). We sat down to read the Book of Mormon with Holly and we invited PJ and he said yes, so basically we just taught him a lesson and the Elders have been trying to teach him for months now. This is the magic of Sister Missionaries who follow the Spirit :) it was pretty cool :)
So, THREE MIRACLES in ONE day! First Miracle: we got to see the Elders' investigator Deborah (who I just love to death) unexpectedly and we were able to give her some encouragement. Miracle #2: We had our first lesson with our new investigator, Betty, who is this sweet old lady with a diseased cat. She accepted everything we taught her including the invitation to be baptized! So, she's on date for August 15th, but she doesn't technically count until she comes to sacrament meeting, and she works on Sundays, so she's working with her boss to get off. I'm hoping she'll come!
Miracle #3: We found a less active named Diane L., who we thought lived on the "mountain" because that's the address she gave us, but we were looking for another potential investigator, and she was outside her garage working on her car. We approached her and she was very stand-offish, but we got her name and found her real address! SO, the Relief Society presidency can now make contact with her. Yay!
Good day full of miracles! And Exchanges started on Thursday! I was over the Harpers Ferry area and Sister Jeppson had to deal with me :) I was leading out in every discussion and I planned every day, so it was like being a Senior Companion even though we don't really have that in this mission. It was pretty cool seeing how much I could do when I didn't really have my trainer to lean on. Super fun. And I got to teach in the way that I feel most comfortable. Awesome. I loved exchanges. Sister Jeppson is just amazing. Yup. Love her.
So, back to Michaela. We showed her the video "How Rare a Possession: The Book of Mormon" and she was able to feel the Spirit SO strong! She opened up and told me that she'd been angry with God because of some stuff going on in her family, but since she's been meeting with us, her faith has grown so much and she now realizes how much God actually loves her and she's been able to feel her relationship with Him strengthen. YAY! That's our whole purpose as missionaries! And I taught that lesson, so Heavenly Father definitely gave me that little confidence boost that I needed.
Coincidence! I was able to meet this lady named Francis during exchanges and we got to begin teaching her. She just so happens to be Diane L.'s ex-mother-in-law (complicated story) and her brother is actually LDS, so she has some knowledge and is totally cool with us coming and teaching her! YAY!
Our other investigators, Lily and Debra, are just so cute. We've been teaching them and Lily told us she believes we came into her life for a reason. YES LILY, WE DID! So she's just awesome. Her goal in life is to make people smile. What a cool goal. And her son was actually murdered, so she's been feeling pretty sad and depressed about that (for good reason), so we've been able to give her some comfort there. If only she would come to church! Haha, but they're great people. Love them.
HAPPY LATE PIONEER DAY! How was that in Utah, for those of you in Utah? It's basically non-existent here. That's normal, though. Sister Jeppson wanted to wear bonnets all day and laugh at people when they laugh at us. Sadly, though, four businesses actually burned down in downtown Harpers Ferry on Pioneer Day (or the day before, I can't remember). No one got hurt, luckily, but it was still pretty sad. Those were historic buildings.
Jesse and Deborah, the Elders' investigators, had a little setback this week. They were going to have to get evicted from their home and things were crazy, but they're still holding on strong. Their baptismal date has to be pushed back a week because they couldn't come to church due to all the craziness at home, but I know it'll be for the best. We gave Deb some "scripture cigarettes" that are just pieces of rolled up scriptures/quotes on them that can give her some inspiration whenever she feels the urge to smoke to help her. She started crying because it meant so much to her, so that was really cool. She's a strong lady. And so is her husband, Jesse. And they just love this gospel because IT'S TRUE! And they know that and they want to live it! #Miracle!
So, I also got to watch the Alice and Wonderland play that many of our ward members are in because we invited Michaela, so technically it counted as a lesson (President Christiansen approved it (; ) So that was fun! I have pictures of that, too! I think that's all I have to report so far, but I'll definitely email again if I missed anything (Like last week). Enjoy the pictures!
To end with something spiritual, I had a couple thoughts during my studies this last week. I was reading in 3 Nephi 17:17-22 and it's when Jesus Christ is with the people in the Americas and He's praying for them. Let me repeat that, He's PRAYING for the people in the Americas. And that just hit me. Jesus Christ prays for us. He weeps when we weep. He wants us to be happy and He wants the best for us. So, He prays for us. Wow. What a blessing to have our Savior, who's already done SO MUCH for us, take our worries and sorrows to God to help us. I love my Brother. He's definitely becoming my Best Friend and I hope one day I will be able to confidently say that He's my Best Friend without feeling insufficient. He loves me. He loves you. Each and every one of you. Always remember the sacrifice He made for us and the aid He gives us EVERY SINGLE DAY. "Because of Him, you can have clean-slates, second chances, new beginnings... because of Him, you can leave your past behind... because of Him, you can be happy again."
"Worry fades away when we know for sure our future is secure in God's hands."
Also, I want you all to listen to John Bytheway's talk "Get an Attitude" YES! It's amazing. And while you're going through life this week, instead of asking yourself how "bad" you can be, or how much you can get away with this week, ask yourself how "good" you can be. Ask yourself what you can improve on rather than walking the line of good and bad. We should always strive to be our best self so we can one day grow into the person Heavenly Father knows we can become. I leave you my testimony that God loves you. That Jesus is the Christ and that as long as we are striving to do our best to be our best, we will have The Lord's help. He does not leave us Comfortless. I know this Church is true. Without any doubt in my heart, I know that what I'm striving to teach each and every day is the true and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is His church and I represent Him through my actions and dealings every day. I know that I am not alone, and I know that through the Savior's Infinite Atonement, we can all return to Him. We can all be saved by Grace after all that we've done. I leave this testimony with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Best Friend and Brother, Amen.