This week has taken a lot of charity and patience. It's funny because just last week I was thinking about where I was when I started my mission and how cold my heart was lol. I didn't like anyone and it was really hard for me to have charity. So, as I was reflecting, I was thinking about the great blessing it has been to have been given some charity for the people I serve. And patience. Just as I thought I had gotten so much better and that God had given me the charity I was asking for, and I thought I was doing good, God humbled me, because that's just what He does to those He loves. Over and over and over again this week I was humbled and reminded by how much further I still have to go. Thank goodness progress doesn't end when a mission does. Now, don't get me wrong, I love people much more than I did when I started my mission, but there's so much more. It was hard not to get down on myself, because it always seems like there's so much more I could be doing. So much more I could be sharing with people and so much more I could be loving people. I just want everyone to know that you never "arrive" on a mission, or in life. I never thought I would, but I was just reminded that I really won't ha-ha. But it's good, because just like Ether 12:27 says, God gives us weaknesses so He can make us stronger. And for that, I'm grateful.
So, I'm emailing today because yesterday I got to go to MLC with Elder Gay! He had a family member pass away last week so his schedule changed, but he's doing well. Many prayers have been said on his behalf. MLC was amazing! It's funny because one of the main topics Elder Gay talked about was how we need to have charity for those in our stewardship. If we want to give correction and help them grow, they have to know we love them, which is a no brainer, but a good reminder.
My week last week went a little something like this:
Dinner with a super pregnant member who's having her baby today! Exchanges with the Ellicott City sisters! If you remember, about 6 months ago I went on an exchange with Sister Udall for her first exchange; well, now she's here and I exchanged with her and took her to Baltimore! Literally no one answered their door until it was time for dinner and we said to each other, "let's just try one more," and an amazing member answered the door, offered us water (it was flippin' hot outside!) and was so very grateful for our visit. Apparently she hasn't had missionaries over in about a year! And she even referred us to her sister Felicia! Sweet! Then we had a great lesson with the Jones family! They are truly progressing little by little. We've had a couple lessons with them this week and baptism is brought up each time and they are currently praying about a date in October!! WOOT WOOT! We also taught Tearra about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2 Nephi 31; we had another amazing dinner with my favorite Wood family :) And Tykira, one of our investigators, came to church Volleyball Thursday with her friend Happiness, so we got to go and watch! :) Like I said, step by step we are seeing progression.
We also contacted a few headquarter referrals (self-referrals) this week. One of them, Raquel, was questioning everything we believed and then said, "we'll have lunch sometime. I want to talk more." YES! AND, Ally, another HQ referral was actually referred by a member in Arkansas and Ally went to church lots of times as a teenager (you youth, listen up! You make a difference!); we got to talk to Ally on the phone and she kept saying how she just kept feeling drawn to this church and she currently has a fiancé and a little baby, and she wants to raise her family in a good church that will help them! SO, they reached out to us to come and teach her entire family a little bit more so they can join the church! WOOT WOOT! I LOVE FAMILIES! PRAYERS WORK! And it's really cool because this entire experience she's having all started with her friend who invited her to church when she was a teenager!
On Saturday (my 15 month mark!) we had our zone conference with Elder Gay all about how we can help our investigators progress, which is exactly what I needed! We're teaching so many people, but most of them aren't yet progressing, which is a struggle our entire mission is having. So that was an extremely spiritual experience, as was MLC yesterday. Elder Gay truly teaches with the power and authority from God.
Unfortunately we weren't able to go to another meeting with him and our Recent Converts because they were busy, which made us a little depressed, but it was for the best and God knew what He was doing because we were able to pick up a new investigator we street contacted named Khapre (pronounced Capri, like the juice). She's 18 and wants to come back to a church; she said she'd been thinking about it for a while now, but didn't know where to start! Ta da! That's why there's missionaries :) We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and we'll be coming back tonight :) And that was my week.
Thank you all again for all your love and support. I truly feel that strength every single week. Missionary work would be much harder without you. Love you all!
Shout-out to Kaitlyn, Wyatt, and Whitney for all having birthdays this week and last :) Happy Birthday!
Scripture of the Week: Alma 36:3
Quote of the Week: "None of us should be defined by the worst thing we've ever done." - Kevin R. Duncan
Oh, all that cat stuff? Let's just say I found my favorite store...