This week has been CRAZY! God is just full of miracles :) We stopped by a lady named Marline who we met on the streets of Baltimore last week. She didn't know we were Mormons because she just saw our tags that say "Jesus Christ" really big. She didn't know we were the same things as Mormons because her pastors have always told her Mormons aren't Christians (that just makes no sense to me...). So, we get inside her house and she starts questioning us about Jesus to make sure we believed in the same One, lol. We passed the test, of course, and she finished with her questions and simply said, "Okay, now I'm ready to listen." And we taught her the message of the Restoration. And she loved it. And now she wants to try out our church and read from the Book of Mormon. :) Miracle #1.
Lily then took us to Applebee's for dinner after our first miracle. #Miracle2.
We went on exchanges with the BYSA sisters! I experienced my first YSA area on my mission. Not looking forward to going back to that life. But we did have fun on exchanges! I went to that area with Sister Forrest, a sister who just came to the MBM from the Pennsylvania mission. She's still struggling a bit with the transition, but things are getting better for her. I got to go to Institute for the first time in, like, 2 years! Fun stuff.
Zone Conference happened. Miracle #3. I didn't completely fail at singing with a couple of other missionaries during zone conference. Miracle #4. We were about to continue to learn how to simple teach as PMG (Preach My Gospel) directs us to do, and Sister Hale and I had to role-play together in front of everyone... We didn't completely fail Miracle #5.
The Assistants to the President also shared a sick miracle during zone conference. They are in a trio as well, so that'll come into play during this story. It was almost time to head inside, but they were testing their faith and looking for a miracle. Well, they got one. As they were walking, a lady shouted for them and asked if they were the ones who were supposed to be coming to give her a blessing. Turns out that the lady was the Sisters' investigator and they'd taught her about Priesthood blessings that day. Well, the real miracle comes from the investigator's point of view. She had just gotten home from getting dinner and felt prompted to stay in the car for a bit. So she just waited. Then she saw 6 figures walking towards her. She was a bit frightened, but just stayed in the car. As they got closer, 3 figures left and the other three were the assistants walking up to her. She called out to them and had asked where the other three people were. There wasn't anyone else with the assistant.
Angels are real, my friends. And they are in the very details of this work. Each and every day.
Zone conference was simply amazing. I'm sad it was my last one, but grateful for the lessons learned. I got to bear my final testimony to my zone (it's tradition for the President to ask all those who are going home to share their final testimony with them all). I still can't remember what I said... That's normal for me, I guess.
On Friday we went on our second exchange of the week with the Hermanas! I was with Hermana Smith again and, boy did we see miracles! All but one of our Return Appointments fell through that day, but it didn't even phase us! Instead, we picked up two new investigators! Miracles #6&7. One of the new investigators name is Delma and she's so solid! Our entire lesson she was saying she'd make time for us and that she knew there was truth missing from her church and she just couldn't wait to find all of the truth! She's eating up the Book of Mormon! (Miracle #6). Then we tried by Dartisha, who referred herself when she came to the ward's Halloween party last week! She LOVED all of our message and wants us to now share it with her children! #Miracle#7. Then we tried by a referral we've been trying to contact for months. Her name is Ally. I think I've talked about her a couple of times. She's just so ready for the Book of Mormon, but we've never been able to meet her. After the millionth time of knocking on her door, she FINALLY answered, we met and had a GREAT discussion! She's excited to meet again and come to church next week :) Miracle #8.
We're still working with Nikita. She's still struggling with the Anti-stuff so any prayers would help!
After exchanges, Sister Hale and I just had more and more miracles! God has truly been giving us multiple opportunities to practice what we've learned from MLC and Zone conference! And it's been going so great! We also started teaching Kimberly, a referral, and Lacresha, someone we met while knocking a door! They are both super solid and loved our first message of the Restoration. Miracles #9&10. WE GOT TO FIND 6 NEW SOULS TO TEACH THIS WEEK! It was just great :) And all of them just seem to be progressing SO well. They all really need the gospel in their lives and they've been seeking for it!
After Stake Conference, we had such a memorable baptism! The baptism of a family! The Jeghedes are a family from Nigeria that the Elders have been teaching. They have 4 daughters that got baptized as well as the parents and I have been privileged to teach the daughters at church before, so it was amazing to see! They are full of light and joy :) SO GREAT!
That was basically my week. Just full of miracles after miracles. Isn't that the best?! And the great thing is, it doesn't even take new investigators to find these miracles. I've been focusing on noticing these miracles even more, especially as my mission is drawing to an end, and I want to find the joy in the simple things, so God has provided. He always provides. He always gives us what we need and, oftentimes, what we want. It just takes us to listen and to look to Him in order to see all of our incredible blessings. And the more you look for the blessings, the more blessings you find! Crazy how that works!
The best part about this gospel? There's always second chances because of Jesus Christ. If you failed to see the blessings one day, or you feel like you might be lacking, or unworthy of His love, you can always start the next day on a clean-slate. Complete forgiveness can only come after one is baptized by His authority, which is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and with that forgiveness comes complete joy. And it's never too late. I'd like to share this quote with you I read today by President Monson. He states, “Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, and the delinquent parent. Tenderly He speaks to these, and indeed to all: 'Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.' I pray all mankind may accept His divine invitation to exaltation." After getting to know these amazing souls this week, I've been able to realize more and more how much God really is reaching out to us. Not only does He just allow for second chances, He encourages them! He rejoices in it! He WANTS to help us. And His help is always there. What are you waiting for? Will you grab the hand He is extending towards you to lift you up?
That's the true joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is my testimony.
I love you all. I'd say I can't wait to see you all soon, but I'm still holding on to my time I have left here. I'll see y'all eventually ;) I pray for you often and hope you continue to see God's miracles in your lives! XOXO
Scripture of the Week: Helaman 5:12
Quote of the Week: "Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master, had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher, had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer. He had no army, yet the kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world."
Pictures: Sister Christiansen and I at Zone Conference. Hermana Smith and I with our stuffed animals. Sister Hale making us bacon! Elizabeth and I at her baptism! She's one of the girls I got to teach a little bit! And Sister Hale and I found Christmas dresses at Target already... we couldn't resist trying them on...