Hi loved ones!
We tracted into a sweet lady who lived most of her life as part of the Brotherhood of Christ community. They are a break-off from the RLDS and live very similar to the Amish lifestyle. She and her husband and family left that community a couple years ago, which was huge. She said that they have been completely shunned since leaving and they live with so much guilt and shame. It has been really hard for them. She said they lived in a lot of fear, and so while she's looking for a religion for her two kids, she definitely has some hesitations and lots of questions about organized religion and the "Mormon religion." But, she seems to like us coming over, and she is so sweet and I really hope that she lets the true gospel of Jesus Christ heal her soul and bring her family the happiness they need! It was amazing running into her though - it was last Monday night and was a little rainy and dark, and she let us in (HUGE deal haha) and chatted with us a bit. When we were leaving she asked how we found her, and said she was glad we did :)
Well I love it here. The sound of the horse and buggy riding by has become one of my favorite sounds, and I love that we know the mail carrier and the librarians and the workers at the second-hand store (where we'll be volunteering a bit) and all of that fun small-town stuff. I love bearing my testimony to people. I love feeling the Spirit as we teach people the gospel and hear their stories. I miss you all but am always so amazed by how wonderful of missionaries you are! You make me want to do better. Thanks for your example and your love. I love you so much!!!
Wow, what an incredible week this has been! We have seen so many miracles and been so blessed. Sometimes when things go so well I get scared that they're going to go back down again but I need to remember to have faith and to trust in the Lord because this is His work, not mine :)
Sorry my letters are later in the day now, this cute little library doesn't open until 1 on Mondays:)
I'll tell you about the people we're working with, because that's the fun part! We are still teaching the young man whom I told you about last week I believe. He's awesome. We're just helping him to receive an answer. His baptismal date is , which would mean he'd need to have a baptismal interview this week...not sure if that will happen, but he's working and praying and so are we! He'll get baptized :) We love meeting with him. We also love that the lady from our ward comes with us and is so helpful! We learn SO much from her. She told us that one thing that her mission president emphasized in her mission is when they testify/promise blessings, they should do so as representatives of Jesus Christ. It is pretty powerful and is so helpful sometimes! Hannah Whipple doesn't know a whole lot, but Sister Whipple can say "I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ," and when we use that righteously, the Spirit has to bear witness of it as well.
|Mural in Lamoni|
Another day, we decided to stop by the home of a less-active Graceland Student. We stopped by unannounced but she was SO nice and we were able to leave a short message with her, her good friend and her roommate and we set a return appointment to meet with them and teach her. She is from Samoa and loves Mormons and the Book of Mormon and everything (she is so cute!). When we came back a few days later for our appointment, they had made a whole meal for us - fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni, and veggies - and had invited several other friends to come by! Then they sat us down and had us teach them! Funniest group ever - we taught the four of them, and one was Tongan, one Samoan, one Filipino, and the other Hawaiian; later, two other guys showed up, and both of them are black. Haha! So fun. VERY different personalities as well. Now we just need to figure out how to meet with them down individually w/o offending anyone, because it's hard to answer questions, and address concerns when it's a party every time we come over! ;) One of them bore super powerful testimony, and she and ANOTHER friend (from Samoa) came to church !
We taught another super sweet lady night and she is so great! She basically already believes that the Book of Mormon is true and has felt the Spirit many times. We taught her the Restoration and she accepted the baptismal invite. We can't wait to meet with her again!
Sister Etherington and I also gave talks in Sacrament Meeting! It made it easy and fun to invite people, but it was interesting trying to throw together a talk when we don't have a lot of time to prepare for other things and we weren't given much time to write them. And writing a talk w/o the computer is the most painful thing ever, I don't know what we did before computers haha! But I felt good about it. Our topic was becoming more Christlike, and I focused on the enabling power of the Atonement and used a lot of Elder Bednar talks. It really is so amazing how we can gain power and strength through the Atonement so that we can do and be more than we ever could on our own. I have definitely felt that recently, and am so grateful for it! We met with Bishop after church and he really has high expectations for us, which makes me a little nervous but is also exciting because knowing that he's expecting a lot out of us makes us want to work harder. I'm trying to be a better leader and plan better so that we can use our time most effectively. I also am still terrible at not getting lost and disoriented, even in this tiny town :P haha sometimes I think maybe part of my brain doesn't function correctly in that sense,I get lost so easily!
Question for you all: what are some blessings from paying tithing you've seen in your lives? How has it blessed our family? Input would be awesome! Thanks!