hi loved ones!
This was a good, busy, exhausting week! We were blessed to teach a lot of lessons again. And the weather finally got warmer :) Mom, I got the leggings in the mail today - thank you! They look so cute and warm and comfy :)
First off, church yesterday was awesome and filled with miracles! Thank goodness winter term at Graceland has started again so many of the students are back, and guess who DID come? A college student we've been teaching brought her friend (who has now come 3 times! and we finally actually got to teach her and invite her to baptism, so she's a new investigator!); Another friend of a member (cool story about that later); and this young man, who literally drove himself the 35ish miles to church, by himself, without knowing a single person there! It was so crazy! Here this probably 19-year-old guy whom we've never met before shows up at church in a suit and tie, with a triple combination that has his name engraved on it (his friend from home gave it to him - he's from TX), and introduces himself to the missionaries. Did a golden investigator just walk into church?! Sure looks like it! We got his contact info and are meeting with him tonight! What's even better, Daniel is now this super-awesome member missionary and really went out of his way to make him feel welcome and comfortable. Plus, he on the soccer team and Daniel helps out with the soccer team, so while he didn't actually know him, he recognized him and immediately is friends because of the soccer connection haha. So basically that was really awesome. Plus, it was ward conference, so Bishop Bair and President Pence gave AWESOME talks in Sacrament meeting (no surprise there - they are the most powerful speakers and leaders!) and of course the stake leaders taught the classes. Gospel principles was good too because there were 5 young adult Graceland University students, plus us, so that was fun! Oh and side-note about how awesome Daniel is...with his roommates back, he's already having to stand up to them because they're already trying to get him to drink, etc. with them. But he's being so strong! When he was trying to live the Word of Wisdom before he got baptized, he went to a party once and we texted him and said, "Be like Nephi!" It was kind of a joke but it's stuck and I don't think he's drunk ever since. It's been really fun to continue reading out of 1 Nephi with him and see how much he really has become like Nephi!
Another miracle. We decided to have weekly Family Home Evenings (FHE) to try to get people to come, but things just weren't working - people weren't home, phones weren't working, no one was answering, etc. We showed up at the room on campus we were meeting at, and it seemed like the only people who would be there were two members, but no investigators. BUT, then we got a text from one guy saying that he had left his phone at his friend's and would be there in 15 minutes - and he brought someone with him! Also, it just so happened that another girl was in that very building working on one of the computers, so one of our members saw her and we were able to go grab her and invite her to come as well (her phone is broken so she didn't hear about it), and she came and we all had a great time! We showed the Mormon Message "Wrong Roads," shared a scripture, and had a little discussion, and then a super fun little activity. Everyone seemed to have a good time :) , one of them said how she's inviting lots of people to come and how she's really excited about it! And another said that it was just what she needed. It is just so cool to see these times when we do everything that we can and nothing seems to be working, and then Heavenly Father steps in and makes it all work out. It's a good reminder who's really in charge of His work :) Oh! And when we were trying to round people up to come, we stopped by a girl's dorm, but she wasn't there. Her roommate was there, however, who is the girl who came to church . We chatted with her and invited her to FHE;she was studying so she didn't come, but that night she texted a member and asked her if she can come to church with her! It was SO cool.
Other lessons: We taught our 80-year-old Baptist neighbor, who is pretty awesome. He said that he'll be baptized if he knows that this Church is true! We're still trying to get him to come to church because he always goes to his grandson's wrestling tournaments . We also taught another librarian, who has an awesome family. We are really hoping things work out with her, she's so great! We had a really good lesson with another lady, and Sis. Einertson came with us. We were so sure she'd be at church though...waiting for people at church and not having them show up is the worst feeling haha. We helped the Einertson's with some housework, and they are planning on moving this week. No!!! That is one thing that is really stressful because we feel like we're losing our members down here - there's a good chance the Slayton's will leave after the end of the school year too, and I seriously do not know what Lamoni will do without them - it would be SO hard to get people to church!
We had zone training meeting , which was awesome. I love our zone! Also, we found out the new mission goal for 2014. 2013's goal was 550 (we had 545...so close!), and we've always had a goal like that. This year is different...the wards' goals are our goals! So once our ward finishes making its goal, that will be our goal, and we will work to help the ward to reach its goal. That's the way it is across the mission, and it makes so much sense! We are to be working hand in hand with the members, and it doesn't make sense for the wards and stakes to have goals and then for the mission to have this other goal. We should be working with the wards and stakes! We're really excited about this and know that it is part of Heavenly Father hastening His work :)
we had interviews,which were awesome...I love President and Sister Jensen! President said that unless Heavenly Father tells him otherwise, he'll probably just keep Sister Etherington and me here until she goes back to Nauvoo in April! Which means I'll stay until about May to train the next missionary here before I transfer! I'm excited to really be a part of this ward and area and see real change and growth here in the next several months. Anyways, other than interviews, was kind of exhausting haha and is where the subject line is from. First of all, the weather was super weird (I know, I'm not supposed to complain haha) - it was warmish but was foggy and icy and sleety all day. After interviews we finally got our dreaded flu shots - we had put it off as long as possible but it's a mission rule and we got somewhat chastised at ZTM for not having gotten ours yet. Sister Etherington LOVES shots...and by that I mean that I held her hand during hers haha. If I get the flu this week, we know why haha. After getting our shots, we drove down to Leon, which is one of those towns that just kind of seems to be dying, which is kind of sad. This lady talked at us for like almost 2 hours (we're supposed to only have 45-min lessons...sometimes it's next to impossible to get out of there!). She just went on and on and contradicted herself and was so frustrating! Sis. Etherington read a scripture out of Amos and the lady started telling her how she has to read it in context and proceeded to read, out loud, the book of Amos from chapter 1! We were like, we canNOT sit here while you read the whole book of Amos! It continued like that and finally I had a chance to talk and I told the First Vision story and bore my testimony and the Spirit was actually really strong. She had tears in her eyes but when I asked her if she felt the Spirit touch her, she said "No." Then she proceeded to say how she "understands" what it's like to believe in something your whole life, and told us this 20-min (or so) story about how she grew up believing that a human footprint was found next to a dinosaur footprint and how she was crushed when she found out that wasn't true. When she finally finished I was like...well the difference is, this IS true! Sister Etherington and I were DYING. When we finally got out of there and were driving back to Lamoni, we were laughing as we ranted about how crazy that whole thing was. I was like, "she compared MY testimony of Joseph Smith to DINOSAUR TRACKS!" it was so ridiculous!
Anyways, missionary work is awesome and I love it! Sorry the email is SO long haha. I love you all so much! Happy birthday to Nathanael !!!! Thanks for everything - you all mean the world to me :)