Time is short, so I am just going to address all your questions in this email and do a basic overview of the miracles this week as well.
To start, Chris is really excited for his baptism, and his parents are totally commited; even his less-active older brother, Aaron, agreed to give the closing prayer. Chris got the whole family involved :) The concern from the beginning has been if Chris just wants to get baptized because he can stop going to church once he is, but when I asked him why he wants to be baptized, what he said shocked all of us in the room. He responded, "I get teased at school for what I believe and I want the Holy Ghost to be there as my friend always." It brought tears to my eyes, and I was so humbled to hear this wonderful boy's testimony. We plan to visit the family every day this week because Satan is going to work doubletime, but we will beat him, as we are all commited together.
Last Thursday we had the incredible opportunity to have a mission tour, which is basically a training with several zones given by a general authority, the mission president, and their wives. Elder C. Scott Grow came this time, and he was amazing! He talked about setting effective goals during weekly planning, and planning 4 weeks or more in advance, so we are always looking ahead. It is different from how I've done it, but I know this is inspired, and Sister Stacey and I have taken it on already. We also were taught about leadership, since in a few short months, 18-year-old boys, and 19-year-old girls will be coming and we will need to step it up as trainers. Training seems so daunting, but the Lord will not call me til He knows I'm ready. I felt the Spirit so strongly during that meeting, and when I did start to feel stressed, I said a prayer in my heart, and the peace I was feeling came back.
I better understand that we set goals and then make plans in our daily and weekly planning (see PMG ch.8). Something else I learned was how much the Lord depends on us to hasten His work. As I was sitting there, listening, thinking about how I could be a more effective missionary, I realized I need to let go of the fear, and let the Lord take over and mold me into the person I'm meant to be. The only way to be the best mother, daughter, wife, teacher, etc. I can be is to let the Lord use me these next 15 months. I can't believe how fast time has gone! My greatest impression during that conference was that I need to work with my companion to get 10 baptisms before the end of the year. By October 20th, there will be 3, so 7 more. I know that with faith, and with a lot of work, this goal can be accomplished. It's exciting!
Another miracle this week happened yesterday--we were trying really hard all week to find a new investigator and it was 7:30 pm, dark, and Sunday. We were not discouraged though. We drove over to visit Cheli, a woman we contacted last week, and had a wonderful lesson with her about the similarities of our beliefs and hers, what our purpose in visiting her is, and we invited her to a Relief Society activity later this week. She accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she would read it along with the Restoration pamphlet we gave her. I really like her, and she was very honest with me about my personality; she told me she could tell I was a school teacher because of my large amount of energy. Yep, that is me. We were so blessed to meet with her and I hope that the interest she showed 5 years ago when missionaries met her will come back as we teach and she'll want to enter into the covenants available.
As promised, I have some pictures. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures from the mission tour, but it was amazing and wonderful to see some of our old zone from last transfer. The pictures I do have are from the stake luau that was put on this past Saturday, and it was a great event! Angela's mom came and asked for a Book of Mormon to read--Angela was just beaming :) The elders all performed the haka, and all the dances were authentic and beautiful. What was even more impressive were the willing hearts and hands that helped with the clean-up, a task that would have taken hours if only our ward did it. Children were helping too, carrying chairs, tables, and putting away trash. Parents led the way. We were all busy bees doing our 1/12 part, and it made the difference. Also, some nonmembers we did meet showed some interest in having us teach them, including a recent convert's daughter.
I'm finding that as I pray each day to find someone to serve the day goes by much faster, and I'm happier. Also, as I pray for others, especially our investigators, I'm so happy! This is what missionary work is, and it is the best!
Jason, keep up the good work. I know that you and David will find time to watch the movies, just remember, your friends and family are most important and you can make time for them. Don't worry so much about Pathway. Know that you have great resources to help you and you'll succeed.
Dad, you are so right, no matter the boundary changes, the Church is the same everywhere :) And Mom, I hope you get to go on that tour, it would be great to see some pictures from Utah again. I am proud of you and all that you are accomplishing, and for losing that 1/2 pound! Just keep eating right, walking every day and you will lose 10 in no time. I'm getting a little sick again, so my exercise may be going down this week, but I'll eat as healthily as I can and drink lots of agua!
So Luau picture 2 is when Sister Stacey and I were being silly one night
Luau picture 3 was at the luau, Sister Stacey and I were manning the missionary table
picture 4 was the crowd getting food
picture 7--President and Sis. Godwin surprised us by coming to the luau
picture 8--dancers at the luau
I love you all!
Sister Allison Mills
(Note: While she talked about 5 different pictures in her email, we only got the first three. Hopefully, she'll send the other two next time.)