Well, this week was CRAZY! We moved from our apartment next to the hospital and to another apartment nearer to most of the ward members. Thanks to wonderful zone leaders and the housing representative we were able to move in and get unpacked and get necessary supplies and furniture all done by Wednesday. So, the work started out a little slower this week, but we are all moved in and ready to rock it the rest of this week.
I totally understand how change is hard for people. It is an adjustment having the ward be in a new stake, and I'm impressed by how well you all are taking it. When we moved in I started feeling sadness about leaving Rosemary, being in a new area, and having just that feeling of change. It was a good wake up call to what it will somewhat be like when I actually do get transferred and have to move to another area. I'll really miss the Oleander ward, but I know the Church is true everywhere, and as long as I stay brave, adventerous, selfless, and converted (thanks Mom for that article), it will be okay.
How awesome the increase in the missionary applications! 4,000!! That's wonderful, and I'm so proud of all the young women who are stepping up. It is so cool to see the Lord is truly hastening His work.
This week has been more of a challenging one. Lots of people weren't home, and most of our time was spent trying to find people to visit and teach, and then just making appointments for this week. Good news, this week we are teaching a lot more people. Also, we have made some goals together to find more investigators, and with the planning that we are doing, and relying so much more on the Lord, I know that as we work hard the goals are achievable. I just have to remind myself that if they aren't met, that doesn't mean failure, as long as I try. Sister Stacey is so wonderful to keep encouraging me when I get discouraged and wonder how I can help anyone. I especially felt low after visiting the Carrillo's and seeing how unhappy Sister Carrillo is. Her husband is being so strong and Chris and Izabella are doing great, but seeing how Satan is just working on Sister Carrillo breaks my heart, and it was easy to doubt it would ever be okay. After a good chat with my companion and a talk with the Lord I realized that I need to be like Nephi and trust in the Lord to guide us in how to help her and others who are struggling. Fasting and prayers are helping a lot, and peace has entered my heart since that night and I know that everything will work out. I truly have grown in my testimony of the power of the fast.
For some of the miracles, look at part of president's letter that I attached. One miracle is that we have a new investigator, Lupe, whose husband is a member, so the support is amazing. She wants to be baptized but works on Sunday so we have to find a way to encourage her to come to church the needed times so she can be baptized. As we teach with love, and respect her agency, I know that we'll find a way to reach her. Also, Bishop called us yesterday and there is another family in the ward who has 2 kids that are over 8, who need to be taught and baptized! We have been inspired about certain numbers of baptisms for certain days within the next 6 weeks, and one week we were inspired for 2 baptisms, and this just came to us. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but when we have faith, we are answered, and ways are made to accomplish what is the Lord's will (1 Nephi 3 and 4).
*Part of my letter to President:
One miracle I finally allowed myself to notice didn't have to do with increasing our baptismal dates, baptisms, etc, but it had to do with the rescue effort. We visited a less active family and the wife opened up to us about how she doesn't feel she can go back to Church and why. However, she has been impressed by her daughter who has mission papers in and is going on a mission. She showed her faith in God by asking her daughter to pray for her for a specific need, and that need was met. I realized that when we show faith the Lord is bound to answer. We listened to her about her reasoning for not coming to church and watched a mormon message about the atonement, and at the end she told us that she could try to come to Sacrament Meeting. She even gave us permission to text her often and remind her. Sunday came and she and her oldest boy made it to church and she loved it! This woman hasn't been to church in a long while, and to see her wanting to change, and then following through, was a miracle.
We were very blessed also this week to teach a less-active man and his wife, who is a nonmember, and she wants to be baptized! She hasn't committed to a date, but as we continue to teach her, I trust that she will commit to one. She is prepared and humble, and it is amazing how through first visiting and gaining the trust of her husband, we now have the trust of her as well and she is opening up to the gospel. So while there were challenges, this week was a great learning experience and miracles still happened.
Sister Stacey and I have a goal to make 35 contacts by Thursday and then make as many as we can for the rest of the week, to try for 70. Our district leader advised us to work on that indicator, and after I humbled myself, I see that as we make more contacts we will be able to find new investigators and teach more people, and reach our goals. I'm glad a mission teaches you to humble yourself and to appreciate constructive criticism as a way to make oneself better. It's going to take time to let go of my pride and be okay with being told how to improve, but it is what the Lord wants and I will do what he asks.
I love you all and hope you are all okay. I'm praying for Grandpa Parker that he is doing better from his surgery, and Trent Slade with his tumor. Keep me updated.
Sister Allison Mills