First off, thank you to all of you who have sent letters of love and support. I am getting so far behind in writing to all of you, but I will do it. For now, here is a shoutout to you wonderful souls that I love so much: Jenepher (I can't wait to see pictures of baby Enok, he is going to be the most gorgeous baby), Ashley Chamberlin, Alex Hoffman, Grandma and Grandpa Parker, Kathy Mills and Lisa Dalgren, Heather Holdsworth, and Rosemary Burnach, and Sister Meeks (MTC district rules)! I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who love and support me, and share the same values as me. What a gift.
Sister Laalaai and I have been very blessed this week, and if last week was a test of our faith, we are seeing the fruits this week. We were able to teach 3 new people and 1 of them already has a baptismal date. His name is Marcus, and this man is so prepared. He is really good friends with a member that used to live in the area, and this friend has been with him throughout all of Marcus's trials. His most recent trial was the death of his 2-year-old son. They had the funeral mid-December, and life has just started slowing down for them recently.
We had our first two appointments with him this week. One of his sons participated in the first discussion, and the Spirit was totally the teacher. The love of their 2-year-old son and brother, Caden, was felt, and I was honored to feel that love and express that love to Marcus and his son. We taught the plan of salvation and both agreed with everything we taught. Two days later we had another lesson with Marcus, and we went over the message of the restoration. When the time felt right to extend a baptismal date, Marcus readily accepted. He said, "If that (March 2nd) is when the Lord wants me to be baptized, then I'll be baptized." He is a man of such faith.
We are all praying that his family will want to listen to the discussions and make the commitments we are helping Marcus with. His goal is for his whole family to belong to the same church, and they have a large family (18)!!! I'm really impressed with this man and his desire to follow Chirst and belong to His Church. His friend, Patrick, left him a promise that if he and his son read the Book of Mormon and pray about its truthfulness and the truthfulness of our message, the Lord will reveal its validity. I know that to be true. I have done it myself and the answer always comes back the same: YES.
We had an interesting lesson with David Lewis this week, our 3rd new investigator. He is agnostic, and going through a divorce. His wife just basically left him, and we felt impressed to bring a sister in our ward with us, first because we knew she went through a nasty divorce earlier in life. Well, come to find out during the lesson that this woman was David's history teacher his sophomore year! He even repented of a past sin where he cheated on a project. That was funny! The Lord has such a sense of humor. We testified to David that what happened was evidence God loves him. He seems very open and wants to read the Book of Mormon to really know if what we are saying is true. I hope he can feel the power of the atonement in his life as he goes through this difficult time.
Sadly, Pat and Val are not progressing, and they stopped coming to church and won't keep any appointments with us. We decided that our time would be better spent finding those who are ready to receive the gospel, so we dropped them and 4 others who are not keeping any commitments. It's really hard letting these people go, people who we have prayed so much for and love, but it is necessary to do sometimes. I have to forgive Pat still for keeping Val away from embracing the gospel as she wants, and I just pray that when she is older and can make her own decisions she chooses to join the church.
As for Austin and Desiree, they are doing really well. Austin had a cold this week (half of San B is sick) so we canceled our appointment, but he came to church and loved it! He prayed about Feb 16th and feels that it is too soon, so we are going to let him decide a date that works for him. Desiree is still gung-ho for Feb 23rd, and she is making friends in the ward. We brought her to church because her ride bailed (I know, that was bad, and I repented of it). She really likes church and agrees with everything we teach her. These souls are so prepared. I know that if they keep reading, praying, and fighting Satan, their baptisms will become a reality.
Haven't been able to get hold of Amy; she's been sick as well, and we may be dropping her if she continues to cancel appointments, which is really sad. Here is a woman who was so excited to be baptized, had a baptismal date back in November, and then let doubt and fear, and anti-Mormon websites cloud her vision. Those websites are purely evil, and Satan is real. I've learned that we have to help our investigators be aware from the beginning that opposition will come as they start to accept the gospel. Then they can prepare and we can help them before they let the devil in. What Kim Berkey talked about is so true, we can't let our eye of faith wander away from the Savior. What a wonderful analogy. I may use it when we teach the atonement :)
Another highlight happened on Sunday this week. We were visiting part members and less actives, and stopped at the Dennehey's door. Sister Dennehey is a member, but her sons are less active and her husband is not interested. We visited with her and laughed, and talked about the power of the atonement. She blames herself over her kids' inactivity because she used to be less active. We testified that Christ can make all the difference. We just have to be willing to repent and forgive ourselves. That's the hardest part really-- forgiving ourselves. As we visited and asked Sister Dennehey if there was anything we could do for her, she just replied, "This visit was it." Bringing a smile to one of Heavenly Father's children made the cold, rain, and lack of appointments that night all worth it. Heavenly Father knew where we needed to be, and I'm so glad we were impressed to visit the Dennehey's.
I'm learning that the most important aspect of missionary work is having the Spirit. Without it we don't know where to go, what to do, or what to say. In district meeting this week we focused on those three essential questions, and I've made it a personal goal to ask for help in those three areas daily. There is a difference. I'm more receptive of what the Spirit would have me do and say, and where He would have us go. If that means we need to visit a member, then so be it. The Lord knows who needs rescuing. And we still had plenty to time to testify of Christ to those who do not yet know him. With the Lord, when we put Him first, all other things get done.
One of my goals this transfer is to develop the Christlike attribute of humility. It's been humbling, ha ha, to recognize pride within myself. I've had a lot of pride about my emotions and anxiety, and it's taken a lot to give it to the Lord and actually take the advice of fellow friends, leaders, doctors, and most especially, my Father. Humility is a daily decision, and something that, as I pray for it, I know the Lord will help me develop.
We are doing great as a companionship, and taking the advice of our ward mission leader and getting to know the silly little details about each other. I have come to really love and know Sister Laalaai. She is amazing!
And, as I tell myself every day that I am a daughter of God, I'm realizing that I am amazing too.
Sister Allison Mills
(She included this picture in honor of her friend, Mandy Faucett):