To start the week off, Sister Harris and I went to prison. :S
Ok, what happened with that was we got a media referral with a note that the person referred was taking Bible studies and their concerned friend said a paperback Bible would help. Little did we know, until we put the address in the GPS that it led to the prison! Holy crumb Sister Harris and I felt so uneasy--police men everywhere, security cameras, barbed wire fences...not exactly the place where Sister Missionaries should be. We ended up visiting the main office where a few police were, and they said to mail it in to the reverend.
Well, we're not doing that again!
Other than that, this week felt a little extra special. We unfortunately weren't able to meet with Grace or Mike, but we taught Yuri again. :) His English is coming along. Poor guy--we can tell he has so much to say and so much that is going through his mind that he doesn't know how to put into English. At times we wonder if he is really understanding what we teach as his wife Solange helps him out. He's trying so hard! Our lesson this week was a continuation of the Plan of Salvation as we taught up to earth life last week. We used the Plan of Salvation Velcro chart I made a while back to review the 1st half. We took each Velcro piece off and hand him place them back on in the order he remembered. He did well! We continued on with the Atonement and where we go after we die. We ran out of time as Solange's kids started crying so we'll finish it up later this week.
On Saturday, our mission had our first temple baptism day for recent converts, so we brought Beth with us. :) Going with her for her first time was a neat experience. Beth actually had a very rough week beforehand and became very discouraged. We didn't know of all the occurrences that took place, but heard word from her Visiting Teacher and Branch President that a lot happened. When we were on the phone with her on Thursday, talking about going to the temple on Saturday, she shared how it was a rough week and sounded down as she said, "Oh...I don't know to be honest if I can go this week." Right then I knew I had to speak up, so I said something along the lines of "Beth, you know it's been a rough week since the adversary knows you are preparing to go the temple this Saturday. I heard a pause and then she said, "Hmm, I never that of that."
So it all worked out for Saturday. It was the day after Beth's birthday, which was awesome. Also, what made this trip even greater was to see Nuria from my last area come with Joe! Surprisingly, only four of the 15 recent converts in this mission who scheduled to come came, and Beth and Joe were two of them. I couldn't help but feel so grateful that the most recent converts I helped teach from both areas were there at the temple for their first time. It's been wonderful to see Joe and Beth learn, grow spiritually, be baptized, and then come to the temple.
It was so neat to be at the temple; I couldn't help but once again feel its peace and sacredness. Beth seemed to peaceful and has been staying so faithful, and this was a big moment for her. Amazingly enough, a miracle happened for Beth. For a while she was worried about finding a pair of white shoes since she needed them so desperately for her feet to help stabilize her with her feet braces for her physical condition. So there at the temple Sister Hovey, who was with us, was talking to someone about Beth's shoe situation. Right there, a Senior Visa waiter missionary here in the MBM overheard her. It turns out he just bought his pair of white shoes, but he and his wife just got the news their Visa's came in, so he no longer needed them. He offered to Beth to see if they fit, and they were the perfect size! I believe we were all near tears since we knew how much this meant to Beth. The Elder said he would set them on the shelf with the reservation for Beth to pick up when we come with Amy on her 12th Birthday on the next recent convert baptism day next month.
As for the rest of this week, not to be a Debbie Downer, but I was feeling discouraged and nervous for the Tobi med to come in this week. It's not been easy--less sleep, tighter airways, fatigue, lost voice, increased sputum (with the taste of it), deeper cough...I could go on. I needed a lot of strength as I felt a little weak. After we arrived home on Saturday, I ate some lunch, then slept. When I woke up, I was wondering what happened while I was out...phone calls? Texts? Appointments made? When I was no longer groggy and regained some energy, I realized Sister Harris had been working on a paper chain.
Although it wasn't necessary, I was so touched as she wanted to show her support in some way as she knows this isn't easy. I kept telling her how I'm a drama queen, but she heard the coughs and has seen how it can be hard to get out of bed with the alarm going off an hour and a half earlier for meetings. She decided to make a countdown as soon as I said, "Only 27 days to go." (the length of time still had to take the med Tobi).
Each chain had an uplifting message, scripture, or quote written on it.
Each chain had an uplifting message, scripture, or quote written on it.
|The paper chain Sister Harris made...the countdown begins|
I held back tears most of the time, but as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw how none of our eyes were dry, so then they came. We all sat there and soaked in the special feeling there in that room. Brother Blackwell, Sister Blackwell, Sister McGill, Sister Harris and President Smith shared how they knew everything said was true. They gave such strong compliments to both Sister Harris and I. President Smith shared with me some of his personal, relatable experiences, and reminded me that "it's better to take time to be well" and advised me to not over push. They also offered their help by brainstorming ideas to make things easier, all of which made it even harder to fight the tears that came.
There was an inexpressible amount of Christ-like love in that room. It was powerful, sacred, memorable moment for all of us right there. It was pure and beautiful.
There is so much love that is felt from Sister Harris, from branch members and most of all from my Heavenly Father. Some times are difficult to push through, but I know that there are some of the greatest, purest, most giving hearts around out here. It's inspiring, uplifting, and helps me continue to press on in the ways that my Savior entrusts me to.
I better get going, but I hope you know how much I love you all.
Brandon, I am so proud of your Seminary Graduation, High School Graduation, your new album out, and your Court of Honor coming up. :) Keep living it up!
Alicia, I thought I'd get tired of a lot of pictures, but Connor is an exception for that. :) He is sooo precious and seems to be quite a character.
Dad, I was surprised to hear your calling got changed but I know that your new one as an employment specialist will go well.
Mom, I am glad the changes at home with the move are pulling through. I think about how much I love the 9th ward, but how I've learned even more how each ward or branch has a special feel to it.
Talk to you more next week.