|Sister Harris and I supporting Grace at her HS Graduation speech (she was Sr Class Pres)|
|Grace giving her Graduation speech (it reminded me of Brandon)|
The beginning of last week was a little slow, since it took a short time to recover from Tobi. Yes, as a little update, I completely quit Tobi. I got a hold of Dr. Cernadas last week, and I told her how the Tobi situation was still persisting with all of the negative side effects. She said my body is apparently no longer accepting it, and that it had inflamed my airways, which was why I was coughing up more gunk. I'm going to switch back to Cayston and see how that goes, and although it's inconvenient since it's 3 times a day, I believe it will work better. I'm a little uneasy that my body is no longer accepting Tobi, but at the same time am relieved to not have to worry about it anymore.
Luckily it only took a few days to recover and I'm feeling pretty good again. :)
After the Pentocostal (seriously though, that's one of the names many of the missionaries and the Packards are using to describe it) meeting with Jeffrey R. Holland a couple of weeks ago, President Packard felt inspired to have mini Zone Conferences throughout the mission. President Packard prayed immensely and yearned for revelation on what the Lord wanted him to share with us. The entire meeting was focused on Chapter 4 in Preach my Gospel on how to recognize and understand the spirit. Holy crumb, the meeting was breathtaking. We learned about every aspect of receiving revelation. We studied scripture stories that demonstrated how to receive and recognize the spirit. We learned how to pray by the spirit as we often do not know what to pray for or how to put our desires into words. We were shown stories through the Book of Mormon on how to have dialogue instead of monologue prayers, and what sincere heartfelt prayers require. President Packard also focused on how more answers can be received as we pray specific questions for people and what the spirit feels like. There was more on how we can receive answers through personal revelation, emotions pressing in on us, and through spiritual gifts we may be blessed with personally and individually to get us where we want to be and how those gifts may be the answers to our questions to enlarge our own capacities to do what we cannot do alone. There was so much shared. President Packard reminded us how we need to be patient with ourselves as we continually try to develop these principles over time, and to "not let a few mistakes shatter our confidence in the process." It's another meeting I'll never forget.
Lately Sister Harris and I have realized how desperate we are to find people, we know how much we have to apply these concepts we are striving to better and more fully understand. In fact, the whole mission has been pushing for finding more people. After the Zone Conference, our zone met together and set a goal: "Operation: One a Day"--to give a Book of Mormon out…Every… Day. It's very challenging, but it's so worth it! We've had a couple of neat experiences already. One of them was on the first day of the challenge. The day was coming to a close, and we realized we had not yet given a Book of Mormon out. We brainstormed, and decided to go to Walmart since we were going to get a graduation card for Mike (we made one for Grace). When we arrived, I noticed a sweet older lady who must be in her 80s or so sitting on a bench, greeting people in. We entered Walmart and tried to start conversations at the card stand, asking who they were buying cards for and then telling who we were and that we were teaching two students that were graduating from the local high school. Unfortunately, none of those conversations really led to anything. When we began to leave, my mind once again went back to the sweet, tiny lady at the front of the store. I glanced over at her, feeling somehow she may be lonely in her life and should be acknowledged. I realized right then when my heart was pounding that I must have overall eased out of the habit to talking to everyone while here in Plymouth. I told Sister Harris I could start the conversation off.
We approached her, relying on the Lord, and I said something like, "Excuse me," as she turned to us "I felt so impressed that I need to tell you how you have a Heavenly Father who loves you, and you are not forgotten." She seemed taken aback, surprised, but bore a sweet smile as she told us "Why, thank you." She looked at our name tags carefully and asked what church we are with. Once we told her, she said she had never heard of us, or even "Mormons" before. We continued in conversation, as I was a little nervous that she would think we were being insincere, but she didn't seem to show any hint that she thought so. Then, the point came where she told us she's been looking at religious books lately, so Sister Harris asked if we could share one with her. It was perfect! She accepted! We saw her name and asked if we could meet up to follow up with her, but she said she was very disappointed at first since she lives with her son who does not allow company. However, she still gave us her phone number to meet somewhere in public. We gave her our pass along card with the church's address. We thanked her and closed up with our testimonies. (We've attempted to contact her but will keep trying.)
It was incredible! Sister Harris and I realized afterwards how each step was led by the spirit. As Elder Holland reminded our mission a couple of weeks ago, we need to "Look up" as the Savior commanded "As the field is white, already to harvest." I sure want to work on getting back in the habit with talking to everyone. The incidence with this lady at Walmart reminded me how often we hustle in our daily lives and often forget to seek and acknowledge that someone nearby may need our help--even through kind guided words, letting them know just how much they are appreciated. I truly felt this lady's spirits lifted by us just talking to her and offering one of our most prized possessions to her. Who knows where this will go from this point, but I know what happened wasn't a coincidence as the Lord was mindful of her. If anything, she needed to hear that, and now she has a Book of Mormon she may turn to. I know that although as we open our mouths, people may reject or decline our invitations to learn more about the restored gospel, but there will be miracles that will open up even if they are down the road.
A few other things that are happening to find people:
About a week ago at the Relief Society Presidency meeting, we discussed how there are many "Do not contacts" in the branch list, but we don’t know why they are. The solution? "Manrichment"--where the Elders Quorum and High Priests would meet together one night and visit them, and then the Relief Society would provide dinner afterwards. #genius. We brought up this idea in branch council yesterday, and it was approved! Haha oh it's too good. #everywardandbranchshouldhavemanrichment
Sister Harris and I were trying to think of ways to utilize the mission's portable visitor's center in our area. We brought it up in Branch Council, with the response "Well there is Trunk or Treat." But how could we wait until Trunk or Treat? I mean, that's in October! I had the idea about bringing it to an upcoming Linger Longer (branch potluck) and forgot about it, but then it came again. Since then, we brought it up the idea in branch council, and they were all in! President Smith, our branch president, has been fully supportive of this. He came up with the idea of having the linger longer sooner and having the third hour combined, all focused on eternal families and geneology to make it more friendly and inviting for any visitors. He emphasized yesterday at branch council the importance of spreading the word about taking this opportunity to invite nonmembers. He met with the portable visitor's center Sister Missionaries at a large meeting recently, where they coordinated everything for the portable visitor’s center that day and decided to have the gospel essentials class--where there will hopefully be more non-members visiting--all go out in the foyer where the lesson will be to watch the videos and check out the visitors center. The Primary kids will also have the chance to explore it. Sister Harris and I also made invites for members to pick up yesterday and hand out, and many of them were gone after church. Since the Family History conference had a great turnout a few months ago, the Blackwell's gave the idea later on to advertise this event in the local paper, so we are working on it and hope that works out! I'm continually reminded how much I love this branch. The Lord has provided so many ideas lately that He trusts us to carry forward, and they keep coming. I'm grateful to be an instrument in His hands.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you so much.
|Plymouth sure gets beautiful sunsets!|