Hello! How is everyone doing?
The summer is kicking and things are still going well.
Health-wise, I began Cayston, which is coming along much more smoothly. It's been a little tricky planning in all 3 doses with the hours in between but there have been no serious side effects. :)
Last Sunday, Elder Newsome, who used to serve here, visited the branch. Lucky for us, Sister Harris and I happened to bring our list of former investigators! He went through the list and told us of a couple who he has been thinking about and keeping in contact with lately. There was one lady named April who he suggested to visit, so we decided to go over on Tuesday. When we knocked on the door that said to be hers in the record, nobody answered. We started to go back to our car, but I felt this urge to tract the door next to hers. We turned around and did so. The lady who answered said, "Did Donna (Sister Hovey) send you??" It was April! She came outside and we had a sweet visit. She was blown away we stopped by that day--she kept thinking that day how much she missed everyone at "the LDS" and even made a special Facebook status update about it that day. While visiting with her, she told about the fun times her family had when the Elders came over and how much she missed the branch. She began going back to her Methodist church, where she says she feels it's where her heart told her to go back to, but still feels torn. Even her pastor has told her several times (even yesterday) she should go back to this church since he knows how much she loves it. Unfortunately she had her feelings hurt by a member but we're trying to show her it's in the past and that we would still welcome her in. April also loves the Book of Mormon. She loves the doctrine shared and how it "saved her one day." This story may not seem necessary to share but it's just too good! One day she looked out the window and saw six J-dubs on her doorstep. She went to her bedroom, grabbed her Book of Mormon and went to the door, holding it in her arm. At that moment, as soon as the visitors saw it in her arm, they literally ran as fast as they could without saying a word. She smiled and kissed the Book of Mormon in her arm, knowing she loved it even more. :)
After our visit, she said she would love to have us over for dinner on the weekend, so we visited wither her again and had a nice Book of Mormon study with their family. I don't know where this will end up, but we're still keeping in contact with her and there are no coincidences as the Lord is mindful of her. I am so glad I felt the urge to turn back and knock on the other door.
We also taught Chris again this week! To be honest, I was so nervous for our first lesson with him since we could not find a member to join us. We're going to try to do better about planning more in advance, because they all seemed to be at work, out of town, or have other conflicts. So, we did have Danny there on the porch for the lesson, and we did what we could as we planned for the lesson accordingly. It flowed so smoothly as there was Zion in our teaching. We both felt at peace as we taught. Chris is still so intrigued by what we're teaching as it all makes sense, as they are the same to what he's come to know to be true over the past few years. When we began our discussion, Chris brought up how he did more research on Joseph Smith (I thought Oh no...) but he was bewildered with what he read. He couldn't believe so many people tried to persecute Joseph Smith. He said he began to tear up as he read more of his experiences, as they reminded him of what other prophets faced, which increased his testimony of Joseph Smith. During the lesson, he shared more of his personal experiences (it felt ok to have him talk a little more) as he has been through a lot, including, yes--a pulmonary illness (there was a connection as I briefly mentioned my Cystic Fibrosis.) Yet, through it all, he's drawn closer to the Lord as he knows He is leading him along. He is willing to make certain changes in his life if it's the Lord's will. His faith has grown over this time and he knows the Lord is leading him along the right path for him. In fact, he even said at the end of the lesson how he knew it must not have been a coincidence he was on the porch when we were teaching Danny. The spirit continues to touch his open heart and he is paying attention--we even noticed how he brought his cigarette and lighter out with him but didn't light it.
As we taught and closed up the discussion on the Restoration, Chris gave a very nice compliment to us. He felt the hope that this church had something special, as he could see how much we love it as he said, "You two just seem so happy--you have this glow, as if He were standing right there." We weren't expecting that, as it sure touched us. I hope we can continue to carry a light to draw others to the Lord.
The family history class/ linger longer event came up quickly this week. First off, they ended up taking our picture for the paper event...why exactly, we do not know...last Sunday morning, which we didn't know would happen. We picked up the local paper on Saturday at a 7-Eleven, and surely enough there our exhausted Sunday morning appearance was not in a tiny picture--it was huge! We could not stop laughing! (The worker's face there showed he was missing out on this hysterical moment.) Ha we didn't know how to feel, most likely more awkward than anything, but we were glad that they put the event in there to have more people come.
Besides that, yesterday ended up being a special meeting. Yes, we were a little disappointed as not many visitors came, but we know that members invited. The good thing was there were more less actives who attended--that was awesome! The portable visitors center Sister Missionaries came and set up the display for the Savior: Redeemer of the World out in the foyer. Our Sacrament Meeting attendance also went over the needed amount to be a ward! Sacrament Meeting itself was memorable as it must have been the most reverent Sacrament Meeting I've been to in a while. Everything seemed to stand still as we focused on the sacrament's importance.Afterwards, the talks on revelation brought a feeling of great peace and assurance.
We had our gospel essentials class in the foyer where the Portable Visitors Center display was, where President Smith led the lesson as we watched and discussed the videos about the Savior and His Atonement. The Spirit was powerful, and we were all near/in tears at certain points. After Gospel Essentials/ the Sunday School classes, everyone (but Primary) met together for the combined lesson using the temple-themed Portable Visitors Center. There was one visitor who saw the event in the paper. The class, (which we weren't sure how it would turn out) focused more on the why we do family history work--why it's so important--and not so much the how part. President Smith was sure trying to figure out how to best fit the lesson for her and for all the members. The lady seemed confused during most of the lesson, but she may have gained some interest by the end and we spoke with her after, asking how she felt, which she said she was feeling well and would love help with her family history work. We're going to keep in contact with her. She left before the lunch, and while everyone was preparing for it, we spoke with Brother Blackwell, who is in the Stake High Council, as well as the PVC Sisters on what we could do better next time as they want to have similar events held at other wards. Overall, it was a great success and a jump start to doing this more in other wards to draw more visitors in and to strengthen members.
Keep me up to date with your lives! I always look forward to hearing from family and friends back at home. :)
I hope you are all doing well. Stay true to the faith and keep your testimonies growing brighter each day. :)
P.S. the Portable Visitors Center Sisters are working on displays for church tours to tell about each hour/class for church. They will have videos on the Ipads/TV's to show what goes on in each classroom at church. It's pretty neat!