Brothas and Sistas, Alooooooha!
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND!!!!! Oh MAN this is so amazing! I am so excited! YES!
I don’t remember if I said it last week but I stayed in Salem, VA. My new companion is Elder Christopher James Stone, and he is THE MAN! This is going to be an amazing transfer. Already we are seeing miracles everywhere we go. It’s totally amazing. He is from Meridian, ID., plays guitar, and a bunch of other sweet stuff, BUT most importantly, he loves the Gospel, and he loves to work. I am so incredibly grateful for the Lord bringing him here.
This past Saturday, we had a crazy day, and I don’t think I’ve shared about one of my days in a while, SO I WILL!
After our studies in the morning, we had correlation with our Ward Mission Leader and the two other sets of missionaries serving in our ward. (The wards out here are different than out West, wards here cover entire cities or counties, and sometimes we have branches covering multiple counties.) We found out the day before that the other set of Elders in our ward had no idea what their actual area boundaries were. They had 4 different maps sharing 4 different things. I had never known myself, so we all brought our maps to correlation. During correlation, we found out the Sisters had been teaching someone in our area, and we had been working in the other Elders’ area, and the other Elders found which map had their correct boundaries. Successful correlation!
After Correlation, one of our members asked if we could come over and participate in blessing him and his wife. We told him we’d love to, and as an afterthought asked if he would join us in a lesson beforehand. He agreed, and we went. We joined two of our new investigators and their 8 year old daughter in their living room and had an incredible lesson. We had planned to invite them to watch general conference, and without prompting from us, the member invited the family to watch General Conference with his family! It was amazing. After the lesson, we drove with him back to his house, where we had parked our bikes the night before, and proceeded to administer blessings to him and his wife. What a sweet Spirit we were able to feel in that room. During the blessings, their toddler daughter would run up and climb up on the lap of whomever was receiving the blessing. =) so cute.
After we finished, we left and rode our bikes up, up, up the hill to the Franson’s home! It was raining lightly at this point. When we got there, we saw Brother Franson clearing wood off of a widow’s hilside. We dropped our things in his living room (the three kids were playing Pirates) and went up to help him. For about 40 minutes we cleared deadwood into two piles in the rain and got pretty messy. (Elder Stone was pretty worried about his new Khaki’s, but when he pulled them out of the dryer today, they were spic and span!) Afterward, we cleaned up at the Franson’s home, and got picked up for another lesson. We went and sat in the room of our 87 year old investigator and watched in awe as this wonderful relief society sister connected on every level with this sweet woman. Literally, we watched. I may have said one sentence, her husband didn’t say anything, and Elder Stone only said “Well we have to get to our dinner appointment, may we have a closing prayer?” The Lord’s hand was totally in this particular member’s presence at this lesson, and many amazing things are going to happen for our investigator as a result. Fantastic.
We returned to the Franson’s for dinner and ate delicious salmon and mashed potatoes and vegetables! Afterward, we gathered in the living room and talked about their family’s desire to be missionaries. We shared scriptures and testimonies, and at the end, Brother Franson stated to his family that they were going to make a list of everyone they knew and pray for who the Lord wanted them to reach out to, and then how He wanted them to do it. This family is magnificent, and the children are so amazing. They have powerful testimonies and they understand the Gospel in ways I never did as a youth. I am so grateful to be here serving them.
After our dinner, we made our way back down the hill on our bicycles in a light rain. When we reached the bottom of the last hill and began to ascend, I heard Elder Stone call out. I looked back and he was stopped in the middle of the highway. His rear tire had fallen off. We carried his bike up the hill and we locked our bikes at the top and prayed about what to do. We decided that we were there for a reason, and turned up the street to talk to people. We approached a house and saw two women walking out. We startled them and we all had a good laugh. We asked if they had ever been interested in their family history, and one of them stated that she was 75% Native American. In awe, I told her that we had a book that talked about her heritage. She said “Oh my parents have one of those, it goes back to the 1800s”. We looked at eachother and smiled and said “This one goes back a little further than that…” She agreed to let us come back and we parted ways. The rain was picking up by this point, and we walked across to our bikes. We still hadn’t gotten ahold of anyone. We came across a man walking with an umbrella. We talked with him briefly and asked if he liked to read. He said he loved to. We asked if he liked to read the bible, and he said he loved to. We offered him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he accepted, but seemed wary of allowing us to come visit him. We shook hands and parted ways. By this time it was pouring, and I became aware once again that there are holes in the bottom of my shoes. =P We had not yet gotten ahold of anyone for a ride and felt impressed to continue our search on that street. We walked up and down it knocking (it was about 8:40 at this point) and had no success. Finally we arrived back at our bikes and saw a Domino’s driver pull up to the intersection for the third time. I shrugged and walked up to his window. He lowered it and I asked if he was lost. He said he had just found the place and thanked me. I asked him if he had ever been interested in his family history and he said he had (the most amazing finding tool in the world, by the way.) I gave him a card and he told us to go somewhere safer than where we were. We laughed and said we would.
Brother Franson arrived shortly with his son and drove us home, soaking wet, in the back seat of his truck. We got a little lost in the rain, but finally arrived home, wet, happy, and grateful for an amazing day.
I am so grateful to be here. I know I am doing the Lord’s work, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
The Gospel blesses every life it touches, and I see that every hour I am here. Thank you, each of you, for your support and love. I feel it and it sustains me.
The Lord lives. He loves you, and will let you know it if you’ll listen.
All my love,