Hello to my favorite family in all the world!
How are things with all of you? I was so excited to get to write and hear from you today, I look forward to it more and more every week!
Tell Anne and Hannah thanks for the recipes and pictures, and also Karin for the card and picture! I've got them hanging up on my wall! And for things to put up, yeah I like quotes, but I want more pictures of my family!! I miss you guys and want to see your faces! Love your face! Right? I could look at that every day and say that to each of your faces. That would be ideal. Oh and guess what? I bought shoes today! They have a DSW right nearby and I was able to find a pair of flats that go up the back of my ankle so nothing is pushing into it! Yay! I am slightly normal again! The sandals I have are starting to fall apart so I went and got these ones. Anyways...it's been a crazy week. So awesome, amazing, tiring, hard, and all around great. That's what a mission should be right? Here goes.
So I had my first exchanges this week! Hna. Driesel is the sister training leader, so I get to go on exchanges every week! It'll be good for me to get to know other Hnas and learn from them. I went to Louetta this week with Hna. Hale and she is so great. We had a full day of appointments, then all of them fell through. That seemed to actually happen a lot this week, but the Lord knows what he is doing. So we ended up doing a lot of tracting. This was a great experience, and I've got a great story to tell you about this. So we started talking to this one guy who is Muslim. We're over here testifying about Jesus Christ and how He is our Savior, when Muslims believe Christ was only a prophet. (I think) He definitely had some strong opinions on this one. We asked him his name and he said this...hahaha I laugh so hard just thinking about it. Ahmreel. Ahmreelmad. I thought he was getting really heated and mad at us for talking to him about Jesus Christ and I was so scared that he was going to start yelling at us and order us to leave. I mean he just told us his name was "I'm real mad." Then he went on to explain that his mom was mad at his father so she named him Ahmreel mad. I don't know how you spell it but I was sooo confused. But such a funny story!! I can't explain it super well though...maybe it's just one of those things where you had to be there for it to be funny.
On Thursday we got to go to the temple!! The Houston Temple is absolutely beautiful, and I really like being able to hear it in English again. My understanding went way up. Words cannot explain how much I love the temple. It is so beautiful!! There are also giant giant houses around the temple that blow my mind. Oh and before I forget, Mom there is this one neighborhood here that we went to go eat at a members house and it is so beautiful. There's this one house...just wow. I'll take pictures next time and send it to you. After the temple we got to go to St. Luke's hospital and help a woman there learn English, and that was a really cool experience. We get to just talk with her and help her, and sometimes that's the best kind of service is just listening.
Now onto the other things. We have seen SO MANY MIRACLES. It is incredible how mindful the Lord is of us. We've had some really great lessons this week and some really great finds too. So we went to this one area that we had multiple appointments set up in and they all fell through. The people weren't home or chose to pretend they weren't home...we get that a lot! haha But we were walking on the street and we could turn right or left. The logical way would have been right, but we both felt like we should go left. And thank goodness we did! As we turned we saw one of our investigators, Vanessa, pulling out of her street. She pulled up to us and rolled down her window. She said that her kids weren't home and she didn't know what to do with her time. We jumped on that opportunity and said, "Want us to come visit?" She said yes! So we went over and talked with her and had an AWESOME lesson. We talked a lot about the Atonement, the love of God, and what we can do to feel it in our lives. Boy did we testify! She said she loves that feeling and wishes she could have it all the time and we told her how she can! We invited her to the ward fiesta we were having that night, not really sure if she would come. So that was a miracle. We went to the ward fiesta, and at first no one was there. But, they all just came late. MIRACLES! I am telling you, God is good. We had 2 of our investigators come, and 5 of the recent converts or inactive families that we have been working with came too! This was such a blessing and showed us that our hard work is paying off and we are making a difference. That is one thing I love about Hna. Driesel is that we both have a desire to work work work. We are always trying to make every minute of our day an opportunity to share with others the message we have, and it is paying off! This week is already full of appointments and I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have that. The past two days however, pretty much all of our appointments fell through. We had no idea where we were supposed to be or what we needed to be doing, but the Lord always provides a way for us and I am so grateful for that! He knows the bigger picture, and we just have to let Him work through us. So we made some other visits that made me so happy. There is this one lady in our ward who is bed ridden because of a stroke that left her partially paralyzed. She is incredible, absolutely incredible. We sit and talk with her for a little while, and you know that this trial is hard for her because she'll tear up, but she always says she knows that God has a plan for her. Her faith is one of the strongest I have ever seen. My hope and faith in Christ increase when we visit her. It's one of those things where we go to teach her, and she ends up teaching us! Wow, she is a remarkable woman and I hope that my faith can one day be as great as hers. Yesterday, our appointments also all fell through. We felt that we should go to an area called Conroe and try visiting a less active member up there. Apparentally missionaries have been there multiple times and haven't been able to get in with her. But...we did! She came to the door and talked with us for awhile like we were just her best friends! So that was also a miracle. That's one thing that I learned this week, is that God is a God of miracles.
And one more thing that I have learned this week. I have been a little discouraged at times with my Spanish. My companion is so good at speaking Spanish and at talking with people, so sometimes I don't really have a lot to say. I'll have things come to my mind that I could say, but I'm often worried that it's completely off topic because I misunderstood, or the topic is changed before I can say it. I know I just need to be more bold and confident but it can be hard! Today in my personal study I read a talk from President Uchtdorf (the first presidency message...A Word for the Hesitant Missionary) This was exactly what I needed to hear, and it was perfect! The section titled "Be Filled With Faith" is what really made an impact. I read this and found instant peace and comfort.
"Conversion comes not through our words but through the heavenly ministrations of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes all it takes is one single phrase of our testimony or about an experience to set in motion the softening of a heart or the opening of a door that can lead others to experience sublime truths through the promptings of the Spirit...Brothers and sisters, have faith. The Lord can magnify the words you speak and make them mighty. God doesn’t ask you to convert but rather to open your mouths. The task of converting is not yours—that belongs to the person hearing and to the Holy Spirit."
When I read this I just wanted to cry and give thanks to the Lord for helping make me, with all my flaws and weaknesses, measure up to what has been asked of me. I know that with Him, I can do this! I'm going to be trying a lot harder to make more comments and have faith that the Lord will help those I'm speaking to hear what they need to hear. After all, it's our sincerity and love, and the Spirit that can change a person, not merely our words. I want you to know that I do have faith that the Lord can make this happen and that He is ever mindful of me. I cannot see why I was sent here or the person that I am capable of becoming, but He can. That is all that matters. Then, if I put my faith and my trust in Him, He will help me turn into that person more and more every day. Words just cannot express the love that I have for the gospel and for my Savior Jesus Christ. My heart is so full of love and gratitude, and I want to express this through the way that I live. Being a missionary helps me see so much more than I could have ever seen before, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I have to serve.
I love you and miss you all more than you could know, but I know I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing at this time. Have an incredible week!!!