Lemme just real quick tell you about the week I've had here in Arizona. President and Sister Nattress have officially moved on to their new calling as a General Authority, so now we have President and Sister Wheeler. I definitely will miss President Nattress, but the Wheelers are wonderful and I love them already. I think I'm beginning to transition into full out missionary mode because I had a dream the other night that I got to hang out with Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and dream-me was so excited.
I love being companions with Sister Sprouse. She is a wonderful person to be around and a great missionary. I love her because we can work hard and laugh hard too. Sister Sprouse and I have fun little games we play to find the joy in the little things, like we will scream "HACE FRIO" (it's freezing) even when it's 120 degrees. But my favorite by far has been looking for puddles. It rained the other day--by the way, Arizona rain and lightning is AMAZING, and I haven't even seen a monsoon yet--and the next day, Sister Sprouse pointed out a really big puddle. It was exciting enough that I made sure to tell my district leader about it, and now I get really excited whenever I see a puddle. Usually it's super hot, so puddles don't last very long. It actually did cool down a little last Thursday, and it felt wonderful! Someone in Utah, please guess what we defined as "cool". Answer: 87 degrees. Whooo! Arizona!
On Saturday, I was on exchanges with Sister Anderson, and we spent from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. helping someone move and reorganizing someone else's garage. That was a fun change of pace. Mom, you probably would have died if you had been in the garage that we were trying to organize because there was so much stuff.
We also had incredible spiritual moments with some people that we are teaching. We were at the home where we teach piano lessons on Wednesday. We always give a spiritual thought, and Sister Sprouse and I agreed that we need to be more bold with them. Yes, we are here to do service, but when the "field is white all ready to harvest", we need to be spending our time with those who are ready to accept the gospel. We wouldn't know if they were ready if we weren't bold in inviting them. We felt inspired to tell them the story of the First Vision, but rather than "this is a history lesson", we taught it as "this is an example of how much God loves an individual". As we taught, I got to quote Joseph Smith History 1:16-17. Every time we quote that, it instantly brings the spirit into the room with great force. The grandmother said that she got chills when we said it. We then invited them to pray to know that God loves them. It was such a blessing to get to be in that room.
We also had a return appointment with Shannon. We really wanted Shannon to understand that God loves her, and did our best to follow the Holy Ghost so He could do His job and testify to her of that truth. Shannon has faced many trials in her life, and as she spoke about some of the things she has faced, it brought her to tears. I cannot imagine what she has been through. She feels lost and doesn't know where to turn. It made me stop and realize that here she is in her early 40s and feels broken and lost. Yet here we are, two 19 year old girls from Utah, and we have the answers she searching for. We know where she can turn for peace and how to help her do just that. The magnitude of our calling is unbelievable. We invited her to pray, and helped her read and understand the Book of Mormon, and by the time we left, her countenance had changed. She was so happy. It's moments like that when I am so happy to be a missionary.
This morning was also amazing because we got to go help clean the Gilbert Temple. The temple is the best place on earth. Even just being there to vacuum and dust and clean windows, I felt the spirit. My favorite part was when we were done, I got to go into the Celestial Room for just one moment.
I found a scripture that I really like and I've seen how true it is. In Mormon 9:15-19 it says, "And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God? Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought? And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles." That is true. I see miracles every single day, and I am still amazed by just how much God loves each of us. Joseph Smith said, "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God WILL GO FORTH." This is the work of God, and it's my job to keep testifying of that truth even when the persecutions come. I'm thankful for this gospel, and that I get to focus on how amazing it is for 18 months.
Thank you again for all your love and support and the prayers in my behalf. I love you so much!
I was asked to draw a welcome poster for President Wheeler