Monday, July 25, 2016

Step by Step

It's another beautiful Monday in Arizona, family!

This week has been entertaining. Sister Sprouse and I are always saying random things and it makes everyday hilarious.  I feel like we are constantly laughing, and it's the best!  This week, she decided that if I were a puppy, I would be Dug from Up.  (I have just met you, and I love you! Squirrel!)

Last Monday, after emailing, I had a rather exciting P-Day.  We were at Walmart, and I saw a girl wearing a Hijab.  In case you don't know, I am utterly fascinated by Islam, and I really wanted to talk to her.  I got scared, but then I remembered that I'm a missionary and I pretty much have a VIP pass to the talking-to-everyone-I-see party. I was telling her that I have a lot of respect for her religion, and she said that meant a lot to her.  We started talking about what I do on my mission, and I guess she had an interest in the Mormons when she lived in Canada, but didn't know any. Even though it was just a short conversation, it was a cool experience.

SIDE NOTE: if anyone comes down to Arizona, go to Rudy's Burritos.  Best thing in the entire world. I didn't think I liked Mexican food, but that's because I'd only had the American version. The real stuff is what's good! They have the best burritos ever.

Everyone around me seems to be catching onto the fact that my personality is rather quirky.  The Zone Leaders play this game called "Calling it out when Sister Sabey is the one texting us".  They can tell because I never text them in a conventional style, I guess.  We wanted to meet up with them to give them our progress records, and Sister Sprouse said, "thanks homies".  I told her, "I'm going to text them that."  Next text we get? "Not a problem, Sister Sabey."

Brother Jones, the ward mission leader in one of our wards, likes to mock me sometimes.  He's really good at it.  I guess I'm dramatic sometimes, apparently, I guess.... Anyways, we were talking to him, and I don't remember what I was saying.  He just asks me "Sister Sabey, is there anything that's not going to kill you?"  . . . A few days later the Joneses were going up to Idaho, and Brother Jones texts us "Drove through Cedar City today . . . and now American Fork. Trunk on that!"  Dad, I think you would like Brother Jones. You could be pals.

Speaking of pals, I saw another familiar face this week!  The Critchfields invited Sister Sprouse and I over for ice cream with the Richards. The Richards didn't know I was going to be there, so Brother Critchfield told me I had to answer the door, which I did and told them "I think you have the wrong address.."  Never have I ever heard Sister Richards yell with so much excitement! She forgot that I am a missionary, so she just screamed "EMILY!!!" and gave me a huge hug.  It was so wonderful to see them! I've told Sister Sprouse she's probably going to end up meeting my entire home ward.

We also had a good week with those we've been teaching.  Darin, one of the less actives in our YSA ward went to FHE last Monday. I have never seen him so happy, and it made me happy that just having a fun time at a church activity could change someones entire persona so much.  He has a hard time with thinking that everyone is judging him, but I hope that he remembers how much he liked FHE and that he can see that the gospel is all about continual turning to Christ.

Shannon also made a huge step this week.  We invited her to come to a Relief Society activity, and she came!  She was really afraid that no one would talk to her, but she just threw herself in and the ward was so kind to her.  She still has a lot of fear, but I love seeing how happy she is when she actually experiences the goodness of the gospel.  Even Carl wants to help Shannon.  We got a text from Carl last night saying "I have been pondering the concept of Shannon, her children, her interest in the Latter Day Saints, and I am comfortable with the challenge.  I did some hypothosizing and some praying and I am available for what service I might be for your cause."  Carl is the investigator trying to help us baptize everyone else.

However, I think the highlight of all my highlights this week has been with the Gonzalez family.  We were talking to them about the chapter we had asked them to read. Tracy's granddaughter is amazing at comprehending the scriptures.  It's amazing.  She said she really enjoyed it, and we asked her to keep reading.  Then, Tracy started talking about her experience this week:  Her husband commented that it was interesting that the missionaries always came to their house, but they are never sent there.  They could have tracted another street, or not came all the way to the end of their street, but they came.  She told us that the door is not closed and that they are considering taking the discussions.  Guys, I hope you can understand that this is HUGE! Initially, Tracy did not want anything to do with the discussions, but we were welcome to share spiritual thoughts.  Using the Book of Mormon, we've done just that, and it has softened her heart.  She told us she loves having us over there to teach her granddaughters about Christ, and said "whether they become Mormon or not" she hopes that talking to us will have a lasting effect on them.  That is the power of this message.

That is the amazing thing about this gospel:  non-members and members alike are all invited to strive to become more like Christ.  It's not about immediate perfection.  It's about relying on Christ to change you one piece at a time.  I read a talk this week called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox.  He related Grace to learning the piano, and I loved what he says: "When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don't say he is not worthy to keep practicing.  We don't expect him to be flawless.  We just expect him to keep trying.  Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction".  That's why we are here.  We are here to work bit by bit each day to become more like Him.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming.  It's just like playing the piano.  If you hit a wrong note, you try again, and it's Christ's Atonement that allows us to try again. "Grace is not the absence of God's high expectations. Grace is the presence of God's power."  He wants us to become all He has created us to be, and this message gives us the clearest picture of Christ's Atonement and gives us the tools God wants us to use to utilize it.  How blessed are we?

I'd better wrap up now so I can respond to individual emails, but I love you so much!  Until next week!

Sister Emily

Exchanges with Sister Kilsby

Selima came out and worked with us, and we also got Polar Pops

The Richards!

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