Wow, I can't believe it's Monday again! The weeks are starting to go by at a quick speed. Instead of it being a month between P-Days, it feels more like a week. This week was incredible (even though I feel like I say that every week).
First off, I discovered that one sure way to make sure I enjoy church is by spending at least one of the seven hours in Primary. I remember being eleven and feeling so done with Primary, but now I see just how amazing it is. The songs are the best and they teach so simply. It's really helpful for me as something fun to look forward to that also helps me prepare to teach investigators more simply.
We had dinner with one family in particular this week called the Langleys. I want to mention them because they are real life all just me in various aspects of my personality. It felt very at home while we were with them. During dinner was pretty much everyone trying to talk at once. It reminded me of Sarah and Hailey singing during dinner. I loved it. Plus, they have a little white dog that lets them hold it like it's a baby. That is the only other dog I have ever found that will let someone do that. I can't imagine how much I would have missed out on by not coming on a mission because I meet people like the Langley family.
I got to go on exchanges with Sister Patrick this week. I love Sister Patrick because both loved many of the same things when we were back home, which makes it really easy and really fun to talk with her. I was in charge of the area that day, so it was an adventure. I learned a ton. Like where all of the church buildings we cover are, and how to open the gas cover door. It took me long enough. :) We got to briefly run through a monsoon on the way to the car from a house we were visiting, and we did some service. All around, it was just a fantastic day.
I've learned that just because I like zone sports does not mean that I am good at them in any way. That's okay, it's still fun. When our zone was playing Frasketball during exercise time Saturday morning, I learned the extent of how much pity comes from my non-ability to do more than catch the ball about 70% of the time on a good day. Sister Sprouse was trying to help me with what to do when people are guarding you. Sister Sprouse was also the one guarding me. There was another point when Elder Wilcox (who is the tallest person to ever walk the planet) had the ball right by my basket, and handed it to me so I could try to make a basket. Elder Wilcox was not on my team. Missions are good practice for learning to laugh at yourself.
Okay, enough about random happenings. Let me tell you about the people we've been teaching this week! We've been teaching Darin, a less active member, for a while, and the biggest change I've noticed is that he is so much happier than when I first met him. He has been going to YSA activities, and the other day, we saw him in a car with the Elders Quorum (a group of boys older than 18) in the YSA ward. He was almost flailing out the window to wave at Sister Sprouse and I, and it made me so happy to see him so happy. He's doing a lot better than he gives himself credit for.
We had a lesson with the Gonzalez family, and we felt like we should teach them the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I made little pictures of each part, and people have loved it when I've used it (thank you Sister Gasu for the idea). At the end, we invited Tracy's granddaughters to be baptized. Although their mother will not let them right now, they understand that it is important and it is something that they want to do. Tracy was also commenting on how perfect the lesson was for them that day. I love seeing the change happening within the Gonzalez home.
We had a lesson with Shannon, and I think she understands why the Restoration is so important. She is so sweet, and I love seeing her. We had invited her to church last week, but her worries got the best of her. I talked about that in my last letter, I believe. This Sunday was completely different. Shannon came to church, and she's gotten to know more people and she loved it! She's getting to know people (including good old Carl), and she knows that this makes her happy!
Carl is still going strong on helping us hasten the work. We had dinner with a family who lives on his street one evening. Carl was outside afterwards, so we stopped by real quick. He saw two guys going door to door for a computer company, walks right up to them, and starts telling them about the Latter Day Saints. After we talked to them, we were talking to Carl, when I had the idea (Holy Ghost whispered) to invite Carl to go three days without drinking any alcohol. Carl was very apprehensive about this invitation, but he finally told us that "yes, not maybe, but yes" he would do it! It was hard for him. He told us that the first day in, he really wanted a beer. He thought "maybe I'll just start tomorrow and go for five days. That would really impress them." But he remembered that he'd made the promise to go the three days, and he stuck with it.
On Sunday, he also came to church. He was very welcoming to Shannon and everyone else who was in the ward anyway. Sister Sprouse and I had to go to another ward because we had been asked to speak in sacrament meeting, so we didn't get to stay with them the whole time. We came back during the third hour of church, and Shannon and Carl were still there. The lesson was combined with Relief Society and Priesthood, and the lesson Bishop gave was perfect. He was talking about becoming childlike and turning our will over to our Heavenly Father. It was a powerful lesson. He talked about how sometimes children will ask for things that are good, but not what is best for us (he used the example of a puppy). Bishop related it to how we will ask for things that are good, but Heavenly Father knows that He has something better in store. We will get upset because we don't yet see it through our Parent's eyes. We are still small children in that sense. Carl contributed an analogy of being like mold-able clay. I thought that was so good. Bishop closed the lesson talking about how the Gospel is pure and clean. It doesn't have sticky points that hold us back. Then he asked the question "so what's our sticking point?" What is holding us back?
I was already excited, when after the lesson Carl comes up and says, "I need to tell you something." He then asks me, "What made you extend that invitation to have no alcohol?" I told him it was the Holy Ghost. He pauses for a moment, begins to tear up, and tells me about Gospel Principles, which I had not been there for. They had been learning about the Lord's Law of Health. It was such a tender spiritual moment because Carl knew that giving up alcohol was important, which he had been very reluctant about before. It was totally unplanned, and absolutely what Carl needed. There is no way that the last few days were not divinely directed to help Carl. He has decided he wants to continue abstaining from alcohol. I cannot begin to describe my excitement for him. Carl knows because Carl has experienced it. Please keep him in your prayers as he continues to progress.
God is in charge, and the longer I am a missionary, the more I realize that we should allow it to be that way. He knows what's best, and He will help us. We just have to let Him.
I love you! I miss you! And I pray for you every day!
Mission life is sometimes eating your cereal with a fork
Shannon made us these and I love it
Water does exist in this state!