Sorry this email is coming in late! We went to St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery today. I'll tell you more about that in a minute.
First, I want to tell you about the Townsen Family. The Townsen Family is a British family that lives in our area. They love feeding the sister missionaries, so we are hoping that will eventually lead to them being open to hear about the Gospel. We were there on Saturday, and I think that I have officially been accepted by them for one reason: Doctor Who. I mentioned that I watched it and the entire family looked at me with so much joy. We helped them with sorting out things from their garage, and I got the job of being the person to put paper in the shredder. Mrs. Townsen told me that I was the happiest shredder ever and kept commenting on how happy I looked to be shredding paper. . . Mrs. Townsen is also completely blind. She was very excited to find out that Sister Hendrick apparently understands Grace. Sister Hendrick made a comment about asking forgiveness rather than permission . . . Mrs. Townsen did ask me about our plans for the evening, so I did get to tell her about the Women's Session of Conference. I like that we do get to have Christ centered conversation with them. Baby steps :)
I got to go on exchanges up to Gilbert with Sister Young this week. We met this incredible potential investigator named Taylor. Taylor is just so sincere, and I had a really cool experience listening to the Spirit while we were talking with him. Taylor has a lot of anxieties, but he also loves music. He wants to believe in a Savior, but he's not sure how he can know. He made a comment about how music is really influential for him, and I had the thought, "I should show him a song about Christ." I asked him if we could, and then helped him pull up the song "Savior Redeemer of My Soul". The video was the one from a Face to Face with Elder Rasband and had segments that showed videos of the pioneers. I asked him to pay attention to the words of the song and see how much the pioneers must have known that in order to go through the trials depicted. It brought the Spirit so strongly, and I was so happy to see how it helped Taylor feel that love God has for him.
I experienced something this week that I can only describe as "Reverse Proselyting". We met a man named Baja. He was super fun to talk to, and he told us about what he believes (He practices Islam.) and why. In return we got to tell him a little about ourselves. We was very persistent on telling us to read God's word and find the truth for ourselves by asking him. We showed him Moroni 10: 3-5. He liked it, but he also made sure that Sister Young left with her very own copy of the Quran. He exhorted us to read it, and I told him we could (after the mission, of course) if he would do the same with the Book of Mormon. He said yes. Even if nothing happens of that conversation, it was definitely memorable.
I mentioned that we went to a greek monastery today. That was super cool. We went with Sisters Olsen and Johnson as a mixed birthday celebration for Sister Olson, Sister Johnson, and me. I also got to talk to a woman there about her beliefs, and I learned a lot about Greek Orthodox. I really liked just seeing how many similarities there were between what we believe and what she believes. I love seeing that because as I see different similarities throughout many religions to what we believe and know, it is a testimony to me that we truly have the fullness of the gospel.
Okay, last couple things. General Conference kicked off this week with the Women's Session. I tried thinking of questions to take with me and specifically listen for, which I had never done before. It completely changed my experience. I'm working on developing some Christlike attributes, starting with patience. I figure that's the hardest for me, so I'd start there. I had the question of what I can do to practice patience so that I'm not just waiting for moments that will absolutely drive me nuts. As I listened, I heard exactly what I needed to know. Apparently, it's less that I need to work on patience, but rather charity, and as I work on that, the patience will come. I had thought about having charity be the first attribute I worked on, but I shrugged it off, so when there was so much about charity in Conference, I realized just how much the Lord is aware of what I need.
We also met a woman named Brandy. This is my miracle story of the week. We had stopped by Bishop's house to drop off our missionary paperwork, and I saw a house that was decked out with Halloween decorations. I really wanted to meet these people. Sister Hendrick told me that they were not interested at all. We were walking over to our Ward Mission Leader's house a while later, and I saw a lady outside the house. I told Sister Hendrick all I wanted to do was tell her that I liked her decorations. Long story short, she told us to come back when we have pass-along cards about the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights because she really wants to go. She also said that she would watch the Piano Guys/Peter Hollens/David Archuleta/Mo-Tab "Angels from the Realms". I'm excited to see what comes of that, especially as she goes to the temple grounds.
I have to wrap up now, but I read a talk this week that was incredible. It was from the March 2013 Ensign about the enabling power of the Atonement. I'll let y'all read it, but it helped me understand just how much the Atonement can do for me, and I cannot even tell you how much it has helped me this week. I'll paste the link below. I love you all so much!
My Zone Leader hiding behind my District Leader for Zone Sports
Exchanges with Sister Young (also, all the plants are taller than me)
Hugging a Cactus at the Greek Monastery