I'm still frantically trying to find a way to cancel my flight and stay in Arizona forever. I know I can't be John the Beloved or the Three Nephites, but I figure I'll just be the One Canadian--being the One American wouldn't make much sense because everyone else around me is American as well, so I figured I could claim my Canadian roots. :) I think that would work great.
This week in and of itself was a tender mercy and a blessing because I wasn't originally supposed to have this week as a missionary. If it weren't for that seven-week transfer that I had with Sister Johnson in Highland, I wouldn't be emailing today, but I am so grateful that I have had this extra week doing this amazing work.
We taught Laura and her kids again this week, and it was just so special to be in that lesson. Brinley, a young woman that came on splits with us a lot in Queen Creek, came with us. She's preparing for her mission (she was called to the North Carolina Charlotte Mission), and she wanted to come out with me one more time. She is going to be a great missionary. The lesson was amazing with her. We talked about the Word of Wisdom, and Brinley led out when we shared the story of Daniel and his friends asking to eat differently from what the king was feeding them. She did great! Laura just loved the Word of Wisdom. Aalyra had a question about specifics in the Word of Wisdom, so I told her that we weren't here to give her a new Law of Moses and then talked about praying and asking God. But Sister King was just on fire. I never want to forget what she said. She turned the situation into an opportunity to testify of the Savior's Atonement. She talked about how God sacrificed His Only Begotten Son for us. She testified of the importance of the Savior's sacrifice and then turned it to talk about how we sacrifice such small things in comparison. It was beyond powerful and it taught me that any Gospel principle can always be tied back to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We also brought Elizabeth out with us this week, and I was so proud of her. She just got her mission call this week, and she is going to the Brazil Recife Mission. She has come out with us a few times and has absolutely loved it. We were biking along and we saw a girl sitting alone at a table, and I felt like we needed to go talk to her. We backtracked and talked to her for a while, and Elizabeth gave her a Book of Mormon all by herself!!! I was so happy for her. She's going to be an incredible missionary.
This last Saturday was so much fun! We had a ward Christmas party in one of our wards, and they kept it early in the month just so I could be there. It made me so happy. Later that morning, Sister King and I had an awkward amount of time before we were going to do a short exchange with the STLs, so I could have my "Last Exchange" with Sister Sorenson. Because it was December 2, the theme for that day of Light the World was I was thirsty and ye gave me drink. I had an extra 24 pack of water bottles that I knew I wouldn't be able to use before Tuesday, so we decided to hand them out during the time we had. The night before, we had taken some time to tie a cute ribbon with a Light the World card around each water bottle, and then during our awkward amount of time, we biked around and gave people water! It was so fun. It taught me just how easy it is to spread a little Gospel message, and now every time we see the man that holds the sign letting people know that there are homes for sale in Whitewing, he waves to us because he was someone we gave water to. We also handed out some water bottles just as runners were running past us and we were going the opposite direction on our bikes. It was so much fun and I am so excited to keep participating in Light the World this year.
We did have to stop, though, so we could meet up with Sisters Sorenson and Donaldson. The exchange was only for an hour, but it was so fun because Sister Lucas who was in my MTC district, finished her mission the other week, lives in our mission, and took us out to lunch! It was so weird to see her again, and I half expected her to be wearing a skirt--she wasn't. It was so fun to hear about her mission and to be able to spend some time with her and Sister Sorenson for just a little bit while I was still a missionary.
That night we went to the Mesa Temple to help with the temple lights. Every time I'd see a missionary from the Scottsdale mission, I would have to ask them if they knew Elder Ririe from Alpine, UT because he is serving in that mission! Well, Devin is about to get about 30 "hellos" from different people in his mission all from Sister Sabey. It was also special to get to serve at the Mesa Temple lights one more time. I got to use my Spanish, and someone told me that my Spanish is very good. It was just so wonderful to get to go again. But I was also very grateful when we made is safely back into the mission boundaries--being outside the mission is scary. I just have to take an Arizona Gilbert Mission "bubble" with me.
Then there was yesterday. It was a wonderful Sunday. I just enjoyed seeing all the people that I've come to love in this area. We had dinner that night with the Hixon family. I love them so much, and Sister Hixon made meatball subs just because she knows I like them. One thing the Hixons do on Sundays is something they call "Relevations". It means they share something that they learned that is related to the gospel, but the name came from their youngest son having an experience kind of like when Hailey said "deveLOping" instead of "deVELoping". It was fun because one person would talk and then someone else would think of something and piggyback off of that to add a new perspective, and it was just the coolest thing. One of their kids--I think it was Chip--said something about how the temple is a holy place because of the things that happen there. Bishop piggybacked off of that and talked about how that's true of any place that you have a sacred experience. The place becomes hallowed because of what happened there (which is why the Sacred Grove is still such a special place). They explained it a lot better than I did, but it made me realize something. The reason why people love their missions so much and why there is such a change between being in the boundaries and not is because of that same reason. Missions become a special place because of what happens there. That's why everyone loves their missions so much.
There was something a member said to Sister King and I that has just stuck with us ever since. She said, "You can't love others as the Savior did until you serve others as the Savior did." Family, I've done my very best these last nineteen months. I haven't been perfect--I got reminded of that on a daily basis--but I have tried to serve these people as the Savior would. And Family, I love Gilbert, Arizona.
I love you!
1001 N Burk Street
Ward Christmas Party
Sister Sorenson, Sister Lucas, and me
One more time at the Mesa Temple