Miracles have not ceased among the children of men because the mission is buying toilet paper for us now! Missions are already crazy, so it makes me really happy when I don't have to worry about the little things. I almost cried.
I could just end my email there because I'm so happy, but I won't because that was just a minor detail in the miracle called this last week.
As you know, transfers were coming up. We were all speculating who was going where, who would train, etc. and I got the nicest indirect compliment. Sister Irvin said that President had mentioned an idea to her about who would train the incoming missionaries. He thought it would be good to split up the Sister Training Leader companionships and have Sister Irvin, Sister Allison, and Sister Sprouse all train so that "we would have three solid missionaries". I liked that plan because it would mean that I'd have a "sister" if Sister Sprouse trained again. Then it hit me: President said Sister Sprouse trains solid missionaries, and I was trained by Sister Sprouse. It was a happy little confidence boost.
President decided to go a different direction with the incoming missionaries, so I am still an "only child". However, transfers were still exciting. I had been guessing that I would get Sister Sorenson, my MTC companion. She went down to Bella Vista Zone as a new STL (Sister Training Leader) and is training a brand new missionary, so I'm excited and overwhelmed for her. BUT I did get a throwback to the MTC because now I get to be companions with Sister Johnson!!
We always joked in the MTC about what would happen if we were companions, but we never thought it would actually happen. Sister Johnson screamed the most delighted scream when she realized we would be companions, and I could not have been happier.
Our first week together was jam-packed with teaching and miracles-- and lots of fun. We got to do service for an older gentleman and picked fruit from his tree. I kept climbing the tree to pick the fruit.
We had a lesson with our new friend Ashley. She removed her records from the church several years ago and realized how much was missing without the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life. We got to know her and she just wants to be baptized so badly. She feels like she doesn't remember much, but she does have a solid testimony of repentance. We just have to coordinate with the Stake President when she can get baptized so we can get that going for her.
This week with Nicole, we did some more getting to know her so we can try to understand where her concern lies. I was planning on just jumping in to trying to resolve what I thought her concern was, but Sister Johnson felt that we should ask her more questions to understand her background and testimony. This is why we have companions. What I thought would turn into something really complicated actually turned out to be that we just need to help her see how much our Heavenly Father loves her. We read the Book of Mormon with her and she absolutely LOVES it. We are going to continue to read with her and testifying of God's love for her.
A huge miracle that happened this week was we stopped by a family we've been meaning to see for a while. They have older kids who were waiting for their dad to be able to baptize them, so we wanted to offer to just teach them in the mean time. However, we went over earlier this week, and they set up an appointment with us and said they are wanting to get Cali and Tristin baptized by April. We have our first lesson with them on Thursday.
We've continued teaching the missionary lessons to active members and I never thought it would be as wonderful of an experience as it has been. I've gotten to know so many families that I otherwise would not have known, and it gives us a chance to repeatedly bring missionary work to the forefronts of their minds. We had a lesson with the Love Family this week (and I just LOVE the Love Family). We taught them the first lesson, which is the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end, we invite each family we do this with to make a family mission plan because if this message is true, and it is, we want to make sure we are providing opportunities to share it. I felt prompted to ask a question that Sister Miller would ask that I really liked. I asked them, "Who have you always wanted to share the Gospel with?" Sister Love started telling us about her brother who has lost his testimony, and her sister-in-law is so devastated that she can't even bring herself to tell her son on a mission that his dad is not going to church. It was a tender experience, and my heart was just going out to this family. We got to talk about it and shared some experiences, and ultimately we realized that the only thing they could do that could ever help is to love the brother because "charity never faileth". I felt the Spirit testify so strongly of that truth. I knew that loving him wouldn't mean he'd immediately return, but I do know that the love they show will not fail in the eternal view our Heavenly Father has. In that way, "charity never faileth".
We also finished the third missionary lesson with the Kokona Family. The third missionary lesson is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this lesson, we talk about faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Guys, I've been absolutely blind because I realized that this is my favorite lesson, and for the last nine months, I thought it was a drag. Elder Nelson taught, "We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ," and now I finally understand why. In that lesson, we talked about how the Gospel or Doctrine of Christ is the way that leads us to Christ, who is the "Living Water", like He was teaching the woman at the well. The Gospel of Christ is evidence of His individual love for us as shown symbolically when He raised Jarius' daughter from the dead (i.e. raising us from spiritual death), and He gives us the opportunity to become clean again and again and again through Him if we continue to rely on Him. It is the perfect example of just how much He loves us and I didn't get it. This is why my purpose is to invite others unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through FAITH in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, REPENTANCE, BAPTISM, receiving the Gift of the HOLY GHOST, and ENDURING TO THE END. This is why I am counseled to teach the Doctrine of Christ in EVERY lesson. It's because it's the only thing that will help us understand why God wants us to change. It's because He loves us, and like I learned with the Loves, "charity NEVER faileth". That's why this is so central. God wants us to try again because He loves us. I know that is true. I wish I could have learned that nine months ago, and I plan to remember that for not only my remaining nine months, but for the rest of my life. I love the Gospel and I love my Savior who makes it so I can be with my Family forever! I love you all!
1001 N Burk Street
We went ice skating for P-Day
MI COMPA, LA HERMANA JOHNSON!