Keep praying that Sister Johnson and I get one more transfer together. Transfers aren't for a few weeks, but now we have celebrated two mission birthdays together. I'm hoping for one more at least! I hit eleven months this week, and it was a lot of fun to spend that with Sister Johnson. It was another sister's birthday, and we went to Denny's to celebrate, so we decided that could count as our eleventh birthday celebration as well.
Well, with Easter, I learned a fun fact of the day. I've always wondered where the name "Easter" came from. Who would have ever thought that it was right in the Bible dictionary. Here is what I found:
"This word occurs only once in the Bible (Acts 12:4) and then would be better translated “Passover.” The word Easter is from Eastre, a Norse goddess whose pagan festival was observed at the spring equinox. The association of this pagan goddess with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was only by adaptation and synthesis. There is no real connection. Jesus, being the Lamb of God, was crucified at Passover time and is the true Passover (see 1 Cor. 5:7). He was raised from the grave on the third day thereafter. It thus became a springtime anniversary and has come to be called Easter in the Christian world."
Now you know. I had a rather swell Easter here. It, of course, included a lot of church and a lot of great talks. But here is the thing, Family. There are only four or so songs that everyone wants to use specifically for Easter Sunday and that's the only time of year we sing them (I think). I sang the same song four times . . . and we only cover three congregations. It was really good, though. We also went over to a member's house for dinner, and they made sure that we had Easter baskets. It was so sweet of them.
That night we got invited over to share a message and have birthday cake with a family. It was their seven year old's birthday, and it is one of Sister Johnson's favorite families here, so we definitely took up that offer. They have a nine year old named Dean. He is an odd child, so Sister Johnson and I have decided to be ultra best friends with him. He sometimes pretends that he doesn't like us, but he does. We were outside their house right when we rode up, and Dean comes wandering outside. He pretends like he didn't know we were there and told us, "Oh, I thought I heard a woman over there" and points to his backyard. His dad comes out to and tells us that actually he was waiting by the window, "like a puppy". It made us very happy to hear that.
Also, here is a thing that made me happy. We were at Bishop Nabrotsky's house to give him a progress report and because Sister Nabrotsky invited us over to have quesadillas for lunch. The Nabrotsky's have all boys, so I decided to ask one of their boys, "Are we over here enough to be considered your honorary sisters yet?" He said yes. Sister Johnson and I are officially honorary Nabrotskys. :)
This week was full of miracles, and those make me happiest of all. First one is still just the fact that we have awesome members. I've been having trouble with my bike, and I finally realized that I needed to get it looked at when we were biking to an appointment and my tire completely deflated! But we were able to have awesome members pick us up short notice, and even temporarily patch my tire, then drive us where to dinner and then home again so we could make it to the Easter Pageant. The next day, the Fleet Coordinator, Elder Ashton (he reminds me of Mr. Miller) was able to come and fix not only my tires, but my breaks too. I thought I was going to have to get brand new breaks, but he was able to fix it. So now my bike works!
Second miracle, the Easter Pageant. It is a HUGE deal in Arizona and I really wanted to go. We could only go if we had someone we were teaching or a recent convert to go with, and last minute, the Ethridge Family said they were taking Alex and Rachel and invited us with. It was incredible.
Sister Johnson and I also had a miracle in which we found a bunch of people who had said they might be interested in learning more about the Gospel, so we have been able to go by each of those people and talk to them. We stopped by one lady named Lisa, and she welcomed us on in and just started talking with us. She asked a question that made me really stop and realize why being missionary-minded is so important. She said that there seemed to be a divide between members of the LDS faith and those who weren't and asked why that was. We were able to tell her that it shouldn't be like that and gave possible explanations of why it might be like that, and she just thanked us for making it a safe environment for her to ask.
We had another lesson with Nicole, and we had to reset expectations. She mentioned that she has been considering being baptized and wants to know when some baptismal services are so that she can go see one.
And if that wasn't big enough of a miracle, we were so blessed to get to see one more. I went on exchanges with my Sister Training Leader, Sister Norgrant this week. After dinner we were biking away, when someone flags us down. I quickly recognized this guy as Brad, the husband of a less active member, who has asked specifically to not be contacted. I was worried about how this was going to go because I heard what had happened a few days earlier when some people from the Young Single Adult ward stopped by to see what they could do for his son. Long story short, he did his best to intimidate them into not coming back. We started talking, and first he just wanted to get to know how to get the YSA people to stop coming by, and we told him some of his options. The conversation continued, and we ended up being there for about forty-five minutes. Mostly we were just a listening ear, but he also raised some genuine concerns that he had and asked how we reconciled those things. It ended up going really well and by the end, he told us that the encounter he had with us was the best encounter he had ever had with missionaries and told us that we were welcome to come over and talk to him and his wife any time we wanted.
It was incredible to get to be part of all those miracles and I'm learning so much that just truly loving people is the only way that we can help them. I love you all family!
1001 N Burk Street
Blurry Easter Pageant Selfie
Sister Norgrant was determined to ring the doorbell
Easter Package from my Mommy!