Fun facts about the Arizona Gilbert Mission: This last Saturday, our mission had twelve baptisms, and half of the people in our mission who get baptized are self-referred to the missionaries.
I don't have much time at all this week, so I'll be brief. Transfers are coming up, and I am leaving Highland Zone. It's hard to believe that after being here for the last 25 weeks--that's a week longer than Desert Ridge and Bella Vista combined! It's been a wonderful experience serving here, and I couldn't be more grateful for the time I had. It was a really good week to have be my last week because I really got to realize how much I love the people I serve and how much I love my calling. It was stake conference, and my stake has 38 missionaries currently serving from that stake. They made a video presentation of all the missionaries, where they are serving, and a quote from one of their emails home. It was super powerful, and I realized, yet again, just how powerful this work is because of the Person who is leading it. I got beyond excited whenever I would see a missionary serving from one of the wards I cover and just feeling so much love for those families and for the work I get to do every day. I am definitely going to miss Highland Zone more than words can say.
We had a fun perk of being a missionary in Gilbert happen this week. Sometimes our dinner appointments with members have to cancel on us, and folks, let me tell you, we are just spoiled in this mission. Usually they will just give us $20, and tell us to go eat somewhere fun. This week, that happened, and Sister Johnson and I went to a place called Tia Rosa's. It has authentic Mexican food, which makes for a very happy Sister Sabey. But turns out once we got our menus that we didn't really have enough, so we told the waiter that we'd probably have to go somewhere else. He stops us and goes, "Woah, woah, woah, you have to tell me these things before you run off on me!" We explained our dilemma again. Dennis (that's his name), stops and thinks for a second, and asks, "Do you trust me?" Nervously, I say yes, but I figure yes is a good answer because it's Gilbert--what's the worst that could happen? And GUESS WHAT? It actually was a good decision. Seriously, Dennis is a saint. He ordered our dinner for us and got us huge cherry sodas, a chimichanga to share, and then dessert. And all he asked for was our $20. It was beyond kind of him. Turns out he's a Mormon in a different area, so it was just a really fun thing to have happen
I got to go on exchanges with a sister named Sister Butler. She began her mission at the same time as Sister Sprouse. It was a Saturday, so most of the day was Sister Butler going with me to visit bishops and ward mission leaders to talk about the week. She told me that one thing she noticed was that I am good at building up an area, and one of my ward mission leaders, Brother Ethridge, made a similar comment. It felt really good to know that I have learned something important that I can take to future areas to continue to teach repentance and baptized converts..
One thing that Sister Butler really liked about what we've done in this area is the lessons with the member families. I've loved them too, and it has helped me get to know a lot of families I otherwise would not have gotten to know. We had a lesson with the Wilkinsons this week, and we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. I always have the hardest time teaching that, especially the final judgement (for more information on the Plan of Salvation, please visit https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/plan-of-salvation). But this week, during the lesson, I received an incredible insight that completely changed my view on the Final Judgement. One thing about the Wilkinsons is that President Wilkinson is one of President Wheeler's councilors, so we talk all about missionary things in that home. One of the things the President and Sister Wilkinson do as part of that calling is attending the dinner for newly arriving missionaries and the departing missionaries. I felt prompted to ask President about his experience with the departing dinner when we got to the Final Judgement. (Side Note: I know nothing about the departing dinner as I have never been) He talked about how they have a testimony meeting there and they all made a comment about how the missionaries knew they weren't perfect missionaries, but they had learned to rely on Jesus Christ and how central His role is to everything we do. They know that even though they had lots of short-comings, because of Jesus Christ, they were a successful missionary. I realized that is probably exactly what the Final Judgement will be like. I will get to stand before God and I will know full well that I had a lot of things I could have done a lot better, but the thing that my Heavenly Father will care about most is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we can all be successful and more. I was blown away by that realization of just how loving our Heavenly Father is. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is the one we look to and follow. I love my Savior more than words could possibly describe, and I can't wait to take this knowledge to my next area. I love you!
1001 N Burk Street
I made a cake shaped like a fish--ft. Photobombing Elder Partridge
Dennis (and two sister missionaries who unexpectedly had him throw his arms around them)
The difference between a used planner and a new planner
The Wilkinsons (and also me)