What a week!! It has been absolutely insane, but I have loved every single moment of it. Where to begin.
Last week I got to go on exchanges with my nieta, Hna Sully! She is the best, we had so much fun and saw so many miracles. On Monday night I was feeling a little stressed and a little sick from some food we had eaten that earlier that day. We went to this dinner and this Hno gave us both these huge plates of salad with chicken, and I did my best and ate the whole thing and felt like I was about to die and could not take another bite. Then turns out, I had misjudged and the salad was only the first course, and he brought out another big plate of chicken with sauce and tortillas and beans for us to make tacos, and I was just looking at it like "nope, no way on heaven or earth can I take another bite without dying" He went back over to the kitchen to do something, and Hna Sully had already sensed my plight, and told me to just put some of it on a tortilla, so I did then she took it and ate it, and we proceeded like that for my entire plate, and so she is the best ever for eating all of my dinner for me. #truecompunity
We also met this amazing lady on exchanges!! Her name is Yolanda, she's from El Salvador, and she was a referral from the English Elders who tracted into her. She was the last stop of the night, and we hadn't seen a lot of success and had been facing a lot of rejection, but that was just the Lord preparing us for a miracle. She recognized us as missionaries and kindly said they were active in another church. But we asked her about her beliefs in Jesus Christ, then we had this amazing discussion on her doorstep about who Christ is to us, and the spirit was opening her heart. She even accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We asked if we could say a prayer, then she invited us in. We prayed, then I was thinking "I wish we could show her how the Book of Mormon can answer her questions about God" And right at that moment, out of nowhere, she said, "What does your religion believe about heaven and hell?" My jaw dropped right to the floor, and we opened up the Book of Mormon we had just given her to Alma 40 and read with her, and started teaching the Plan of Salvation, and it was amazing. The Book of Mormon answers questions to the soul! By the end of our visit she committed to reading in the Book of Mormon and accepted a return appointment. And her little daughters were so cute. They gave us each 3 candles from their moms work before we left, and asked when we were coming back and if we could live with them. It was an incredible and so amazing to see the spirit open her heart and see the power of prayer and the Book of Mormon in action.
One day this week I woke up in a cold sweat that I was back at college and in my math class on the first day and we were taking a test on the unit circle and I couldn't remember it and I was so upset, and I woke up and practiced writing the unit circle, so as if I wasn't already worried enough about my mission coming to an end, now my stress levels increased by like 200%.
On Saturday evening we were in an apartment building waiting for the english elders to have a pass-off lesson with one of their investigators. We were in that little waiting area, and when we got there another woman was standing there too. We said hello, and she looked at our tags and said "what church are you from?" We said "The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints" And she goes "Do you have a Book of Mormon?" And we were like "Yeah of course!" and she said "Can I have it? I've been looking for a Book of Mormon" Those aren't the usual questions we get, so we were really excited. It turns out she was baptized when she was 9 in Wisconsin, and her family was really active all growing up. But when she moved here she stopped going because she didn't know where the church was. And recently she has really felt like she needs to go back to church, and has been wanting to read in the Book of Mormon and didn't have her copy anymore. The elders then arrived and told her all the details about church and she said she wanted to go the next day!
This week we had an awesome member dinner with this new couple that just moved in. They are both returned missionaries, and are so excited to talk about missionary work. Our member message has been sharing the ward mission goals with the families we visit, then having a discussion about what members expect from missionaries, what they want us to do differently, what missionaries have done in the past they have liked or disliked, and it has been insanely successful. Our new motto is 'try EVERYTHING' If they suggest it we try it the next day or over the next week then let them know. And it has been so cool to see the members grow to trust us more and give us referrals because they see that we are working hard and working for their ward. Anyways, these members talked to us about their testimonies of being open in extending the invitation to be baptized to everyone, and shared some miracles they saw. We left feeling so excited about missionary work, determined to try it and report back to them on Sunday. We had a lesson with a part-member family we have been trying to visit forever, but they would cancel the lessons at the last minute or not be home. But we went, and they were home. They recently had a family situation change, so they have been coming to church every week. Their daughter Sophie is going to be turning 10 soon, and is so sweet. So we decided to just ask her about baptism because their family is trying to involve the church more in their lives. She excitedly told us she has wanted to be baptized for a really long time, and that she is so grateful that they are going to church every week now. And she set her own date right there! It was awesome! And she is preparing to be baptized next Sunday!!!! We had an amazing lesson with their whole family, the dad, and the four kids yesterday evening about the Plan of Salvation. As we explained the resurrection and kingdoms of glory, the 13 year old son said "Wait a second, if everyone is just going to be resurrected and be able to live with their families, why is everyone so afraid of dying?" It was so cool to see it click for him, we were like "Exactly! That's why the gospel is so amazing, and that's why we're missionaries to help people understand that." It was so cool to sit with this great family and their precious kids and talk about the sacred and simple truths of the gospel and see how excited they were to apply it.
We are so crazy busy right now, but I am loving every single moment of it with all my heart. This week we got to help teach activity day girls about the importance of journal writing. They asked us to come and bring our journals and read a few entries and share about why journal writing is a blessing. I have tried to be really good about keeping journals on my mission and written about every single day, but I have never really taken time to go back and read any of it yet. So as we were preparing for this, I went back and read the very first thing I wrote right after I got set-apart, and the blessing I received full of promises and counsel from my stake president. I hadn't read it in probably over a year, but I was amazed to see how I have already directly seen everything in that blessing come to pass. Most of it was in ways I never would have expected, but looking back I have seen all those promises of the Lord been fulfilled. It was a very tender moment to realize how much the Lord has been guiding me these past however many months to be exactly in the places he needs me to be. I am so grateful for the guidance from the Lord and his prophets to keep a personal journal. It is something everyone should do. President Kimball taught.
We hope you will begin as of this date. If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.
I would add my invitation to that of the prophet, please start today! I promise it will bless your life. Everyone in the world can be benefited from writing in a journal, member of the church or no. I am so grateful for my ancestors and those who came before me who took time to write in their journals and the things I've learned from them, and I'm grateful for the journals I have kept and the way they have helped me learn how to live and how to think and how to believe. I know it will help you wherever you are and wherever you may be. Today is the day to begin!!
I love you all, and I love being a missionary! I don't think I can ever say that enough, because every day is such a blessing.
Have a wonderful week!
2. Exchanges with Hna Sully featuring Yolanda's Candles
3. Only in Minnesota do you have flash floods, tornados, and heat warnings all in one day
5. North Minneapolis