During the week I take notes of the experiences and things I want to share in this email. I have a lot of writing to do this week...so many cool things I'd like to share...bare with me!
Tuesday- Super special experience with Amber and her family. We visited her at work that afternoon and she invited us to dinner with her that night. We went over and played with her girls (don't worry I can still do tricks on the tramp ;) and helped her cook. We all sat on her back deck that overlooks the lake and had dinner together, and afterwards we helped her clean her house and get her girls to bed. Before we left we all said nightly prayers together. Seriously such a cool night to be with Amber and her sweet sweet family. I love them so much. #templebound ;) That night she sent us a text telling us how big of a blessing we have been, but honestly it feels the exact opposite. I can't put into words how big of a blessing she and her family have been to us. Just super cool to see a recent convert excelling.
AMBER'S GIRLS (LEORA AND ANNIE)
We had Mission Leadership Conference on Wednesday where we discussed the next couple month’s focuses. From now until December we are focusing on the Book of Mormon and our planning; Chapter 8 in PMG. We have a HUGE goal for baptisms in the month of November and are going to be calling on miracles so much. There needs to be lots of changes in order to reach this goal. As a mission we are starting a 40 day fast on October 15th. The first day we start with a 24 hour normal fast and create a list of things we need to give up or sacrifice personally and as a companionship. And then from then on to the end of November we go without the things on our list. "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" =)
I've never felt more aligned with the leadership and President than I did at this meeting. As the second half of the program was being announced I was asked to offer the closing prayer, during President’s instruction he told me that in my prayer I needed to specifically ask Heavenly Father if the focuses we had chosen are going to help this mission accomplish our goal, or if there was something that we should change. The room was dead silent and I felt the weight on my shoulders. I was shaking in my boots a little bit. When it came time for me to say the prayer I felt the spirit working through me so strongly. Helping me ask and say the right things. When the prayer finished I sat down and the room was silent. After 10 seconds of silence there was a very clear unanimous answer that what we had discussed during this meeting will ultimately help us reach our goal. Everyone was in complete alignment. It was a real cool experience. One of the better leadership meetings I've been to. And now our job it to take what was discussed to the rest of the mission and get everyone else on board as well!
Thursday we were in Horn Lake blitzing the area again. The Hermanas had a dinner appointment that we let them go to, so we ended up at the little cafeteria in Target eating a really nasty overpriced salad. We were sitting near the entrance and a man walked in carrying a car seat. I had a very clear prompting to go give him a card. And I completely ignored it. My first thoughts were "this isn't my area, and he isn't Hispanic so I can't even refer him to the Hermanas." He put the car seat in a cart and then stood right next to where we were eating. Again, I felt prompted to give him a card. Again I pushed it away. I looked down for a bit and a couple minutes later I looked up and he was still standing there! 3rd time I was prompted to give him a card. Finally I told Hermana Lewis "I gotta go give this guy a card or the spirit is going to remind me about this for the rest of my mission." haha so I finally went and gave him one and gave a brief description of the video on the card and whatnot. For all I know he could have ripped it up and thrown it away right after I left, but I need to stop being stubborn to promptings and listen the first time. It was a good learning experience for me. I need to have God's trust.
(LEWIS TRIED THE DONUT BURGER
#BLESSED BECAUSE SOUTH)
(MEXICAN ICE CREAM SHOP. HERMANA REED & BROWN)
Another experience I had in Horn Lake with Hermana Reed was during a lesson, with this elderly Hispanic woman. She is bien catolica. (very catholic) And was not having anything to do with the Book of Mormon. We gave her more information on the book but she wasn't nudging. Finally Hermana Reed opened the Book of Mormon to 2 Nephi29:6-14 and started reading. After reading the verses, this woman's heart was completely softened. It was absolutely incredible. She accepted a copy of the book and committed to read it. Before we left she said "now I know there is more for me to learn." Preach My Gospel says "The Book of Mormon combined with the spirit is the most powerful resource in conversion." This was a huge testimony builder to me. That couldn't be more true. Those few passages brought the spirit so strongly and completely changed her heart. Having the Book of Mormon as our focus for these next few months was completely inspired.
Kind of a funny side note, we don't have miles to get to Memphis side with our car. We had been talking with the AP's about needing to find a ride to Horn Lake. They told us they'd take care of it. So we show up ready to pick up the car and turns out they called some random companionship of Elders and told them that they were now on bike week and that we were taking their car..haha, ahh man kinda funny, but best part about this is that they left Christmas CD's in the car so alllll the way home from Memphis we blasted Christmas music. In tune with that Christmas spirit eh?;)
All week we have been trying to schedule out how and who we would spend each session of conference with. Friday night came and it seemed like everyone was canceling last minute and things were falling through. But we still had the Brag family planning on coming, they have been top investigators lately so we felt if we accomplish ANYTHING this weekend it’s having them at a session of conference. So late Friday night we get a call from them and they tell us that they aren't going to be able to come with us then next day. When we got off the phone we were absolutely heartbroken. We sat there in silence for a good couple minutes, and then we decided to say a prayer. I was pretty frustrated. We were heading in for the night and on the drive home I remembered a few things that the AP's had instructed on this week at our meeting. They talked about faith and shared this scripture in Hebrews 10
36 “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
I definitely drew back for a little bit. I was upset that we had done all we could to make this happen and had stressed about it all week and last second everything falls apart. I came to the conclusion that we weren't just going to have baptisms fall into our lap, and were going to have to work extra hard and have plenty more "faith building" experiences like these within the next couple months. I had to get over myself and realize it'd be ok. 15 minutes after they called us we were back home planning for the next day and our phone starts ringing…it was the Brag family! They told us that they still wouldn't be able to come Saturday but would be able to come on Sunday now! We were so excited!! We fell to our knees in prayer saying thank you and apologizing for being little brats about it at first. haha It was something so small, but certainly a faith building experience. He knows what’s going on; He will take care of things. I hate that I still doubt that at times.
(WE DID A CONFERENCE SESSION AT THE DAVIS HOME WITH SCARLET (ONE OF SISTER DAVIS'S INSTITUTE STUDENTS! SO NICE TO BE IN A HOME FOR CONFERENCE! DAVIS'S MOVED HERE FROM BOUNTIFUL THIS SUMMER AND SHE DOES CUTE CONFERENCE TENTS FOR HER KIDDOS! LIKE IT TALKS ABOUT WHEN KING BENJAMIN SPEAKS TO HIS PEOPLE AND THEY PITCHED THEIR TENTS TOWARDS THE TEMPLE IN MOSIAH 2. SO CUTE!)
They did end up coming! We pulled out the Bingo cards and M&M's (thanks mom!) And we also had to bribe with donuts ;) but they came! By the end they all were a little antsy- especially the 8 year old. haha But they got to see our prophet speak to us and now are certainly a step closer to baptism! So exciting!
Another miracle- Walking into the chapel for the Sunday morning session we noticed a young couple sitting in the pews. We didn't recognize either of them, and we went up and introduced ourselves. Turns out they are college students at Tech and are taking a religious class and are here to "study" our religion. They had looked online at what time our services would be at and came! Okay first off, there are like 5233498 churches in Russellville alone. The fact that they ended up in our building is absolutely a miracle. We told them to ask us if they had any questions and explained why this week was a little bit different and not a normal Sunday service. Also not a coincidence that the one Sunday they choose to come is the day our Prophet speaks to us! So they sat there the entire session taking notes! Afterwards they had a lot of questions for us and ended up taking home a Book of Mormon, a Restoration pamphlet, all our information, and a notebook full of conference notes! haha They said they would most likely be joining us again next week because they want to see what a normal service is like. Certainly none of this was a coincidence. Obviously they came for a school assignment, but I have to believe that something that was said gave them the desire to investigate a little further. We hope to see them again soon!
Conference- Best Ever! It’s a missionary’s Super Bowl! Elder Holland was my favorite-as usual. If you skipped out-Shame on you. But repentance is real and you can go online and look them up :) I'd suggest-
Dieter F Uchtdorf's on simplicity and his priesthood session talk- "don't unplug the spotlight and then blame the spotlight for not giving any light"
Robert D Hales- I loved how he gave specific instructions for the youth! So cool!
Jeffrey R Holland- He is brilliant.
Russell M Nielson - #gowomen
And then of course our Prophet Thomas S Monson- He gave every ounce of his strength into that talk. I love him so much.
One last story-
Saturday morning we were in the chapel waiting for conference to start, and stood as President Monson walked into the conference center. The spirit filled the room. Just his presence brings such power and I can't deny that he is a Prophet of God. After this session we went over to a less active’s house to invite her and her family to the second session of conference, her father was there, who was Baptist and he let us know that "there are not prophets today" and that all of them were false. We tried to teach and explain. I grew a little more upset than I should have but we defended our prophet and then left in agreement to disagree. Straight from talking with him we went to the Davis's to watch conference, (side note, as missionaries we are in and out of homes all day long, and the difference of being in a member’s home filled with the spirit is so evident.-church is true.) But during this session we got to sustain our prophet and his apostles. I couldn't have been more proud to be a member of the Church and to be lead by a latter day prophet of God.
Les quiero <3
P.S. SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THAT TAYLOR SWIFT ISN'T ENGAGED AND THAT THE MAGAZINE IS A LIAR!
(DENVER AND LAUREN)
(LEWIS ASKED TO USE ACCOUNTIS'S HAIRSPRAY, AND SHE SAID, "NO! I USE THAT FOR FIRE." HAHA #PYRO)