Happy birthday Heidi, and happy anniversary Uncle Jim and Aunt Lesha! When I read my mom's email and she gives me a heads-up about these things I can give a shout out in the email that everyone gets ;) I hope you all have a wonderful day!
This week went great! A year down for me, a month down for Sister Wood :) Definitely a good week here. We met with April again and when we got there we could tell she was exhausted--her house was a mess, her little two year old was still making a mess, and she was tired from work. She told us that she had thought about cancelling our appointment, but that she really wanted a Book of Mormon so she didn't. That meant a lot to us. We talked to her about it and left a copy with her and I know it will make a difference in her life. We ran to another appointment after we left her but we told her we'd be back to help her clean up. She was really appreciative I'm glad things worked out so we could be of service to her that night, in more ways than one. We have an appointment with her again tonight so we will see how that goes :)
So we saw Preston on Thursday and I had the biggest epiphany of my mission/life. From studying the doctrine and Preach My Gospel it tells us that the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith was so critical--it is because precious truths were lost through the Apostasy (after Christ and His apostles died, when the priesthood authority to teach and baptize was lost) that we needed to have them restored. This is what we teach people but I don't think it has ever meant more to me than when I was explaining it to Preston. He grew up Baptist, one of his beliefs being that the Godhead is all one Being. He said he admits that's confusing, and he is confused and trying to learn. So I had the opportunity to explain that it is because of the Apostasy that that belief came about, and when Joseph Smith had his First Vision the precious truth that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two separate Personages was restored because They both appeared before him. It was cool because it finally hit home for me--this is why our message is so unique to the world! Truth and doctrine was lost/distorted but because Heavenly Father LOVES US, He once again reached out and called another Prophet and through him RESTORED these precious truths--it all makes sense! I've taught this my whole mission but for some reason teaching it to Preston it really hit home. I hope it did for him as well. We invited him to sincerely pray and ask about it. Because of the Apostasy, there was a NEED for the Restoration. If we understand what the Great Apostasy was, we will understand why there needed to be a Restoration. This is why we can build upon people's faiths and help them find truth that they knew deep down and are looking for.
I don't know if that made sense to any of you, but this was a cool moment for me. Experience makes things more meaningful. If you don't know from experience that this is true, try praying. Everyone in the South seems so "satisfied" with their lives--but we know that they can have so much more peace and happiness in their lives and if they will experiment upon this word, it will happen! Hopefully this will give Preston his "converting moment", but if not, it was a testimony strengthen-er to me. :) The Gospel is so cool! It is what it means-Good News!
Another wonderful part of the week: Tosha, Cheryl and Brenda! So I talked a little about Tosha last week, she is still super awesome. Cheryl is her roommate and she is also awesome. Then we asked them who else might benefit from us sharing the gospel and they both said their friend Brenda. Here's how it went down: We went to Brenda's address and she has two big pitbulls so we didn't actually go to her house. One, I'm terrified of dogs. There are probably a lot of prepared people here in Georgia and they're not getting the chance to hear the gospel because I'm scared to be on their street. Haha. Everyone in Georgia has so many dogs I hate it! :) Everyone says not to let them know you're scared because they can sense fear, but let me tell ya, they all know I'm terrified. Haha. ANYWAY, we didn't see Brenda the other day but we did go over to Tosha's and Cheryl's last night and Brenda was there! And not by chance, either! Cheryl had been telling her about us and the Book of Mormon and how it completely connects to the Bible and our lives and they planned for Brenda to be there last night. So. Stinking. Cool! Who knows if Brenda might not have been receptive to us the other day at her house, I think the timing was perfect for last night. It gave Cheryl the opportunity to share with her about the Book of Mormon and to come join in on our lesson last night, which she did. We talked briefly about the restoration and Book of Mormon to Brenda but we'll have to go over that more with her. We taught the Plan of Salvation to all three of them and it went really well. We had planned to invite Tosha and Cheryl to be baptized but were hesitant during the lesson, although the thought was still there. The moment came where we all felt the Spirit and I was looking at Sister Wood waiting for her to extend the invitation and she kind of looked at me wide-eyed like she wasn't sure how to ask. I had asked Cheryl what she would do if she knew what we were teaching and the Book of Mormon was true and she said she already knew that it was. After we left and had gotten in the car Sister Wood had said she didn't know what to do when she said she already knew it was true because we hadn't role-played that, hahahaha. And so far no one has said that to Sister Wood, she was expecting them to say no and then re-extend the invite if they did come to know it was true. Haha. Made me laugh. But Tosha and Cheryl accepted the invite for baptism and I think Brenda will too after we teach her more. It was just so refreshing! We have these three awesome women who are all good friends who really want to know more about the gospel! And they were all referrals! Please oh please reach out to your friends and neighbors, many are thirsting for the fulness of the gospel!
It was a great week here though, we are finding much success! I'm so stoked for what's to come. Have a great week and Valentine's Day this Saturday! Not a holiday for "love", it's a holiday to stuff your face with chocolate! Trust me, Sister Wood and I bought ice cream today ;) My second Valentine's Day in the mission field (sort of-the first I was in the MTC, but you get the point). Amazing to look back and see how far you've come in a year. Make every day the best day ever! Your choice :)
A scripture that I hope will mean a lot to the people here and at home this week--
Alma 36:3 "...I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."
Heavenly Father gives us trials and struggles to help mold us into the person He knows we can become. Maybe He breaks us down to build us up. Maybe He does it to keep us humble, to show us that we need to rely on Him and our Savior. One day we will be able to look back and see, but at this moment in the midst of whatever trials we may be going through, when we think we cannot hold on any longer, we need to trust Him. Have the faith to pull you through. He WILL help you. Always. Remember the principle of enduring to the end. "Trust God and believe in good things to come." -Elder Holland. Watch that video! 'Good Things to Come' on Mormonchannel.org. Maybe it will change your life!
I love you all lots! Have the most blessed week.
We went to Dairy Queen to celebrate my 1 year mark! :)
This was Sister Wood and I with Cindy at Zaxby's last week before Stake Conference
Look who's one! :)
What do people in the South do when their wind chime is broken? Make a cross out of it of course!
Very true sign. And we go to Walmart to find them. :)
Me with Brenda, Cheryl, and Tosha! That's the order we are in from left to right. Brenda is wearing the yellow tank top, Cheryl is in pink, and Tosha is in gray. I love them all!!!! They told me they're going to call Utah to tell them I can't leave and I thought that was so sweet since we've only known them for like a week. They also couldn't believe Sister Wood and I have only known each other for three weeks because they said we work well together and thought we prepared to come on our missions together and came out together. Always a good compliment for a companionship! :)