It blows my mind that I have already been out for five months tomorrow! I can't believe it! It goes by so fast. Sometimes, in the moment, in the hardest times, I can't imagine it going by any slower. But then I look back and I see how incredibly fast it has gone by. At the end of this transfer, I will only have about a year left. I will have been in this area for six months. I think I will be staying for nine, but I am not sure. That would be kind of cool to be here for half my mission. I love the area so much and I don't want to leave! I have connected with so many people and I just love them all so much. And I can't believe after this transfer, I will only have to do it two more times to see everyone again. Not that I am thinking like that, but my sister training leader mentioned that when we were on exchanges this week--Sister Monson is my sister training leader and we came out together so it's so much fun! I love her!
I did have an incredibly hard week last week, but it's okay because I learned a lot from it. Something changed that week and I know that that is part of the reason I have been so happy this week. This week has been so incredible and I have loved every moment of it. On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to listen to Elder Brent Nielson of the Seventy. He is amazing. I love him. He and his wife both spoke and I learned so much. Before the actual conference, the sisters got to meet with Sister Nielson. She spoke on holiness and how holiness is seeing things the way God does. One thing that she said that stuck out to me was that in order for it to be holy, it has to be wrapped in opposition. It helped me to see that God gives us trials not to make us unhappy or to hurt us but to help make us more holy. I loved that thought and it has really helped me this week. Elder Nielson spoke on the enabling power of the Atonement. I loved it. It helped me to see that we can't change our circumstances but God can give us the strength to overcome the trials that our lives are blessed with. I say blessed because our trials are a blessing. Being away from home for a year and a half is a blessing to me and everyone whom I left behind. I have seen that on my mission so far. Whenever I tell people I have been out five months, they say, "So you're pretty new then." And I'm thinking in my mind, "No, I'm really not new. I have been out five months and I have changed so much. I am a new person, but I'm not new in the mission." And it's true. I'm not a new missionary anymore and I'm finally starting to feel that. There are still things that I'm not sure how to do or what to do but I know that the Lord is helping me figure it out. I have seen so much progression in this area since Sister Lunddahl came and I know it is because the Lord is helping us make this area progress. We wouldn't have seen so many blessings or miracles without His help.
We have a new investigator! Her name is Rhonda. She is so great. We found her when Elder Grisenti, our district leader, told us she came to church in the ward he's serving in on Sunday last week. He told us she had read the Book of Mormon and asked us to go by. So we did even though she lives way up in Friant which is the northern most part of our area. And when we went by she had just gotten home and it was perfect timing! We asked her if she had ever met with missionaries before. She said she had but she had never received the lessons and we offered to teach her. She also told us that her goal is to be baptized before the first of the year! We were able to set a goal with her of December 6--so pray that she will be able to receive her answers by then. I love her so much and I want her to progress to much! She texted us on Saturday and told us she was coming to our ward for church. We were both so excited! We saw so many miracles this week--and not just that we had such a great week.
We also taught Cindy a couple times this week. She is doing well. She's progressing slowly but still progressing. I love her too and I hope we can help her. After our lesson on Friday night, she texted us the next morning and told us she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible! We were so excited and we couldn't concentrate during studies. We weren't able to set a date with her because we think she's afraid to set a date even though she says she wants to be baptized. Also, we need to make sure she's worthy to make that commitment. We are working with her still and I know she appreciates all we do. I love her and I am so grateful for her! She's so awesome!
Family history has been a really big push here. I think it's easier missionary work that members will do. It's been really cool to see how that has gotten members more pumped to do this work. It is our ward's goal to baptize almost 500 people--another Alluvial ward. The second phase in the plan is to hand out the starter booklets to nonmembers and then have us as missionaries deliver them. Family history is a great way to find people to bring to the missionaries.
It will be really interesting when I come home because I probably won't recognize most people. It's exciting that we are growing so fast though! Do you think next time they split our wards, we will be moved out? I'm not sure how I feel about that...although I suppose it won't matter much since I probably won't be there when it does happen.
I can't believe it's almost November! It's so crazy how fast time has flown by here. I love it though. I know that every moment here counts and I know that every new day counts as a day closer to being home--but I love being here and I don't want to go home quite yet. Not until I've done all the Lord wants me to!
It is finally starting to cool off here too! I'm cold in the mornings when we go run. I wear my hoodie. You wouldn't think it's cold--it's in the fifties most mornings. It reminds me of springtime in Idaho. That's how it feels in the mornings in the spring. Here it's how it feels in the fall. Which is good! I like fall here. It's not as cold as Idaho.
We are going to Yosemite next week. So the 27. We will be emailing home on the 28 then. I'm super excited even though I've already been there! It's going to be fun!
I love you and I can feel your prayers. I think of you all everyday and hope all is well. I love this Gospel and I am so grateful to be here in the California Fresno Mission serving my Savior.
Sister Abigail Reese
I'm great! This week was really awesome. Last week was hard, but I learned a lot from it. It was great to be able to see the blessings that came out of it. We had two investigators at church--one in Alluvial and one in Woodward Park. It was great! Rhonda, a new investigator, showed up to Alluvial. She has been going to another ward but she decided to come to our ward. I'm so glad! I can't wait to see the primary programs for our wards. I haven't seen one for a while, and it'll be great! The kids are so cute. Why isn't Hunter excited? I haven't heard from him. Is everything okay? I miss him and I pray for him every night. And day.
On Tuesday, we got to have a conference with Elder Brent Nielson of the Seventy. He is so great. He spoke about the enabling power of the Atonement. It reminded me that we can't really change our circumstances but we can ask God to help us overcome them. We can pray for strength. He also talked about how to put that into our investigators' heads. It was really cool to see how we can use the Atonement in so many ways. Our burdens can be made light through them and I am so grateful for that knowledge. His wife, Sister Nielson, spoke about holiness before the conference. All the sisters got to meet with her and she talked about how we all need to be able to see things as Heavenly Father does. She told us this really cool story about ten sisters in the Philippines when the typhoon hit a while back. She said that they were in their apartment when it came and they were just going to wait out the storm when they realized their house was starting to flood. By the time that realization came, it was about half full. They didn't know what to do. They tried opening the door but they had to dive for it and it didn't work. One sister had an inspiration and swam through the water to the kitchen thing they have. She kicked out a skylight and then swam back. She and the other sisters who could swim helped the other sisters get there. They were able to climb onto the roof and maneuver themselves so they were under an awning. They stayed there for two hours while the storm raged around them. One sister told Sister Nielson when they got to Manila that she knew the only reason they survived was because of their faith and because their ancestors were there blocking them from the storm. It was a really cool story and I thought to myself, "Would I have been able to handle that?" But I know the Lord wouldn't allow anything to happen that we can't handle. And that was the point of holiness. Being able to see that it is hard but it's holy. Sister Nielson said that it isn't holy unless it's wrapped in opposition. I thought that was really interesting. She also talk about being a good companion and how to love your companion no matter what. I am so grateful for that because it showed me how I could be a better companion and how I could love Sister Lunddahl a little more.
We found a new investigator on Wednesday! I was so excited. Elder Grisenti, our district leader, asked us to go by Rhonda who had come to the ward he's serving in. She had read the Book of Mormon and he thought it would be a good time for us to go by. So we did on Wednesday after an appointment fell through and she had just gotten home from work. It was perfect timing. We asked if she had ever been taught and she said yes. Then we asked what was stopping her from joining the church and she said it was silly things, like polygamy and coffee and smoking. Then she said it was her goal to be baptized by the first of the year! We were like, "Oh my goodness! She's golden!" The next day we set a date for her to reach toward: December 6. We are so excited for her and we are hoping an praying her questions will be answered and her prayers will be answered and she will be able to overcome everything she needs to in order to be baptized. She's another one you can pray for! She even came to Alluvial on Sunday with her mother-in-law who is a member. Her husband is also a member but he's less active. He has back problems so doesn't come all the time. He is having surgery on Halloween so pray for him too!
We also met with Cindy a couple times this week. She's so great! She texted us Saturday morning and thanked us for the lesson we had the night before. We taught her the Restoration again using the Apostasy cups the night before. (Have you ever seen those? They are so much fun! I love teaching using them!) She thanked us for the lesson and then said she wanted to be baptized! We were like, "What??" But we were so excited! We couldn't concentrate during our studies! Then she told us she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. She even came to church even though her daughter, who is a recent convert, didn't. It was so amazing! She wouldn't set a date. I think she's kind of nervous to actually set a date and commit to it, but we are working hard to help her progress. She is progressing, but slowly. I know everything will work out.
It has been amazing to see how much this area has progressed since Sister Lunddahl got here. We work so well together and I am so sad that she has to leave in a little over a month. It's so sad! I love her so much and we work so well together, but I know the Lord has greater plans for her on Temple Square. We have seen so much progress and success and miracles since she came and I know it's because we've worked hard and we've tried to be obedient. I am so grateful for that and I am so grateful for the Lord's blessings.
I haven't gone in to get the results of my CT Scan, but I will this week and then I'll know if anything serious is wrong. I did give them our insurance card. We are told to use that insurance before the church's. I'm pretty sure our insurance is better anyway.
That's exciting news about McKenzie! That makes me so happy to hear about her and Kylie! That's great! Let me know where she ends up going and then I'll look forward to next June or July when Kylie goes too! I love hearing about missionaries.
I love you and I pray for you everyday. I know I am here for a reason and I am so grateful for all the missionaries I serve with. I am grateful for President and Sister Clark. I love them and I love this Gospel.
Sister Abigail Reese
PS So I can get a Costco card right?? Oh, also, I'm going to Yosemite next Monday so I won't email until Tuesday!