This week was really good! I had a really great week. Even though it was the week of Halloween, we had a pretty busy schedule. It went by really fast too. I was glad because I really don't like long weeks. It makes days seem even longer than they usually feel.
I can't believe it's November already either! As soon as October 31 hit, the weather got a lot colder. Probably not cold by your standards but I've been living in 90-100 degree weather so it's cold to me! It is in the fifties most mornings or low sixties. It's cold! I have to wear a hoodie to bed and sweats. And I use my extra blanket too. It gets really cold in our apartment but that could be because we turn on the AC and it makes it even colder...but turning on the heater makes it almost too hot so we turn on the AC instead.
We were able to see both of our investigators this week. We finally were able to set a date with C for November 29. We are so excited and hope that she will have the confirmation that that is when the Lord wants her to be baptized--and that he wants her to be baptized period. It has been a struggle, getting her to commit to things and we have had to gently guide her along the path toward what she needs. I know we are helping her and I know if she isn't baptized on that date, we did plant seeds. And her daughter is a recent convert so she is planting seeds as well. It's really incredible to see the progress the area and the people in the area have made since a month and half ago. It seems like it has been so long but so short at the same time. And we have seen so many miracles in that time, it's unbelievable. We've decided to go through the former investigators again because both the investigators we have now were in the former investigator part of the area book. We will try to find those who are prepared in each area. I hope it will work.
We also saw R. She is still committed to December 6. We are seeing R again this week and we hope we will continue to be able to help her. She's so prepared but she needs to make some sacrifices in the next month before she can be baptized. I'm hoping and praying that she will so that Sister Lunddahl can see her investigator be baptized before she goes back to Temple Square which will be on December 10. I'm really sad because I don't want her to go but we still have five weeks together--well, at least two since transfers are in two, but I don't think President Clark will transfer either of us, especially since she will only have three weeks left.
We have also been seeing this part-member family. They are so great and I love them. She is not a member. We got see them about three times a week. She has begun to trust us more and more. She shows us pictures of her family and her grandkids and I love it so much! She has opened up a lot in the last six weeks and I know it is because we have been going over a lot. They tell us all the time that we are always welcome. We go over to use the bathroom a lot and so they tell us that we can always come to use it. It's great! It makes me feel like we are helping in some way.
Halloween was a lot of fun. We spent the night at our ward mission leader's house. His wife is a recent convert whom I adore so much. Their home is like a second home to me here. They make us feel loved and wanted and at home and it helps me so much. Every time we go over there, it makes my day so much better even if I am already having a good day. They are the best people and one of my favorite families. Their daughter and her husband was there on Halloween night as well and we got to know them a little better. We played Scattergories with them and it was a lot of fun! I was so excited to play a board game. I wasn't very good at it but it was fun anyway trying to think of things to write down! There weren't a lot of trick or treaters but there were some and a lot of them were dressed in Frozen costumes. It was cute.
I'm sure conducting was great! It's always good to hear the testimony of a member of the bishopric. I love it. It will be interesting coming home and seeing you on the stand.
Girls ran away because of Duke? Those poor girls. They probably thought you did it on purpose. But I would have loved to see that! Can you send me more pictures of him? I need to put them on my camera. I haven't done that yet. I can imagine what he was like when you finally came home from Coeur d'Alene. He was always naughty when you were gone and then you came home and he would be a good little dog again.
It's awesome that family history is becoming more important! Once recent converts do family history and are able to go to the temple, the retention rate goes from 30 percent to 80 percent. It's crazy! That's why we try so hard to get our converts to the temple, and to do family history. Speaking of family history, have you been able to find a name for me to take to the temple next time we go yet? We'll probably go in the next couple months.
I can feel your prayers and I know they are helping so much. I wouldn't be able to do this without your prayers. I know that the holidays may be hard for me, but I have come to think of these people and all the missionaries around me as family so hopefully that will help a lot. I know you are always there and I know I am needed here in Fresno for the next thirteen months. I know I haven't accomplished all I need to yet.
I love the Book of Mormon! I am trying to finish it by December 31--President Clark challenged us to re-read it, focusing on the Atonement. He gave us three dates to choose from and I chose the closest one. I think I'm pretty on track. It is an inspired book and it has helped me through my mission.
I love you and pray for you and hope all is well at home!
Sister Abigail Reese
PS My release date is December 2, 2015, which is a Wednesday.
This week was great too! I keep having these great weeks and I'm really afraid that the next one isn't going to be so great. But perhaps they have been so great because I have begun to see that the hard things are really blessings. I have begun to see them in a different way. I wrote this to President Clark last week and he suggested I share it and print it out for myself:
I am so glad that I have come to recognize the changes that have come into my life as a person and as a missionary. It often isn't easy to see those things but I know that I have been blessed with "spiritual eyes," in a sense, this week. Actually, I need to apologize for not reporting on what I decided to change because it was that--changing the way I look at things. I wanted to see things as God does. Sister Nielson gave a really great training on holiness and having the eyes of God. That was one of the biggest things I took out of zone conference and that is what I committed to change last week. I feel that I have been able to begin to see things and people as God sees them. I have even begun to see myself as God sees me and to see my trials as God sees them. This morning, during studies, I was reading Alma 31 and verse 38 stood out to me. I was truly struggling this morning for some reason and I wasn't sure why but when I said my prayer before studies, I asked God to help me to have the strength to rise above whatever this was. Verse 38 talked about Alma and his sons were given "strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ." It helped me to see that we all have adversity and struggles but it is the way we look at it and our attitude towards them that helps us have the strength to push through. I also read in the Ensign while I was eating breakfast about a man who was struggling with anxiety. He was asking God to remove it from him but then he read in Ether about how the winds were constantly pushing the Jaredites to the promised land, even though it was making things difficult for them. The winds are our struggles and our trials and I have begun to see that the Lord is always pushing us toward our "promised land." He is helping us become as He wants us to be and that will take improvement upon improvement. I know that with all my heart.
This week went by really fast! It was crazy how fast it went by. I was surprised. It may have been because we went to Yosemite on Monday and emailed on Tuesday. I suppose that could be the case. On Tuesday though we had a really good lesson with a recent-ish convert and it was really good. She has been struggling a lot with so many different things and I'm not sure how we can help her, but we did! It was great! We also did some service for her by hanging up pictures in her house. She has lived there a year and hasn't been able to hang any pictures on the wall. We filled her whole stairwell with pictures of her family. It was really good! And it was fun.
We taught both of our investigators this week. They are both doing really well--both have baptismal dates!! Rhonda is set for December 6 and Cindy is set for November 29. We are hoping and praying that those dates will happen. We were able to finally get Cindy to pray specifically during our lesson with her. She asked God if November 29 was the date for her and I hope she is getting her answers. I know your prayers have helped. Rhonda is also doing well. She is determined to make it to December 6, especially since Sister Lunddahl is going back to Temple Square on December 10. I don't want her to go! I am really sad that it is coming up so fast, but I know the Lord has other plans for her. He wouldn't have sent her for just three months if she wasn't meant to stay for just three months. I know that, as much as it kills me. I hope she will get to see our two investigators get baptized on their scheduled dates. It would make letting her go much easier that way.
I think I've mentioned the Christophersons, didn't I? I love them so much. It's a part-member family and she is the nonmember. She's so great and I really want to see her progress before I leave this area, which could happen in two weeks or two months. She is one of my favorite people. I have seen her open up and progress more and more since the very first time we went over to their house. I think that was my first transfer. It is now toward the end of my fourth transfer and it has been five months. We visit them pretty frequently--almost three times a week. But I see her trust in us grow every time. I love it. She showed us pictures of her family and her grandchildren when we went over there yesterday and it made me so happy! She asked me if they would send me to another area in the next year since I have a little more than that left and I told her I didn't want to go but they most likely would. I think she was kind of sad and that made me feel good to know that she likes me! I hope I can help her more than I already have. It would be awesome to see her get baptized or even just come to church. I love her so much. Her name is Becky, just so you know.
Halloween was a lot of fun! We spent the night at Melanie and Kurt Kuhn's house whom I love very much. He is our ward mission leader and she is a recent convert. I love them both with all my heart. Their home has become a second home to me. Whenever I feel homesick, I think of them and it helps me a lot. Everytime we go over there it makes me feel so loved and so much at home. I love it. We were able to spend some time with Kurt's daughter and son-in-law. They aren't members. They're great! We played Scattergories with them and it was so much fun! We watched Trick or Treaters come to the door and there were a lot of Frozen outfits. It was so great!
I don't know what I want for Christmas. A voice recorder maybe? That way I can record our zone conferences and stuff like that.Maybe more shirts? A pair of boots? I'm so bad at gifts. Ooh! You could get me all the books that came out and send me pictures--it'll give me something to look forward to when I come home! Speaking of, does Hunter know that Blood of Olympus is out?? He needs to get it if he hasn't already! Oh, also it would be really cool to get letters too. And pictures of everyone. Maybe videos? I don't know how I'd watch them though. Sweaters? It's a lot colder here than I thought it would be. You can always send me goodies! Treats are yummy! Sister Lunddahl would love a package from you. She wants something that is unique from Idaho! That would be fun!
Did you find the chess set?
I haven't gotten the packages yet but we may run to the mission office if we have time to look. Transfers is in two weeks. We get the call on the 15. I'm pretty sure I won't get a new companion but I'm not positive. I hope I won't anyway. I love my companion!
Can you send me my peacoat? It's really cold here. At least colder than I thought and too cold not to have a coat of some sort. Also, you need to send Christmas packages on or before December 1. It says that somewhere in our handbook or resource binder or something.
I know I am here for a reason too. I know God needs me here and I remind myself of that everyday. I also remind myself that you are all being blessed. Am I being an example to Hunter? He should write me more often...I love you and pray for you!
Sister Abigail Reese