So...this week was a little boring, other than the baptism we had. That was pretty cool. Yep. That's my week.
Just kidding! We did do a lot of things. We found a really solid investigator who now has a baptism date! His name is H M. His wife is a return missionary. She served in South Carolina. They are a really great couple. The first time we met them we didn't think they were super interested but I think it's always awkward on the first visit. And then we stopped by Monday night and it was good! We taught the Restoration. He was really open and honest with us. He said he is thinking about joining the church but God hasn't told him it's the right time yet. So we are going to make that happen. He's awesome! M is doing really well too. She's still grasping things really well and I love teaching her. It's really humbling to see someone so willing to learn. J T comes to our ward because she speaks both English and Spanish. She is so sweet and I love her to death. Her daughter, A, is the sweetest thing. She was so excited to see us! She's great. I just love being here. (1 Nephi 13:36, 41; Alma 56:27)
District meeting was awesome this week! We learned a lot. Sister Putnam trained on the Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. It was great! We wrote a letter to us from God which was really cool. I just know God is proud of the work I've done here. He wants me to see myself the way He does and other people do. For some reason on Tuesday, I was struggling. I completely broke down during companion study and so after district meeting I asked Elder McGovern to give me a blessing. It helped me a lot. He said that god was proud of me for the work I'd done and that my parents were (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and that my extended family was cheering me on. He also counseled me to read my scriptures every night. So I've been doing that. It's been really great. He said my investigators needed me to teach them the Atonement. And he also talked about how much I've been through in my life and on my mission. And I know my life hasn't been hard. Not really. But I leanred through that that my trials are still my trials. They are sacred to me because I suffered through them. I learned not to compare because my trials are mine. No one else could do it and learn from it the way I have. So, yes, I maybe haven't had a hard life, but for me those things were hard and it is a huge accomplishment to make it through those things. I've struggled with so many different things on my mission and I am so grateful for them. I wouldn't be me without my trials. I wouldn't have learned what I've learned without them. So if any of you are struggling, that's okay. If it should be easy, or you think it should be, don't. They're yours. No one else's. I am grateful I have my own trials. It has taught me all I know. Sister F is due in about three weeks. She's super pregnant. The M are really great missionaries and were super willing to take the challenge of writing their testimonies in a Book of Mormon and giving it away. So...now I'm challenging all of you to do it! So go do it! If you need copies, ask your local missionaries :) The R family still doesn't come to church but are learning more and more. The B love missionaries and we think their daughter knows a sister we're serving with! (1 Nephi 15:8, 11, 24-25)
Wednesday was a slow day. Sister J said she was going to come the baptism and the BBQ (but she didn't) and we talked about God's plan for all of us. It was a really great lesson. A and S had just gotten back from their trip and had to get out of their house because the exterminator was coming by. J and R were busy when we went by...as usual. Elder McGovern interviewed P and had a translator :) Sister Miller made a really good meal for us and an ant showed up on my chest in the middle of it...and it was a gross big red ant too so...needless to say I freaked out just a little. Mutual was fun! I love the young women! M A said she just thought I was so cute and she always wanted to hug me but she didn't want to break me. And she took pictures of all of us! Brother H is waiting for a confirmation OR denial of whether or not he has cancer. He's the best! (1 Nephi 16:16, 28)
The H were super sweet on Thursday and took us to lunch. they haven't been home to feed us dinner so they took us to KFC because we stopped by when they were getting ready to leave. It was good! Reminded me of Dad :) M is super sweet. I love her. Her husband is really funny. Used to be in a gang. She's a former who is open but doesn't want to join...we're trying to help her want to join. The F are still the same. We showed a video and they liked it--we think. We just think C may be comfortable where he is at and we don't think he's willing to really try to have a testimony. but we're trying to help him with that. P was so prepared for his baptism! The Ounesavaths are some of my favorite people in the ward. I just love them. P got baptized! H and C M are the greatest! They wanted to take us to a Greek Festival but we couldn't go :( so they are taking us to see the sequoias next week! I'm excited! H has a baptismal date for September 26 but we are hoping to move it up. We love them! (1 Nephi 17:13)
Weekly Planning took forever because Elder Grove committed us to plan more effectively. So we did and it took a little longer. The H are some of the greatest people ever and their kids are so smart and so cute! L is getting baptized on Saturday and they invited a lot of nonmembers! So we may go if we can. Sister H came with us the P and they loved her! It was really great! F has decided she doesn't want to join the church and she wouldn't tell us why. She thinks our testimonies are too fragile to know why she doubts. I was a little offended because I'm pretty sure my testimony is strong enough to withstand anything. I have no doubts about the gospel and I don't like when people imply that I do. But we handled okay-ish. I couldn't think of how to change her mind. She said she still wants to learn but we won't go over as often. We kind of have stopped going over frequently anyway. (1 Nephi 18:2)
We had a baptism! It was in Lao and so I'm going to send you a program (since we had a whole plethora of them at the end). My name is on it and so is Sister Putnam's. I was the chorister and she said a prayer. It was really great! Pwas so sweet. He didn't understand English at all so the talks were in Lao and Brother Ounesavath translated. It was wonderful. He's so sweet. I A is really sweet. He has a very little attention span though so...that didn't help. But we taught him before the BBQ! I felt productive at the BBQ. It was really great. I love the ward so much. Sister W's daughter, E, was dragging me around for a few minutes. She's a cute little one year old who I can't pick up. I wanted to though. She came right to me when I knelt down in front of her! Brother H is the best. He's making a video for us of one of his concerts! I'm so excited! I'll probably send it home when I get it so I'm not tempted to watch it. He is also helping us come up with Cherokee names. I think I like Spirit Angel. Thoughts? (1 Nephi 19:18)
Church was really powerful. President Tanner talked about the temple. I love him! It was really powerful. I want to go to the temple weekly when I come home! I'm going to do my best. He told us how important it is and what it will do for us. The W are wonderful and have crazy children. I don't like tomatoes but they were in the taco soup she made so I ate it and it was pretty good! M turned 29 too! So we celebrated her birthday with her and she was so sweet. Brother H helped us with our names but I still haven't come up with one. I'm thinking though! (1 Nephi 21:14-16)
So I read a chapter in the Ezra Taft Benson book--Chapter 8 on the Power of the Word. It was so good. He talked about how important it is to immerse ourselves in the scriptures. He said if we do that, everything else will fall into place. We will be more receptive to the spirit and we will be more likely to marry in the temple, better prepared to go on a mission, and our church attendance will be more meaningful. So I challenge each and every one of you to immerse yourselves, as individuals and as families, to immerse yourselves every day in the scriptures. I promise you it's true--you will have the promises President Benson made.
I love you all!
Sister Abigail Reese