Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Another Blessed Week!

Arabic Book of Mormon

This week's focus was on finding new investigators!  We had a competition in the zone between Elders and Sisters.  It was close all week, but the Elders ended up coming out on top.  It was really fun to get a bit of competitive spirit to push us to find even more!

After Family Home Evening at the church we went to try to  see a potential named Bridgett.  She was busy when Sister Kloepfer and I knocked on her door, but this time she let us right in and we taught her the restoration!  She has an adorable one year old son!  She is going to pray to set a baptism date!!!  We drove home quickly for the new zone conference call Sister McCook initiated every Monday night at 9:30 called "Monday night Miracles."  We have each companionship share a miracle and it's been a lot of fun!
Tuesday we went to the Ft. Caroline District meeting, and in the afternoon we had the Relief Society President, Sister Thomas, come out with us to a lesson with a former investigator named Barbara.  Barbara is very sweet, but very Catholic and it seems she just wants to know what we want to believe--she doesn't really want to act on anything we teach.  So unless something changes before we see her again we probably won't continue to teach her.  However, it was wonderful to have Sister Thomas come out with us!  Getting members, and especially the ward council involved, is always the best!  That night we also had Sister Pennington come with us to teach Karen about tithing.  Tithing is going to take a lot of faith for Karen at this time.  It will be hard, but I truly admire her willingness to trust in the Lord.
Wednesday... oh Wednesday was AMAZING!!!  The Dunn Ave Sisters met us at the church and we drove over to Lake City (about 60 miles west of us).  There we had a meeting with Elder Neil L. Andersen, quorum of the 12 apostles!  Wow he was spectacular!  We were all able to shake his hand, and I don't think I could sum up everything in just one email, but I'll include a few of the points that stood out to me:
     -He told us 600 is an attainable baptism goal.  It is going to take faith--more faith than we had this year, 
           but with that faith I give you my promise that we can all be together to celebrate next year at this time.
     -He said if he were a missionary he wouldn't want to plan on going a transfer without a baptism.  He said 
          we must think about it every day.  Declare it every day.  And pray each day to find someone who  
          can be baptized. 
     -"There is no better place to see miracles than on a mission."
     -"Faith is a spiritual power to see things that should happen happen.
     -"Faith is the power of the Lord in our lives." 
     -"We'll sleep when we're dead!"
     -"I have to pick up the Book of Mormon each day.  I have to renew the courage."
     -"Faith is not a mortal quality, it is a quality of heaven."
     -"If you don't know what to say, you speak of Christ, you speak of the Restoration... take comfort in   
              knowing your testimony is recorded in the heavens."
     -Don't be afraid to share what you know about Jesus Christ.  We are members of his restored gospel  
             and we know more than others think they do.  "There is no one who knows about the Savior and 
             his atonement like you do.  They don't know what you do."
Sister Andersen was raised in Florida and said:
     -"he does not cease to be a God of miracles, and he invites us to be a part of them." 1Nephi 17:17, 51
     -"This is God's work, and the people who are here are unbelievably good... what an advantage to be 
            able to serve your mission in an area where people still believe in Christ."

Directly after the meeting we began what we termed a "golden trade off!" We did a two day trade off with the Atlantic Beach sisters!  We had a blast! And we did some good work while at it ;)
Mom--you'll be proud of me!  I drove all the way back from Lake City without crashing... I just missed a couple exits ;)
Sister Blatter came to the Arlington area with me.  We were going out to contact some potential investigators and I had the thought to go see Sam.  Well he lives all the way across the area and we had just used a ton of miles on the trip so I decided we would just put him in the plans tomorrow. Well sometimes Heavenly Father helps us follow the spirit.  I put in the next potential and it totally wasn't in the area we planned to work in!  It was out by Sam.  So as long as we were there I thanked Heavenly Father for getting me out there and we stopped by Sam's.  He was home!!!  Granted he was just heading out, but we were able to set a return appointment!  Then we got to stop by Angel's and teach him a lesson.  We've had a hard time getting in touch with both of those families so that was a tender mercy.
Thursday morning we had district meeting in Dunn Ave. Sister Blatter and I presented a plan to the district to help us find new investigators.  Elder Cordon (one of the Assistants) was visiting the district and he told me Aileen's father is getting baptized this Saturday!!!  Aileen is such a wonderful example to her family! 
That afternoon we got to see Thelma!!! I love Thelma!  We taught the Plan of Salvation for a review and were able to go more in depth on a few points that she had questions on.  I haven't really taught new member lessons until I got to this area so I'm loving it!  I also got a new online investigator!  Yea!  My online gators keep disappearing or unfriending me so hopefully this one will go well!  He lives in Togo a little country by Ghana!  I was really hoping he lived in Wyatt's mission, but it doesn't look like it is. Sorry cuz!  
Then we got to go to dinner with the Commanders so we went over the bridge again to Dunn Ave.  The Commanders are so fun!  We had ward coordination after that and the Elders were on a trade off too so that was a bit different, but good.
Right after studies on Friday we swapped companions back and began our weekly planning session!  That night we went to see Sam!  We had another miracle when the Ft. Caroline Sisters had an Arabic Book of Mormon in their car for us to use!  We had Veronica come with us and we taught the Restoration to Sam and his wife Marina.  Marina doesn't speak English very well, but I think Sam's English is even better than last year.  At the end of the lesson Sam said he felt good about it and both were looking forward to reading.  Marina even let us try some Arabic food!  Cabbage wraps with rice and beef inside and naan.  Mmm... so yummy!!!
Saturday we had another great Volleyball game at the church and some less active members came!  That night we were visiting some potentials when the fire alarm went off in a neighboring building.  It was really loud and these two teenage boys came out to get away from the sound.  We were able to teach them the whole restoration with the fire alarm blaring in the background.  They are pretty great! Then we went and saw Sister Ford!  She is a little spit fire and we have so much fun teaching her!
Before church Sunday we attended PEC then Sam came for a church tour.  He was able to stay for sacrament meeting and he enjoyed it.  He has some questions about Joseph Smith, but that's not bad.  Elder Payne was pretty sure it would be his last Sunday in the ward so he volunteered for a musical number.  He sang and I was able to accompany him.  It came together really well. 
Monday was really busy.  We did service cleaning mold off the walls for an elderly sister in the ward.  I never want to live somewhere moldy. The smell of bleach makes my nose burn all day, but it was good to serve her!  We took Grandma Williams with us to see a man Sister Blatter and I met, but he wasn't home.  However we began teaching his son and his son's friend.  Guess who the friend was!  The Quick's nephew!  The Quicks were that super elect family that dropped us.  His name is Thomas and he seems really interested now! 
We had lunch with Sister Williams afterwards and then we were able to visit some less actives before going to family home evening.  We were also able to go read the Book of Mormon with Karen.  She is doing well, but just really needs a lot of peace at this time.
Then it was time for the transfer call!  I am so grateful Sister McCook and I are both staying!!!  I love the Arlington ward and Sister McCook is great!  I am learning so much from her!  I am stoked for the upcoming transfer!!! 
Have the best week ever!
Love y'all!!
Sister Murray