Other than being eaten alive by mosquitos and sand gnats (or as my friend Jacob in Jax YSA calls them "no-see-'ems) it was a great week!
After p day we were able to go teach a new member named Darla. Her fiancée lives in this Ward and she just moved here from Canada. She is so sweet, and she actually says "eh!" I've never met a Canadian that actually says that! It was fun! Afterwards we did some tracting. When I skype next week remind me to tell you the story about the cops and tracting. It's just too good of a story to tell via email.
I gave a training in district meeting on Tuesday. I was so grateful to be able to give another training on my mission. It was perfect because Elder Neilson assigned me to give it on Planning- the same topic I did in last months zone meeting! We were able to see Lori that afternoon. Lori is 21 and she just had a baby boy last month. Her dad is a less active member. We invited her to be baptized on May 23rd and agreed to pray to know if that was the right day. We also found out there is a less active sister that lives in the building next to us, Named Jessica. We were finally able to meet her Tuesday also! She is super nice. We are going to see if we can help her start reading the Book of Mormon again, we are hoping we can teach her boyfriend too!
Wednesday we tried seeing a ton of potential investigators. We met this really nice man named Danny. He was just sitting in his garage. We were able to teach him, but he just moved to Tallahassee and he was getting a new phone so we had no way to contact him again. We are just praying he will call us so we can get the Tally missionaries over there! Lori came to scripture class that night. She was trying to keep her baby quiet most of the time, but we were glad she could come.
Thursday we saw Lori again! Daily contact brings miracles y'all! We asked if she had prayed about being baptized on May 23rd and she said she had and she felt good about it! I think she still needs a lot of support to get there, but she is starting to blossom with the gospel in her life. It is incredible! That afternoon we also were able to teach Cheyenne. Courtney is her primary teacher and she told Courtney she wants to be baptized! He mom and grandma are less active but her mom was helping us teach. Cheyenne is going to be baptized on June 13th!
Friday morning we went to the Balkcom's for service. We were scraping old paint off of an old shed. And! We got to feed their horses, feed the fish in their pond (they have six carp that are at least two feet long and a bunch of other fish) and then they took us out to lunch! It was so fun and so relaxing to be out in a country setting. They even showed us how to have their horses do tricks and then we could feed them treats. Sister Balkcom has chickens too! It was so great! I'm not really missing the city life! I admire Sister Balkcom so much. She has cancer and chronic fatigue. She lays in bed the first three days of the week so she can be up doing things and to come to church at the end of the week. She told us she just wishes she could be healed so she could come out and teach with us. She is an amazing missionary! She gave a Book of Mormon to the receptionist at her doctors office and she gave a Book of Mormon to the waitress when she took us to lunch.
Saturday was one of the best days ever! We started out teaching a less active sister named Morgan. She came to church last week for the first time in years. Then we had lunch before stopping by Lena's to do service for her. Lena is a nice woman who doesn't want to learn, but she makes us dinner every Sunday. We shared a message with her this time and when we picked up dinner on Sunday she seemed more open to talking to us. Our appointment after that fell through so we stopped by to see a potential investigator. Just then Sister Elliott realized we were on the street another potential lived on that we had really been trying to meet and she was home! Her name is Tammy and we were able to have a lesson with her! Then we went to Lori's. Her dad came out to meet with us this time. Then we went straight to our appointment with Tyrone. Our temporary Ward mission leader, Brother Adams, came with and he added so much to the lesson. Tyrone hadn't been able to read yet so we read with him. He is moving along slowly, but nonetheless moving. We then went to dinner with the Owens. As we were talking to them we mentioned we had received a media referral for someone on their street. Sister Owens said she loved that neighbor and asked to come with us to see her after dinner. So after dinner we walked up the street and Sister Owens introduced us to Miss. Blake. It was incredible! And it worked out perfectly! We had wanted to go a few days earlier but the only Bible in our apartment was missing the book of Revelations... And then the Elders kept forgetting to get us one. We didn't get one for her until that day during lunch. Miss. Blake loves to talk about Jesus Christ and "Amen-Ed" all the way through our explanation of the Book of Mormon. It was an incredible day!
Sunday we were hoping more gators would come to church, but only Lori made it to sacrament meeting. She really is great! Cheyenne ended up making it for primary! Later that day we were knocking doors. No one was interested until the last house. There was a man sitting in his garage. He told us he had had a good day "fishing and drinking some beers." He was just a little tipsy so we proceeded to share our message with him. He told us he had seen the "boys on bikes with white shirts" and had heard a little bit about Mormons, but didn't know much. He was really impressed by what missionaries do and he was interested when we explained the Book of Mormon to him. His wife is having a baby this week so we will be seeing him again next week!
Then we got a text from Lori's dad asking for information about the CES broadcast. They wanted to go and our night had just opened up so we went to the church and watched it with them. There's no YSA branch around here, but the new institute teachers set up a dessert bar and about 20 YSA's came from the area. Only one from our ward though. Elder Robin's talk was so powerful! Lori enjoyed it a lot, and so did I! I also loved seeing my institute choir and Brother Salmond! After the broadcast we were getting ready to go and I noticed a man there was wearing a USU t shirt. Of course I ran over to talk to him. It turns out he is from St. George, goes to USU and is here for some summer internship in Brunswick. We didn't get to talk much, but maybe we will cross paths again on campus this fall! It was a fun connection.
This week was truly full of miracles! We achieved or exceed nearly all of our weekly goals. Now we just need to get more investigators progressing and coming to church! God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. I see his miracles every day. I am also blessed to have a front row seat to the greatest miracle of all! As Elder Oaks taught:
"I have spoken about miracles. I have given illustrations of miracles in the Church as a whole and in many different circumstances involving a few individuals or a crisis of weather or war. But the greatest miracle is not in such things as restoring sight to the blind, healing an illness, or even raising the dead, since all of these restorations will happen, in any event, in the Resurrection.
Changing bodies or protecting temples are miracles, but an even greater miracle is a mighty change of heart by a son or daughter of God (see Mosiah 5:2). A change of heart, including new attitudes, priorities, and desires, is greater and more important than any miracle involving the body. I repeat, the body will be resurrected in any event, but a change affecting what the scripture calls the “heart” of a spirit son or daughter of God is a change whose effect is eternal. If of the right kind, this change opens the door to the process of repentance that cleanses us to dwell in the presence of God. It introduces the perspective and priorities that lead us to make the choices that qualify us for eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7)."
Miracles are all around for those with faith to see them!
I love all y'all and look forward to talking to you on Sunday!