On Tuesday we had dinner at Bishop Romney's house and had 2 recent converts come, Lyndi and Alyson. Alyson is from Reno and has been a member for almost a year. She's 19 and planning on going on a mission soon. She's solid. Lyndi was just baptized in June and is 24. Her parents are anti and she's the one who recently told them she was baptized and it didn't go over well. With General Conference coming up we taught them about following the prophet and the importance of doing that today. We challenged them to read a conference talk a day from last session in preparation for this upcoming one. You should all do it, too! It's so good to review often the things that were shared with us by prophets and apostles of the Lord! Both of them are planning on driving down to Salt Lake City so that they can see it live. So cool! I love those girls- it's so fun watching their testimonies strengthen and their knowledge grow.
After dinner we had a lesson at the church with Benjamin and Carys. They were excited to meet... but not because they wanted the gospel in their lives- they just wanted to pick our brains really. So we asked them questions as we taught and really established our purpose. They believe in the Trinity (and I have yet to meet someone who can actually explain to me how that works...) but anyways, he said he's read the Book of Mormon and knows it's not true. I didn't want to pick up an eternigator (eternal investigator) so after answering their questions I again established our purpose and told them that as missionaries, we help people to take steps in their lives that bring them closer to Jesus Christ through His restored gospel, one of those steps being baptism. So since he didn't want to be baptized and felt it wasn't true, that he could talk with Ashley Green (our member fellowship) and she could answer his questions, but that we needed to spend our time teaching those who wanted to make this a part of their life. It was mildly awkward, but they understood. It's so hard to teach Whitworth students. It's a private Presbyterian school and everyone there just wants to kind of learn what Mormons believe, but never actually try it out for themselves. This last paragraph sounds a bit harsh- but I know what my purpose is as a missionary. I'm here to find the elect and the honest in heart. I know that as I focus on that, God will lead me to them!
On Thursday we met with Danielle Schimschal. I love her! So we wanted to find a member of our ward she'd get along with and we thought of Taylor. So right before bed I send a text inviting her to the lesson... turns out I sent it to her sister, Amanda. I was annoyed at first, but it ended up being perfect! Danielle has been struggling to feel it's true. She kept telling us that it all makes sense in her head but she's waiting for that big feeling from the spirit. Well, Amanda knew none of this. But when we asked Amanda to share how she knows hat Jesus Christ was her Savior she said exactly what Danielle needed to hear! Amanda explained how she never gets emotional when she feels the spirit, but to her things just click in her mind. Things just make logical sense and it's clear to hear what is true. As she was sharing this, I look over at Danielle who just is grinning ear to ear! I mean she was basically glowing! It dawned on her that this is the way the spirit has been telling her all along and that she knows this is true! She asked to be baptized on October 18th! Yay! We'll have to find someone else to be baptized on my birthday...haha. I'm so excited for her! She started meeting with missionaries last October, and after a year long journey, she is ready. :)
On Saturday, we had a huge stake day of service that we participated in. It was at the Northeast Community Center. It was about to be shut down because it didn't have things up to code. It is in Hillyard (a rough part of town) and offered free/ cheap daycare, preschool, dental, medical and senior services. It was so incredible to help! Sister McDonald and I helped sand and repaint picnic tables and benches, take down and put up taller chain link fencing, and weeding. People were also doing landscaping, painting, cleaning, building, etc. It was a huge project. We had over 300 volunteers show up and put in collectively over 1,300 hours of service. It felt incredible to just help and serve. And when I looked around at all of the people there, just serving because they love as Christ does, it just warmed my heart! The community center was SO appreciative and said they've never had a group do this much or work so efficiently together. Last month there was a church that said they'd come and bring 50 people- and none showed up. So they were grateful for what we did that day. We had a lot of interesting encounters the rest of that day. After walking away from lessons or street contacts, I think on 4 different occasions I said "well, that was weird." But I just keep going with the flow.
Apparently on my mission I'm also meant to meet lots of Native Americans. The one from this week was Sage EagleBear (they always have such cool last names- like Lincoln Hairychin!) Well, he joined 5 years ago with his family and should be in the YSA ward. We stopped by and met him and set up a return appointment. When we showed up for that, he wasn't there. But his Dad, Vaughan, was. I felt prompted to ask him if he was a member of the church and he said that he actually isn't. He's been investigating for about 5 years. He says he's just kind of waiting for his answer. I was able to testify to him and read some scriptures with him and challenge him to meet with the missionaries again. It was so cool! I feel like God just gives me the words to say. Especially these days with my companion rarely talking in street contacts or lessons. It's wonderful to know that I have God on my side helping to fill my mouth with the words people need. That gives me the courage and confidence I need to talk to everyone and be bold!
We still have potentials and former investigators that we haven't contacted believe it or not haha. So we went to try one, but his roommate said he moved out to 9 Mile. He didn't have an address so we decided to call him. We left a message and he texted us back saying that he feels like he needs to come to church because he doesn't like the path his life is on right now. I responded by telling him that he can change right now and that our job as missionaries was to teach people about what they can do in their lives to improve the quality of it and have relief from past mistakes. Our conversation went on for a while via text. He said he needed to hear that and wanted to meet up with us- so we'll be seeing him soon. I love technology! A complete stranger will open up via texting about their life and their inner workings to someone they've never even met and they can feel the spirit as we testify to them! :)
The last thing I wanted to share was this scripture that I found today as I was studying in the Bible. It's 2nd Corinthians 5:15 "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." I am so grateful to have this time where I am not living selfishly for myself, but for Christ. I love helping others and teaching them. This is God's work and I am blessed to be a part of it! I know this church is true. I know this independent of anyone else. I have felt it and I will never deny it.
I hope you all have a blessed week! I love you!
Nerf Gun war last P-day