This week was full of tender mercies and wonderful experiences. I love being a missionary, and if I'm being honest a large part of me never wants it to end. I've never been happier than while serving God full time! I'm nervous for coming home and not having the purpose that I have right now. I am so pumped up though to make these last few weeks really count. No regrets!
So I got to go on two exchanges this week! One with a sister doing Russian work, and one with a sister serving Mandarin speaking.It was so cool! I've now gone on exchanges with people who speak all of the languages we have serving in Spokane... except for Marshallese. They only have elders, but I feel like I've done some Marshallese work ;) Sister Hunt is great! She was adopted from Ukraine at age 15 by an LDS family and joined the church a year later. She's such a hard worker and we get along great! It was a nice change of pace. Russian work is hard though. They're so set in their ways. And it was rough not being able to help her out during the lesson. Occasionally she'd translate for me and I'd ask them a question, but then it was all her again. I give her props for doing that. The other sister is actually a visa waiter for Taiwan (though we do have Chinese speaking missionaries called here). She's only been out for 3 weeks, but she's such a great teacher so far! She did crew in college and I swear playing sports really prepares someone for the difficulties for a mission. I'm so grateful for the discipline, and work ethic I learned through all my years of basketball and volleyball. We got a lot of work done in each area on exchanges. And I was even able to set up five appointments for next Saturday. I will be going to 9 Mile on an exchange and don't want a repeat of last time, so I took the liberty of filling up the day :) haha. And we had to go without our phone for 2 days on exchanges. Each time another sister accidentally took our phone and we had to wait to get it back. It's so hard to do missionary work without a phone- especially in YSA! I have no idea how we survived before them...
We have a lot of less actives that have severe ADD among other learning disabilities. It's pretty cool because I get to channel in my elementary school teacher skills for them. They need to be taught in a completely different way. Other missionaries don't understand that, but once they see it in action they realize how important it is to adjust our teaching to meet their needs. Speaking of. We met with Mike Hill again (and he still uses the word pontificate). He's homeless right now and bouncing around different people's places. but we made contact with him and got him a ride to church. We then met with him on Saturday. It was the best lesson I'd ever had with him. I think it's because I was focusing on teaching to him and his needs rather than trying to force us to get through a lesson. The spirit was strong and we really helped him to resolve some concerns. He's got such a good heart and strong testimony. He just has some difficult circumstances surrounding his life. I'm grateful I've been able to work with such a wide range of people. It's helping with my empathy and not judging others.
On New Year's Eve we worked until 6pm and then we could only go to set appointments. We didn't have any... It's the one night of the year where we get to watch a movie. We got together with the Greenbluff sisters and watched "How to Train Your Dragon 2". It was fun- we felt like kids again. We were so excited :) New Year's Day we could only go to set appointments as well. So we weekly planned, watched "The Testaments" ... again haha. And then had a few appointments. We saw Aly and Justin. I can't describe the feeling that wells up inside of me when I think of them. I'm so excited for the progress they're making. Especially Justin! Aly has been semi active her whole life, but Justin rarely went. We treat him like an investigator. Everything is new to him. He told us that from his fast that he did last week he received answers to multiple prayers he's had. He recognizes the spirit working in his life and is reading his scriptures on his lunch breaks at work. He's just completely taking off! It's so exciting to see how strongly the spirit is working within him and helping him to be transformed into a different (and better) person! That is how I have come to know more completely that this gospel is true. I have watched so many people apply the teachings of the gospel and their lives improve drastically. That would not happen if this church were not true. I know that Christ's church has been restored in these latter days and that we have a living prophet who leads and guides us!
We no longer have a Ward Mission Leader. Jake Grover gets married this week. We'll see how long it takes to get a new one. I have a feeling they won't get one until after I'm gone though... It's been a struggle with so many people going back to school. We have so many of our ward council members who need to be replaced. That's the struggle with YSA. It's so transient. It would be so hard to be a bishop in a singles ward.
Miracle of the week! So there is this girl, Madison, who has been coming to church for the last 3 months with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend left a few weeks ago on his mission, but she's still been coming. I assumed she was an active member because no one else stated otherwise. Well in relief society, someone made her introduce herself and she said "I've been coming to this church for a while now, etc..." Bingo! Any member would have said "ward" So I pounced on her after Relief Society. Turns out she's not a member. She told us how she quit going to her old church because she loves what she's learning and how she feels here. I testified that it was the spirit, then told her the role we play as missionaries in teaching others our basic beliefs. She was SO excited and said she'd LOVE to meet with us! We'll teach her on Friday at her boyfriend's family's house. I'm hoping to put her on date for January 24th. How great would that be?? She seems totally ready and accepting. We'll see how it goes in the lesson and what the spirit prompts. I'm so excited to have a solid investigator again! We have maybe 6 others right now, but they're flakes. So Madison was a tender mercy for me. God truly loves me and has heard my prayers. I'm so excited for this week! We have MLC and zone training, and many miracles to come! :)
I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support. And hand written letters are also much appreciated! ;) Have a wonderful week!
p.s. Keep smiling! You have the Savior of the world on your side!
Ice cream date with Sisters Walton, Phipps, and Payne