So I can't believe that I've been out on my mission for just over a month! Crazy how time flies by! I want to thank you all for your letters and packages. I finally sent out my letters in the mail last week so hopefully everyone has gotten them. (I have been sending letters to Anita, so hopefully she's gotten them?) We love to open up our Advents everyday and read the stories. :) You're the best mom!
Did you enjoy the pictures I sent you? I forgot my camera cord today, so there won't be any pictures.
So this week has been another crazy week as a missionary. The days go by long, but the weeks really do go by fast. This week we had like every lesson cancel on us, but that was okay. I am getting the hang out rejection and it hasn't bothered me. I'm also getting the hang of OYMing and yesterday I had a really neat experience. We went to the park in our area, Discovery Park, and we just started talking to everyone that we saw. I started talking to this lady. Said we were misisonaries sharing a message about Jesus Christ and how He's blessed our lives and eternal families. Then we got to know her and it turns out she's a reading teacher and I felt prompted to ask her about if she had read and/or knew about the Book of Mormon. She said she had heard of it and I testified that the Book of Mormon had changed my life unlike any other book that I have read. I explained that I too was an advid reader and that since she loved to read, this book would too change her life. I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and it happened to be one of the copies that had Dad's testimony glued in it from the Advent from the day before. I had been praying to know who I should give those copies out to. I felt like that she would greatly benefit from hearing your testimony. I wanted to thank you, Mom and Dad, for your testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how they will touch the lives of others. We gave her our card and she said that she'd call us or talk to her friend who was Mormon. Even though we didn't get her information (she said that she didn't feel comfortable) I felt like that she would actually read it.
Also this past Friday Elder Cook, Bishop Stephenson, and Elder Gonzalz came to our mission and spoke to us. What a neat experience to shake their hands and hear them speak specially to us in the Tempe, Arizona mission. The spirit was so strong like when Elder Holland came to the MTC. He talked about how to extend a powerful invitation followed by promised blessings, and then your testimony. Also they talked about how important Preach My Gospel is and how inspired it is. I have truly gained a testimony of this as well. They also talked about how important the Book of Mormon is in the role of conversion. He gave a statistic of how that only 20% of converts had read the Book of Mormon all the way through before they were baptized. And those that did, were truly converted and were retained. Before this conference, I had been getting the feeling that we needed to amp up our Book of Mormon empasis. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know that to be true. I am eternally greatful of our scripture study and family home evenings as a family. My love of the Book of Mormon has been a strong foundation that has helped me not only in my life, but especially right now as a missionary.
We have a new investigator! We taught Sandra on Saturday the first lesson- The Restoration. She's Catholic and her husband had died last year. She recognizes the Holy Ghost and said repeatedly throughout our lesson that she felt good and at peace. She invited us back in two weeks (holiday craziness) to teach her the Plan of Salvation. It's amazing how prepared she is and also her two boys. We haven't been able to see her son Brian again since we saw him a week ago, but we're hoping that we can teach all three of them. I'm worried that because she said that she's happy now that she will think that she doesn't need to join because she's happy now. We commited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. When we taught the First Vision, I got chills all over and it was confirmed to me again that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It's one of the most powerful points in the lesson.
We haven't been able to have a lesson with Gina again, but we are this week. We're hoping that she has prayed to know how the Holy Ghost speaks to her. We did go with her and her fellowships to the Mesa Visitor's Center to see the Christmas lights. And...............I SAW KELSEY AKA SISTER HAMSTEAD! What I sweet reunion. I saw her from the back and I wasn't really sure if it was her so I went up and tapped her shoulder and she turned around and it took her like a second to process that it was me. She stopped midsentance of talking to some members and just grabbed my hand and walked away. (Probably not the best, but oh well :] ) She took me to the break room and we hugged and hugged and took a picture. We could only talk for like 2 minutes, but at least we saw each other! It was so surreal to see her!!! I wish that I could see her more often! The lights were so pretty and I don't really know what Gina thinks right now. She's converted to the social, but we need to see how she is spiritually. So this week we will. :)
We're hoping to have Sherry baptized this month and we meet with her tonight!!
We have three lessons tonight, so we're hoping to teach more this week and that they'll actually not cancel. :)
I love you all and thank you for your encouraging letters.