I am so grateful for all of the members who had us over on Thanksgiving. What a wonderful day it was, we were well fed! Maybe a little too well fed... We started the day off with breakfast with a family who had her parents over, Gramma and Pajo. Gramma gave us both pearl bracelets with a cowboy boat charm, a southwest culture keepsake. After breakfast we were trying to find a family who lived out in the middle of the desert. Our map wasn't very detailed and we drove around for quite some time because hardly any of the dirt roads or houses are marked. While we were driving out in the middle of nowhere our car got stuck in the mud again! Luckily, we could see some houses near by so we went and knocked on their doors. Only one family was home and they kindly helped us get our car unstuck. We are so grateful the Lord was looking out for us that we were able to find someone home! We never found the family's house that day, I guess it wasn't the right time! For lunch we were invited to the Mayor of Queen Creek's home for Thanksgiving lunch (they are also in our ward). There again we had delicious food and good company. We were able to show the Temple Presentation to some of their non-member family who were curious about the Gilbert Temple. We had only an hour in between lunch and dinner. #missionaryprobs. Dinner was also great and so was the company. We are so blessed to have so many thoughtful members who take care of us!
We have seen so many miracles this week! The day before Thanksgiving we were going by come less-active and part-member families that the sisters before had been trying to get in for awhile. One family in particular, no one had been able to get in for a long time because they have a gate to get onto their property. We had tried to find this family before (again, out in the middle of nowhere) and on this day we had found it! We pulled up to the gate and wondered how we were going to get past the gate. I said a quick little prayer to myself that someone would come out of the house and open the gate. Seconds after I had said Amen, someone came out of the house! I quickly jumped out of the car and yelled, "Is this the ___ Residence?" The old man said nothing, but went back into the house. A second later, the gate started to open! We walked inside the gate and started talking to the man. He really wouldn't talk to us, but to confirm this was the family's residence and then got in his car and left. We stood there very confused, but decided since we were inside the gate to go knock on the door! At the door were two of the little girls. We asked if their parents were there and the said no. We really didn't believe them and kept on talking with them. As we were talking another car drove through the gate. It was their dad, who's not a member, and oldest sister. He said, "you must be looking for my wife" and let us in the house. We started talking with the family, they're super nice and cute! We shared the Temple Presentation with them and we found out some of her concerns why she hadn't been to church in years and that her youngest daughter hadn't been baptized yet. We asked if she wanted to prepare for baptism and they said yes! So now we're teaching Sierra, a nine year-old. We have dinner with them to teach the first lesson. We're super excited because this is my first investigator in this area. The blessings of faithful prayers. I know Heavenly Father answers each of our prayers- mine and all of the members of the ward who I'm sure have been praying. It's also all in God's timing- we happened to be in the right place and the right time listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Later that same day we were also able to contact another less-active part-member family who people haven't been able to contact in quite some time. At the beginning of our meeting with the man, he told us he was no longer a member and that he wasn't interested. We got him to start talking with us more and we were able to testify and find out some of his concerns why he stopped going to church. We got him to commit to read the Book of Mormon again and to pray about it. At the end of our meeting he asked where the church building was and what time church was at. We didn't see him , but we're going to go back again and see how his reading of the Book of Mormon is going.
Also in that same day we were going to go contact a former investigator. As soon as we pulled up, a boy came out of the house directly across the street. He was at the end of the street by the time we had the car parked. I got out of the car and started walking towards him. He saw me and then he turned around and came back without me even saying anything to him. It turns out it was Pabel, the boy we had gotten as a referral 2 weeks ago and we had contacted his parents who were not interested. We were able to have a lesson with him right on the street and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said he'd have to think about meeting with us again, he'd have to get permission from his parents first. It was a miracle he came back and wanted to talk with us. I know something will come of it, in the Lord's time and in His own way.
We were driving by our Bishop's house one afternoon and saw they were putting up Christmas decorations outside so we stopped and helped them. After we had helped them we asked the Bishop if he wanted us to go by anyone. He said he had been thinking of his neighbor's across the street and that we should stop by them. So we went and contacted them. We knocked on the door and a woman answered the door. She spoke no English and invited us in, calling to someone in the house. She sat us down in the living room and then 2 teenage girls came into the room. It turns out the woman had thought we were their friends coming to visit! We talked with the girls and they were actually interested in going to the Gilbert Open House and watching the Temple Presentation. We were in the middle of setting up a time when their parents would be home when in walks the parents! We started talking with them and they seem confused as to why we were sitting in their house. We tried to watch the Temple Presentation then, but they were "busy". So we tried to set up an appointment, but the mother said "she would call us." Too bad, but at least we got in the door! Who knows what will come of it, but I know the girls felt something and they seemed very open to it. There are so many other miracles, I wish I had time to write them.
Thank you Mom for sending me Advent! We had a great time putting the presents under the Christmas tree the members we live with gave us! Ah, the Christmas Spirit is a wonderful thing. I'm so glad we now have decorations so our apartment isn't completely bare.
I was reading yesterday in Doctrine and Covenants 50:41. This verse really struck me yesterday, "aFear not, little bchildren, for you are mine, and I have covercome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath dgiven me." I know that Christ has performed the Atonement for each one of us and because of that act, He has overcome the world for each one of us. We need not to be fearful because He is right there beside us. I know He is my Savior and Redeemer and I am so grateful for this Christmas Season to remember Him and that He does live. May we keep the true meaning of Christmas at the forefront of our minds. I know that He lives! And what comfort this great sentence gives!
The Christmas Spirit