Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - Good, Better, and Best

It's a great day to be alive! This is the best time to be a missionary! We are on the last week of the Gilbert Open House. Last week we didn't have to work at the Temple at all, but we're making up for it by working 3 shifts this week. It's already been a crazy week and it only started yesterday. Fun times!  On Wednesday we had our transfer meeting. It was a crazy one with 2 new zones created and all of them basically renamed. No one knows where the zone boundaries are any more. Sister Beach and I are part of the select few companionship's who actually stayed together this transfer. Exciting! Our mission has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the work. It's fantastic. President said we're almost at our capacity for how many missionaries are going to be in the mission. We won't be changing around as much in a couple of transfers. 

We had a great lesson with one of our investigators, Valarie. She's 18 and she's part of the family who we took to the Temple last Monday. She is golden! We love her so much! She compared herself to Joseph Smith because he was searching for what church he should join. She said she's been searching. She accepted a baptismal date of March 8th and she's super excited! The Spirit was powerful during the lesson. She basically wants to meet with us every day and of course we're happy to! We have been praying and fasting for someone like Valarie. Her parent's don't seem as on board as she is. We think something/someone must have gotten to them since we had met after our first lesson. Which is very sad. Their friend and neighbor, our Stake President, is going to talk with them and see what some of their concerns are. The spirit was so strong in those lessons with the family and now with the lessons with Valarie. We have another lesson with her tonight. 

Sierra is still scheduled for baptism on March 15th with her little brother, Preston. We made prayer rocks last night with them so they will remember to pray. It was a lot of fun! We're going to the Gilbert Temple Open House with the entire familytomorrow. We're excited to be able to go with them! We hadn't been able to teach Sierra all this last week because they were busy. During church on Sunday (which they didn't show up to even though they said they would) I was praying and pondering about Sierra's family. I just couldn't get them out of my mind. After church before dinner we had some time so we decided to go try to make contact with them in person. We get there and it's just getting dark. And surprise, surprise, the gate is closed. We're sitting outside the gate for a few minutes and I suggest that we pray. I pray that someone will come outside (just like the first time we got into their home) and let us in the gate. Literally 5 seconds after I said Amen, Kelly comes outside and opens the gate! We talked with Kelly for a couple of minutes, but Sierra and Denise were not home (Kelly is Denise's nonmember husband), but Alex was there. Alex is 12 and she's a great girl. We were able to chat with her for a couple of minutes and we invited her to read her scriptures every day, especially before she does her homework. It was a great visit with her with just the three of us. Kelly wasn't too interested to staying for the lesson, but he was in the background listening.

Do you remember Mercedes who I mentioned a couple of letters before? She's the mother of one of the recent converts in our ward. She's been coming to church and she's Hispanic, but she understands English. Well we had sent over the Spanish Sisters to try to teach her, but she told them she wasn't interested in taking the lessons because she knows everything already. But she does want to be baptized. Well she told her fellowship, who happens to speak English and is the Elder's Quorum President, that she will take the lessons in her own time but she wants us to teach her not the Spanish Sisters! She called them Gringos... We're just excited that she does want to be taught and that she's warming up to the idea of taking the lessons. She was even going to sit on the the recent convert lessons this past Thursday, but they both got sick. It's all in the Lord's timing! Hopefully it's before I leave!!

Funny story that happened this week. We have a lot of fields where we live and from the bottom of our area to the top of our area takes about 15 minutes. We know the members that own the fields between the Proving Grounds and the church building. We were late so we saw a dirt path that led us in a straight course to our dinner's house, which happened to be the Bishop. The sister's before us had gotten permission to use the dirt path for part of the way. So we went off-roading big time by going through the fields on the dirt paths the trackers use. We ended up going in our Bishop's and Stake President's backyards. It was so embarrassing because they had seen us through their back window and the Stake President was outside as we're coming right behind his house. Bishop kept on giving us a hard time because now our car is so dirty! 

This past week I have completed the October General Conference talks. I have learned so much from reading the talks since I have listened to them in Conference. I think I learn more and retain it more as I re-read the talks. They are revelation given for our day from living Apostles and our Prophet. I love the talk "Drawing Closer to God" by Elder Vinson: www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/drawing-closer-to-god?lang=eng. 
We should be asking ourselves every day- How Close Am I to God? Is this decision bring me closer or farther away from God? We know that it's us moving away from God, not Him. He never moves because He is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." If we love God we will want to align our will with His. He will not fail us or forsake us. I love my Savior and I'm so happy I made with best decision for myself to serve a mission at this time. I have learned so much and I have grown so much. I love the 3 hours of study I get to have each day to become closer to my Heavenly Father. I know He's there and in fact He does answers prayers; sometimes immediate, other times over time. I know Heavenly Father is the Gardner in our lives. We have to be thankful He loves us enough to sometimes cut us down. He knows what is ultimately best for each one of us on an individual level. I know He lives and loves each one of us.


Sister Collins