Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy 4 months!

Hey everyone!

How's life going? Here's a little update on the visa situation: Elder Henderson, who came out with us from the MTC, just got his visa on Thursday and left Monday morning. He's from Georgia, so that doesn't really mean anything for me. BUT Elder Morgan, who also came out with us from the MTC, is from Utah and got his this week too! I'm just PRAYING that I'll stay here at least until Saturday for our baptisms. Alisha says that if we get our visas this week and have to leave before her baptism, we might "accidentally" go missing for a few days. Ha! I love her. It'll work out exactly how it needs to work out I guess. Visas are really starting to move. And of course right when I'm really starting to fall in love with Alabama, even more than I already was, despite the heat and the bugs. Haha. The people here are absolutely amazing and I feel so beyond blessed to know them and to be a part of their lives. 

So this week was a great week. We see way too many miracles each day. Every night, when we're driving home, we just think about how much the Lord really stepped in. It doesn't matter that we said the wrong things, or used the wrong tone, or couldn't meet with our investigators, because we were able to see so much more than that. We are able to let the Spirit be the real teacher in our lessons, and to meet the people we need to. Heavenly Father is doing everything in this work. Everything. I learn more and more every day that this is HIS work. Not mine. Not Sister Jensen's. His. 

Things are still good for the baptisms this weekend. We talked to R about the Word of Wisdom this week, because she has a problem with smoking. But she knows she can do it. Saturday night, she got a blessing to stop, we fasted with her yesterday, and she's getting everything she can to help her stop. She's incredible. I can't imagine how hard that addiction would be. She's been smoking since 14. Keep her in your prayers. She can do it, especially because she has so much faith in the Lord. He will help her do it. A is doing amazing. She finally said the prayer at the end of our lesson on Saturday, after a month and a half of teaching her, and Sister N started to cry. It was amazing just to see how much progress she is making and that she is truly turning her life to the Lord. We knew she had a testimony, but when she prayed, you could see that testimony so much more. The Spirit was so strong. I am so grateful for both R and A and the dedication they are giving to the gospel. They are the most incredible examples to me. I love them so much, and I can't wait to see them take this step of baptism this weekend!

We have 7 new investigators this week. There is some real potential here. We are so busy. We seriously have no more time in the day. We don't have enough time to visit everyone that we need to, but we are doing our very best. We taught 30-something lessons this week! When we got here, we were teaching like 10-15, and that was WITH a trainer. We are seeing so many miracles. The Lord has been doubling and tripling our numbers, and for that, we are so eternally grateful. The work is moving so fast.

One thing I've really been working on this week is humility. I was looking through some of my journal entries from the MTC three months ago, and I was working on the same thing. And we all know I am the most un-humble person to walk the Earth. It's going to take some time, but I know I can get there. Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." There are so many times that I find myself talking about myself. And every time it happens, I think, "WHO CARES? You aren't here for you. You're here for other people. Stop thinking about you, and start focusing on them." I need to get to that point that I am only concerned about the needs of others. So I've been doing this thing since I got to Alabama (if I've already said this before, I apologize). But every time that I start thinking about me and complaining about things that I'm going through, I pray for someone else. It is helping so much. When I can sit back and realize that there are people going through so many more harder things than I am, it truly becomes humbling. My mission is not about me. Sure, I'm learning so many great things along the way, but I'm here for the people of Alabama and eventually the people of Brazil. President Hinckley told a story about his mission when he felt he needed to give up and stop wasting his time and money. He wrote his dad saying that he was really thinking about coming home. He received a reply from his dad that merely said, "Gordon, forget yourself and go to work." I've tried to make that my motto. And I've been thinking about that a lot this week. Humility. Humility. Humility.

I love my calling as a missionary. I say it every week, and I plan on saying it for the next 60 weeks. This work truly is the greatest blessing I have ever received. I am so grateful that I am here. I love every single day. Even when it's hard, I love it, because I love this gospel. I love sharing it with everyone I meet. I love letting them know how happy it makes me, and how many blessings I have received from it. This church is true. My Savior is my best friend. Joseph Smith restored the church to its fullness. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of the Lord. My family can live together forever. I can be forgiven when I make countless mistakes every single day. How amazing is it to know these things? I love it so much. I love the gospel. I love you all. I hope you have an amazing week this week. Do something amazing this week, take pictures and then send them to me. You are all my inspiration. I love you.

Sister Card

We came in to the house and found Alisha on the couch, 
reading the Book of Mormon. 
This is EXACTLY what every missionary dreams of seeing. 

(Didn't quite get the story on this one...)

Cameron Lawracy! She is the cutest ever. 
She is in the Millbrook ward right next to ours, but we love her! 

Chandra is the cutest ever!!! 
I am so glad you guys are getting to know her. 
I love her so much!

Cooking food like a champ.

Chandra and I (:

Me, Necie, and Sister Jensen! 
We are so sad Necie is going to college, but so excited for her! 

Me, Necie, Sister Fenn, Chandra, and Sister Jensen! 

Miriam and Lucius Dundon. Two kids in our ward. 
They are the cutest kids in the world. I love them so much!

Santa Maria visa waiters, one more time before 
Elder Henderson headed off to Brazil! ): 
We will miss him, but are so excited for him to finally go to BRAZIL! 

Sister Wood, Sister Todd (a recent-convert), 
Sister Jensen and I. Humidity is killer. 
My hair... not good. I'm debating cutting it all off. 
Ha. Just kidding. Never.

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