Hello everyone, In two Saturdays is Darius’s Baptism and in two weeks from today and I will be on my way to BRAZILLLL!:) im so excited 🙂
We Had exchanges this week! so Sister Oviatt and I got to go to Midland for 2 days With sister Smith. I was nervous for exchanges.. but it ended up being an amazing experience. We Got to go visit one of their members sister Banks. We pull up to the house and there wasnt much of a house. Homeless people were just hanging out and what looked like half a room was her home. We walked in.. and it was just dirt… everywhere. And it smelt horrible. Sister Banks doesnt have top teeth and her tongue is all swollen, Shes very hard to understand. But she has the biggest heart. It broke mine just seeing her living condition. Her pantry was empty and she doestn have a fridge or running water. She has a couch and a broken lamp that barely shines in the middle of the room. When we sat down with her we asked how her scripture reading has been going, she said she reads an hour a day. We taught her a lesson, and we shared some scriptures, we asked her to read a verse and she just asked if I would instead, So I did, then later on in the lesson we asked her to read a paragraph in a phamplet, she asked me again if I could. It was then I realized.. I dont think she can read. I didnt say anything And just read because I didnt want to embarrass her! Then we asked if we could come by and do any service in the morning. (her house has hours of service written all over it.) she looked down.. almost ashamed looking.. and was like.. well there is one thing.. and we all got excited because we love service. she was like… “is there anyway you could come over and teach me how to read? I need to understand the scriptures. and im too embarrased to ask my family.” here is this grown woman, with grandkids who walk all over her, in a disaster of a house, no food, no shower, no fridge, and here are 3 misisonaries who would clean her entire house and instead she asks us to teach her how to read. I couldnt believe it. And all so she could read her scriptures. Like… how many of us make up every excuse possible to not read our scriptures or to not go to church? I know I used to all the time! So we came back the next morning, and I started to teach her how to read. we started off with a prayer and the spirit was so strong. So I sat down with her while sister smith and sister oviatt found a paper plate on the ground to clean the floor with. and try to sweep out dirt. after Another small prayer in my heart it i knew exactly where to start and what to do.. thank goodness for the spirit because i dont know how to teach someone how to read. We read in the Book of mormon, we would stop on the small words like of and the and she would sound it out. Before that I had to teach her the alphabet and letters, we wrote everything down so she could copy it. It was so hard watching her struggle. By far the most humbling experience ive ever had. By the end of it she was almost in tears just thanking us. she said she had never learned that much in an hour. Its amazing the things we can accomplish with faith!
We had some other great lessons this week, Vanessa,( the girl who was baptized when she was 8 but doesnt know anything about the church) we taught her the plan of salvation and she was so excited to show us all the notes she took after she read the scriptures, and she had a list of questions for us. it was so cool. And she said the prayer by herself! i love seeing her desire to learn truth. its amazing. We also taught Jason and Vanessa, some of our investigators, and their kids came to the lesson. The thing about the gospel that ive learned while on my mission is how simple it is. The kids got everything and were so excited about it! It was so cool seeing the spirit work through them as we taught them. I just love love love teaching people. its the best thing ever!:)
We Got the opportunity to see President and Sister Heap at Stake conference this week, our zone got to have a meeting with them before stake conference. President Heap is a Spiritual Giant! He let us missionaries ask us any thing we were confused about and then we had a discussion about it. One thing that we talked about that he brought up my first day in texas, really sticks out to me. Its.. Why dont we get to call home when we feel upset, homesick or just want to talk to our moms? I mean, from an outside perspective it seems weird. But from this side, it makes sense. For the obvious reason it would be distracting. but the way president heap explains it just makes sense. he says “because thats not Home. Home isnt Layton, bountiful, oregon, chicago. Thats NOT Home.” Home is where our heavenly father is. And I can tell you, if thats home… ive never been closer. And we get to call home everyday. Never in my life have I been closer to our true home. Every single day for 18 I get the opportunity to put all of my focus on our Savior and God. Presidnet Heap always says.. You know.. you could lay in bed all day.. and the work outside would still progress. The only work you can stop is your own. Yes we are serving others and sharing with others the gospel, all of our focus is on other people, and in return, its us thats being changed the most. Everyday we are getting closer and closer to Home. Our testimonies are growing and becoming stronger. Missions help others, but honestly, they are for the missionary just as much. We are our biggest converts on our missions and I can see why! I cant express how grateful I am to be here. Im so glad I made the decision to serve, because being this close to home, is the best feeling in the world.
I love you all lots and miss you tons! Ill talk to you all next week 🙂