I feel as though I have so much to say about this week and about what is going on here in Georgia! First of all, I LOVE THE SOUTH! Really, everything about it! I love the fall here, I love the church here, I love the people here, and I love the FRIED here! This week I ate me some fried chicken, some friend platanos, and fried oreos. Yes... I just said oreos. My favorite thing about Georgia is not necessairly the food though, it is that I know I was called here for many specific reasons... and that this beautiful place with beautiful people is where the Lord needs me to preach His gospel. I feel so blessed to be here.
This week we met a lot of great people. The first being an artist. Initiallty he didn't want us to be there, or to bless his home, but as we sat on his porch and talked for a while he warmed right up and before we knew it we were getting a grand tour of his home that looks a lot more like an art exhibit! He was one of the most talented artists I have ever seen and told me and Sister Kelly we would make a good painting! As we were in his home we taught him about the Book Of Mormon and got to share our testimonies about it! It was really cool.
Right about the time we were getting ready to head home for the evening we knocked on a door and no one answered, we were walking down the driveway when the lady who lived there drove in! She said that years ago Sister Missionaries knocked on her door and that they would spend time with her teaching them about the Gospel and that even though she didn't have a desire to join the church she loved learning about what we believe. She invited us in to meet her friend and give us a drink, but before we went inside we said a prayer with her and she cried the entire time and said that she knew we were sent to her home for a reason. She asked if we would come back and see her again! It was the sweetest thing ever.
We have been teaching a great-grandma and her great-grandaughter! They welcome us into their home like we are their family, which is awesome becasue I feel like they are my family! We continue to meet with them, and I just know that the Gospel is already blessing their lives and will continue to help strengthen them!
One of the nights this week we had a plan for the last hour of our night, but neither me or Sister Kelly felt good about it. As we were driving we asked Heavenly Father who we needed to help, and continued driving down the road. We missed the turn we usually take, and about a half a mile further down the road we saw a car pulled over by a little memorial for a young man who was killed on that road a few years ago. We talked with them for a while and told them we, and members of our church were thinking about their family and wanted them to know that we cared. We offered to say a prayer with them, but they said they are having a hard time right now with religion. This taught me an important lesson, that sometimes Heavenly Father just needs us to show each other that we care.
A quick funny story, so as missionaries we talk to everyone! While we were knocking doors we saw some people out sitting on the lawn, drinking. We went over and talked to them and they were really nice.. and really drunk... which was probably why they were really nice. When we asked if we could say a prayer to bless their home one of them said "Even with the spirits?" --- I, being really naive, thought he was saying that we needed to pray for the spirits that are in his home so I asked "Are they good spirits or bad ones?" -- he then laughed and laughed and told me he was referring to his drink. Great news friends and family, you learn something new everyday! Haha! DOH!
This week was great, we had a lot of miracles and tender mercies and happy moments and gratitude. Of of the greatest blessings is that me and my companion, Sister Kelly, are best friends! We pray multiple times a day to stay companions for another few months. Transfers are next week, and no matter what happens I am just so grateful that Heavenly Father puts people in our path to help strengthen us and teach us! I am also grateful that we were able to watch General Conference together.... so even though this week had a lot of awesome things happen, the best part was being able to hear from our Prophet and other leaders!!!
For missionaries, conference is like Christmas. For the frist time in my life I wasn't parked in front of the TV with my pajamas on, instead I was dressed in church clothes watching at the church. I loved it and got SO much out of it! It was the most surreal thing to look down and see my name tag and realize that when they are talking about missionary work in talks or praying for the missionaries, that hey, they are talking about me!!
- I love that missionary work was talked about so much and that I was able to receive divine guidance on how to become a better teacher, companion, and servant of the Lord
- I loved that they talked about how important conference is
- I loved that it was made clear that the things talked about at conference are from God, not from the world, and that we need to make sure we realize they are of GREAT importance and that we apply them to our lives and ways of thinking
- I loved that the family was talked about so much.. and the importance of protecting and strengthening our families is not a nice thought or good idea, but a commandment of a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is best for his children
- I loved that convenants were brought up a lot, especially our covenant made at baptism.
- I loved the quote "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith"
- I loved that I had a realization that each church leader is so different in their message and the way they deliver their message, and yet each talk could be summed up by one common thing, that God and Christ love us and want us to be happy.
- I loved that they talked about the need for strong, good women in the church more than once.
- I loved that missionary work wasn't just a talk for us with a nametags on, but for each and every member
- I loved Elder Hollands talk and have the strongest kind of love and compassion towards those who suffer from depression.
- I loved how inspired, and different that talk was from many that we hear.
- I loved "Love At Home"
- I loved thinking about what my people back at home were thinking of the messages
- I loved the talks about missionary work, and I loved that every other talk mentioned missionary work somewhere in it.
- I loved the challenge for members to find someone between now and christmas to share the gospel with! DO IT!
- I loved that it was confirmed to me that doing what God wants brings us happiness, and not the happiness that goes away, but the kind that stays eternally.
- I loved that I felt, so many times, a desire to improve my life and spirituality in many areas
- I loved that the President Thomas S. Monson still has his sense of humor, even when he is sad.
- I loved his quote "Our purpose is to persever and endure as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow." he also said "best of times and worst of times" which is a favorite of mine!
- I loved the music... more than I can express! Abide With Me Tis Eventide has been and always will be a favorite. It was so beautiful and brought the Spirit perfectly to close the conference.
- I loved that it is clearer to me than ever that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
- To be short...I loved EVERYTHING about it.
Each time we feel the Spirit confirm to us the truthfulness of the Gospel we have a greater responsibility to be better. I hope each of you feel that same desire to do a little more! I know that missionary work is not just knocking doors and baptizing people, but is about loving and taking care of people. I hope that this conference has inspired you to be a better missionary than you were before in whatever way you feel is needed. I know it has done that for me!! I love you all so much & pray for you daily. Thank you for your love! Thank you for your examples! Thank you for you kindess and support! Thank you for blessing my life more than you will ever know!
Until next Monday - Godspeed!