October 14, 2013
So much has happened this past week! Last Monday, we went to Sister Kohn's home to make some crafts for both the Westcott family as a "Thank you," for all they do for us and for Michele as a "Congrats," for her baptism. I don't really know how to explain it but we were able to print out a picture of Christ, do some cool, crafty magic, by rubbing the paper off on a canvas, and the ink of the picture stayed on the canvas! It was awesome! We had a lot of fun doing that and they both loved the gifts. I took pictures of the canvases so that you can see what I'm talking about. For the Westcott's, we added the scripture Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Such a beautiful scripture :)
We did quite a bit of service this past week! We helped paint a kitchen and helped move a less active member to a new apartment. Service is always a nice break from the normal routine of the missionary life. You get to wear PANTS and a T-SHIRT as well as let your mind focus on something else for a while. It's nice :) We I leave the people I’ve helped, I always feel such a sense of accomplishment, along with reciprocated love and support from them. Giving service builds relationships. We gain more trust, love and stronger friendships.
Friday was a CRAZY day. Long story short... we had to have THREE dinners.... ugghhhhh!!!! No wonder that people worry about gaining weight on their missions... hahaha! I promise that isn't normal. I would die if I had to eat that much every night... shudder....but we had to Friday! I just ate small portions and be as nice and considerate as I could! haha! I gave a lot of extra compliments on how good the food was so they didn't feel bad when I didn't take more... hahaha… oh the missionary life is hilarious sometimes! One of the dinners was a little odd though! A 24-year old member in our ward invited us over to his apartment where he is sharing a contract with a girl, Sam and her boyfriend, Dane. Sam made us dinner and as we were just getting started discussing the church, two of Sam’s and Dane's friends barged in on the apartment – drunk! Okay, so that kind of ruined the spirit of the evening. We tried our best though. Sam is super cute and has some real potential. We hope to get another chance to sit down with her and Dane to talk more about it. We were super proud of the member, Ryan for being fearless when it came to sharing the Gospel. Love it!
So this week was pretty AWESOME. I had my first baptism! Woot! The baptism went really smoothly and great! Michele doesn't like a whole lot of attention placed on her and she wasn't very happy when she found out that there were supposed to be about 25 people showing up for her baptism. She was pretty nervous. As the baptismal service started, we counted over 40 people that showed up!!! haha! Poor Michele... I think it made her pretty nervous but I'm so grateful that the ward is so supportive and welcoming. Judge Henderson, (the member that first shared the gospel with her.. and her boss,) baptized her. It was a really sweet experience to see how their friendship has blessed one another through this conversion experience. Before the baptism, Michele wanted to go into a quiet room with us and pray. I said the pray to give her peace of mind and to help her feel the spirit through this special experience. After the prayer, Sister Pitts and I gave her the canvas that we made her! She really appreciated it and she cried a little. I love her!
Yesterday, Michele was confirmed in church by Brother Westcott. Brother Westcott gave the most beautiful blessing. It was very powerful. It just so happened that Fast and Testimony meeting was yesterday as well and there were a lot of strong testimonies that brought the spirit to church. Judge Henderson was the first to stand up and bare his testimony of the restored Gospel as well as what a big difference you can make in someone's life by reaching out to others and not being afraid to share the Gospel and your testimony. It was powerful. I feel like the ward is slowly starting to get more excited about member missionary work. Michele and Ed have both been miracles and blessings for the ward. Michele couldn't have joined the church at a better time. After the big emphasis on member missionary work in General Conference and then seeing the miracles that come from sharing the Gospel, like Judge Henderson did, they are really starting to catch the vision of missionary work! We received 3 member referrals just this past week. It's awesome!!
Ed, Michele’s husband, came up to us at the baptism and said that this weekend was to be focused all on Michele but later this week he wants to have a talk with us about his baptism!!! :) He still has some Word of Wisdom problems that we are trying to take care of but we are going to have a talk about it tonight. We are excited/nervous/hopeful that things are going to work out for Ed to be baptized within the next couple weeks as well! We are a little nervous that one of us, Sis. Pitts or myself, are going to miss his baptism though because transfers are next week :( We will see what happens... but we are so excited and happy for them!
I personally am getting nervous about the work in this area after Ed is baptized... New Smyrna Beach is pretty much DEAD. Finding is super hard here, we only have a handful of the members of the ward in our area and only about 5 or 6 out of the FORTY less actives in this area want anything to do with us... kind of scary. In spite of this, I have faith that the Lord truly is hastening His work and that we will be guided to know how to help move the work forward in this area.
One more thing that I want to mention-- a small but very amazing miracle to me. Last week, I got a letter from Mom talking about Grandma being found singing a hymn while lying in bed one night Mom said that Aunt Becky went into check on Grandma, and that Grandma got super excited saying, "He has blue eyes!!" I was very, very touched by that story and knowing that Christ is watching closely over Grandma as she is going through a challenging time. That story echoed through my mind for several days. Several days later, we were teaching a less active member and she told me a story about how she had had a lot of health issues and that she has experienced being on the other side. When she was on the other side... all she could remember was seeing God standing before her, dressed all in white, with long, wavy hair... and piercing blue eyes. While she was describing her vision of God, I was hoping in side that she would mention His eyes and when she said that He had blue eyes, I felt the spirit so strongly! Some would probably find it as a coincidence... but I know better than that. That was a very special moment to me as God and Christ became more real to me than ever before. It's such a blessing to read, study, pray, and notice God's hands in our lives as we are given those "hidden treasures of knowledge." I love my Father in Heaven and my brother Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the glorious work of bringing others to the truth of the restored Gospel and to feel the joy and peace that comes in knowing that Heavenly Father and our Savior are both watching over us and our loved ones. I have come to know more and more how true Paul's statement is: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
I love you guys so much! Continue to build your relationship with Christ. He is the only one that will bring you the true happiness that you are searching for, He will be a light in the darkness and your Rock when you need to stand strong. Thank you so much for all your support. You are always in my prayers. I LOVE YOU!!!!
P.S. Please keep Ed in your prayers this week as we help him prepare for baptism! :)