There are several great stories from this past week that I hope I have time to share with you today!!
Last Monday, we had dinner at a returning member’s home and they STUFFED us so full... by the time they pulled out the little cupcakes for dessert, I seriously couldn't eat another bite without getting sick. I had this cute little cupcake in my hands and while no one was watching me, I shoved it into my napkin and no one noticed!!! I felt kind’ve bad.... but seriously, the life of a missionary requires ridiculous eating sometimes haha! My companion Sister Welch, laughed at me after dinner when she realized what I did. She is always so nice and finishes my dinner for me when the members aren't looking.... hahaha!
On Tuesday, we taught Dave Helsel the first lesson! The spirit was really strong as we told him about the Restoration of the Gospel. He is already somewhat familiar with some of the doctrine but he had great questions that really invited the spirit. Let me, backtrack for a minute…so during my last transfer, I got this impression that I needed to be focusing a lot more on recognizing the spirit and following the impressions I receive. Well, I've definitely seen blessings come from doing that. I had this impression while saying my nightly prayers that we needed to share a video by Elder Bednar. It’s about receiving personal revelation and “How To Begin Teaching.” I’m so grateful that we reviewed it before we started teaching and shared it with Dave during the lesson. He totally understands the need to be able to recognize and follow the promptings of the spirit. It has just put so much more depth and understanding into our lessons and into his personal studies. He said that he feels good about everything that he hears but that he just wants to gain a testimony of it.
To finish up the story of Dave...we also saw him Thursday night! He had read a little from the Book of Mormon and had done some serious studies. He also had great questions! We spent that lesson talking more about the Book of Mormon, the spirit, and prayer. We found out during the lesson that he didn't think that he had ever really had an experience with getting an answer to prayer or receiving a prompting from the spirit... he just doesn't know what the spirit feels like. We read Moroni 10:4-5 and promised him that he would feel the spirit as he reads, prays, has a sincere heart and show real intent! I had an impression to point out to Dave that to show God our real intent we need to show him that we are willing to give up or do anything that the He asks of us. I pointed out that he would need to show God that he is willing to give up beer and coffee to come to know that it's true and recognize the spirit. (He already knows a little about the Word of Wisdom because of his member wife.)
On Sunday, we talked to his wife at church and she said that Dave has been writing down impressions that he is receiving!!! He is trying really hard to recognize the spirit. =D He has also quit drinking beer and coffee!! Here's a funny story his wife told us. Because he has quit drinking, he has had a hard time sleeping at night. Sister Helsel suggested that he pray and ask for help to be able to sleep better at night so he did Saturday night and he fell asleep on his knees praying! haha! When he got into bed, he didn't wake up ONCE which apparently is a big thing for him because he is a light sleeper. He woke up Sunday morning and told Sister Helsel in Sacrament meeting about it and that he needed to write that experience down :) :) ahh!!! I was soooo happy to hear of those little miracles happening in Dave's life!! I don't think I've ever prayed so hard for someone as I have for Dave. I hope and pray that he will continue to feel the spirit and have the courage to follow it. Please keep him in your prayers!
This past week, I was on exchanges with a sister that is in her first transfer. We met an Indian woman that loved what we said about the Book of Mormon. She believed what we said was true. It was a great contact but she wouldn't commit to us coming back because of her husband. I did recognize it as a great miracle and blessing that we met her but not as much as I should have! This young sister that I was with was so ecstatic about it and thought it was the biggest miracle that she had ever seen! It was a great reminder to me that we really do see so many amazing miracles everyday -big and small- and to never take them for granted. There are so many things to be thankful for and Heavenly Father is so merciful!!! I hope to better recognize those small miracles in my life the way this young sister did. It was a great reminder and lesson learned :)
We also had dinner with a recent convert and her grandson, Allen. We pulled up 3 minutes after the hour and Allen, the 9-year old boy, was outside and came running over to our car! He said, "It's 5:03!! I've been waiting forever!!" I asked him how long he had been waiting outside and he said that he had been standing outside waiting for about 45 minutes… hahahaha it was so cute. I love that kid. Last time we were over he gave Sister Welch and I this little wooden angel and now it’s sitting between our desks :)
We also taught two online lessons over Facebook this week! We contacted this lady... and we committed her to be baptized over Facebook after we taught her about the Book of Mormon and Restoration!!! How cool is that?!! She lives in Apopka, Florida so we will have to pass her on to missionaries in that area when she feels ready and comfortable to meet with them. So many miracles!!
I wish I had more time to share more... but I love this work! I love being a missionary! I love the small and big miracles that are always right in front of us! I love the spirit and the power of prayer! I love being a servant for the Lord. I know that this is where the Lord needs me at this time in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the woman that it is helping me to become.
Thank you for all your love and prayers! Good luck this next week!