This week has been so crazy and fun! Sister Bryans and I finally got all of our pictures exchanged, so there will be quite a few pictures of her and me together this email, just so I have them all sent home for your viewing.
This week Sister Pereira and I became companions! I already love her. Though we differ in height I feel I have a lot to measure up to. She is so sweet and is so focused and ready and willing to work.
This week we did a lot of prep work for this upcoming week and transfer. We have seven trade-offs planned for the next four weeks, and could not be more excited.
We also met several new people who seem quite promising that we will be visiting this week. I am excited to share all the miracles we see next week! But as a small preview I will share a miracle from yesterday: We were sitting in Relief Society, and this woman stood up in the beginning introduce herself. She is not a member, and has been investigate the church on her own for some time now. She and her husband, who is a member, just moved into our ward. Though she does not want us to teach her quite yet, she did sign up to feed us on the dinner calendar and said that she will take that “next step” eventually. So we were excited about that! Miracles! Also, missionary note, y’all should invite your friends to come to church with you! It is a wonderful experience, and the Spirit is always so strong! I can promise that if anything, they will feel of your love when you invite them to share something that is so special to you.
This week I have received several questions from people asking what to send me for my birthday. In all honesty, I will be heading home approximately two weeks after my mission, so foods that I like or gifts and such would be packed up very quickly. If you do wish to send me such items, I would request that you send them to my home address or give them to me in person when I return home.
BUT I do have a birthday request, if y’all are up to it. Recently Sister Bryans and I felt very strongly that we should share the gospel with people we love back home. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to share the gospel with someone you love. Perhaps you will send a specific person a gospel video or quote from a prophet. Perhaps you will invite them to attend church with you, or to come to mutual or institute with you.
What I have chosen to do is to write my testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon and to send it to someone that I love dearly. I won’t lie, when I felt prompted to do that, I was fearful and afraid. I mean, I love this person a lot, won’t they be offended? But I know through prayer and through the feelings of the Spirit that it will be okay.
So that is my challenge: Share the gospel with someone you love. Make it a prayerful thing. If you are up to it, share a copy of the Book of Mormon with someone you know. It could even be someone you barely know but feel prompted to share it with. And then let me know how it goes. I think that would be the best birthday present I could get.🎁🎉🎁 (Did the emojis work? Did they draw your eye over to this paragraph? Perfect, please read it.)
All right. Do y’all want to hear my favorite story from this week? This week Sister Pereira and I were heroes. We were driving to try a referral, and as we were driving we recognized that a less active member lived at that home. We felt like we should go and see if we could meet them. So we parked a bit past it and started walking down the sidewalk to the trailer. As we were walking, we saw a vulture. We’re talking a “Food glorious food” vulture from Ice Age. Huge. We were afraid it would attack us, but as we walked by it flew away into a nearby tree. We looked over to where it had been lurking just seconds before, and saw an armadillo. Now, the only armadillos I have seen on my mission have been not living, okay? BUT NO! This little guy was flipped onto his back, and you could see him breathing like crazy. We weren’t sure if he was dying or if he had just been flipped over. Well, we couldn’t touch him with our hands (germs), but we couldn’t leave him exposed with this vulture lurking! So we looked, and found an old wooden plank leaning against a fence. It was covered in moss, so we assumed it was not going to be used. And (since Sister Pereira was more leery of getting near it) I used the board to gently flip him onto his stomach. It looked like his shell had been scraped, maybe by a car or bike or something. But he started scuttling around and we were so excited. And the vulture started flying away! So we went on our merry way, tried the person, they weren’t home, and neither were their neighbors. Walking back to our car, we saw the same armadillo (or who knows, maybe it was one of his friends) flipped onto his back. We decided we would flip him again. We are not sure if he ended up flipping over again after we left, but we felt good about it.
So the moral of the story is, always help. Sometimes people make the same mistake over and over again. And we repent and fix it and then make the same mistake. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is infinitely patient and full of love. He has done everything in His power (which by the way, is infinite) to enable us to “flip over” and repent. This power is not only over our sins but over our shortcomings, our struggles, our fears and feelings. If we allow Him, He can heal us and make us even stronger. The only catch is hat He will not force us to be happy, clean, or free from our mistakes. We have to let him in. So if you feel like you have flipped over for the first, third, or thousandth time, PLEASE be willing to give Him a shot. I promise He will not let you down if you are willing.
I love all of you so much. I wish I could just airdrop it out to all of you and you would just magically understand and feel how much I love you. Please, if you ever get ANYTHING from anything I have ever written or said to you, PLEASE remember how much your Heavenly Father loves you.