First off, I'm super proud of our boy Berny in Africa! Yet another testament that we are all called to the mission that is best for our growth. I would have been headed home after the first day. It's cool to think about him, Kate and Melissa, and Travis and how different all our missions are, but how we are all learning the things we need to to become who the Lord needs to build His kingdom. So grateful to be in families who love the gospel and who support our work out here.
So many good things happened this week! Probs not gonna go day-by-day like I usually do since Tuesday-Saturday was spent in bed sick haha but it's all good now I am better and it feels so good to be back at work! It was kinda great cause the Laryngitis I originally had came back along with some other things but for some reason I was scheduled to sing in both the Saturday and Sunday sessions of the Brooklyn Stake Conference. It was pretty much a miracle that I felt good just in time to do both numbers. Stake conference here is amazing, I love it so much. The Saturday session was in Park Slope aka hipster heaven and instead of a regular meeting they did a panel of about 4 people and we talked about counseling in the church within councils. As we were talking about counseling I thought about how we counsel with God (Alma 37:37) and how our communication and relationship with him are so important. The discussion definitely didn't apply only to those who serve on a ward council. I sang "Come Thou Fount", it was supposed to be with some other missionaries but they bailed half an hour before so...solo? Haha it went good especially considering my state haha. I learned so much from the speakers and reflected on how I had seen Ward councils in past areas bring people back because of the unity they had. This is all about bringing people back to our Father.
The Sunday session of conference was unlike any other stake conference I'd been to, that's for sure. It was in a super fancy Marriott, right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Needless to say I felt pretty high class. There were fancy chandeliers and the whole set up was just really uh...expensive. We sang "Let Us All Press On" with a few of the RS sisters and that went well. The talks were so good! One woman got up and talked about facing adversity. Last year she was pregnant with twins and they came at 24 weeks weighing about a pound. Only the second one lived. I was bawling through her whole talk, it was so sad and so hopeful. This gospel has an incredible power to change trials into powerful learning experiences that help us grow closer to God.
Sunday night we had one of the best lessons of my mission. We had a recent convert and her sister (who is investigating) come to a member's house for dinner. Our last lesson with the investigator had kind of been a brick wall...she knows she wants to get baptized but wasn't willing to set a date. We weren't sure where to go with her and had been praying for 2 weeks on what we could say to help her get her answer about what date she should get baptized on. We had a lovely dinner and then the father who was baptized at 16, pulled out his scriptures and asked if we could read the first vision. We had planned something but felt that he could help her so we read through JS-H and likened her to Joseph Smith's experience. She was still hung up on not choosing a date. So we pulled out Mosiah 18 (what have ye against being baptized?) and it was sooo quiet after we read that. The father asked her if she would pray to know if the priesthood is real because we kinda figured out that that was her real roadblock. But when she said "yes" you could just tell that she already knew. I can't wait till we meet with her again. The family whose house we went to is so amazing. Both parents are RMs and the spirit in their home was so strong. You could tell they both served missions cause there were visions, goals, and plans all over the place about missionary work, finance, and fitness...classic. I love seeing others raise their families in the gospel and teach their kids how to know the truth. This gospel is truly ideal for families, and even if we aren't in a family or a mother or a father we can still practice those qualities with all those we see. I try to practice being a mother and let's be honest the more I practice the more I see the need to improve, but I was thinking about Ether 12:27: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ever since I have come on a mission (or come unto Christ) I have felt more inadequate and weak than I ever have in my life. Because we come unto Christ He shows us our weaknesses. I have realized that He gives us these to help us become what He wants us to be by being humble. So I hope that if anyone is going through a hard time they won't wonder what they're doing wrong....it's what you're doing right! He's showing you your weaknesses because you're following Him! The true test is if we will use the atonement to turn those things into strengths. We have to recommit and follow Him a second time, and then comes the beautiful promise that all the things we struggle with will become the things we can master, through our Savior. I'm so grateful to be here and to have this gospel, I am more amazed every day how much it can do for each one of us because of our Redeemer. Thanks for all your love and support!
1. Waiting for the train!
2. With the Spanish Sisters and Gerie
3. Unique to our mission: the double selfie
4. Outside the Marriott