What a crazy week, President & Sister Reynolds arrived, it was the 4th of July, and we had a baptism!!
Monday was the best thing ever cause I got to see my trainer, Sister Myers (Morgan) and her mom!! They came back to visit and so we met them down in Belle Harbor for the best afternoon of my life!! It was so good to be back with her in the area and catch up! I feel like I owe everything good that has come from my mission to her. It's amazing how being around someone who is so positive can change the way you are and the outlook you have on your mission. I feel so blessed to have had the perfect trainer.
On Thursday we went to the Mission Office for a mission-wide conference to meet the Reynolds. Let me tell ya, they are something else!! So presh. It's funny to see the difference, President Calderwood was all business and obviously so loving and the greatest guy ever, and President Reynolds is a construction guy with a drawl and a happy little smile. He's like President Egbert, Grandpa, Pa, and every other amazing guy all rolled up into one! One thing that just kills me is how short him and his wife both are! They are the cutest couple EVER. When they were telling us about themselves they were SO NERVOUS. They are already adjusting so well though! They even came to our baptism yesterday! But I won't spoil that haha.
So our Zone Leaders from last transfer met this lady who was unpacking a moving van so they helped her and have gone back subsequent times to assist in the unloading. The family is moving from NJ and their dad just passed away from cancer...they have 3 kids in their teens. Our whole district went to help them move on Friday and we got to teach the mom and her daughter and the grandmother and it was one of the most spiritual, powerful lessons I have been in! There were boxes all over, seriously not even a place to sit, but the room was full of the spirit as we talked about God's plan for us and how He knows our needs. You can imagine how special the restoration and the Plan of Salvation are to a family who has just lost their dad. I think sometimes we take all this a bit for granted because we are so used to being blessed with it. The gospel is truly amazing.
We met with Debbie on the 4th for breakfast. She is the lady who broke up with us but then still wants to meet with us, she took us to Juniors (finally got a picture!!) and had a great little talk...she still wants to be baptized!! Just not for a while so her family can settle down. She is seriously the sweetest lady ever. We also had a BBQ at our Ward Mission Leader's house and had some non-members there so it was awesome! And I got to cook a bit so I was happy. I am so grateful for religious freedom and for this great country, there were a lot of fireworks at Coney Island and in the city and we had a good view of them all! Haha I guess there is so much more that happened on that day but I am too excited to tell you about our Sunday!!!
Sunday is the highlight of the week. Each day we are trying our hardest to get people to commit to come to church on Sunday and it seems like ever since I got here it's been such a struggle! We usually have 2 or 3 investigators and some less actives, but considering how many people we are teaching we should have WAY more. I am a strong believer in fasting so I decided to fast that our people would come to church. We had 5 investigators, 2 less-active FAMILIES, and a few other people show up that we have been trying for MONTHS to get there!! It was such a miracle and a blessing. I guess the best part was that we took the parents down to nursery to drop their kids off and their kids started SCREAMING. 3 toddlers and 2 sister missionaries who can't hold kids is not a good combination. The poor nursery lady was so overwhelmed. We tried to stay to help but we had to make the program for the baptism. I also had to play the piano for primary because the lady who usually does it was gone. Seriously the craziest 3 hours of my life! Then we ran back to RS so I could play there and right after that we had to start the baptism. We had a huge turnout which was amazing, and we had a sister play a really beautiful number on her violin. After Valerie got baptized she bore her testimony. She has quite the sense of humor and has literally one to every church in existence. She also has a degree in theology so she has a lot to say. She bore one of the most powerful testimonies of the Book of Mormon I have EVER heard. It was seriously beautiful and so heartfelt. I felt like a proud mama. She talked about how each time she feels stressed from the pressures of the world she finds her hand reading for her Book of Mormon. She caries it with her everywhere and she sleeps with it on her nightstand. She is one of my favorites guys, seriously the coolest.
Sunday night we taught some pretty cray lessons, all I can say is it is really obvious when someone has a sincere heart and real intent, and when they don't it sure makes it hard to try and teach because the spirit is difficult to have when there is doubt and misconception. I am glad I know of myself that this is true because no matter what people say it cannot shake the witness I have from the Spirit.
Something I wanted to share that President Reynolds said in our meeting regarding "rules" (and I see "commandments" as a synonym here) is that "our contract is with the Lord". We can have parents or church leaders or supervisors telling us what to do, but in the end it all comes down to us and God. Do we feel comfortable with how we have acted and the choices we have made? I know that God is just and that we will have to face all that we have done, but I also know that He is merciful, more merciful than we know, and He loves us and wants us to become like Him. I feel so blessed to be an extension of the Prophet and Apostles and fulfill the divine mandate to preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The more we share it, the more our own testimony is strengthened. I love you all, thanks for your support, examples, and love!!
1. Best friends doesn't describe it.
2. The moving crew! Love our district.
3. With Debbie at Juniors!
4. President & Sister Reynolds