Happy Memorial Day! I completely forgot that today was a holiday. It explains why a lot of store are closed today... It's crazy how easy it is to forget about those things because we don't celebrate them as missionaries. I guess that's another fun "qwerk" of being a missionary!
Zone Conference was so good! I really enjoyed the talks that were given. I think this is the first zone conference where I felt everything was pointed towards the "eternal" effects of my mission rather than immediate results. I really felt the Spirit tell me that I came on my mission not just to find, teach, and baptize but to be changed into the person I need to be to bless my family back home and my own future family. Elder Boone's, of the Assistant's, talk really hit it home with me. I do not want to return home the same person I was when I came out. I also don't want to change just a little. I want to be unrecognizable, but in a good way of course. :) I've spent a lot of time pondering and creating a vision of who I want to become and what I would need to do to make it happen. I'm grateful for my Patriarchal Blessing because it has really helped me see who I need to become to receive the blessings that have been promised to me.
My mission has not been anything like I had envisioned at all. I think I'll keep saying this over and over again and then say it some more! I've needed my mission for myself. During my pondering I see that I needed the first half of my mission to learn the gospel and learn basic, but very important, life skills and I needed to be humbled a lot to recognize my Savior and see my need for the Atonement. I wouldn't have seen or done this if I hadn't come on my mission. Right now I'm really working on developing faith; real powerful faith like that of the Brother of Jared. I know it will be a life-long process but I'm getting a head start here on my mission. :) I'm just beginning to recognize how small my mission is yet it has the power to change eternity for me, so I'm trying to make every moment count. I frequently ask myself in the evening how I made today count and what I learned. As I do this my mission is beginning to mean more and more to me.
I don't want to sound selfish; like, my mission is all about me (which it isn't) but this is what I've felt and what has been revealed to me in the past couple of weeks. Despite what it sounds like, I've actually been very selfless the past couple of weeks. Rather than thinking about what I want I think about what the Lord wants and I try to understand others more and I constantly ask for the gift of discernment in order to help others. I am just beginning to see how my mission is changing me into a brand new and better person. I could go on forever on this, but alas! I have other things to write about!
The work in the Adobe Villa ward is on FIRE! We have had so many amazing lessons this week with our progressing investigators and we've received at least 2 more potential investigators that are VERY promising. When we taught Charlene (the one who has the service on the weekends) the Plan of Salvation she was crying and she kept making comments like "I want to be a part of this. I like this most out of all the religions we've looked at. I know this is true." She is so amazing and the Spirit was powerful during this lesson. Raymond is the same way and they're softening my heart and helping me see that the Lord is softening hearts to hear about the gospel. They're a miracle family! Kathy and Ashley will probably be moving soon; they have TERRIBLE living conditions. We will be sad but they're very open and love what they're learning. The next set of missionaries will be so blessed to have such prepared people! This ward is doing great and all the ward missionaries are active in the work with us and our Ward Mission Leader is doing great in his calling and fulfilling his responsibilities. Wonderful things are happening here. :) This ward is so on fire that as I was typing this a member just called us with yet another referral!
Vista Peaks is going to start to get better soon. In ward council on Sunday Bishop Baird led a discussion about how to help us, the missionaries, find people to teach because he sees that we've exhausted every avenue of finding in the ward. The entire ward council decided that initiative needs to be taken in having the ward members get to know their neighbors. As a ward mission we've created a plan where the ward missionaries go into the homes of members and give them a 15-20 minute lesson about ways to do missionary work and invite them to create a mini family mission plan. Then when we go and visit them we can follow up on the commitment and give them further encouragement and inspiration. I feel so good about this plan because the ward missionaries will all have a responsibility and we can work together to help make the ward not only missionary-minded, but missionary-active! Vista Peaks is really going to be all about getting the members to do missionary work. We have some investigators that we've found on our own though! Rosie, Ashley, and Jamie Jr. are a miracle! We taught them the Plan of Salvation this week and this lesson was AMAZING! Ashley was especially interested and really engaged in the lesson. After she told us that this makes more sense than what she's been taught her entire life and she wants to learn more! She's coming to church next week with or without her family. She loves what she has learned. She said a prayer at the end and this is what she said: "God, I know this plan is true. It makes sense to me and I know that know other plan is true." Yeah. I know she's awesome! We had planned to invite her to be baptized but the Spirit told us to wait. Rosie was trying to grasp it as well, but was having a harder time than her daughter, but she said that she would study the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Miracles! Especially because they are born and raised Central Christian! Miracles!
This week has been really amazing. I still struggled, cried a little, and got frustrated but the miracles and tender mercies that the Lord has blessed me with have made everything worth it. I'm looking forward to the coming week. This week is going to be full of miracles. As a mission our goal for baptisms in June is 65 and we hope to exceed this goal. We set quarterly goals and this quarter was 165. We can do it! Last quarter we set a goal of 150 and we got 165. Anything is possible, especially with faith. Last quarter we only had 80 baptisms for the first two months, but then during the last month (March) we got almost 90! Please pray for missionary work all over the world, but especially in your own area! The Lord IS COMING and He needs all of us to help find the "one" and prepare them to greet our Savior when He comes. I know that the Lord will help guide you to the "one" you are supposed to find!