I had a great first week in the field. It has been great visiting and teaching real people (as opposed to practicing in the MTC). They each have their own story and I love them already. I feel like I can feel a small amount of what their Heavenly Father feels for them. It's so awesome being able to serve people ALL the time and to focus our studies on our investigators, less-actives, and recent converts. I love it. An awesome experience I had so far happened when we were going around delivering progress records (updates to the ward mission leaders about what we've been doing). On our way out of dropping one off we saw a less-active young single adult walking down the hill towards us. We were totally in the right place at the right time. She was walking to get away from her mom because they are having problems. We were there to listen to her and to be her friend and remind her of her Savior's love for her. She also accepted our offer to read the Book of Mormon with her every day because she was struggling with that. We read with her last night and it was awesome. We really can minister to people like Christ would. Being a missionary is the best! Even though I know there are more difficult things to come.
On Thursday we went to a member's home for dinner and then to teach a girl who is preparing for baptism. She's dating a less-active member and she's already had all the lessons, but we taught her about faith. We did the object lesson where you stand the empty tea bag on someone's hand and light it on fire and then the fire gets super close to their hand before the tea bag flies into the air. They don't get burned. It took us a while to do it successfully because of the wind but we eventually got it. The symbolism is that there are going to be hard times, but the Lord will always deliver us in the end as we stay faithful. The person had to have faith that the fire wasn't going to burn them because we told them it wouldn't. Knowing and believing that God will deliver me from my trials helps me to be able to get through them, because I have hope in Christ. Mosiah 24 in the Book of Mormon is a chapter I have shared in lessons a few times this week. Alma and his people were being persecuted by Amulon who ordered that anyone who prayed out loud would be killed. Alma and his people stay faithful and poured their hearts out to God in faith for deliverance. Verse 15 says "and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." And it was because of their great faith that the Lord caused a great sleep to come upon the Lamanite guards so that Alma and his people could escape. I want to be more cheerful through my trials and I think I can do that if I remember that the Lord knows best and just trust in Him.
Every night Sister Chadderton (I might have spelled her name wrong last time -oops) asks me what miracles I saw that day and every day I can find one! Yesterday it was that the YSA ward we are over got a new ward mission leader and 6 ward missionaries who are wicked excited about doing missionary work this summer. They are going to reach out to less-active members and those in the ward that they know who need help. They have great plans and we're excited to see the miracles that come from that! On Saturday the miracle was running into the less-active YSA after dropping off progress records. On Friday we were met with a recent convert and talked to him about patriarchal blessing and the priesthood and he's really excited about both! He also gave the most honest heartfelt prayer ever at the end of the lesson. It was like he was talking to his best friend. It just got baptized two weeks ago and he's on fire! We also secretly left bagels for the Elders who were running out of food. We left them on their doorstep and today they asked us if we did it and we were like "What Bagels??" haha But we both were trying not to smile and they pretty much knew it was us. On Thursday a lot of out plans fell through. We visited a less active in the hospital after her surgery and found out that she thinks her relationship with God is a lot stronger since she started saying gratitude prayers. It was really cool. And after that we tried to see some people but no one was home. Then we thought to go see a 17 year old named Levi who is an investigator who is on parole (his mom had to be there when we were there. we also brought his member friend). Missionaries have been teaching him for a while. He has ADD so it hard to keep the lesson focused but it was great to meet him. He says that his purpose in like is to protect his family. He really wants to change his life around and be the best person he can be. He's awesome! He was also reading this book about how the gospel of Christ changed this person's life for the better. I know that it can seriously make people's lives better than they could imagine. With Christ at the center of our lives we can do anything.
New phrases/words I learned from Sister Chadderton so far:
1. Like a box of birds.
2. Shopping cart = a trolley (Harry Potter!)
3. This isn't new but she told me that some people in NZ call a drinking fountain a bubbler too! I'm not alone! ;)
There are probably more but I can't remember them...
Today was my first Preparation Day. We studied in the morning and then we basically just did laundry and wrote letters and we watched the movie The Testaments, which is about Christ's ministry in Jerusalem and in the Americas. I would totally recommend it! It's really good. And now we're sending e-mails!
Favorite talks I read this week: (look them up on LDS.org!)
1. That the Lost May be Found - Elder Ballard
2. The Laborers in the Vineyard - Elder Holland
3. Thanks Be to God - Elder Nelson
We plan on finding new people to teach this week through tracting and street contacting. Prayers are always appreciated!
Thanks for all the love and prayers and support! I'm having the best time! Letters and prayers are all I need!
-I don't know if I ever thanked Andrew for the letters, so thanks! And Dan, Andrew is seriously beating you on keeping your promise to Brother Hutchins! ;)
-Happy Birthday to Kimmie this week!! I love you!
Much Love from Meridian,