It has been yet another overwhelming week mixed with emotions! We got our transfer call this morning, and I am headed to the Forest Heights ward as a Sister Training Leader! Which means I will be serving literally in downtown Edmonton! Talk about a change! But I am so excited. I have no doubt that this is exactly where the Lord needs me. I feel very inadequate serving in the capacity of Sister Training Leader, so thank goodness for grace! Haha
We have taken the cliche phrase "running like a chicken with it's head cut off" to a whole new level this week! I can't remember the last time we ran out of things we needed to do. We come into the apartment every night just exhausted. It all started with Wednesday. We wanted to work at the Cinnamon Grove Cafe on base one more time before I left, but the only way it would work is if we went to the Food Bank for the first hour of the morning, pop over to the cafe until 1, and then back to the Food Bank until 2:30. Well that's exactly what we did! And it was a blast! Right as we were leaving the cafe, the barber that owns the store across from the cafe asked us what we do as missionaries. My favorite question! We had a fantastic discussion with him about Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, and Prophets. Just as I was about to invite him to take the lessons, a customer came in, and our conversation ended, but the sisters are going to go back and see if they can convince him. ;)
Thursday, we had district meeting in Lloydminster! I just love our district! We have so much fun, and everyone is so focused on their purpose. We talked about finding new investigators, and we had a great discussion about being diligent in our efforts. It was so motivating! While we were in district meeting, we got a few text messages from A H, a member in the ward. We had dinner at her family's house on Wednesday, and we had encouraged them to take the "Pray, Look, Speak, and Invite" challenge. Sometimes, I feel like we ask people to do the same things over and over again, and it goes in one ear and out the other. Haha well A took our invitation to heart! She prayed that night to have an opportunity to share the gospel, and the next day at school, a girl came up to her and started asking her about the church! After their conversation, this girl literally said she wanted to be baptized!!!! People, if you pray for missionary opportunities, they come!!! We almost fell over when we got her text! We taught this girl, B, the first lesson on Friday, and she is so prepared and willing to accept the gospel! It made it so easy for us, because we knew that A was there to be her support. She came with A and her family to church on Sunday, and she was running off talking with other ward members. Member missionary work is seriously the BEST way to share the gospel! A kept telling us how great she felt, and I know it is because she asked and listened. There is no way to replicate that feeling, I still remember feeling it when I asked M G (Q) to come to church. I was scared to death, but not only did she accept, I have been able to see the gospel completely change her life. And what she may not realize, what most converts found through members don't realize, is they completely change your life too! So I hope that each of you will really ponder on this experience. It is so scary to share the gospel, I feel that fear every day! But the joy that comes from opening your mouth far outweighs the fear.
Saturday was insanity! We started the day off picking up some KRISPY KREME DONUTS!! One of the member's parents were coming up from Salt Lake, and they brought us a box! I literally almost cried I was so happy! Then we had breakfast at Papa H's, which is always delicious! Next we met with a less active who is really struggling. Her husband treats her terribly, and it just broke my heart! We still aren't sure how we can help her, but we know there is a way! After lunch, we went to G and R's and watch the Joseph Smith movie with them! They have been dying to watch it, so we finally found a time! They loved it, and the spirit was so strong. Although we tell people about the First Vision, they never get to see the struggles Joseph Smith had, and it was awesome to feel the Spirit testifying to them that he really was a prophet.
After that, I got to teach W P one more time! Goodness, I just love this man! It's been incredible watching him transform over the last 6 months through the gospel. I look forward to the day when I get the phone call from him letting me know he's getting baptized! We talked about the importance of families and the Priesthood. It was super interesting because I don't think he realized until that lesson that he could have the Priesthood! As soon as I mentioned, I say a big flood of humility wash over him as he realized the weight of that responsibility. He will be a fantastic Priesthood holder one day.
Sunday was all about missionary work! Our high counselor came and blew everyone away with his conversion story. He was almost disowned by his parents for joining the church, especially when he said he was going to serve a mission, but he has never wavered from the gospel because he knows it's true! It was amazing. Then we got a chance to teach the Primary for sharing time about how they can be missionaries. I just adore those primary kids! I can't wait for them to all become full-time missionaries. Then we headed straight to Lloydminster after Church to go on splits with Sister S and Sister L. They had some unexpected changes in their area, and so we were able to go down and meet some of the members with them.
Yesterday was full speed ahead all day! We were visiting every person that we could before I leave. We were able to have lunch and dinner in the homes of members of other faiths, and we had amazing conversations with them! Although neither family is actively investigating, we had deep conversations about religion and faith. Every person we talk to has a belief in something, and something I have learned while serving in Cherry Grove is that it is way more effective to build on common beliefs rather than focus on the differences. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints contains the fulness of the gospel, we aren't the only ones who know truth. I was reading a talk by Russell M Nelson today, and he said, "individually, you have been encouraged to learn and to seek knowledge from any dependable source. In the Church, we embrace all truth, whether it comes from the scientific laboratory or from the reveled word of the Lord. We accept all truth as being part of the gospel. One truth does not contradict another." I love that because it's so true! We can learn something from every person we meet. We have to be diligent in our research process, but it all comes down to praying and asking God if it is truth. I have found myself on my knees so many times the past few months asking, and I have always received an answer. Sometimes it takes time, but it is always there.
Whew, what a busy week, but it has been incredible. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to the Lord for allowing me to spend 6 wonderful months in this beautiful place. I don't know if I can ever thank Him enough for leading me to some incredible individuals. I have no doubt that the relationships that I have created in this wonderful place will extend beyond this life and into the next. We never meet a person by accident, and I can't wait to one day see what role each individual played in my life. Although I feel like my heart is being torn apart, I know that the Lord needs me in the Forest Heights area. I remember leaving Lacombe 6 months ago, thinking there was no way that it could get any better, but it has and it always will. Challenges and trials are ahead, but I look forward to leaning more and more on Heavenly Father and the Savior. What a beautiful 6 months it has been.
Have a fantastic week everyone! I love each of you!
Sister Bethany Christensen