I am already crying even just typing this letter. what a miraculous, beautiful, crazy week. I am so humbled and thankful to be a missionary, to do the Lord's work. I know without a doubt that it is HIS work. He is in charge, and oh how grateful i am for His continual love and support.
I came on a mission not really knowing what to expect.. actually, i had no idea what i was getting myself into! ha. But i think i did have a few expectations, and things that i wanted to "see" on my mission. The past few months i feel like those "expectations" of sorts have been met, something that i can only owe to my Heavenly Father. Being able to find someone, teach him all of the lessons, and then see him baptized is unlike any other joy i have ever experienced. It is a miraculous feeling. I now truly understand the verse "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
Bill's baptism went perfect. It was a beautiful, snowy Nebraska day, and the spirit couldn't have been stronger as He was baptized. Many of the ward members came to support Bill, and all left in tears as Bill bore a powerful, simple testimony of Joseph Smith and how he knew that he had "found Jesus". While Bill was changing, sister Hamilton and I were able to teach the Restoration, and i think i cried through the whole thing. ha, i RARELY cry since being out here on the mission, but it was almost like the spirit forced it out of me as i recited Joseph's vision. It all hit home as i realized what a sacred, and amazing ordinance baptism really is, and how because of Joseph Smith we have Christ's authority on the earth again. I teach that every day, but i think it "sunk in" on Saturday. Oh, how grateful i am for that power of God. What a beautiful day. i will never forget it.
This whole week has been crazy in every way possible. ha. So many journal entries came from this week! haha.
some fun things:
1. i got a haircut today. finally. (sad that that is fun to a missionary, but honestly i was so excited. it's been a good 8 months since my last haircut!)
2. Our mission is doing an Olympics competition, which includes push ups, sit ups, ladders, jug curl, and stick pole. We have competed in districts, so next will be at zone training, and then the winners will go to zone conference. It was honestly so fun to get a little competitive and win some of the events. I will be competing in the push-ups, sit ups, and ladders this thursday for zone training.. haha. i'll try to send some pics!
So, we got some snow this week! on Tuesday we were on exchanges, and i was out in Fremont with one of the sisters. while we were out there, the snow was pretty crazy, and the sister i was with accidentally dropped the phone in the snow somewhere, and so we went the entire day without a phone. We continued on our day driving to appointments and visiting people, and then drove 45 minutes that night back to Omaha to switch back. Well, come to find out when we got to Ralston that the cars had been "grounded" all day, and so we were supposed to be on foot because of the terrible snow! ha. we had no idea since we lost the phone, and i guess the AP's, ZL's, and the sisters were extremely worried about us all day.. thinking we had crashed somewhere. It was quite the day/event ha. But super fun.
Wednesday, the weather was still crazy, so cars were still grounded. Even though the cars are grounded though, it doesnt mean we still dont do missionary work! ha so sister hamilton and i bundled up, and started walking around Ralston to visit people! ha i honestly thought i was going to die, and everyone who was on the road literally thought we were crazy. It was awesome, and definitely something i will never forget doing. I am so thankful we have a car! man alive.
We were able to teach a lot of lessons this week, and i really feel like the Lord led us exactly where we needed to be, right when we needed to be there. We were able to contact people that we have been trying for months, and able to get a new investigator named George which was so awesome. His wife is a less active member, and we have been teaching their son who is turning 8 and will be baptized in May. It was so cool to see that because of Joey, the little boy, having the desire to be baptized, this whole family has had a "return to God" experience, wanting to learn more. It is a miracle. I love teaching families.
This week was Leadership Council, and sister Hamilton and i gave part of the training by doing a "role play" helping the missionaries use the members. i realized how awkward i am going to be when i get home, because we were "role playing" with elders, and i honestly couldnt even look at them. i am going to be in deep trouble haha. But it went really well, and the spirit was super strong!
ha i am so happy. The greatest birthday present i have received is my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice for me so that i can be happy in this life. I know that He lives.
in Sacrament this week one of the speakers said something i really liked. he said:
"Yesterday's meal won't sustain us through today. We need to be FEASTING on the scriptures EVERY single day".
I loved that. Our ward is committed to reading the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes every day this month. It is wonderful, and i find so much strength from the Book of Mormon. We are so blessed to have that source of strength.
love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!
Lauren is the one in the middle (in the lead!)
Bill and his wife Jonie on Bill's Baptism day
Bill on his Baptism day!
Brother Stimpson and Bill