So I don't have much to update on this week. My preparation day has been switched to Monday this transfer. It's convenient because today is a Monday, and it's my birthday. What more could you want as a missionary?
Today has already been great. I woke up and opened my presents (thank you mom and dad!) and then we did studies. Later we are going to go on a little hike/nature walk. It's kind of cold but whatevs. Nature walking is my thing and was a lot better than some of the other options Independence has to offer. Hopefully lots of the trees still have their leaves. We will see I guess. Then we will go to lunch, probably with the Elders. I'm not sure where yet. It's really funny to go to lunch with the elders because it's really segregated. After district meetings we will all go to lunch but the Sisters sit on one end and the Elders on the other... and then we barely talk to each other... but they always want us to come. It's strange. Maybe that was just with some of the last Elders in the zone. We will see if it stays the same.
Ray was ordained in the priesthood yesterday! Whoohoo! He's so awesome. Seriously.
After Ray was baptized, we didn't really have any people to teach that were progressing. We had two people that were supposed to come to church. Neither of them came... we were really bummed. But then Ed brought his girlfriend, Tamara, to church. We have taught her two lessons this week and she is so excited about learning more! She had so many questions growing up about what happens after this life and she was taught that it was bad to question or explore different teachings in regards to religion. She always wanted to know more because she felt like she didn't have the full picture. Everything that Ed had told her about the Plan of Salvation just made perfect sense. She is really ready for the gospel and can't wait to learn more. Heavenly Father blesses us so much! Right when we had no one to teach Tamara came out of nowhere so now we have at least one person progressing!
So we were tracting the other day and came upon a lady who was really sick. We left her with our card and didn't think much of it. She ended up calling us about a week ago because she wanted to come to church. That never happens so we were really excited. We called her back to let her know that we were able to get her a ride and her friend picked up the phone. She was going on and on about how Marianne really needed the truth and how she was a Jehovah's witness (the friend) and how she was really glad we were bringing her to church. We were confused and didn't know for sure that she thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses, so we just let it slide. Hey, if she was coming to church she was coming to church right? Well she didn't come to church, but then we went over to her house later on in the week. She kept talking as if we were Jehovah's Witnesses and we were both thinking how the heck do we get out of this one. Finally I was like "we have to be honest with you, we aren't Jehovah's Witnesses." She was like "You aren't?" And then I told her we were Mormon and she was like "Ohhh good, I'm RLDS. I was just doing this to get my friend off my back." So funny!
Being a missionary is the best because we talk to so many RANDOM people, that talk about RANDOM things. People trust us and will talk to us about their secrets and tell us their whole life story. We've been getting that a lot this week. I have talked more about crack/cocaine in the past 6 weeks with people than I have in probably my entire life. Apparently it's a big problem here in Independence. People tell us about their relationship problems, past drug addictions, health problems, dealings with the devil. You name it - I've probably heard about it since I've been out here. I love it though! I had lived a pretty sheltered life, which has been wonderful, but now I have a nice safe way of getting out of the sheltering I guess. The best part is we get to help people work through their problems.
I already did a post on my birthday reflections, So I'll spare you that. I was just thinking about how my whole 23rd year will be dedicated to serving the Lord! So cool. No other year in my life will be so rewarding or filled with growth. I can't wait to look back in one year and to see how much my testimony has grown and who I have become. I don't think I have shared my testimony on my blog yet, bits and pieces maybe. So here goes:
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that he answers our prayers and continues to teach us and provide us with the things that we need to know to be happy, just as he has done throughout the bible and all time. He has answered my prayers and has had a personal hand in my life to help me become who I need to be.
I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, that God chose him to use as an instrument to restore the church of Jesus Christ. The evidence of this is the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true, and that it was translated by the power of God. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It answers life's greatest questions and brings peace each time I read it. I know that as we search the scriptures, God will teach us and help us to answer very personal and individual questions we may have. I am grateful for this powerful tool in my life, especially on my mission.
Most of all, I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ lives! He loves us and knows us perfectly and personally. I am so grateful for the power of the atonement. It has the power to make bad men good and good men better. I know that through the atonement we can find happiness despite trials or hardships. We can change. Through the atonement we are able to return to live with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.
I am especially grateful to be teaching people these important truths. I love being a missionary and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father humbled me enough to help me make the decision to come on a mission. I know that my life will be forever changed, it already has been.
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes I have received already! I have the best family and friends. Seriously. I miss you all, but not too much.