Life as a missionary is so strange... the weeks are so long but so short at the same time! Time has flown by since I have arrived in Missouri. I can't believe that I have been out one transfer! Sister Sant and I will be together next transfer (transfers are every 6 weeks), and I am really glad about that! We have lots of work to do. I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned so far on my mission. I think the greatest lesson I have learned in the past 6 weeks is that it's not about me. It's never been about me. If I am tired, or feeling sick, or scared to knock on that person's door... it doesn't matter. It's not about me. It is about being an instrument in the Lord's hand and finding and loving people. All of his children. No time is wasted if I am losing myself in His work. We can all do this, regardless of whether or not we are on a mission. Selflessness. I am so grateful that I am learning this early in my mission because there are hard days when I don't feel well, there are times that I just don't want to talk to that person... but then I remind myself - It's not about me. It is about them. Our Father in Heaven loves them and they deserve a chance to hear more about his restored gospel. And let me tell you, the times that I forget myself, I don't feel as sick, or as tired, or as scared. I feel fulfilled and happy and excited to talk to more and more people.
The biggest news this week is that Ray was baptized! It was the best day! The spirit was so strong at his baptism and I am just so astounded by his commitment to follow God's will. The baptism went really well... aside from a few less reverent moments. We have this hilarious senior couple in our ward... they are the ward missionaries. Brother Andree was conducting the meeting and butchered just about everyone's name (except for mine)... and then his wife was playing the piano, so to start the opening hymn, he was like "hit it babe." SO FUNNY. The rest of the baptism was a bit more reverent. Elder Adams, the Visitor's Center director officiated in the baptism. Ray spoke after he was baptized and he is the BEST! Seriously. He talked about how he was glad the sisters were persistent/borderline obnoxious. He was like I wouldn't call them back, but they would keep calling and calling and then started sending text messages. My theory is - until they tell me to stop, we will keep inviting them to meet with us! It worked for Ray. He told us the day before he was baptized that he knew that he wanted to join the church when he watched the video at the visitor center called "God's Plan for the Family." (if you haven't seen it, go watch it... it's at every visitor center). So Ray is a total visitor center miracle. He expressed to us how he is truly happy as he has taken the steps toward joining the church. Prior to this point, he didn't have that complete happiness. It is amazing to see how people's lives change! Anyway, back to him speaking at his baptism...(Ray used to be a journalist so of course it was well written.) He talked about how it is one thing to get to the base of the mountain and another to climb it! I like that a lot because I think all of us have our mountains to climb. Often we know what we need to do to BE better and DO better but it takes a lot of courage to then climb those mountains. I am grateful that Ray has taken more steps up his mountain. He will be an amazing member of the church and has so much to offer!
I sang a duet, "Nearer My God to Thee", at Ray's baptism and at President's Devotional that night. The baptism performance wasn't too bad... but Sister Sibbett and I had literally 5 minutes to practice. It was a miracle, but it turned out okay. Sister Sibbett had also taught Ray, but was transferred to another area. When we sang at the President's Devotional, it was another story! I was fine until I got up there and then I was like "what the heck am I doing up here? There are probably 100 people here!" I hadn't sung in front of people like that in years... like probably 10 years. Anyway it was another huge miracle that it turned out well! My health hasn't been the best, so I believe it is really true that God will help magnify your talents as you use them... hopefully I'll come back from my mission and be an amazing singer :)
I got to see my friend Chelsea Paxton at President's Devotional! That was really cool. She is a ward missionary in Overland Park. It was strange that it wasn't strange to see someone from my non-mission life. It was really good to see her!
We had a pretty cool experience this week with answers to prayer. I had been reading Abbie's emails (she is my friend on a mission in southern california) and in it she prayed that she would know those that were prepared for the gospel by the things that they said. So I thought I would try that out. I prayed to know who was really ready and interested by the things that they said. That day some amazing things happened as we went and found people. We talked to this man named Matt a lot about his relationship with God. He really opened up to us and was asking us questions about how the atonement has helped us. We new exactly what he needed and how the gospel can really help him. We did a lot of tracting in between meeting him and our dinner... we had a few minutes and we decided to do just one more house... and I am so glad that we did! We met the cutest girl named Jessie. She has a darling baby and husband and they are looking for a church! It was so humbling to see how Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers.
Cute Independence, Missouri