Nothing could put a damper on this week, not even the below freezing temperatures ALL WEEK LONG. Yesterday it snowed a little, which was fun... for like 2 hours. Because then it froze to the roads. Don't worry mom, we are safe, and we stay mostly around Clinton so we haven't had to drive too much. They will clear and salt the roads before we have to go out to any of the boonies. Sister Penman think it's hilarious that we are both from these warm temperatures. I am learning the art of layering.
Saturday was the BEST DAY EVER. I don't know if I can pick a favorite day of the mission, because I have loved so many of them, but this is certainly at the top. I can't even explain how wonderful it was. I had a permanent smile the whole day. I feel like it is every missionaries dream to have a wedding and a baptism on the same day. It was amazing. And what was the best was getting to go back and celebrate this special day with Sherry and JR and Emily. I felt like I had never left. Everything was the same and I didn't feel out of the loop. It was awesome. Sister Harding and I got to be in a lot of the pictures. We were kind of like "bridesmaids" and Sherry made us bouquets. Ah! It was just the best. The wedding was so cute. Sherry did a great job with the decorations and everything. I realized I had never been to a wedding ceremony before. That is serious business. I loved the promises they made to each other and to know that they were taking this step out of love for each other and for our Heavenly Father. In a year from now they will get to go to the temple to be sealed! I can't even wait for that day. The promises they made to one another won't be "til death do you part" but will be for all eternity.
After the ceremony they had a small reception after the wedding and it was fun. They had a man playing music and a small dance. I felt awkward. Kind of out of place as a missionary and then I got really uncomfortable when they started playing "Hot in Here"... #missionaryproblems. I almost had to leave haha. On a side note I think I have legitimately arrived as a missionary. We were all eating lunch as a district the other day and some of the other missionaries were singing to the song at the restaurant and I realized that I don't get songs stuck in my head anymore or even think about things like that. It was a strange realization. Probably about as strange as I will be when I come home. Whatever. Consecration brings miracles and we are looking for lots of miracles out here in Clinton.
Ok. So back to the miracle day. The wedding was awesome. It was so neat because they weren't even focused on that. During the reception Sherry was like, "we need to make sure we get done with all of this so that we can get baptized! That's the really important thing today. That's what is for our salvation." Can you believe that? Here is this wonderful woman on her WEDDING DAY and she is more excited for her baptism. It was amazing. She gets it. The baptism was amazing. So many members of the ward came to support. The spirit was so strong, probably the strongest I have felt at a baptism. At the end of the regular baptismal program the Bishop opened up time for testimonies. That usually doesn't happen, but it was so amazing to hear people's testimonies of the restored gospel and their love for Sherry and JR. Sister Grange, Sister Harding, and I all were able to bear our testimonies. I was really grateful for that because I missed out on all the rest of their lessons.
I was am so grateful for this family. I am amazed by their faith. In a month and a half they changed their lives, they acted, and followed the commandments. They planned a wedding in less than a month and quit all their old habits so that they could follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. It is such a testimony to me that the Atonement in real. The gospel really can change people and their lives. It was amazing to come back and to see the change that this has made in their family. There is a greater love that they have for one another and the Lord. It is amazing. Mostly I just feel an immense amount of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of their story and their lives and to make these friends for forever. I can't wait to see the rest of their progression. It was hard to say goodbye, knowing that I wouldn't see them again for awhile, but hey February we can Skype!
Things are really picking up here in Clinton too. We have built up a pretty good teaching pool and people are really beginning to progress. I am so GRATEFUL that the Lord really does prepare the hearts of people to receive us. It is real! I was reading Jacob 5 today, which is usually a doosy, but I am loving it more and more. I love these last few verses in the chapter. The Lord of the vineyard calls in his servants, and he labors WITH them...
"And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come. And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things." -- Jacob 5:71-72
I know that that is real and that that is true. There is NO way little Sister Call could show up in Clinton with TWO brand new missionaries and build a solid teaching pool in less than a month, without the help of the Lord. I am so excited to see how these people progress and the miracles that are going to happen here. I am so grateful for this huge task to keep me busy these last couple transfers of my mission. I know that this is the Lord's work. I feel so grateful to be His servant right now, helping and serving His children.
In other news we have a big mission conference on Wednesday in Independence. The WHOLE mission will be there. ALL of my friends. I am beyond excited about that. Isn't this just the best week ever?