Beautiful Washington Scenery
Hello friends! I just got news from my mom that my dog Shiloh, has gotten very sick and will probably be getting put down soon. So, sorry in advance if this is not as chipper and happy as usual! I will do my best! Because I want Shiloh to stop feeling miserable all the time. I know she will be in a much, much, better place.
Me with Shiloh just before I left on my mission
Monday was a kind of weird day. Usually p-day is on Monday, when we email, do laundry, clean the house, the car, do grocery shopping, etc. But this week, since we were going to be spending a lot of time going to the temple on Thursday, we changed p-day to Thursday and went out an worked on Monday to make up the time we would miss (except for emailing because we didn't want to freak out anyone's parents!) So we emailed like usual on Monday but then did everything else on Tuesday, and it threw us off so bad!
Tuesday we had district council in the morning, it was pretty good. We talked about being more diligent and hard-working. Then after DC, the car coordinator for the mission called us and told us our jeep was due for an oil change and tire rotation. Fortunately we were already in Hood River for DC, and all we had planned to do for the next couple of hours was service at the thrift store, so the timing was great! Except then it took like three hours for some reason to do the car servicing, so we were a little lost on what productive things we could do. I'm just really glad we had study materials with us, and we have a lot of contacts in our phone of potential investigators we have never talked to yet! We also OYM'd the cashier and a few other people in the waiting area. So I guess it turned out alright. Except my scriptures literally fell apart!! IT was so sad! Thank goodness for gorilla glue is all I have to say!
Wednesday was an AWESOME day for us. We have been doing some practice-teaching with some of our members and less-active members lately, because we want to work on being better teachers. It also helps them have a refresher on the doctrine. Plus it builds member trust and helps them see what it's like to be taught by the missionaries, so they will be more likely to refer their friends to us. We practice taught Larissa on Wednesday morning, and it was really fun. She was so cute! She really got a kick out of pretending like she didn’t' know anything. She would just ask a question like "What is the Book of Mormon?" and then just giggle and giggle. IT was fun :) Then, we had a lesson with Tyler at the Fore's house! He is so awesome and SO smart! He asks the best questions. Wednesday night we had an awesome lesson with the Merrill family, and the bishop came. Their 10-year-old son really asks amazing questions, but sometimes it's really hard to answer them because there are so many basic things he doesn't know. We had to explain the virgin birth and how Jesus is literally the biological Son of God. Try to explain that to a ten year old who is really, really intelligent, but also doesn't know where babies come from yet... Bishop helped a lot. HE's so awesome and I'm so grateful for the help of the Spirit. He's the real teacher there.
Thursday -TEMPLE AND COSTA VIDA! It was a great day! It was amazing to receive personal answers to deep personal questions and to feel the peace in the temple. I had missed going to the temple so much, but after being gone for a while, it made me notice a lot more this time back, like little things I hadn't paid attention to before. Also, I got to see Pam and Lamar Gilbert, from Royal City there!! It was so cool and fun to catch up and see what's going on in Royal! Two of the youth have received their mission calls! And one of them is the first youth from the Spanish branch ever to go on a mission! So special! Also, Hna. M got to see her friend Hna. J from the Mexico MTC. She just went home early about a month ago (14 months into her mission) because she might have lymphoma cancer! Hna. M and I have been thinking and praying about her for a while now, so it was amazing and crazy that she actually got to see her! She served her mission in Nashville, Tennessee, but is actually from Kennewick (where the temple is). It was a mini miracle. We got to eat COSTA VIDA for lunch, which I was ridiculously excited about and turns out the owner of the Costa Vida there is Mormon, and he gave us an awesome discount, plus on top of that, Sis. Colis (our ride) paid for all of the missionaries! It was so cool.
Friday we had a really cool experience at the Stockman's house. Bishop asked us to go over that night and practice teach them. They own and live in a really cool bed and breakfast up in the mountains. It's themed in the early 20th century and has tons of really, really cool antiques! They are a really nice older couple but that night Sis. Stockman came home in a really bad mood. She had been in a fight with her daughter, and was really upset about it. We went to their house with the plan to teach about the restoration, but when we got there and sat down together in the parlor, we could tell she was really upset, so we asked in the prayer that Heavenly Father would bless them to feel open and comfortable sharing their feelings and feedback during the lesson. Then after the prayer she really opened up to us, and we were able to adjust our teaching a bit and share the message with her in a way that really suited her needs. By the end of our visit, the spirit was definitely back in that home, the feeling of tension was gone, and we were all very edified and uplifted together. Teach People Not Lessons! I learned a lot from this experience, not just about how to be a better teacher and listener, but also about Heavenly Father's perspective. He sees every part of every person we see. He knows their struggles and secrets, and all the things they have seen and been through in their lives. At first it seemed like a weird request from the bishop that we go visit and practice teach an active couple. On the surface they seemed to be doing just fine, but there is always so much more than we can see. It's like that with everything, not just people. There are so many questions we can ask that we don't have the capability of answering on our own. Even with all of our amazing modern technology, science, and historical records, there's still so much that we don't and can't answer. BUT the good news is, we don't have to depend on human resources and intelligence. We can depend on divine intelligence. We have so many resources that Heavenly Father has given us that can help us become closer to him and be better able to answer hard questions when we use them! (scriptures, prayer, prophets,etc.) Heavenly Father promised us if we seek we will find, (Matt 7:7-8) If we are looking for the right things and answers we will find them. It's like an iceberg.
It's like an iceberg!
Cool antiques at the B&B!
Chandelier from the 1920's
Fireplace from the 1910's
Saturday morning we had a surprise service opportunity pop up. Well, kind of surprise, more like miscommunication. The Stevenson Elders had texted us a couple days before and told us about a possible service project for a Hispanic woman who lives in our area. They told us they were going to be going there, but we actually had another service project with the ward that we were going to be at at the same time, so we said we didn't know if we could come. Then we got to the church on Saturday morning and turns out it was the whole zone going there, and they thought we were coming too!! We got out of the car and were like, “Whaaaat? Why is everyone her in White Salmon?” And they were like, “Whaaaat? Why are ya’ll in proselyting clothes?” And so we had to rush home really quickly and change. It was awesome, because it turns out she's not a member. She’s just a lady that this member in the Stevenson ward knows. She is and older lady from Colombia whose husband just died of cancer last year and now she was just diagnosed with cancer, too. She is really going through a lot right now, and now on top of it all, her landscaping company ripped her off. They built this retaining wall on the back of the property to keep the rocks and things like that from coming in (it's in the mountains) and did it completely wrong! It was all wobbly and unlevel, so this member who knows her, who also happens to be a landscaper, offered himself and us missionaries to come over and fix it. It was awesome, except with my hip I'm not supposed to exert myself a lot yet, so I mostly just went over and talked to the lady for a while. It was like an instant connection! She showed me all these pictures of her granddaughter, and it turns out she is a musician, too. She speaks pretty good English but was so pleasantly surprised when I could speak Spanish with her. She said it was refreshing. Then we had a member present lesson with her that very day! She's so awesome and has great questions.
Service for Cynthia!
Sunday was also really awesome. Not much in particular to report, just over all a very good and spiritually uplifting day.
I guess that's it for this week. I'm running out of time and this email is getting loooooong. Have a great week! I love and miss you all. Pray for my dog! Pray for my family! Pray for my new investigator, Cynthia! Thanks <3