Okay, so the new youth theme for this year is SO AWESOME and everyone needs to hear the new album. Hermana Tolliver and I just downloaded it yesterday and it is seriously so so so good. I especially love the songs "healing water" and "priceless".
Other favorite songs of the week include "real man" from EFY 2016, and "Love Never Fails" by Brandon Heath.
This week was good, it sure flew by though! A quick run-down.
Monday p-day was stressful but good. The four of us went down to Selah/Yakima again and went to TARGET #haventbeentherein15months. I got a big fluffy new towel. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the giftcard! Then we stopped by the mission office to drop off a bunch of Hermana Tolliver's new missionary paperwork and got to say hello to Elder and Sister Pendlebery, the new senior couple. (Elder and Sister Thompson are done with their mission now :( )
Tuesday we met a bunch of really interesting people at a local trailer park called Shady Acres. One family we met were switching between English and Spanish every other sentence... we were thinking: Please! Pick a language! It will be so much easier. We also did some service for an older couple shoveling their snow. I actually really love to do that. It's nice because it's good exercise and productive at the same time! Very satisfying.
Wednesday I was on exchanges with Sister Michalek. It was pretty fun! We created a new Member-missionary work plan/paper we can give to members at dinner along with a cool 21-day promise attached! It really works!
We visited Sister Teresa. She's not doing too well. She's a member of our Spanish group, but is about 81-82 years old and very weak so she can't come to church. She was very depressed when we got there. She said she just feels so alone and remembers the past when she could go to church and go to the temple and feel so much joy from the gospel but now feels like God has abandoned her. It was so sad so we got our SG leader, Brother Robins to come and give her a blessing. It was a very spiritual experience! The spirit entered the room during that time very powerfully and it was like a 100% change in Sister Teresa. Her whole countenance was lighter and she was happier! We also printed out some of her favorite chapters from the Book of Mormon and an article from lds.org in large print for her to read so she can get some "alimentos espirituales" (spiritual food).
After that we went to APOYO to do some service (it's a local hispanic food bank) and we ended up with a ton of food too! It was all getting a little old and wouldn't make it through the next week, so us sisters and the elders each got a big box of food. It was a christmas miracle! After APOYO, we went to Rosa's and helped her package chillies! Then we had a lesson with her. She is just so cool. She's just the best.
Thursday we had district council and President and Sister Lewis came! It was awesome; I had the opportunity to role-play with Sister Carroll, Elder Powell, and President Lewis, and it was one of the most spiritual role-plays I've ever been in! It was so cool. I received so much inspiration for my investigator who I was pretending to be. There were tears shed by multiple people! Then we had district lunch together and then interviews with President and Sister Lewis. I love them so much. It's amazing that they can remember so many details about each individual missionary and their struggles, trials, stuff at home, etc. They are in charge of 175-200 of us at a time! It's so amazing. Sister Lewis gave us a sheet of quotes that I just LOVE. Some of my favorites:
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience" -Teilhard de Chardin.
"The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warn them as well." -Neal A. Maxwell
After that we had two practice lessons with a couple of families in our Spanish group. It's so helpful especially for new missionaries, but also for me, and for the members. It reminds them about the most beautiful basic, simple truths of the gospel and helps them have a desire to share with others. The spirit was so strong!
That night we met Veronica, our new investigator! She was a referral and has a lot of Mormon friends. She loves Mormons and has wanted to learn more about our church and our beliefs for a long time, so we're going back tonight to teach more and answer her questions! I'm excited.
Friday we met our new investigator, Reyna. Not sure how into it she is, but she's apparently been taught a lot in the past. We also met Alejandro and he just thought the Restoration was the coolest thing ever! He was like "This makes so much sense! Of COURSE God wouldn't stop giving us more." As soon as we handed the Book of Mormon to him he immediately grabbed it and opened it and started reading through the whole introduction. He found it fascinating! It was cool- I've never seen that happen at a door step before! I've never seen someone get that excited about it.
After that we had a really great resolving concerns lesson with our investigator, Joselin Ramirez. Her and her husband are both thinking hard about baptism, but she's just worried about disrespecting her god-parents who paid for all of her first communion, and who have been there for her throughout her whole life. If you could please keep her in your prayers that would be really great. :)
Saturday a lot of our plans fell through but it's okay. That happens a lot in missionary life, especially on holidays! We had a really great visit with Rosa. She is really getting into family history (of course I'm happy about that)! She loves this little book/magazine thing Sister Dorm gave her about temples. We're going to the FHC (family history center) with her tomorrow night to work on finding some names of her family members who she can be baptized for at the temple soon! After that we had dinner with the Walters which was really awesome. It was fun because 2 of their sons were home for the holidays from school at BYU and they're both RM's so we had a lot of fun sharing mission stories. Then we went home, for our early curfew (6pm) and did weekly awesomeness! (weekly planning) I thought it was going to be hard doing it at the end of the day because I'd be tired, but it was actually one of the most spiritual and fastest weekly planning sessions I've had in a really long time! It was nice because instead of starting our day with it before we visited anyone, we ended the day with it and we had already been out in the community and visiting people, etc. It was like we were more warmed up to our area that day and the people were more fresh on our minds. Also Hermana Tolliver's mom got us a pizza! That was so nice and a nice treat that we don't get often. #thanksmamatolliver!
Sunday was SO GOOD. The Bishop's son, Mark, gave his homecoming talk. He just got home last week from a mission in Colombia and as he was telling stories and things he learned while out, Hermana Tolliver and I were feeling the spirit so strongly and both had a lot of impressions come to us about specific investigators we are teaching right now! It was great. Also a little funny because he kept pronouncing things wrong in english, and accidentally saying Spanish words. #same.
Our Relief Society lesson was really cool too. It was all about New Year's Resolutions and who we want to become/realizing our divine potential. The teacher wrote each of us 7 letters for this week and we get to open one each day and write in our journals about it. It's such a clever idea! Makes me feel special too, when the teachers put that much effort into it.
Last night we had dinner with the Gaylord's. They are one of my favorite families here! I was so grateful because even though we had a spiritual message planned to share with them as usual, Brother Gaylord actually opened up to us about one of his personal trials and we were able to teach him and share scriptures and personal experiences. It was so cool because while that happens a lot with investigators, it hardly ever happens with members. I feel like it was a good sign that we have great member trust with the Gaylord's that they would come to us for spiritual advice.