How yins guys doin’?
Life here in Butler is really awesome! I had a wonderful birthday this past Friday. I have had so much cake and ice cream it is ridiculous! My hips don’t lie.
Thanks for all the packages and letters. I loved them all 🙂 We planned for most of the day, but then a member and her husband took us to this really awesome Italian restaurant called Olives and Peppers. THE best Italian food I have ever eaten. You’ll all have to try it when you come out to Butler, PA. I can’t believe I’m 21. Time just goes by too quickly.
I learned how to make stuffed cabbage this week. It is actually pretty easy. I haven’t eaten any yet, but they smelled really good. I let you know how they taste once we cook them.
This week we went and tried some less-actives that we had never seen before. One of them being a lady named Donna. She just lit up once she saw who we were.She invited us in and showed us around her house. We got to know her a little better as we talked. She told us that elders had come by a while ago and they tried to force her to come to church. She said she didn’t like that and didn’t think she was coming back anytime soon. We talked with her and as we did I kept trying to think of a way we could help her. Finally she mentioned how she loves learning and anytime she hears someone teaching she loves to listen to what they have to say. I thought to myself, “We are teachers!” I prayed in my heart that I would have the words to invite her to learn. As we were walking towards the door I asked her if we could come back and read scriptures with her. I told her that she has a lot of knowledge that she can share with us. She got excited and told us that she would really love that. I am grateful that the spirit gave me the words to say because I had no idea what I could say. The spirit really does help us know what to say in times of uncertainty. I have learned to really trust that when I open my mouth words will come out.
After Donna we went to go see another less-active named Earl. This story is pretty awesome. WE knock on the door and Earl answers. The first thing Earl does is start laughing and says, “You’re kidding me! We just went and saw the play last night!” He was referring to the play
The Book of Mormon” that is being performed down in Pittsburgh. We started chuckling and then his wife came over and told us that when they were leaving the show Earl said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if the Mormons showed up at our house tomorrow”. Well we did! I think he was pretty amazed at the situation because missionaries hadn’t been to their house in four years. They invited us in and we talked with them about the musical and got to know them better. We found out later that nobody has been able to get into their house because they have expressed no interest in the church. They ended up inviting us to have dinner with them. We had a pretty awkward situation at dinner though. We dished our food first and then waited for them thinking we were going to say prayer… His wife then tells us that they don’t say prayer before they eat, but we could say our own prayer if we wanted to. Sister Thomas asked if they wanted us to say individual prayers and they said that that would be fine. So we bowed our heads and said our own silent individual prayers as they waited for us to finish. Probably the most interesting dinner prayer I have had on my mission yet! Other than that the night went really well. We got to know them and we laughed with them. It was just a neat experience for me in realizing that Heavenly Father was leading us unknowingly. This was the first time we ever attempted to visit them. There are no coincidences. Heavenly Father is preparing Earl and his wife and letting them know that He is there.
We picked up a new investigator named Shana. She is very sweet, extremely shy, and probably 15. We met her about a month ago tracting. We decided to go see her again on Friday and set up an appointment. We asked her if she wanted to set an appointment for the next day or the Saturday after that. She told us that she wanted the next day. We went out appointment on Saturday and knocked on the door three times. No answer. We wrote a note and left it on the door and got back into the car. As we are getting ready to drive away her brother came out the other house door (it is a duplex). We asked him if Shana was home and he told us to go to the other door. We found out that the door we usually knock on is actually to her grandparents house. Whoops! We sat outside with her and tried to help her feel more comfortable with us by getting to know us. We began to talk about the gospel and how us a missionaries help people come closer to Christ. We asked her if she wanted to come closer to Christ. She told us that she did. We explained the Book of Mormon and testified of the importance of it. We gave her a copy and invited her to read and pray about it. We have an appointment with her this Wednesday.
We watched Women’s Conference at the church with women of the Relief Society. It was such a great Conference! They talked a lot about temples and the importance of making and keeping covenants there. I love the temple! I am sad I don’t get to go very often, but it has made me realize that I really took for granted the fact that back home I have four temples within an hours driving time. From the last two places I have served in it is about a four hour trip to a temple. I can’t wait to go when I get home! To those of you who are close to a temple.GO! It is a privilege to be able to go often. I really loved what Linda K. Burton said, “holding a temple recommend is a priceless privilege and a symbol of obedience.” This is so true! It is a privilege to be able to have a recommend that allows you to enter into a place where the spirit resides and covenants are made. It also shows that we are obedient to the commandments that have been given to us. I also loved when Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “your divine origin alone does not guarantee you a divine inheritance.” Just because we are spirit children of a King does not mean that we automatically inherit His divinity. We have to do our part. We have to work for this divine inheritance. This is the most important thing that we can work for in our lives. I know that Heavenly Father wants to bless us with this divine inheritance but we must meet all the requirements.
Another awesome experience happened with our investigator Tiny. Heavenly Father is so amazing! Saturday we went out to see Tiny and Jeanette. It was really awesome because as we walked up they had a sign that said, “Happy Birthday” with balloons all around. They threw a mini surprise party for me. It was so sweet of them 🙂 We ate cake and ice cream and then we had a lesson with them. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. We got to earth life and then Sister Thomas brought up the importance of baptism. I felt impressed to be a little bold and say,” that we (as I pointed to all of us) were sent here at this time to come to earth and perform our labors. We only have this time, while we are living, to complete our own works. Once we pass on we cannot do it for ourselves. We have to do it now.” Then Tiny said,” what do I have to do? Who do I need to talk to in order to be baptized?” We talked with Tiny about the process of finishing the lessons and then having an interview. We talked about the questions they would ask and what he would have to know and follow before he could be baptized. He said that he wanted to be baptized before Sister Thomas left. We told him that would probably be at the beginning of November. He said that he didn’t know if he could be ready then. We told him that in order for that to happen we would need to meet twice a week. He said that he only had Saturdays. We told him that he needed to stop smoking and drinking coffee. Sister Thomas asked for his cigarettes and he said he wasn’t ready to give them up yet. By the end of all this we realized that Tiny was getting closer to baptism but wasn’t quite ready. We told him that we would fast for him on Sunday.
Fast forward to Sunday. Church is over and we realize that we have a missed call and voicemail from Jeanette. We listen to it and Jeanette tells us that there is an emergency and that we need to come to their house as soon as we can after church and that is about Tiny. I start thinking all of the things that could possibly have happened. Tiny either doesn’t want to be baptized, he had some awesome experience last night, or he is deathly ill. The thoughts were endless. As soon as we could we drove to their house. As we walk up we see Tiny, Jeanette, and Jeanette’s parents sitting outside and Tiny doesn’t look very good. I go up to shake Tiny’s hand and he says, “this is all because of you, troublemaker.” They tell us that Tiny had an experience last night. At three in the morning Tiny was awakened from his sleep by someone touching his head. He looked around to see if it was Jeanette, but it wasn’t. He isn’t sure who it was. I am not sure all of what happened, but Tiny conversed with people beyond the veil. He stayed up the whole night pondering and crying. It shook him to the core. Jeanette woke up the next morning to find Tiny sitting outside crying. Before we got to their house Tiny received a priesthood blessing and he was told that he needed to step up, finish the lessons, and be baptized! This is exactly what Tiny needed. He told us that he wanted to be baptized at the end of October or the beginning of November. We decided on November 1st! I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like Alma when he sees the people have been humbled by the Lord. I knew that this was the Lord’s work and that Tiny was ready to accept the gospel fully. Tiny was so overcome by the spirit that he cried. Tiny has never cried in front of people and he had done it three times now. He kept saying that I was the one that brought all of this out of him. He would smile as he called me the troublemaker. I told him that I know Heavenly Father sent me here for a reason and that reason was him. Apparently I am Jonesy the troublemaker now haha. I told Tiny that I was glad that this happened and I know that he was ready. I told him to give me his cigar box filled with cigarettes. He handed me the whole thing. He even crumbled them up and threw them away! He has no doubt now that this is what he needs to do. This was the coolest experience ever! The gospel is so true!!!!! We sang “The Spirit of God” to Tiny and he cried as we sang. Tiny has been prepared by God to be baptized. His heart has been softened and I am so grateful that I have the privilege of being a part of this. We are going to be working with Tiny twice a week now, he gave us his cigarettes, and he is set with a date!!!!
That was such an incredible experience to end the week with. I absolutely love being a missionary! So many amazing experiences each week.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
How yins guys doin’?