This past week was so awesome! It was a very busy and very crazy week. But everything went great 🙂 We went on two exchanges back to back, had Zone Conference, and had a BAPTISM!!!
Our first exchange was with the sisters in Franklin. I stayed here in Butler with Sister White. We went around to the hospital and a nursing home to see if we could come and sing carols and have a little performance on Christmas day. We found a place that is really excited for us to come and volunteer. President Johnson and Sister Johnson want us to fill Christmas day with service so that we can focus on giving. I am so excited for Christmas! Since then we have also found a warming shelter and hospice center to volunteer at as well.
Our Zone Conference was so good. We focused on sharing the He is the Gift Initiative with everyone that we come in contact with and going out and volunteering at different place to spread the Spirit of Christmas. Something that Elder Bednar said about the Spirit of Christmas is “drop the last syllable of Christmas and you get the Spirit of Christ.” That is what Christmas should be about. We have shared He is the Gift with so many people and when we share it as a dinner message we have been committing the members to share their He is the Gift pass-along cards by Christmas day. At Zone Conference we also gad lots of musical performances by districts, groups, and individuals. Our District sang “Angels We Have Heard on High” with a twist. We sang the first verse in spanish, the second in english, and the third both. It turned out really well. It was so much fun to hear everyone’s talents and it brought in the Spirit.
After Zone Conference on Wednesday I went on another exchange with the Beaver sisters. I sayed in Butler again with Sister Olvera. We had a really good time. We went and contacted some potentials down in Chicora and then headed to service at Katie’s Kitchen. It was fun there. We also found another service opportunity to go and help this lady who own a Theraputic Riding business where diabled children are able to come and ride horses. As missionaries we can’t ride horses, but I told her that I have cleaned lots of stalls before when I helped my friends. We’ll have to see what we can do to help her.
I know that Heavenly Father protects His servants. On Wednesday night we went out with a member to go visit a less-active member. I was sitting in the passenger seat. On our way back to the church I saw the legs of a deer on the right side of the road in the grass. At first I thought it was one of the fake deer statues that a lot of people in Butler put on their lawns, but as we got closer I noticed that it was very much real and alive. I started to tell the member driving us that there was a deer on the right of us near the road. She didn’t slow down very much and so the deer got spooked. He started running out into the road towards my side of the car. I started to lean over to the driver side because I was afraid of what the deer would do to my side if we hit it. I know that Heavenl Father was protecting us because that deer, at the last moment, turned away from the car and his antlers were the only things that touched the car. We could hear them sractch as we drove by. With the direction the deer was running and with how fast he was going we should have hit him. I am so grateful that nothing happened and that we weren’t in a serious accident. I have seen some cars after someone has hit a deer and it is not pretty. The car has scratches, my heart was beating really fast, but we were all safe 🙂
I have so many awesome experiences in being lead by the Spirit this week. On Thursday we had a lesson with this less-active family that is almost reactivated! During the lesson Brandi, one of the daughters, asked a really tough question that she has asked one of the first times I had met her. She asked,” Why does Heavenly Father send children to earth even though he knows they are going to fall short and not make it back to Him?” We weren’t able to answer the question last time and I had no idea how to approach it this time. I prayed in my heart for Heavenly Father to help me explain it clearly. All of a sudden an analogy popped into my head. This is what I told her:
So picture you have this bucket that is filled to the brim with water and it is really heavy. Your little niece comes by and she says that she really wants to carry the bucket. You know that your niece won’t be able to carry the bucket. She keeps on insisting that she wants to carry this bucket. With all of her pleas to carry this bucket, you let her carry the bucket even though you know she won’t be able to carry it very far or for very long.
I then related this to us being in Heaven with Heavenly Father and we were all insisting on coming to earth and getting a body. There were some of us that Heavenly Father knew “couldn’t carry the bucket” but he let them go anyways because they had their ability to choose and He wasn’t going to deny someone the opportunity to experience mortality like He did.
After I finished saying this they all looked at me and said,”Wow that made a lot of sense.” I said good because I have never thought of that before. Brandi was finally content with having an answer to that question. I know that was Heavenly Father speaking through me to answer one of His daughters questions.
Saturday was such a good day! Shana got baptized!!! It went so well. The whole Relief Society room was filled with people to support her. She was so excited. I had the privilege of speaking at her baptism. I talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. As I was pondering what to speak on I was trying to think of an analogy to explain the difference between feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost before we are baptized and having the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This silly little idea popped into my mind, but I decided to share it anyways. So at the baptism I explained that everyone can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost regardless if they have been baptized/ confirmed or not, but they can’t always feel the influence. I used this analogy:
Say there is a young kid who only has a home phone. They only time they can use this phone is when they are at home so when they are out shopping, driving, walking, or at school that can’t use the phone to communicate. Now say the parents of this kid decide to give their child a brand new shiny cell phone. With this cell phone he/she can take it anywhere with them. You wouldn’t leave this brand new shiny cellphone at home you would take it everywhere.
This is how it is when we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We receive that brand new shiny cell phone that we can take everywhere. We don’t have to be at a specific spot to use it or to feel it.
Now fast forward to Sunday. We were getting ready to leave church and we stopped to say goodbye to some members and the wife says to me, “Guess what? Today in class I was teaching about the Holy Ghost and what it was and Madison told everyone the analogy that you shared at the baptism yesterday. My husband and I talked about it on the way home from the baptism and we thought that that was such a great way to explain it.” When I shared that analogy I had no idea if it even made sense or if anyone understood what I was trying to say, but Heavenly Father has been guiding me to say what people need to hear. I didn’t think of any of these analogies on my own, but they have graciously been giving to me by the Spirit.
Shana’s confirmation went so well. She is going to be such a great member and a huge factor in converting in her family. She is such a great example to me. She went and bore her testimony yesterday! It made me cry to hear her testimony. She said that she was grateful for the sister missionaries and that she was knew that this was the true church. It melted my heart! I am so grateful for the privilege of knocking on Shana’s door and being able to share the gospel with her. I have seen her the whole way through and it has been such an amazing thing to see her grow in the gospel.
Last night we had an awesome lesson with our investigator Nick. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with him and we are in 1 Nephi 2. We were talking about prayer and how we can have the mysterious of God unfolded to us if we pray to know. We asked if he had been praying and he said that he doesn’t pray every day but he prays a couple of times throughout the week. He then told us that he had received an answer to his prayers. I was so excited for him so I asked him to share with us. He told us that he was out hunting it was cold and they hadn’t gotten anything in the couple hours that they were out. He offered a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help them find something and then a deer came walking by. It was so awesome to hear him say that Heavenly Father answered his prayers. Nick is slowly but surely having his heart be softened. I know he will be baptized!
This week has been such an incredible week. So many great things are happening in Butler. I really am hoping that I stay here for another transfer. We will find out on Saturday who is going to be leaving next Tuesday.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Remember to share “He is the Gift”!