I hope yinz had a wonderful New Year!!
This New Year was kind of like the last. I went to sleep at 10:30 so we didn’t really get to celebrate, but it was still a great day! Carlisle does this thing called the First Night of Carlisle. Lots of people come to downtown and they walk around to different venues. We decided to go downtown to talk with people. We were told by a lady that we weren’t allowed to proselyte. So we decided to walk around anyways just so that people could see us out and about. Poeple were doing lots of different things. There were carriage rides, someone twirling flaming sticks, ice carving, and lots of other things. It was neat to see the town come together for the night of the New Year.
It was crazy to think about what I was doing last New Years. I was preparing to enter the MTC that day. I can’t believe a year has already gone by. I feel like I just started my mission maybe a few months ago. It is weird because when I tell people how long I have been out that say,” Oh you’re an old missionary. You’ve been out a while.” I remember telling them I had been out a week or a month and they would say, “Oh you are just getting started. You’re still a greenie.” Crazy how fast time goes by.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year of my mission. There have been so many wonderful moments that have strengthened my testimony and brought me closer to God and Christ. I truly have experienced so much joy as I have shared the gospel. There is nothing better that I could be doing with my time than what I am doing right now. I love being a missionary and getting to share the gospel everyday. I really want to stay strong for the rest of my mission and not let myself get burnt out. I want to be burnt out when I go home. I still have fire left within me and I plan to make it burn until the day I “die” in missionary lingo.
This week started out great! A member who is a professional outdoorsman took us and the Elders on a hike. It was so much fun. We went to pole steeple and got to hike a little bit on the famous Appalachian trail. This trail I believe is the longest trail in the US.. maybe the world, but I am not sure. It stretches from Maine all the way to Georgia. Part of it goes through Pennsylvania so we hiked on it for a little bit. I loved getting to see Pennsylvania! It is such a beautiful state.
We saw this less-active named Brian this week. He is going through a divorce right now and trying to get things straightened out in his life. He has been away from the church for a while. He reached out to us and told us that he wants to come back to church and get involved. He said that he really needs to come back. Brain told us that he has a desire to get the Priesthood. He wants to work to get it because he wants to baptize his youngest son. It was so awesome to see that he, himself, wanted to work to get the Priesthood. He has such righteous desires and we told him that we would do all that we can to help him. He started to cry as he expressed how much he wanted this and wanted to be a good example for his sons.
We didn’t have very many lessons this week. It has actually been pretty slow since we have gotten here due to the holidays. Now that they are over we have quite a few lessons planned this week. Hopefully they all work out. We have been going out and contacting lots of less-actives, potentials, and former investigators. The other day we had a pretty neat experience. We were out contacting potential investigators and we were having no success. I really like we needed to tract some houses. I didn’t know where and I didn’t know who we were looking for. It happened to be on the day when it was raining all day and it was slushy rain. Sister Amendola had never gone tracting before so I brought it up to her and she was a little hesitant because she didn’t really know what to expect, but I told her it would be ok and I would be there too. We decided to get in the car and drive to another section of the trailer park. When we got to the stop sign we decided to pray to know which way to go. We could either go left, right, or straight. We both felt like we should go straight. We pulled off onto the side of the road and parked. We said a prayer and then started knocking doors. The first couple of doors all said no and walked away. I told her that we just had to show our faith to the Lord and He would bless us for it whether it was that night or sometime in the future. We kept knocking and we ended up finding two people who said that they would like to meet with us again. It was a wonderful experience that strengthened my faith in the Lord and listening to the Spirit. I know that if we follow the promptings of the Spirit no matter how scary or of you don’t want to do it things will always work out and you will be blessed.
We had a neat experience with OYMing as well. We had about 30 minutes left of the night before we had to go in. We had tried people all day and had no success. I was extremely wiped out and really wanted to just go in for the night. I knew that was Satan trying to tempt me so I decided not to give in. I decided I was going to change my attitude and be happy. I thought about the joy I have received from sharing the gospel and how this is my only opportunity that I have to share the gospel full-time. We started walking on the main street and started talking to people. It lifted my spirits and then on our way back to the car we ran into this man named Jeff. We got to talking to him and he told us that he believed in a higher power. We asked how he had come to know this and he said that he had been in many accidents where he shouldn’t be alive. He told us that he hadn’t gone to church much or read the Bible. He was lost in life and just doing his own thing. I told him that as missionaries we could help him find God and become found. That he could discover who he was, a son of God, and experience so much joy and happiness in life. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. He was so surprised when we offered him a copy for free. He was so thankful. Jeff’s whole demeanor changed by the end of our conversation. I know that he felt the spirit during our encounter. He said that he would meet with us to talk more about what we believe. The crazy thing is is that he was on his way to his apartment which had just been on fire thirty minutes before we had saw him. He said that he was about to go find out if a higher power existed. We haven’t seen him since then so I don’t know if everything was ok with his apartment, but we are going to find out this week!
We have an investigator named Christine who is due to have a baby any day now. We went over to have a lesson and she was just really overwhelmed by all the things she needed to do. We just started helping her do her dishes and pick up her house. Her fiancee, Chris, has really started to open us to us more as we have started to serve them. I have really come to see how much good service can do in other’s lives. It really opens up new doors and softens people’s hearts. When we serve people they feel our love and they feel the love of God. Out of love God has sent you to help one of his children who are in need. Service has been a huge part of my mission. I love doing it and I love help those I care about.
It has been a great start to the New Year and I am so excited to see what the rest of 2015 holds. It is so weird to say/type 2015. I still mess up when I write it on papers.
I wish you all a great week!