Good morning! I hope you all have had a wonderful week and now as School starts to really pick up that you all have great hopes for this school year!
Things are still going well here in the Hesparia desert. Still dry. Still hot. Although, I hear rumors that it will begin to cool down sometime in the next weeks.
I won't lie this week definitely brought challenges, but it turned out super good.
We had an awesome Zone Conference with our Mission President, and may just say that he is one amazing man. I'm used to going into meetings with the mission president quite scared and walking away feeling pretty guilty, so I wasn't exactly 'pumped' to go into Zone Conference. But when we walked in, he just said "Elders and Sisters, today I don't want to put any more rocks (or bricks, I can't remember which heavy object he used in the analogy) into your bag than are already in there. I don't want you walking out more discouraged than you were when you came, I want the opposite. I want everyone to walk out with a spring in their step!" And we sure did! He's such a calm, joyful, loving man and I admire him so much.
So we talked about finding and talked about overcoming the fears of finding and how to use as many ideas as possible. So we have set up playing basketball with young men and having them bring non-members, the ward is putting together a Horse-shoe tournament and is super missionary minded while doing that, and inviting friends and home teaching families and all sorts of people! I love this ward and their devout missionary spirit, that's for sure!
Wednesday and Thursday brought some low points. I got really discouraged (which happens) and frustrated with a lot of things, but it got better as the days progressed.
Dan is still praying about his baptismal date. Gosh he's so close. HE IS SO CLOSE. We talked to Bishop about some of his thoughts and feelings and Bishop is going to go over and play horseshoes with him and talk to him about it. AND Dan told us he's going to call his friend from grade school who is a member and has always lovingly encouraged him to join without every being pushy. He hasn't talked to him in like 15 years, so I think it'll be a good chat.
Also it was Dan's birthday on Friday and we had a nice celebration at his house. He's just the best. Like, if for nothing else the Ruggles (Dan and Reatha and Yvonne) have made my entire mission worth it.
And then (this story is super cool, just fyi) Sunday morning, I was looking over past Progress records of people we've taught and I found one in February of this year, my first week in this area with Elder Wedel. We had found a lady. Named Thea who was walking her dogs. She told us she was an inactive member but really wanted to come to church. We didn't even know where the church was, just the general direction, so we wrote down loose directions, taught her a little bit and prayed and left. BUT WE FORGOT TO GET HER ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER! AGH! That had bothered me this whole time, because I felt we could have helped her more and what not... Until she showed up on Sunday at church!! How cool is that? I only got to see the blessing of that because I stayed so long. Otherwise, I would not have gotten to see the fruits of that seed we planted many months ago. And some fruits don't come for many years! I doubt Dan's original missionaries (from 45 years ago) have any idea that their seeds they planted would take so long to sprout but they would definitely sprout!! So don't get discouraged when we don't see the rewards of our efforts just yet.
We also had a member of the Temple Presidency come and speak to us in sacrament meeting and that was cool. He talked about how when we go to the temple, our perspective changes. We see life differently. He talked about how in The Pearl of Great Price, Moses has an experience that he related to the temple, and how afterwards, when Satan shows up, Moses is able to say "Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God" Wow! How cool! As we go to the temple, our perspective changes. While we are not in his powerful presence when we LEAVE the temple, we still have his spirit and we can better discern the difference between Light and Darkness. But in order to see that perspective, OUR perspective must change. We must have the temple in our sights constantly. We must do everything that we can to work towards that and to obtain the powerful promises of protection, knowledge, love and the companionship of the Spirit given to us as we attend and keep the covenants of the temple.
I love you all so much!
Church is true!