Hello my loved ones!!
Fist of all I have to wish dad a happy Father's Day yesterday! Even though you got that text from George already haha. And I have to wish my sweet friend Cassidy Carol happy birthday on Wednesday! I love you cass!! Also I can't believe I've been on my mission for 5 months now! That is seriously so crazy. Time has gone by way to darn fast...anyway onto the week!
So this week was pretty great...one of my favorite things from the entire week was that on Wednesday we got to teach the sweetest little activity day girls! They all have been bringing some of their no members friends and so we thought it would be a great way to find some new investigators! We were kind of crunched for time and so we prayed about what we should teach them and finally came up with something. We based the lesson off of the book "You Are Special" the book about the Wimmicks with the dots and the stars that they put on each other. And so we decided to title our lesson " You Are Special." We thought of some activities and games that we could have them do and then we decided to read them the story. They loved it! We reminded them of how they are all precious daughters of God and how much he loves them.
Then I though of something that we did at Girls Camp once. I remember it vividly, it was a lesson that Sister Zufelt taught and she did this same activity. So we felt it would be a powerful lesson for these little girls, but we had to do it in a way that these girls would understand it. So I if you can visualize this; I took a picture of piece of cardboard and on one side I put a picture of the Savior and on the other I put a picture of Hans from the movie Frozen(because every little girl loves Frozen, so I knew they would know who he was)...
right after Sister Jolley read them the story I "interrupted" and I showed the picture of Hans to all of the little girls and they clearly knew who he was haha...anyway, I explained to them how Hans was not a very nice man, and that he was very mean to my friend Ana...he lied to her, he tried to hurt her sister Elsa, and he tried to take things from them, so he kind of deserved a little pay back for what he did right? They all agreed as they shouted haha. And so they each came up to the picture and put a push pin in it. Some girls put one in his nose, some girls out one in his eye until they had all placed one in the picture (I know sounds a little ruthless for little girls but there's a point I promise!) when they all sat down I looked at them and said "do you think he deserved that? And they all shouted "yes!" Once they all quieted down I told them I wanted to show them something...
I actually started to cry as I slowly took the picture down off the wall and turned it around to the picture of the Savior only to hear all of the little girls gasp! Some of them said, "oh no! What did we do!" Once they all hushed they asked us why we let them do that. I began to cry as I explained to them that I didn't want to let them do that to a picture of the Savior because I love him and I know that they do to by the way they reacted. We explained to them that because Jesus suffered for ALL of us He knows exactly how we feel every time we get hurt and every time we might hurt someone else. We had one of them read Matt. 25:40 and we asked them why they thought we had them do this without knowing that they Savior was on the other side and they each said something to the effect of "because if we hurt someone else, we hurt Jesus too." The point of the activity was to remind them that we are ALL special to Heavenly Father, He loves ALL of His children. And that because Jesus Christ suffered for each and everyone of us, He knows how to help us when we are hurt or when someone else is hurt too. We are ALL special to Him and Heavenly Father. And once they all understood that simple principle of the Atonement we ended with the Mormon Message called Our True Identity by President Uchtdorf about the ugly duckling who realized it was actually a Swan. It was such a wonderful experience to teach them! I felt like I was teaching my little sisters and I truly was! I felt a portion of how much Heavenly Father loves them and how special they are to Him! And we got a few new investigators from the whole experience! Which was great too!
Another miracle this week was on Saturday night Sister Jolley and I were just driving down the street in Mt. Holly as I saw people walking all around the city. As we turned the corner I particularly noticed a certain man just sitting on a small brick wall near the stop light. And right then and there I received a simple prompting to go and talk to him. Realizing that Sister Jolley and I had had a pretty long day with no luck of finding anyone, My first thought was but what if he says no like everyone else? But even with that simple fear of rejection on my mind I thought of how I would feel if I didn't act on that prompting and would just be left to wonder about that man. So, with that I asked Sister Jolley to stop the car. She immediately pulled over, and I voiced to her the prompting I had felt and she okay let's go. We said a quick prayer, hopped out of the car, and quickly walked/ran to go and speak with this man hoping that he would still be there. As we turned the corner we found him in the same spot, and I walked right up to him, cheerfully said hello and introduced ourselves and asked if we could sit and talk with him! He introduced himself as Dennis, and he was smiling/laughing just at the fact that two young girls wanted to sit and talk with him as he was waiting for his bus. As we spoke we talked about where we were from, life, church etc. And he inquired as to who we are and what we do. We explained briefly to him, and then invited him to watch the Because He Lives video. Just as the video started his bus came and he quickly apologized and ran to try and catch the bus. But to his dismay the bus left him, he said "well I guess I was meant to talk to you then, because that's the only bus that comes through here only every two hours. So why don't you show me that video." We showed it to him and he loved it! He then started to explain how he is going through a lot of hard times with his family right now. And he told us that just as he was sitting there on that small brick wall he was praying to God because he didn't know what to do anymore and that just at the moment as he was asking God to give him some guidance he turned around and there we were smiling and saying hello to him! We testified of the Restored Gospel and of the Atonement and of the plan that God has for him. He visibly felt the spirit and he was just in total awe that we had come to him right in his moment of need. He was such a happy and vibrant person! We asked him if he would promise us to meet with the missionaries in his area that would teach him more of the plan that God has for him and his family. He smiled and said "I promise, I will." We gave him and card and then he asked if we could pray. We gladly accepted and Sister Jolley offered the sweetest prayer for him, and then he asked if he could pray for us. In his prayer he thanked Heavenly Father countless times for sending us to him, and he spoke of how much it meant to him that we stopped to talk with him and tell him of the plan. And he spoke of how excited he was to meet with the Elders. Afterwards we got a voicemail on the phone from Dennis again thanking us for how grateful he was that he met us and for helping to answer his prayers. It was amazing!!! I will never be able to thank my Father in Heaven enough for allowing me to be one of His missionaries right now. I am grateful for the still small voice of the spirit. I learned from this experience that when we get promptings it may not always be at the most convenient times. But being missionary and living the gospel is not about being convenient or comfortable. Because when we're comfortable, we're not changing we're not growing like Heavenly Father wants us to. I'm grateful for this gospel and for the spirit and for the fact that I get to see miracles like this constantly :)
Tomorrow we are having Mission Tour Conference. It's like a Zone Conference but this time Elder Kacher of the Seventy is coming to speak to us! and I am so excited! I also got to hear him speak in the MTC and he was amazing so I am excited to hear him again. But this last week he asked President Anderson to ask all of us Missionaries that we study "What the Atonement means to me as a Disciple of Jesus Christ." I took this invitation very seriously, and I have been studying the scriptures, talks, hymns, Preach My Gospel, anything and everything in whatever spare time I've had just to study the Atonement more in depth, and to truly figure out what it means to me as a disciple of Jesus Christ. And OH MY GOODNESS!! I cant even begin to tell you everything that I have learned about the Atonement this week. My testimony has grown in ways that I never thought it could. My love, gratitude, and reverence for the Savior has only grown deeper and deeper. Simply put the Atonement means everything to me. Without it I would not be a missionary, no one would. As I studied three words came to my mind: Change, Grace, and Love. What is the Atonement for? Change. It's purpose is to change us from the imperfect mortals that we are to the eternal beings that we have the potential to become. How does the Atonement change us? Through the Saviors Grace. The enabling power of the atonement to help us to overcome and do the things that we cannot otherwise do on our own. Why did the Savior do it? Because He loves us. And he loves Heavenly Father. Infinitely more than we will ever begin to understand in this life. Sometimes I think we forget that even the Savior Himself asked if there was another way...and there wasn't. He was the only one that could accomplish such a task in order to enable all of the rest of us to be able to return to our heavenly home. I don't understand the atonement as much as I wish I did. But I can testify because I KNOW that the power of the Atonement is real. I have felt in my life and I have seen it in the lives of others who I have come to love.
"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me."
I invite you all to study and ponder what the Atonement means to you individually as a disciple of Jesus Christ. This gospel is true and I know it with all of my heart. This is the only entirely true church upon the face of the earth. And I know that this is the Saviors gospel. And I will be Eternally grateful to have been His missionary for this time.
I love you all more than you know!!
Until next week,