Monday, August 3, 2015

Fourteen months ago today...

3 August 2015

Hola familia!

Our newly baptized investigator was confirmed yesterday! His sister came to sacrament meeting to be there with him. He's reading his scriptures and is making a huge effort to go to seminary because he turned fourteen, even though he technically can't enroll until next year. A while ago he asked us, "Do I have to go to seminary after my baptism?" I didn't even answer. I said, "Hermana Fullmer and I were just talking about our seminary experiences today. It's the best! You only have four years to attend and then it's over. We can't go back to seminary. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did."

I had exchanges with BOTH Hermana Nuñezes this week. Tuesday I was with Hermana Nuñez from Mexico, my former companion. It was so fun to teach with her. Perhaps because we taught together for eight weeks or perhaps because she is just a good missionary, but I felt like we had a lot of unity and were able to teach in harmony. We had a lot of lessons with investigators and I felt good about our day. We finally taught the Restoration completely with our investigator’s husband. We had taught it before but with minimal details and I felt like he needed more. His wife helped us and I felt like we were teaching an investigator with a member instead of two investigators. We taught the family we have been teaching about keeping the Sabbath day holy.

 For language study Hermana Nuñez and I chatted in English as we cut out invitations for the ward activity. Hermana Nuñez doesn't have a gringa companion to practice with anymore but her English is spectacular. We decided we are going to Skype often after the mission so we both can keep up our language skills. I hope we can be lifelong friends.

The exchange with the second Hermana Nuñez was kind of rough because no one was home but she has a good attitude and that made everything better. We did teach a few lessons, though. My favorite was with the less active father of a new teenage convert. We weren't planning on teaching him so we hadn't agreed on what to teach. It had to be all by the Spirit. He isn't attending church or reading his scriptures just because he doesn't feel like it. My own mind wanted to teach about the Holy Ghost and how it impulses us to do good. I opened to Moroni . However, as I opened my mouth I started speaking about grace instead. They weren't my own words but as I listened to myself speak I heard the words I needed to hear on a semi discouraging day. He had also complained about his health and how he didn't have energy. After we read Ether 12:27 about how our weaknesses can become strengths, Hermana Nuñez talked about the blessings we receive from living the Word of Wisdom and fasting. She shared a scripture from Isaiah 58.

Saturday was our "Meet the Mormons" movie night. It turned out to be a really good thing because the family we are teaching went! And... the mother of the family and our investigator know each other! Our investigator knows everyone. As they talked the mother seemed confused. "You're part of this congregation?" she asked. "Yes, actually I'm going to be baptized the ninth of August," our investigator responded. I think it was good for the mother to see that normal people she already knows are joining the church. The members were all welcoming to her, especially the Primary President. She included the kids in a rehearsal for a Tangled dance they will be performing in a stake activity for Children's Day on Saturday. They practiced after the activity and the little girl was really excited about it. 

Our investigator brought the mother of a little boy she watches during the week. (Soapbox: The investigators brought investigators but the members didn't. Hmmm....) The little boy’s mother doesn't live in our sector but she gave us her address so we can send other missionaries. Her son was listening and grinned up at his mom. "The missionaries are going to come to our house?" "Yes," she said and he gave her a huge hug. It was darling. Our investigator says that he has been praying and loves singing the hymns. He looks forward to family home evening in their house with so much enthusiasm.

I love the "Meet the Mormons" movie. It's surreal to see the missionary at the end opening his call. I remember all that fuss and waiting for a big white envelope. It came! I don't think I knew as I opened it exactly what it would mean for me. I was dying to know WHERE and WHEN. HERE I am RIGHT NOW. I don't think I really understood how many wonderful experiences I would have or all of the friends I would meet here and how much it would really shape my life. I watched them drop the missionary off at the airport and remembered the day I left from the Salt Lake airport fourteen months ago today. Surreal.

Our investigators husband went to church yesterday! He shared his testimony! He and his wife are getting married on Wednesday and will be baptized on Sunday. We are a little bit stressed because we haven't finished teaching all of the lessons to him yet. He is keeping commitments but we want to make sure that he has his own testimony and that he isn't doing this for us or even for his wife. We are praying that he can be spiritually self sufficient. 

As we taught them about the ten commandments, his burning question was whether picking flowers from someone else's yard is stealing. Apparently he has brought home roses for his wife from someone's house. He knocked but no one answered so he just took some. We were laughing but it was his sincere question. I told him that when in doubt it is better to ask permission and not take something that doesn't belong to you. Now Hermana Fullmer is concerned because she picks flowers from people's bushes to press in her planner.

We had a family home evening with our investigator’s family last week and while at their house I heard the story about how her husband was once bitten by a brown recluse. He was in the hospital for five months, almost died, and had to have a skin graft. Hard to believe. Now we are even more grateful that we were not bitten. 

Sorry to end on another spider note but my time is almost up.
I love you! Have a great week! Pray for our investigators!
Hermana Eva VanCott

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