What a great week. I hardly know where to begin! One thing that has constantly frustrated me throughout my mission as I have written in my journal every night and sent you all emails every week is that WORDS DON'T DO THIS JUSTICE. But I write anyway, hoping that although my words don't give my experiences the credit that they deserve, someday I can look back over what I've written and remember the feelings that i had. And maybe you all can just get a taste of what I'm experiencing :)
So here's a "taste" from this week: Zone Conference with Elder Richards. He's a new member of the European Area Presidency (and gave a talk in conference last year I think: "The Atonement Covers All Pain"). He and his wife are such amazing people. He served as a mission president in Texas! (San Antonio) Way cool. I always love meetings like that, and it's always impossible to capture in words the feelings and the spirit that was felt there. He said something interesting though: He said (something along the lines of): "This is more than just a spiritual 'pump-up' meeting. We are coming here to receive answers to our questions and then make changes in our lives based on the answers that we receive." What he said was so good--and something that I've been learning on my mission. So much of the inspiration and revelation that we receive is dependent upon our personal preparation AND our "real intent"--actually following through with the answers that we receive. And it applies to almost everything that we do in the church-- sacrament meeting, general conference, other church meetings, etc... in order to really receive all that we can from our church meetings, we need to approach them as more than just a "spiritual pump-up meeting." We need to view them as ways of receiving answers by coming prepared with questions, and then we need to leave those meetings with the resolve to make changes based on the answers that we received.
This might be a good point to tell you of a really cool experience that i've been having lately. I'm so grateful for the time that we spend every morning as missionaries studying and reading from the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. I recently finished the Book of Mormon again and started over once again from the beginning. But as I thought about how I didn't really seem to gain anything from my reading the last time around, i decided to do something differently this time. I now read the Book of Mormon every morning with a question in my mind-- I write that question down in my study journal, and i also write down the answers that I receive through my scripture study. And the amazing thing is that without fail, I have received an answer to my question every single day.
One of my favorite experiences from this week was when our investigator came to church on sunday. It was such a victorious and joyful moment. We have been meeting with this investigator for about a month now, and she hadn't come to church yet. She has always expressed a desire to, but has lacked the courage to do so. So last week we all committed to pray every single day that the Lord would prepare a way for her to come to church. So that's what we did--she prayed and we prayed collectively and individually every day. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she showed up, but I honestly was! It was such a joyful moment. She was just beaming and we were so happy and I was so grateful because I felt like that was the greatest teaching moment that we've had with her up to this point. We've visited her house and read from the Book of Mormon with her, but in this instance she was putting a principle of the gospel into action and learning for herself the power of prayer. It was once again a testimony to me that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.
My time is running short--there is so much more that I wish I could tell you, but I'll just say this: The gospel is true. Heavenly Father lives and loves us.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!