Holy cow. This place is so amazing. Elizabethtown is such a wonderful place to live. It is starting to cool down here - I'm wearing a jacket today! There are a few leaves on the ground and Sister Thomas and I are anxiously awaiting all the leaves to change color. This week has been a wonderful time for me to think about all of my blessings. Two of our investigators, Mikey and Dale, are no longer investigators. This was hard for Sister Thomas and I because we really loved them and could see their potential, the happiness they could have if they simply wanted to have it. But, it also has been a tremendous blessing for us because it has really forced us to think about all of the miracles we have witnessed and the blessings that we do have.
One of the blessings that I really wanted to share with you today is a lady named Deb (not the previous Deb... a new one). She and her husband Ken attend the Methodist church here in Elizabethtown and we came into contact with them through Athena's mom, and doing service for her while they were there. Every time we have met with them, Ken (Deb's husband) talks the entire time and likes to practically shove his beliefs down our throat. He listens to us and what our beliefs are, but is closed to taking a step back and trying to see if they are true - it isn't really a question in his mind. However, Deb always sits quietly in the background and just lets her husband take over. A week ago today, Sister Thomas and I were in the grocery store and we ran into Deb! She was happy to see us and expressed how much she appreciated us visiting them. She told us as we were leaving, "We don't have any children. But now I feel like I have two beautiful daughters." :) We felt such an abundance of love for her, and it solidified previous feelings that we had that her heart IS prepared. So when we met with them later on, we directed our lesson more towards her. Ken didn't really catch on, and still ran over her when we would ask her questions. They promised to come to church since Sister Thomas and I attended their Sunday school class the Sunday before. They followed through on their promise, and yesterday they came to church. Before we went into the Chapel, she saw a picture of Christ with his arms extended, surrounded by the hosts of heaven blowing their trumpets. She just stared at it, and then after a minute she turned to us and said, "It's so inviting, I just want to walk right into his arms." I sat next to Deb during Sacrament meeting and she would quietly lean over and ask questions. They also attended Gospel Principles class, where we learned about tithing. Ken didn't like the fact that we don't pass around an offering plate during our worship service, but after the class Deb leaned over to me and said, "I really like that it is so confidential, then it isn't like you are competing with other people, but just showing your commitment to God." ....awesome, right? They were planning on heading out after Sunday School class, but instead got a little tour of the building by our executive secretary. As Ken was busy talking about something with Brother Allen, I talked to Deb more about Relief Society. She said it sounds like something she would love! She said that even if Ken doesn't want to come back, she would be interested in it. :) We are meeting with her tonight and Ken won't be present because of a meeting. This is such a huge blessing for us!! We are really going to take advantage of the time we get to be with just her. We really love her.
Another blessing that was a huge miracle was a lady named Grace. She is a less-active in our ward who I have been visiting since my first week in Elizabethtown. I have extended the invitation for her to come to church countless times with zero results. She is an older lady and has many health issues. She only wants to come to Sacrament meeting because of her health problems and not being able to sit for 3 hours. So... we have tried many different options. This week, while visiting another less-active that has been coming to church much more regularly but also only stays for sacrament meeting because of severe health issues, we asked if she would be interested in calling Grace to see if she would go to church with her. When we met with Grace later in the week, instead of inviting her to come to church, we asked if she wanted to read an article from the Ensign before we meet with her again for us to discuss and she said yes!! (First time ever saying yes to one of my invitations) On Sunday, while sitting with Deb and Ken in the pew just before Sacrament meeting started, the other less-active comes into the Chapel and Grace was right behind her!!! I literally started tearing up with joy I was so happy to see her! They were uplifted by each other and I think it gave them both a greater reason to attend. It was so incredible, just another blessing from Heavenly Father.
There have been so many things this week that have filled me with joy in recognizing them as blessings from my Father in Heaven. One of the things I am continually grateful for is all of my wonderful family and friends! I can't thank you all enough for your thoughts and prayers. I am confident that the moments when things are hard, or don't seem to go according to plan, your love gives me the strength to press on regardless.
p.s. Pictures: #1: A picture of our windshield wipers... the blade part came off and was flopping around - not good - during a really bad rainstorm and I couldn't see anything, so we pulled over and I tied them to the plastic part with dental floss. It worked! haha #2: Sister Thomas and I after fixing the windshield wipers. We were soaking wet. #3: A really cool old barn with a mural on the side that says, "Harvest time" - we love fall! LOVE YOU ALL!