Yay for the Christmas season!!
I am so grateful for a loving Father in heaven and the opportunity to share my testimony of the Savior with the people of the Butler area! So many tender mercies were given to us this week and we feel so blessed!
I'm not sure if you remember, but when I first came to Butler I told you about a young man named Andrew! He is one of our investigators and he was originally supposed to be baptized on November 30th. Well, he is 23 and still lives at home, and his family does not know he is investigating. He asked us to push his date back because he was going to be moving at the beginning of December and didn't want to tell them until after he had moved out because of the contention he knew it would cause. Well, the apartment he planned on moving to fell through because of a heating problem, and at the same time the girl who got him interested in the church who lives in Utah, decided to tell Andrew that she wanted him to date other people.... sad. After that lesson when he broke all of that news to us, we couldn't have a lesson with him no matter how hard we tried! He would cancel on us or not respond to our messages for 4 weeks straight. We had continued to pray for him but had stopped planning for him during our weekly planning session because of his lack of interest (or so we thought). Well, this last week we finally got to have a lesson with him and he came with such exciting news: He told us he is planning on telling his parents about his investigating the church on January 15th, because he is moving on January 14th (still within our area), and he wants to be baptized shortly after!!! :D Such a wonderful answer to prayer! He told us that he really was just overbooked the past few weeks and he was so sorry he had to cancel so many times. It was so happy! So, we had a lesson with him about the importance of strengthening faith. He is a tree farmer, so naturally we used Alma 32. It was so amazing to see how the scriptures can really help anyone better learn principles of the gospel, and to see how Andrew basically taught himself the lesson through our series of questions we had prepared. I think Heavenly Father was really trying to remind me that He is always in control, and even when I think people are not progressing, He is always at work in their heart!
Another tender mercy, happened on Friday. We were walking on the main strip of Evans City (it's super tiny) after updating our progress record at the library, and at the stop light a big red suburban pulled up next to us and the lady driving rolled down the window to say, "hello!! Just a big mormon family in a big mormon car!" haha She then told us to walk over to the market parking lot so she could talk to us. Her name is Sister Webb and she actually is a member of the Cranberry ward, even though she lives 5 minutes away from us (because we live in the bottom corner of our ward boundaries). But she rocks! She has 6 kids under 12 and she served a mission in Switzerland! She gave us 2 referrals of families they have become close to through school and that live in Evans City, AND she invited us to her home for lunch on Christmas eve!!! We had to get permission from President Topham and his response to our request was, "just because it is Christmas." :) haha We were so grateful for Heavenly Father placing her in our path!! She has given us proselyting ideas and brought us over ingredients to make cookies for our neighbors, the day after meeting her :) So awesome!!
The Christmas program yesterday in the Butler ward was incredible. We were dragged into singing in the choir (dragged... haha) and it was so wonderful because we got to look out at the congregation and see all of the smiling faces, happy to hear the stories of the Savior being talked about over the pulpit. The Butler Ward is so loving and it is so easy to feel the Spirit of CHRISTmas around each of them. I love this gospel with all my heart and I feel so grateful to be here at this time, helping others receive the witness that I have that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. I have received multiple packages and cards from so many people and I cannot describe how loved I have felt! I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life :) I love you all so much and I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas!!
p.s. Pictures: 1) Alan Kean (the hilarious member who wears the funniest things to church) showed us some of his swords after correlation... so we had to take a fun picture with them! 2) Sister Draper and I at a "scenic lookout" spot we found on the way to Brookville for an exchange. The snow is beautiful! 3) Sister Draper and I next to our "big" Christmas tree :) LOVE YINZ! Merry Christmas <3