Great Gatsby! (one of Sister Gates' fav. sayings)
Haha okay family... this week has been absolutely PACKED but so wonderful at the same time!! So much to tell you! Ah!
Okay, so last monday, I'm sorry if my email was a little glum. I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on and I am happy to report that Sister Draper is doing well and I am loving my time here in Cranberry! After all of the usual events of preparation day, I couldn't shake the "funk" I was in and I was frustrated by it, so I asked one of the elders serving here in the Cranberry ward if he could give me a blessing. Guess what? Instant peace and comfort. His name is Elder Vassallo and I am SO grateful that he is honoring his priesthood and is worthy to give a blessing whenever needed. He intently listened to the Spirit and told me the words I needed to hear. I was told that I need to turn outward and share the talents and abilities God has given me with the people around me, and that doing this will bring me great happiness and comfort. It was much needed, and my testimony of the power of the priesthood was reaffirmed. :)
Almost immediately after the blessing we had a very strange experience.... haha I got a text from a random person, and he gave us his name and stuff and said he wanted an appointment! So, in our minds we were all super stoked to have someone search us out!! well... really long story short, this man had the wrong number and wanted to book an appointment thinking we were prostitutes. He said he found our number in an "ad" and that's when we were like.... huh?? oh my heck... it made us feel sick to our stomachs!! We had this long "text" conversation and the whole time we thought it was a miracle but in reality, he was looking to "book an hour" with us! It wasinteresting to say the least. We really felt that it wasn't a coincidence that he contacted the missionaries, so we told him that we have a wonderful message that can bring TRUE happiness to him, and that God is obviously trying to tell him something! He responded by saying he regularly attends another church... haha hm. okay! At least we tried!
On Friday, we got to have lessons with both of our main investigators: Andrew (mine) and Fred (theirs). It was amazing to be able to see the differences in conversion and how they receive the message we share. Andrew's was first in the morning, and it went well. He told us that yes, he does have a desire to be baptized and yes, he does feel the Spirit when we teach him and at church, BUT he still isn't willing to stop drinking sweet tea... His family brews it at their farm and apparently he is the designated "taste tester" since his father and worker both have diabetes. Haha But he is doing well and is continuing to pray and read his scriptures. I know that he will come around! He has such a good heart and sincerely desires to know God's plan for his life, we are just trying to help him realize for himself that it is all right in front of his face. :) It will happen, I know it!
When we went to go teach Fred, it was a very different experience! So wonderful but so different! Fred's has so many deep questions that he is trying to resolve in his mind and all through the lesson he was asking us questions that pertained to what it would be like AFTER he was baptized (you can see he is planning on joining the church... soon!). He wanted to know the involvement for his family, what would be expected of him, and most importantly he said, "I am an all or nothing kind of guy. And if I decide to do this, I will give it my all! I know that all religion is a lifestyle, but this religion seems to be more so. So if I'm going to live it, I'm going to live it right." ..... :D It doesn't get much better than that folks.
Friday evening into Saturday, I went up to Beaver Valley to spend 24 hours with Sister Crockett and Sister Larsen. It was so fun! So many crazy things happened that I absolutely loved! So... a few weeks ago, a friend from EFY named Elder Goettman who is on his mission in California wrote me an email and said, "hey you are serving in my stake! I'm from the Beaver Valley Ward!" CRAZY! *Dad - please make Nancy read this paragraph!* So while we were there, the sisters had to update their ward roster for their area book and I got to help. As we were going through, I recognized two more names of boys that were at EFY with Elder Goettman and I! One of them was in Nancy's group and his name is Brett! I was so excited and asked the sisters about them. Brett hasn't been to church in a very long time and isn't planning on serving a mission. :( Nancy - please look him up on facebook and talk to him! Help him remember the wonderful Spirit he felt at BYU! Be his friend! :) The other boy who I recognized the name is actually home for the holidays from BYU-I and I got to see him, say hi and take a picture with him to send to Elder Goettman. I think the best part though was that I got to go meet Elder Goettman's parents. They were thrilled to have the connection to their son on a mission and they seemed to really need a loving visit from the missionaries! Very fun experience.
So right now we are at the Family History Center at the Cranberry building and there are actually 6 missionaries here... haha Elder Waddups from the Beaver Ward had his companion go home as well, so he is living with the Cranberry Elders! So the Cranberry ward is loaded with missionaries at the moment! :) Kinda goofy, but fun. Sister Morphy and Sister Gates are incredible and we are just loving our time together!! We all get along SO well and our abs (or the lack thereof) are sore everyday because we laugh so much together! It has been wonderful!
Well, I am doing well and I hope everyone at home is too! :) I know that we can all be blessed and happy as we choose to follow the Savior and search out God's will for our lives, then DO it! I know that this gospel is true! I love you all so much and I hope you can feel the power of the Atonement working in your life every day! LOVE YINZ!
p.s. Pictures: Us three together at a New Year's Day party that a ward member threw for the missionaries, and a random fun picture of us three in the apartment! LOVE YOU!!