This week was so good! There are so many things to be grateful for! This week we did an exchange with the sisters in the Pitt 4th ward, and a blitz up in Erie with those sisters. Both were so amazing!! I want to tell you a little bit about both of them really quick:
The exchange with the Pitt 4th sisters was so fun because the sisters there both came out with Sister Larsen and I! We were all in the MTC together over 9 months ago and it was so neat to see the progress we have all made so far on our missions. I got to spend the exchange with Sister Brown. In case you don't remember the story, Sister Brown and I met on June 4th, 2013 (the day before I entered the MTC). She was sitting in the terminal of the Denver airport waiting to board the plane heading to Salt Lake. She is from Florida and we were both going a day early to stay with siblings in Provo. I walked up to her, because she was reading from Preach My Gospel and was dressed in missionary attire, hoping that she was a missionary too! Thank heavens she was and we discovered we were both headed (eventually) for the PA, pittsburgh mission!! It was such a tender mercy! And now, 9 months later we had another tender mercy experience! Over the course of the exchange we talked about how our missions have been so different up to this point, but so incredibly wonderful in their own ways. On the car ride headed back to her area at the end of the exchange, we bore our testimonies to each other and I felt the spirit so strongly.
Later in the week we went to Erie! We did a blitz with the sisters up there because it is 100.2 miles to their apartment one way... haha Very far. I am so grateful though, because it was exactly what needed to happen. The sisters up there are Sister Holmstead and Sister Sampson. Sister Sampson has only been in the mission for 5 weeks, and Sister Holmstead has been out for a year. Sister Holmstead is training for the 3rd time and also was a Sister Training Leader before she came to Erie. Even though all four of us stayed in Erie, we separated during proselyting time and I got to spend the day with Sister Holmstead. I learned so much from her! We became instant friends and I loved having the opportunity to teach with her! It was so interesting because at the end of every exchange (or blitz) we do a review and talk with the sisters about what we learned, and discuss what we all can do to improve, and at the during this review Sister Holmstead and I learned the same lesson but in different ways! We both learned the power of optimism but in different aspects of the work. It was so cool to realize how much heavenly Father works through the people in our lives. Each person we come in contact with has something to teach us, or to learn from us, or BOTH! :)
Also this week we got to do service at Produce to the People. I know I have talked about it before, but this time we had a really special moment. We were standing around before all the produce arrived, and the Elders were telling us about their day. A man made eye contact with me from a distance and so I smiled at him, not thinking much of it. He continued to watch us and then started walking toward us. He joined our conversation and we all introduced ourselves. He asked us a few questions about our tags and missionary life, and in an attempt to focus the conversation on him, I asked, "so how are you doing?" This man told us his life story. He was into drugs, alcohol, and every immoral thing out there until he was in his late 40s. He had hit rock bottom and was terrified, thinking that his life has been wasted by useless things. He was angry that he worked so hard everyday to earn money and then would go and spend it on alcohol and drugs. So, he started going to a little christian church where the people helped him give up his bad habits and turn his life around. He looked at us and said, "Those people helped me so much, and I know that my Lord was with me every step of the way!" He has now been clean for 7 years and is trying so hard to help other people recognize God in their life. This man really touched my heart! I KNOW that people have the ability to change. The Atonement is available to everyone, and we can play a role in others coming unto Christ. I am so grateful for the people at that little christian church who reached out to this man. :)
I love you all so much! I know that heavenly Father placed us all on the earth at this time for a specific purpose, and like President Eyring said in the General Women's Meeting, we are a "favored few" to be a part of the covenant. We have to do our part to help others have the blessings we have received! I know this gospel is true, the Savior lives.