Family... I cannot even put into words the overwhelming joy and gratitude I feel!! Life is so amazing because of this incredible gospel!! It gives us so many opportunities to show our faith and as a result, see so many miracles and tender mercies from the Lord placed in our lives! This week particularly, was amazing. :) I wish I could tell you about the whole thing, but I know I do not have the time for it, so I'm going to focus on a few people who were a huge part of a lot of the miracles through the week. Here we go:
ABRIAM! We have been teaching Abriam for several weeks now and he is doing so well! He initially wanted to talk to us because he wanted to compare it to his own faith, but he has been sincerely studying the Book of Mormon meeting with us diligently! Last week he came to FHE and made a lot of friends with members of the branch! It was wonderful! He is unfortunately going home for the summer, BUT he asked us to have missionaries come visit him at home!!! He gave us his address and told us the date he is moving back! When he comes back in the fall, who knows? He could be baptized!! :)
BENAMI! This is a less-active member that the sister missionaries have been working with for months and months but he has never come to church... I had a hard time with that, because we only have so much time everyday and using part of that on someone who isn't taking this seriously didn't sit well with me. So, in our last lesson with him (a little over a week ago - it was my 2nd lesson with him) I tried my hardest to be very bold with him. He knows the gospel. He knows the principles and he knows the commandments he is breaking but doesn't have the motivation to change. He told us that when he graduates in a few years he will move to Utah and then it will be easy to live the gospel and so he will start making changes then..... haha.... The biggest problem though, was that he was feeling that he was getting his spiritual nourishment from his lessons with the sisters and therefore didn't have a desire to get it from church. So, we called him to repentance in a lovingly bold way, and made it very clear that it is our responsibility to act upon the knowledge that is given to us. A light seemed to go off in his head when we told him that he has become "comfortable with sin". He sat there and said, "whoa... you are right. This is bad.." We told him that when he was ready to make changes in his life, we will be right there for him along with the rest of the branch, but until then we cannot continue meeting with him. Guess what.... he came to church yesterday :)
GARETT! I am soooo excited for Garett!!! We met Garettduring forums and he seemed so shy and uncomfortable as we talked to him. So we talked with him for a little while and he loosened up a bit. He is a local from State College and is studying pre-med. When we began talking about God and asked him if he had any religious background, he told us he has NEVER been to any kind of church service his entire life!! ...what?! That is so rare for Pennsylvanians it seems like. So after recovering from shock, we told him about our church service and he nonchalantly said he would check it out. So he took our number, we got his and he went on his way. night we texted him to give him the info in case he forgot, and all he responded was, "thanks" So... we were terrible missionaries and had little faith in him actually coming. But, morning Garett comes waltzing into the Memorial Lounge of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center (where we hold sacrament meeting) and a huge grin stretches across his face when he sees us :D He stayed for all 3 hours, so many people of the branch reached out to him and became his friend instantly, and he set up an appointment with us for this week because he said, "I love this but a lot of it is going over my head, I'm gonna need you to explain!" :) haha Someone asked him if they would be seeing him next week and without any hesitation he excitedly said yes! He is coming to FHE tonight too!!! Ah.... life is so good. :)
CIARA! Okay... this one is still blowing my mind! This is the same Ciara that I taught when I was serving in Elizabethtown!!!! Ahh!! I don't know if you remember, but she was one of my absolute favorite people!! She wanted to be baptized and worked up the courage to ask her parents, they were super supportive, and then President Topham said no because she was moving shortly afterwards back to Altoona for school! We were so bummed but knew that it would all work out... Well, upon returning to Altoona, she kind of lost contact with missionaries and didn't continue taking the lessons! But at our most recent zone conference, the Altoona elders came up to me to ask me about her (since I was the one that referred her) and I about died because I didn't realize that she was so close! They gave me her phone number to see if I would have any luck with getting a hold of her and we both we so incredibly happy to talk again!! She was so insistent about coming down to see me, which I was so happy about because I desperately wanted to see her too but didn't think it was appropriate to ask her to make the trip, and so yesterday she came to church with me in the branch!! :) It was a huge tender mercy for me because she was one of the first investigators of my mission that I truly developed a deep love for! The best part was that she told me when she gets back to Etown next week (she is graduating this week from Penn State-Altoona) she is going to call up the sisters :) I LOVE THIS WORK!!
So.. I hope that gave you a little taste of the happiness that I feel. I am so grateful to be here at Penn State. I know that I am meant to serve here at this time, and that as I put my trust in the Lord and work my hardest everyday, He will place those in my path that He needs me to share the gospel with. I also know that that doesn't just apply to me! Every one of us, as Latter-Day Saints, have been called to preach the gospel and that if we are open to it, the Lord will provide a way for us to share what we have with those in our lives! I love you all so much!! There are so many incredible women in my life that I look up to and admire with all my heart - please know that I think of you often and especially with Mother's Day approaching, I will be pondering the amazing roles you have played in my life. I am so grateful for you!! Have a wonderful week and happy Mother's Day! Love you mommy ^_^
p.s. Pictures: 1) Ciara and I reunited again! :) love her!! 2) Sister Moss and I with Sister Ying and Sister Wade (the other sisters in the branch with us) out to lunch at the historic restaurant of State College called "The Corner Room"! LOVE YOU!!