Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16th, 2014

I'm sorry I didn't email last week! Last Saturday, on June 7th, Garett got baptized! :D  Holy cow.. it was so incredible. I don't know if I told you this either, but the monday before his baptism, he told us that he had finished the Book of Mormon! He read the entire thing in 23 days, and immediately started in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Old Testament. He is such a huge inspiration!! The day of his baptism was so special. Justin Hatch our branch mission leader told us that as he was walking back to the font with Garett, he asked him, "So... are you really ready to do this?" Garett without any hesitiation, excitedly responded, "OH yeah!" At the end of the service, he bore his testimony. In simple, sincere words he expressed his gratitude for the knowledge that he has a Heavenly Father. He knows that God wants us to pray to Him and that He is always going to answer those prayers. He has been so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the many things it has taught him as he has read it. He knows that Jesus Christ is His Savior and that if he keeps the commandments and endures to the end, he will be blessed. :)
His parents both came to the baptism and they seemed, though indifferent to religion, very proud of Garett and happy that he has developed such strong faith. He was absolutely glowing afterwards and kept telling us that he couldn't wait for the next day when he would finally be confirmed a member and receive the Holy Ghost. It was awesome!  Then, a few days later we had our first "new member lesson" with Garett and felt prompted to talk about missionary work. It went well, and he committed to start praying about receiving opportunities to share the gospel, and praying about the possiblity of serving a full-time mission! He continued through the week to read at an incredible pace through the scriptures and send us questions he had while reading. He is currently in Leviticus and past D&C 50.  Then, stake conference came! Because of the request from the first presidency, the Adult session on Saturday evening was entirely about missionary work!! It was amazing! I got to see Elder Walter C. Selden and he recognized me immediately!! He said he had been looking for me and wanted me to know that Grandma and Grandpa are doing well. It was a huge tender mercy! :) I told him that I had someone that I wanted him to meet (Garett) and he was so excited! He asked me to make sure that I don't leave on Sunday without introducing Garett to him! On Sunday morning, there was a recent convert meeting for anyone who had been baptized within the past 2 years. Garett was the newest member of the bunch and Elder Selden picked him out during the meeting and asked him to share his experience. It was so wonderful to hear Garett share how he, "had never been to church before in his life, but when he started reading the Book of Mormon it was a total game changer, and he knew this was true!" HOW COOL!!! Immediately after the meeting Elder Selden came right up to Garett and thanked him for sharing his experiences. As they continued talking, Elder Selden got a very serious expression on his face and said, "I hope... no, I KNOW by looking in your eyes, that you are going to do great things.."  :) As we walked away from the meeting, we told Garett how cool that was, for a general authority to so boldly declare that he will do great things!
I love you all so much!! The work is begninning to slow down here now that summer is in full swing and so many students have left. Sister Moss and I are excited to work even harder and find those that Heavenly Father is preparing for us to teach! The gospel of Jesus Christ has the potential to change anyone's life... just like it has changed mine. :) Have an amazing week!!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pictures: 1) President and Sister Topham with me at their last zone conference! They are so sweet and they will be GREATLY missed!!  2) Sister Moss and I with Garett at the baptism!


Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2nd, 2014

So this week has been like a rollercoaster. It started wonderfully! On Tuesday we had an amazing miracle happen with a guy named Cody! Here in the University Branch, we very, very rarely get to have lessons in member's homes. We almost always meet on campus. Well, we had a young adorable couple volunteer to have one of our lessons in their home on Tuesday night. We had a lesson planned with an investigator named Anthony who has been investigating for a very long time (way before either of us got here) and is not keeping commitments, he just doesn't seem to really care to figure out if the Church is true and/or he is afraid to act on the knowledge since he knows it would come! Anyway, Tuesday afternoon we got a text from Anthony saying he couldn't make it and we were so sad!! We texted the Mosses (the awesome couple) to let them know and they said that Kade (the husband) had a friend that he has been talking to at wrestling practice that he invited to come to the lesson and the friend, Cody, said yes!! Cody and Kade are on the Penn State wrestling team, and it is incredible because the coaches are brothers from Heber, UT - both wonderful members!!! Along with Kade, there is also another member of the branch that is on the wrestling team so Cody has had plenty of interaction with the church through them! So the lesson still happened, just with Cody instead of Anthony and it was AMAZING!!! Cody has such a genuine curiosity to know what he is supposed to do with his life and why there are so many churches and why mormons are such dedicated people, etc. He came with so many sincere questions and was really taking in and internalizing everything we were saying! Heavenly Father's hand was so easily noticeable through the entire thing. It was such a blessing :)
Throughout the week we had multiple lessons with Garett. He is just incredible.. I really don't know how to explain it, other than he JUST GETS IT! He has intently listened to what we say and taken it to the Lord every time so that he didn't have to rely upon us. The Spirit has testified to his heart over and over that this is true and because of that knowledge, he has gotten more and more excited for his baptism and the opportunity to officially make that promise to Heavenly Father that he will follow Him for the rest of his life. He passed his baptismal interview on Friday with flying colors and he happily paid a fast offering on Sunday. Miracles happen every single day!
Then.. life took a rough turn. One of my favorite sister missionaries in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission had to go home this morning because of a medical condition called TMJ. I don't know much about it, she explained it has a problem in her jaw joint. She and I were Sister Training Leaders at the same time and developed a friendship through that calling, then last transfer we were both called to serve in the State College area - she to the family ward, and I to the University branch. Since then, she has become one of my dearest friends. She was raised on a farm, played college volleyball, and knows how to work her butt off. She has taught me in so many ways how to be grateful for everything the Lord puts in my path. This experience broke my heart, to see her having to go home when that was the last thing she wanted to have to do! I want you all to know how much I value everyday that I get to serve the Lord as a missionary. The gospel is true! Sister Parker fulfilled her mission in so many ways, and I have been blessed by her probably more than she will ever know. This morning as I got to hug her at the airport, I realized that she has done more good for the people she has served in these past nine months than most missionaries ever dream to do throughout their whole time on their mission. I know that we all were blessed with different talents and abilities, and that if we LET Heavenly Father use them, we can impact the lives of so many people - the way Sister Parker did for me.
I love this place with all my heart. I feel your prayers and am strengthened when I think of the wonderful support group I have behind me! When we put the Lord first, I have a firm testimony that all other things fall into their proper place. Have a wonderful week!
Sister Walborn
p.s. pictures: 1) Sister Moss and I with our district leader and Garett after passing his baptismal interview!! 2) The wonderful Sister Parker and I, just before saying our last goodbyes. LOVE YOU!