I cannot even begin to describe what an incredible week it has been!! I started off the week with an exchange with my adorable sister training leader and good friend, Sister Sparks! We served in the University Branch together in State College so we know each other really well and it was such a tender mercy being able to spend a day with her. While we were together we got to teach Sheila about the importance of daily scripture study and prayer. Sheila is incredible and repeatedly expresses her sincere desire to simply do whatever it is that the Lord wants her to do! She is committed to being baptized and excitedly looks forward to that special time, but Sister Pugmire and I are not sure when that will happen. Sheila is very devoted to God, but has been having a bit of a hard time comprehending and retaining the wonderful truths that help her understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's one, true church upon the earth. It may take a little longer than we expected or would like, but we are constantly being reminded that everything happens according to the Lord's timing. His timing is always what is best, so there is no point in stressing out about the "when".
I had 2 wonderful surprises also this week - Thursday night a lady from Butler took us out for dinner! Her name is Jan and I think I talked about her quite a bit while I was serving there. She is an ANGEL and has come such an incredibly long way over the past year and a half in her conversion, her testimony is so strong it filled my heart with joy!! Her husband is now actively taking the lessons (he went from avoiding us entirely to sitting in on Jan's lessons during my time there) for himself and has been reading the Book of Mormon on a regular basis! Woot woot! She also has been sharing the gospel with one of her co-workers. So wonderful! It is amazing to see how we automatically desire to turn outward and share the blessings of the gospel when we take the time to recognize them in our own lives, and develop our personal faith!! Then, later in the week I got a surprise visit from 2 of my favorite people from State College!! Sam and Emily took an outrageously long detour after their temple trip to the DC temple and came here to moon to see me :) I about passed out with joy... seeing them didn't even feel real! I sat there holding their hands and listening to them talk about the happenings in the branch, soaking in the feeling of being with them again! I miss that branch so much!
The neatest experience we had this week was with a wonderful lady that I am going to call Mrs. B. She is not a member, in fact she is very active in her own Christian church. She is WONDERFUL!! She is a dry Mormon, and being in her home is such a joy. Sisters met them several months ago because they have a very good friend who is LDS who referred them. Well, they are not interested in taking the lessons right now but we pop in every once in a while to see if we can do anything for them. When we popped this last week, she said it was perfect timing because she wanted our help in decorating her house for Christmas! We were extremely excited, of course, and set up a time to help her. We spent a good chunk of time on Friday helping her and it was such a happy day full of learning about her and her family, and the role that God and religion have played in their lives! She asked us a lot of questions in reference to the misconceptions about the church and we loved having the chance to clear those up. As we helped her clean up after all the decorating, I asked if we could sing her a song before we left because I saw Sister Pugmire eyeing her beautiful grand piano as we put up the tree in the living room. She excitedly said yes and as Sister Pugmire began tinkering around on the piano, Mrs. B called her husband to come home from work right away and called her next door neighbor to come over for a "concert"! haha She was ecstatic that we wanted to sing for her. So, Sister Pugmire got to share our testimonies of the gospel through music :) We sang "We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet", "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul", "Count Your Many Blessings", "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and "God Be with You Til We Meet Again". It brought Mrs. B to tears and after each song she would comment on the beautiful words. Her neighbor was so grateful that she was invited and thanked us over and over for our beautiful voices. It was such a neat experience! We felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to share a little more of our beliefs in a way that means so much to both Sister Pugmire and I. Music has such an incredible ability to bring the Spirit and touch hearts.
I know the gospel is true!! I know that we can accomplish what the Lord needs us to, if we are doing what is needed to have the Spirit in our lives and then acting on the promptings we receive! Never pass up an opportunity to show love to someone.
Have a wonderful week!