February 8, 2016
Dearest Family and Friends and anyone else,
This week my heart has been filled with indescribable gratitude. Missions are hard. People say that a lot and I have come to find out that it is quite true. However, it has been a completely different "hard" than I expected over the last... however many months. You spend every waking minute thinking so intently that by the end of the day you are so spiritually drained that you are physically incapable. However the happiness you enjoy on your mission overpowers all of the hardships and difficulties. This is just like the Gospel. The Gospel is simple but it isn't easy. The joys that come from living righteously cannot be described because of how truly wonderful they are. In the Washington Everett Mission we have discussed four things that create success among missionaries. They are faith, attitude, excitement, and expectations. The same applies to righteous gospel living. As we have faith in the doctrine of Christ, as we have a positive attitude, as are excited to learn, grow and share our testimonies, and as we expect to see God's promises fulfilled we will be full of joy. I want to share experiences from this past week that has helped us not only be successful but find the indescribable, God given happiness that is promised to each of us.
Out in the field you do a lot of role playing and practicing for investigators, members, random people you don't even know. And majority of the time you practice the perfect, ideal situation (that never actually happens) However, we had a lesson this week with Domlina that was just about as perfect as it could get. Her husband is a less active member and they are from the Marshall Islands (not sure if it's martial or Marshall or something else). We met her for the first time, and asked her why she wasn't baptized. She said she didn't really know! We had a perfect Restoration of the Gospel lesson with her, and then invited her to be baptized. She committed to be baptized February 27th! Yep, miracle.
We got a referral for this family in a... not so good... apartment complex. We knocked on the door and a guy from the middle east answered the door and told us to come in. We asked if there was a third female, there was, so we went in. They just moved in and they are from Iraq and Ukraine. We asked if we could do any service for them and they started listing off items they need... lol still not sure what we are going to tell them on Tuesday about the lack of furniture we are coming back with. As we were sitting on the couch the guy (who spoke no English at all) brought two dark drinks over on a fancy tray and he bows. I am a little hesitant but grab it. Then I hear Sister Washburn whisper in my ear, "it's Coke, I saw them pour it." hahaha so then we have to chug this hot coke. They were super nice. They are Muslims.
We had an appointment go a little longer than expected and it started getting dark outside. We had to walk back to our apartment in the dark on Casino. We avoid that situation AT ALL COSTS. However, we just started praying out load as we were walking down the street and all the scary guy that were on our side either walked right by, crossed the street, or turned down a different road. It was such a huge blessing. We know the Lord watches after us and keeps us safe.
Some other awesome things that we have done this week is service projects! Sister Chambless is a lady in our ward (recently reactivated) who is being moved to a care facility, so we have been helping her pack up and clean. Well we start helping her clean her outside storage closet, and it is really creepy in there... TONS OF SPIDERS. Well not only were their spiders in her storage closet, but also in her neighbors who we helped move that day too! I had plastic bags on my hands cleaning out all the boxes and taking everything out of the closet. In the meantime, Sister Washburn was as high as she could be on a chair with gloves on HER hands. Service is the greatest experience.
A member took us out to dinner this week. Applebees. I love that Oriental chicken salad. lol. Afterward they just kept giving us coats on coats on coats. They said if we ever need anything then we are their family and we can ask them. THEY ARE SO CUTE!
We met a former this week. His name is Bob Keithley. We wrote down his name and contact information and then he says, "let me see how you spelt it... some people add an extra o." I have to think for a second... like obob bobo.... and then I realized what he meant. I died. And then right before we left he said, "Can I give you pretty girls a hug and a kiss?" You have to understand this guy is like upper 80s. We are like.... "Uh, you can give us a handshake." Then all the sudden he is embracing me and opens his hand with a Hershey kiss. We love him. He is super cute and his wife is adorable. She has cancer and really bad health so he drives her to the hospital for treatments every day. Hopefully they will find comfort in the Plan of Salvation and decide to investigate!
The rest of our investigators: Maria, Adolfo, Abraham, Isaac, Jodi, Benneth, Francis, Adam, Anita, Jeremiah, Jorjanna, Jakob, Lisa, and Domlina are all doing well. Progressing and have real intent. We are so blessed to labor in this part of the Lord's vineyard. We have four investigators on date. Domlina and Adolfo for the end of this month. Jodi for March. Maria for April. The work is hastening.
I love when Ammon reflects on his mission in Alma 26. This week I can really relate to him in verse 16 when he says, "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." As I have served the Lord I have seen His hand in the work. I have truly seen the Lord work miracles in the lives of my brothers and sisters. Before you come out on a mission you think your testimony is solid and complete, but you quickly get humbled in the field and you realize how much you truly need to learn. I can now say that my testimony is my foundation and it is strong and unwavering. There are no winds or waves or hurricanes or seemingly massive disaster that could break it down or blow it away. It is because my testimony lies in the unchanging doctrines of the gospel and in the deep, unreachable parts of my heart. I know that the Lord's kingdom is on the Earth today and it has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Priesthood authority has been restored to the earth as well and that it allows us to perform saving and essential ordinances. I know that through the power of God, Joseph Smith was inspired and had the ability to translate the Book of Mormon. As we read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon, we not only come to know it's true but we can see God's hand in our life. I know that we are led by a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson and that we will not go astray as we act upon his words. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and through his atonement we can be made clean to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father again. And as a sweet man in the Mukilteo Ward would say, "That's my story... and I'm sticking to it!"
I love you all. :)
I'm never coming home. :)