So many amazing memories this week, I don't know where to start! It has truly been a long week.
Monday night we had dinner with the Mendenhalls - they are so much fun :) They have a little boy who is 7 and turning 8 soon, so they asked us to do a lesson on baptism for him. It was a blast! We used red and white playdoh and read https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/1.18?lang=eng#17 Isaiah 1:18 to explain that sometimes our beautiful white playdoh gets red spots on it, and if we're not careful, they get mixed in. (we had him mix them up as everyone in the room cringed haha) we then asked him if he could get them back apart by himself, and he tried for a minute before realizing it was impossible. So we explained the scripture and talked about how Christ's Atonement can take away all the red, even when it's mixed in, and give us a brand new piece of clean white playdoh. No matter how many times we get it dirty! It was just a fun little object lesson, but it was cool to hear him repeating back the ideas and really understanding what it meant to be baptized and enter that special promise with God that we can be clean as we repent through Jesus Christ's Atonement. Then, to finish the evening with some fun, bro Mendenhall brought out their ball python snake named Killer! :) I actually held a snake, guys. So cool.
Tuesday morning we did some service in the canyon and we planted flowers. While we were digging in the dirt, someone pointed out kindly, "Look! it's a tarantula!!" Believe it or not, it wasn't actually that scary. It kinda looked fake because the fake ones are so realistic lol. It was huge, though! like, 6 inches across! I stayed far, far away.
Tuesday evening we had a lesson with Faith, a 16 year old girl we've been trying to teach for a few weeks. She was so sweet! We met at her house with Sabrina, one of the young women who knows her and lives down the street. We met Faith's parents, as well, and they were really kind and totally supportive. We had an awesome discussion about the Book of Mormon and prophets and she agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon. She even accepted a soft baptism invite! (meaning, she said yes, if she feels like she knows what we teach her is true) We are so excited to meet with her again tomorrow :)
Wednesday we helped a sister in our ward who has cancer to put up her fall decorations in her house! She's on chemotherapy, so she gets tired often and it's hard for her to do things that need a lot of walking around. But we had a lot of fun chatting with Sis Klein while we helped make things festive for the season :)
Thursday I had an exchange with Sis Gage. We got to go to the mission home in the morning for a fun barbeque with the zone and to have a short spiritual thought with the Clarks. It was really nice just to be in the mission home for a little while - we don't get to be there very often, and it's like our home away from home.
Later that afternoon we had an incredible miracle! We stopped by a potential investigator, Lisa, that we haven't talked to in a while. She was found by Sis Lockhart and her companion a few months ago, and they felt inspired to simply stand on a certain spot of the sidewalk in Dove Canyon. Not two minutes after they heeded the prompting, Lisa pulled up in the driveway next to them and started talking to them!! Anyway, we hadn't been able to get in touch with her recently, but Sis Gage and I found her just getting home from picking up her son, Joey, from school. So she immediately invited us in :) We sat and talked for a little while and she asked several really inspired questions that allowed us to teach her all about prophets, the Book of Mormon, and our modern prophet, Thomas S. Monson. It was a huge miracle and we can't wait to talk to her again!
Conference this week was AMAZING!!!! I obviously can't tell you everything I learned - way too much! But my favorite thing I learned was from Elder Evan A. Schmutz of the Seventy. Here's an excerpt from his talk:
"Everyone … is acquainted with some measure of loneliness, despair, grief, pain, or sorrow. …
Many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. I testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them. …
When we find ourselves laboring through tribulation, it can be difficult to see our trials as signposts on our personal trail of discipleship. …
… May I suggest that your personal struggles—your individual sorrows, pains, tribulations, and infirmities of every kind—are all known to our Father in Heaven and His Son. Take courage! Have faith! And believe in the promises of God!
The purpose and mission of Jesus Christ included that He would “take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people,” “take upon him their infirmities,” and “succor his people according to their infirmities” [see Alma 7:11–12]. To fully receive these gifts our Savior has so freely offered, we all must learn that suffering in and of itself does not teach or grant to us anything of lasting value unless we deliberately become involved in the process of learning from our afflictions through the exercise of faith. … When we can link our suffering to an assurance of purpose in our mortality and more specifically to the reward awaiting us in heavenly places, our faith in Christ increases and we receive comfort to our souls."
It really reminded me of my favorite scripture, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/25.8?lang=eng#7 Isaiah 25:8, "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it."