Okay, I can't express how weird it is to have to drive 15 minutes to get to church and for people to NOT KNOW who their neighbors are... it's a completely foreign concept to me! It's so crazy how secluded members are here.
Yesterday was Mission Conference, as in.... THE ENTIRE TSAM WAS IN A SINGLE CONFERENCE TOGETHER! AND I GOT TO SEE MY MTC DISTRICT!!!
Elder Teixeira of the Seventy came and spoke to us, and honestly it was so cool. About three days ago, my comp and I started putting together a plan for getting member-missionary work rolling here in Walsh Ranch. We came up with the idea of doing Member Meetings where it's like a cottage meeting but with just members hosted in a missionary-minded family's home and getting them involved in missionary work on a more individual level. But with less pressure than if we went to their home and talked with them as individual families about it. Elder Teixeira talked about goals and the importance of member missionary work and honestly it was like God was telling us that we were doing the right thing!!! I am so excited about it!!!
Last Tuesday we decided to change our weekly Book of Mormon class into a Come Follow Me class, and it is so great for these new converts and returning members to participate in these discussions! I'm already seeing the blessings of being someone who studies Come Follow me, it's so so important. It's definitely written through divine inspiration.
Also. We have so much. Like, at home, we have so many things, and we are so, so blessed.
There are so many single parents or part member families here, or even just inactive members. It honestly breaks my heart. And when we walk into a house that is... less than clean, or has cracked windows or water damaged ceilings, it kills me a little bit. It is so hard to see people who live in conditions like that. I can't be more thankful than I am now for a family that is strong and active in the church, and a home that is peaceful and clean and orderly. I am thankful that we can afford things like pets, and new clothes, and recreational things like sports and singing classes. I am so, so grateful to be blessed with these things. I thank God everyday for what I have.
On that note, I want to talk about the only thing that I can't live without as a missionary. The Book of Mormon IS the word of God, no doubt about it. There is no other way that a couple who are dredging up their savings for tithing money would willingly do that if they didn't have a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon and it's truth. There is no way that a mother of three inactive kids and a nonmember husband would keep coming to church, unless she knew it was true. There is no way that a single mother of four crazy boys all under the age of seven would drag them to church every sunday, and keep having hope and faith, if she didn't know it was true. There is no way that the bishop could watch so many of the youth and the members fall away, and still have hope, if he didn't know it was true. There is no way that I, someone who has never lived away from home before and someone naive to the world outside of Utah, could serve a mission and get rejected daily if I didn't know the church was true. The Book of Mormon has been preserved for OUR day, for the purpose of "the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God" and bringing the light of the gospel to every kindred, nation, tongue, and people. There is no doubt in my mind that the Book of Mormon is the cornerstone of the door to eternity, and the foundation of our gospel is built upon the Rock of our Reedemer, the one and only Savior of the world. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and the only one that has been translated in complete correctness. It is the words of prophets collected over millennia, and the words of God to His children. It is a testament of the reality of our Savior, the Prince of Peace, the Author of Righteousness. He is the Eternal God, the Holy one of Israel, and He and our Father in Heaven have blessed us with this book. If you haven't yet read the Book of Mormon, do it soon and do it with sincere intent, asking God to witness to you of it's truth. If you do this, I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that He WILL tell you it is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Thank you to all of you who still email me! Every little note, long or short makes me so happy! You're all the best, and thank you again for helping me get to where I am now. I couldn't have done this without y'all.
Until next week!
-Pictures are me and my rooms, one has Sister Hatch in it who is like my mission mom and then pics from our trip with Sister Hatch to Hmart, a big asian market in Austin.