To all the people I love:
Man oh man. The weeks just fly right by don't they? I am in awe that I'm sitting here in Missoula, with clothes, books, and suitcases piled all around me waiting to be packed up for the last time. Yikes. There's a pretty big piece of me that doesn't want to write a weekly email today, but they have become somewhat of a journal for me and it's therapy for me to write. So bear with me ;)
This last week was so great. It was a roller coaster for sure though. We started off the week with exchanges with the Colombia Falls sisters. I was with Sister Anderson (she returns home the same day I do) and we saw the COOLEST miracle on our second night together. We received a referral from Mormon.org saying that a man had requested a Book of Mormon. We called to set up a time with him, but he didn't answer so we decided to stop by. He lives in a very old, very creepy looking apartment complex. Turns out there are like 8 different entrances....after almost walking into someone's basement, and almost breaking a door, we finally found his apartment. After we knocked, the door flew open and I'll never forget this next moment. He looked at our faces, looked at our name tags, and then to the Book of Mormon in my hand and his face just absolutely lit up. I have NEVER seen ANYONE have so much joy on their face. "I've been waiting for that book! Can you teach me more about it?!" My jaw had visibly dropped at this point. He had seen an add on YouTube about the Book of Mormon and clicked on it. He's from Saudi Arabia, no religious background really, but he wants to learn. Ah. It was just so cool. We had a lesson scheduled with him on Saturday, but he had to cancel because he was taking finals :( I'm sad I will not be able to continue to be a part of his journey, but that little moment is one I will remember for forever.
Tuesday we had our Christmas Conference. Oh how I LOVE Christmas. As a mission we have all be reading the Book of Mormon and marking the attributes and characteristics of Jesus Christ as we read. During this conference many of the missionaries shared what they have learned. Reading the Book of Mormon in this way really changed my perspective of the scriptures. All of the sudden I was seeing how Nephi, Enos, Ammon, Teancum, Moroni and others were Christlike. The Book of Mormon wasn't just a novel to leisurely enjoy, but a roadmap to guide me closer to my Savior. I love the Book of Mormon. In my departing testimony to the missionaries I shared my current favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon that describes the Savior. "Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up..." (3 Nephi 18:24) LIGHT. That's my favorite way that Jesus Christ is described. He truly is the light and brings light into our lives. :) At Christmas Conference we also had the Wadsworths there. I cherish every minute I get to spend with them. They have changed my life. I can always count of them to make me laugh and really enjoy this special time of my life. If I didn't have my family waiting on the other end of this mission experience...I wouldn't not be coming home ;)
I spent the end of the week in the lovely town of Lolo! It's beautiful there. I think it was about 30 degrees that afternoon...and we spent ALL of it walking around town talking to people and knocking on doors finding people to teach. You never feel more like a missionary then when you are walking on the side of the road...in freezing temperatures...smiling and waving at everyone you see. When we got back to Missoula, Sister Crosland and I drove past a frat house where there was a party going on. There were SO MANY people our age drinking and partying and I could help but think. Wow, they are spending a Saturday night at a party "enjoying themselves" and we are here driving around at 8 o clock at night trying to find people to teach about Jesus Christ. Hahahaha Wouldn't have it any other way :)
We had 7 appointments set up for Saturday...only 3 of them actually happened....Haha #thatmissionarylife We had this SWEET lesson with Flo and HER FAMILY. Flo is a less active, she hasn't been to church in 30 years. She has 6 kids, and 4 of them still live at home with her. None of them have been baptized and really have no religious background. We brought Brother McBride and his son Conner with us, Conner is headed to SPAIN on his mission in February! Anyway. So we have Flo there, and then her 12 year old daughter, 18 year old son, and 21 year old son. We had previously taught all of them the restoration, except for the 18 year old. We taught the plan of salvation and it was SO cool to see all of the wheels turning in their heads as we testified of our purpose here on earth. The 18 year old was especially interested. He asked questions and even said the prayer at the end. Ah. It was just such a cool moment. Family. That's what it's all about!
Wow...I'm just hoping that if I don't stop typing this will end up not being my last letter....yikes. I am SO glad that I came on a mission and that I came to Montana. When I first decided to come on a mission it was because of a priesthood blessing I received. I can't remember anything from it except the line, "God is trying to lead you to the path that will bring you the most happiness." A mission :) And it truly has put me on a path where I have experienced SO much joy. And I know that there is so much more happiness ahead of me too. Y'all might have to keep reminding me though ;) I'm leaving a big piece of my heart here in big sky country. I can't put into words all that I've learned and all that has happened. But I do know for sure that serving a mission has helped me to know Jesus Christ. He is my best friend and the only one that will really understand how these past 18 months has influenced me for the rest of my life. Our Father in Heaven EXPECTS us to do hard things, but he doesn't leave us to do them alone. I am so grateful for this time I have had to learn to do hard things and to be an instrument in His hands. I know that God has a plan for each one of us, we are his children and he wants us to succeed. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. No doubt about it. Read it and you will also know for yourself! :)
I love you all so much. Thank you for all of the love and support. I hope to see many of you in the coming weeks. My homecoming talk will be on the 18th, you can get more information from my mom on that :)
Be happy, work hard :)
That awkward moment when they make you go first...
Missionary protection is real...right? Sketch bridge.
Lolo National Forest!