Hopkinsville is currently covered in ice and a tid bit of snow! Since we're missionaries and we never know what's going on with the weather, we got to a member's house last night for dinner and ended up getting iced in! It was super weird but SUPER fun! We got to sleep over at the Kinley's home and they made us feel so welcome and so loved. We made cookies and played Apples to Apples and in the morning we had family scriptures study and prayer and then made breakfast! The roads were still pretty bad but we wanted to try and get out before everything started melting. We ended up leaving around 10 and made it by going 20 mph down the windy icy snowy country roads and once we got out of that the roads weren't TOO bad. They don't have equipment to clear the roads here and so the town kind of shuts down whenever things like this happen. Nothing like Salt Lake! I miss Salt Lake City because they always have the roads being cleared- not here!
Anywho, besides our last minute surprise fun sleepover, we had a pretty good week. We learned and grew A LOT. At least I did!
So we met this woman named Heather last week, I think I emailed about her already. She had one of her baby twins pass away and we taught the most beautiful lesson on Tuesday! We thought it was just going to be Heather but it ended up being the father of her twins and her brother's fiance. We taught about the plan of salvation- where we came from, why we're here and what happens after death. The spirit was SO sweet the entire time we were there. All of them had loved ones that recently passed away and so it was really neat to teach about the Spirit World and how it's a place of rest and learning until we're resurrected. I don't think I've ever taught in such a natural and powerful way. It was an amazing experience to truly feel like I was being used as an instrument in God's hands to share these precious truths with His children.
We also met with a former investigator that the Hermanas who were here before us AND our ward mission leader told us to check up on. Well he was out of town for a while and then he said he was busy but last Monday night we had just gotten a text from our other friend saying that she couldn't meet with us so we were a little bummed. Then 25 minutes later this man text us asking if we could meet up with him. Heavenly Father is SO involved in this work! We sat and talked to him about some personal trials he's going through and it was amazing to just sit and read scriptures together and uplift one another. While we were there, in a Starbucks, it was so incredible to see the Spirit speaking to him and giving him so much comfort and so much insight through our visit. I too learned a lot during that visit. We met with him another night there and made some new friends at Starbucks while waiting for him! Starbucks is the place to be! We met a man there who LOVED chess and he mentioned that he loved it because his sister taught him how to play. I felt like there was more to his sister and their relationship and so when I asked about her he opened up and tol us about how she had passed away from cancer several years ago. I was so humbled to hear the little part that he had shared about his journey. I love my calling at this time because whether people recognize it or not, their souls sense who we are and so many people immediately open up to us and share with us so many personal experiences and things. We truly are servants of our Savior and as a missionary I feel this increased love and concern for everyone I meet and once they feel that they are so open. I love that I get to see people as our Heavenly Father does right now and that I get to so strongly feel the love that He has for each and every one of them. This is something I hope I can continue to feel after I am released from this calling.
Everyone that we are teaching right now is going through the craziest things! From torn ligaments, their dogs biting people, their children being in the hospital to their spouses wanting a divorce. With every single thing that these people are going through, it amazes me that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to bring all of them peace, strength and HOPE through all of these individual trials. Some of these things are from other's agency and God's will but I can't help but also feel that the adversary is hard at work. Satan is working so hard on those that are so close to the truth but I don't think he realizes that he's giving our Father in Heaven more opportunities to show these people that He is there and that He loves them.
I had several experiences this week where I was brought to my knees crying. I just felt so weak and like such a bad person or missionary! I am so grateful for these moments though because they brought me to a place where I was humbled. I have been praying and praying my whole mission to help me be more humble because i am so prideful sometimes! Heavenly Father really helped me this week take a good look at who I am, find things I can work on and then built me up. Heavenly Father will never tear us down without building us back up. I hope this is making some kind of sense! Within one of these experiences I had some bitter feelings towards someone and I just prayed and prayed to let them go, give them to my Savior, and see this person for their goodness. I was reading about Christ's crucifixion that morning and I realized that He was SO misunderstood! Here I was throwing myself a pity party because I felt so misunderstood and then I was completely humbled as I thought about how Christ reacted in that situation. Here he is performing miracles, loving others and doing the Father's will and these people are persecuting Him and seeing Him as anything but what He truly is. These people crucified Him and while He was hanging there He asked Heavenly Father to forgive them "because they know not what they do." Wow. He truly understood that people are unaware of how misconstrued their perceptions can be and He wasn't angry with them or bitter, He just loved them for where they were at. I want to be that way- to love people for where they are at in life and for who they can become. After this experience that only lasted an hour- of having these bitter feelings- I truly understood what it means to have Christ purify our hearts. Within an hour Christ replaced those bitter feelings with feelings of love and understanding. He truly purified my heart from the poisonous emotions. I am so grateful for Him.
Brothers and Sisters, the power of the Atonement is so real. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I know that He loves each and every one of us so purely. He loves us despite our weaknesses and He gives us the ability to become better and better everyday.
I love y'all so much :)
PS. I've been feeling a little lonely lately so anyone is MORE than welcome to send me some kind of letter or something in the mail ;)
Also, I would be so appreciative if you could share my blog with other people! It's an easy and great way to share the gospel ;) This week I wrote about my love for the knowledge of where we came from and the perspective that it brings into our lives.... tostandwithvaliantheart.blogspot.com