Ahhhhhh it's just one more week until thanksgiving!!! How am I approaching 6 months already?!?! Ok I still have a few more weeks, but still.
HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! Since I won't get to email you until after it, I figured I bett do that now. Congrats on getting older Daddio! Thanks for your example and for your support. They've truly been some of my greatest blessings as I've served so far.
This week was the bomb. This girl got to travel to a little piece of home when we had zone conference up in Auburn.... (CA of course, but still :)! The land and the trees up there are just beautiful. I love seeing all of the leaves changing colors. Fall is just the best. So, in preparation for zone conference we were supposed to read and study up on some things. We were supposed to prepare a little 5 minute talk on how reading the Book of Mormon strengthened our testimonies of the Savior and His Atonement. Naturally, I got so preoccupied and procrastinated, so I wrote my talk on the drive up to zone conference... Anyways, I was able to get some good things out of taking the time to ponder the prompt. Here's a little snippet of what I thought:
"I had kind of a cool experience as I read one day. I was still in the 60 day Book of Mormon challenge and I was just pondering to myself as I read and a very interesting thought came to my mind. Instead of thinking to myself, "What is going to happen next in the Book of Mormon?" Or "What is so and so going to do next?" I thought, "What is the Lord going to do in this next chapter?"
When we center our lives on the savior through reading the Book of Mormon and drawing from those living waters daily, we can see Him more clearly working in the details of our lives. It has prompted me to dig deeper for a fuller picture of our Savior.
So now I pose this question to all of you: "Can we see the ways the Lord acts in each chapter of our lives?" Can we apply 1 Nephi 19:23 where it says "And I did read many things unto them which were written in the Books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." We are not much different than those talked about in the scriptures. That means that we have a lot more to learn. But I am grateful for a Savior who is a very active part of our eternal growth, who made it His mission to help us to make it back to our Heavenly Father."
Luckily, I got to share this testimony at zone conference (because we get randomly called on). I was not only grateful that I took the time to write out my thoughts ;), but also that we have the Book of Mormon as the keystone of our religion in doctrine, testimonies, and witnesses of Christ. We also found out at zone conference that we will, instead of having one zone conference every other transfer with interviews in between, be having a zone conference and set of interviews every transfer!! I'm excited because that means we get to come together more often, but know that it'll be a lot of work for the mission presidency. Exciting stuff man. We also got to learn about the new Christmas initiative video and the theme "Light the World". This year it focuses on how Christ is the light of the world and how we are the light of the world. We can share the light with others by serving them as Christ would. I just can't wait for the holidaysssssss. Get prepared for a month full of Christmas service y'all!! As for the title of this email, President Marston taught us about how the Savior worked the miracle in helping the blind man see. He spat in the dirt and made a little bit of clay, which he placed on the man's eyes and when he told him to wash, the man could see (I probably butchered the story, but you get the point). We are the spit and the dirt. We are the mundane tools that the Lord works with to perform wonders if we let Him. So I came up with the quote, "We are just common spit and dirt, but in the Master's hands, we can perform miracles."
So just about every Wednesday we get to go help out with a Book of Mormon class for old people called, "Forget Me Nots". Isn't that name awesome?! Anyways, we've been reading the beginning of Jacob and learning about the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. It's so funny to see these people come together to learn. There's a pair of sisters that we teach named Marilyn and Diane. They live in the same house down the road from us. Marilyn is super social and giggly. Diane is the witty and sassy one. So they roll up and come walking through the door and they both just light up the room. Marilyn is a member and Diane is not. Marilyn comes in and says hello to all of her friends and Diane follows along. Out of the corner of my ear I hear, "Hi, I'm Diane, the one who can drink!" Oh Diane. I know one day it will be her time :)
That same day we went around trying to contact some people. We knocked on this one door and met a woman named Kendra. We talked with her a little while and asked if there was a good time we could come back to teach her more. She politely declined, saying that we were very sweet but she didn't think we could change her mind at all (she's agnostic). We gave her our number and she told us that if she was ever at a point where she was wondering, she would give us a call. I testified to her that the happiness she feels with her family and in life in general can only be increased by the gospel which we have to share. We parted ways and as we walked away, my testimony was strengthened in the power of planting seeds. Even though we didn't get to teach her the doctrine of baptism or the plan of salvation or anything like that, we got to have a great conversation with a woman who is in the process of starting a family. I just know that there will come a day where she starts to wonder. I hope that on that day, a pair of missionaries will follow the prompting they receive to come to her door and that she will let them in. The Lord works in mysterious ways and with His own timing and I'm learning to trust that.
SISTER CRANS CAME TO SEE US. I REPEAT, SISTER CRANS CAME TO SEE US. The mission momma herself came up to Rocklin to take Sister Cozzens and I out for pizza. It was so good to catch up with her. She's just a ray of sunshine :)
After that night we had a great lesson with Brother Mondell. He is someone that has been meeting with missionaries for a very long time. We are in the midst of reading the Book of Mormon, 49 pages a week, until we finish. He places himself in the stories and thinks of the writings in many different contexts. I'm convinced that he studies more than the average baptized member of this church. Anyways, on Thursday nights we go over things that stood out to us from that week's reading. This week we brought up points in Jacob 5 with the allegory of the olive tree (funny how it lined up with Forget Me Nots). I spoke up and testified that part of this chapter is about three words: returning, repenting, and reuniting. We always need to remember to return to the Lord, that He will one day return, and that he always returns to the aid of his people when they are righteous. We return to the covenant path by repenting. The Savior's whole mission was to make possible our reuniting the human family to our Heavenly Father. I was so humbled to see Brother Mondell whip out his pen and scribble something on his piece of paper. He wrote down the word, "Repentance". Then he says, "I need to do that more often." Ladies and gents, that's the key right there. Repentance is such a happy thing! It allows us to be more like our Savior and Heavenly Father! I want to be like Brother Mondell and recognize that I need to repent more often :)
On Friday we got to serve an early thanksgiving dinner to some people in an old folks home and their family members who came. It was so cool to see the joy on people's faces that came from us just taking a little bit of time out of our Friday night. Right after that, we went to dinner at a member's house and the dad let us try on some of his FBI gear. He even let us look through his thermal monocular!! This thing lets you detect sources of heat, so we could see where someone had touched a wall for like 2 seconds, or a doorknob that someone had just turned. This stuff is legit. It was a fun night to say the least.
Saturday was rain rain rain rain rain. Sister Vaitohi wasn't feeling well at all, so we mostly stayed in. That gave me a lot of time to write and stuff like that! Helped me think about all the things I'm grateful for. And to begin to anticipate the food coma filled Thursday coming up :)
On Sunday we taught the gospel principles class in one of the wards. It was just cool to testify to so many people that the priesthood power we have restored to this church is the same power by which Christ performed miracles and the same that governed His church while he was on the earth and on to today. A very recently returned missionary came and sat in on the class and made the comment that priesthood power can only be handled by those who develop Christlike attributes because it can only be used upon the principles of righteousness. Priesthood power helps us become like our Savior!! How cool is this people?!?
Ooh other cool highlight of the week: definitely saw the Davis family at this former elder's homecoming!!! So I included a goofy picture of Lia and me :)
Hope everyone has a fabulous week and remembers to wear their eating pants on Thursday! But don't forget the real reason why we celebrate. Stay tuned for the release of a new Christmas initiative video or something like that come November 25th! Mormon.org is the place to go :)
Pizza with Sister Grans!!
If you couldn't tell, we just love her...
aaaand an impromptu mini photo shoot to commemorate a day of bomb exchanges
Lia has obviously practiced her mean mug (also featuring Carla being a literal monkey)