Happy birthday, Dad! I totally saw Howard at conference! We had to email the progress record and I sneakily read his email and knew he'd be there. The trouble was trying not to freak out in a chapel full of investigators. Hard work.
Right, so other highlights from this week:
-The district leaders called us up Sunday morning and announced e-moves (emergency visa moves) which happen every so often. They said that we would have to pack and be ready to leave by Tuesday morning--Sister Paulsen whitewashing into Paignton and myself headed to
with Sis. Mills' greenie. We
freaked out--neither of us wanted to leave, it was early, Sister Paulsen is NOT
TRAINED, and I was super mad because we have a baptism on Friday. For crying
out loud. After calling Sister Housley, she said, "Okay, okay--wait.
Sister Johnson got the same call." And I realized it was April Fool’s.
Sister Paulsen was so furious. Elder Bracknell Livingston
hid from her presence for ages.
-Lina came to conference. She is progressing so much--we had Bishop over to teach the law of tithing, and she accepted it. She's Chinese and therefore impossible to read. I didn't realize how defined Western body language and facial expressions are. We came to the conclusion that because her family is letting her get baptized reluctantly that it's best to introduce the gospel gradually into her home. It's like
taking over Africa and no one knows about
it--you can tell her moments of defiance and the silent war she wages to keep
her faith in God strong.
-Carla came to conference at a members' home.
-There has been so much sunshine here, I can't even stand it!
-We're moving flats in the last fortnight of April. I'm really excited because the flat we have now is enormous and has missionary stuff from ten years ago. Mad. It'll be brilliant to have a totally new start.
-New investigator: sister Paulsen stopped him and he said, "What are you selling?" we said we were speaking about God, and he said, "Nope, no, I'm not interested" and totally fell on the stairs up to his flat. Since he was an older man, we panicked and ran over to him. He said, "I guess that's God punishing me for not listening to you." His name is John, and we had the opportunity to speak to him about faith and prayer and where we were before this life. Amazing! He is such a sweet man and is really searching for something constant in his life.
I don't have too much time, but wasn't Conference amazing? It was so geared toward those not of our faith on what we actually believe and who we actually are--I can't wait to see the last session. They'll air it in a couple of weeks in lieu of Sunday School and Relief Society. It was crazy to see all the turnover, and to hear Larry Echohawk get called to the Seventy! Amazing. My favorite talk besides Elder Holland's was the talk on being converted to the Church and being converted to the Gospel. It's so true. The Church is just a mass of programs and activities and time-wasting if you are not living the precepts taught. I'm excited to implement more of the Gospel into my own life, and actively exercise and build faith, repent of things that are halting my progression, remember the promises I made at baptism, and pray and listen for the promptings of the Holy Ghost. President Hinckley, as a missionary here, said that he intended to make religion an everyday personal experience by asking God what He would have him do, and then by doing it. That's where the magic happens.
I've gotten a lot of shtick over the years being a member of a church with so many "rules". And it's true; like the Marines, there is a lot of discipline required to be a disciple of Christ. But when you see it as a journey to become more like the Savior (because if we achieve that we will have so much power in the next life) and remember that the Person giving the commandments loves you more that you will ever understand and has only the best future in mind for you AND has all power and all knowledge, then everything else pales in comparison. Nothing else really matters because it's just a distraction. Life is like university--if we study up, work hard, develop great relationships, follow the rules, strive to be better and learn all we can, then at graduation (death) we have all the tools we need to become professional. We are naturally designed to achieve and create and everything else God does--it's no wonder, considering we are His children. I'm so grateful to have acquired this knowledge through asking Heavenly Father. We all need this knowledge, especially in moments of confusion and hopelessness. He loves me. He loves everyone on earth. If all the good parents in the world could live forever and have billions of children, they would love each of them perfectly too, and want the children to grow up to be better than them. We're not a far cry off from being like Him--everything is stacked in our favor to do just that. I know this through the Book of Mormon and through speaking to God Himself. He is there at all times, waiting for us to approach Him in humility and faith. What a beautiful message I have the opportunity to share!
This gospel is true, and the Church is pretty good too :) Remember that President Monson is the prophet for the whole world, and not just the members. The blessings of God in the days of Moses are poured out upon us still. I've only got a few months left, but I will do everything I can to extend the blessings to everyone in my path. I hope you will too!