This week was really good. I got an AMAZING birthday president. L. Tom Perry came to talk to me! Seriously, he did! Well, to me and all of the missionaries in the mission. He's going on a tour of California and talking to all of the stake presidents, and on Wednesday he came to Oakland and spoke to our mission and the Santa Rosa (I think) mission. How cool! He gave an awesome talk on the importance of working closely with members to unify missionary work--one church, one body, one Savior. So great! We were really blessed to be able to hear from him and the other speakers. It was a great opportunity and definitely made me take a look at myself to examine whether or not I'm doing everything I possibly can to be obedient, do the work in the Lord's way, and strive to follow the Spirit. Best birthday present ever! We also had exchanges this week! I love exchanges. Always a great opportunity to learn and grow and change things up enough to re-assess and refresh the work we're doing in our areas. Hermana Osborn got to come to Richmond with me for a day, and Hermana Camarillo got to go to San Mateo. Sister Osborn and I had a really good day here and it felt so... normal (!) to be working with her in Richmond again. On this exchange I learned a lot about being well-prepared to teach to peoples' needs. The only bad thing about exchanges was that my camera randomly broke when we went to take pictures at the Visitor's Center afterward. Random! Also sad! This week has been a lot better as far as investigators and teaching goes. We were blessed with an opportunity to teach two young boys whose mother just recently started coming back to church after 12 or so years of inactivity and wants her children to prepare to be baptized. [They are 11 and 9 years old] [They] are on track to be baptized on March 25th! It'll be a huge blessing for them as they grow in the gospel together with their mom. Teaching kids is definitely a different experience than teaching adults, especially when the kids have little to no background in learning about things like the scriptures or prayer. It's been a good growing experience for me though, and it's helping me to teach the way the gospel is meant to be taught--clearly and simply--so the Spirit can be the real teacher. This week I've been thinking a lot about how the gospel is meant to help us progress and make changes. We have a lot of investigators who are reading the Book of Mormon and feeling the Spirit testify to them that it's true, but who aren't applying those feelings to their actions when we invite them to make changes, like to come to church or to live other commandments. It's frustrating! I'm realizing that this is the big test of life--not just to learn the truth, but to apply the truth and make and KEEP covenants with our Heavenly Father. I think we all fall short in that area of life--of knowing but hesitating to act on what we know. There are of course always barriers and temptations that try to keep us from making the changes that are necessary for us to live with Heavenly Father, but those things can be overcome through the Savior. That principle applies in all aspects of life! Even as a missionary, when the temptations and barriers I have aren't of the same class as what our investigators face, or as what I faced before my mission, the principle is the same--that through the Savior, I can overcome any barrier that stands in my way. But just knowing that doesn't do us any good--we have to make the choice to use the Atonement, and then do everything we can to follow the Savior with as much exactness as possible. Anyway, food for thought.