Hi family! First of all, thank you for your prayers this week. We've been praying hard too to find success. Last week was the lowest of the low, and this week has exploded with miracles. I know that your prayers helped us to have success.
The highlight of the week--we had 4 investigators at church! These are four new people we found on Monday night this week. Leslie and Flor are cousins, and Flor has two boys named Michael and Jesus that are 8 and 10. We taught them the message of the restoration and about the Book of Mormon and they were super excited! Flor was fascinated that there were scriptures about Christ in the Americas. They are so awesome and really prepared. We invited them to church and they said they'd come but they'd drive themselves. Sister Osborn and I were panicking all morning waiting for them to arrive. They left late, and then got lost. We were praying hard that they'd keep going and not give up and turn around, and then 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started, they pulled up in the parking lot! It was truly a miracle. We've been struggling a LOT to get people to church, and then we had this family come. It was amazing, and definitely an answer to many prayers, both mine and yours, I'm sure. We'll be teaching them again tonight, so hopefully all goes well!
Other highlight of the week--I went back to Richmond for an exchange! It was sad to see that some of my recent converts are struggling and are not active right now. It's truly painful to see them make decisions that won't make them happy. The temptation to beat myself up for not "teaching them right" or not fulfilling all of their needs as a missionary is definitely there, but in the end, it's their decision to live the gospel or not. That's why the atonement is there--so we can get back on track when we wander off, which we all do to some degree. But it is still sad to see people I've come to love so much struggling as new members. Imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when we don't do what we know is right! But the sadness of seeing some converts not progress is a stark contrast to the enormous joy of seeing converts who ARE solid and still progressing, namely, the AVILES FAMILY! It was so good to see them again. The oldest girl just got back from her first YW camp and the mom is calling the whole ward to repentance and getting them to do visiting teaching. The littlest girl shared her testimony of the plan of salvation with a lady in the library this week, and they are reading the Book of Mormon every day and going to church. It was so FILLING to see them and to see that they are truly converted and are enduring, even through trials. They are so special and it was a huge blessing to see them for a few minutes when I went back to Richmond.
Things are going well with exchanges. This week I left the area 3 times in a row, 2 of them back-to-back, so I lived out of a suitcase for a few days. It's a huge blessing to meet the sisters, be in their areas, and be in this calling. And it's a huge blessing to have a companion that is a wonderful example and a rock-solid missionary. I love Sister Osborn so much and it's sometimes hard to have to share my companion with other missionaries 3 days out of the week! :) She's wonderful and we have lots of fun together and I love working hard with her. Just being her companion is one of the greatest blessings I've received from serving a mission.
Anyway, I hope you have a great week! Time is FLYING, as always. I'll hit 10 months this week! AAAAAAHHHH! Scary.