HIIIIIII! Wow, so much craziness this week, right? I was blown away by the announcement on missionaries being able to leave at a younger age. Like Elder Holland said in the press conference, the work is hastening, and I'm so excited for so many more missionaries to be able to serve in this great work! It's the Lord's work, and He obviously has great plans for it to move forward with greater speed and an even larger army. It was cool to be in a chapel full of missionaries when that was announced. The only two places I can think of that would have been more exciting to be in are the MTC and the basement at 1692 E. 6765 S. :) The first person I thought of when the announcement was out was of course Rachel. I'm excited to see what the future will bring. :)
We had a week truly full of miracles this week. A lot of them happened last night and are thus fresh on my mind.
We have a recent convert here, David, who has been slipping away little by little. He had to start working on Sundays right before I got to the area, and things have gone downhill from there. I can't imagine how difficult or testing it must be to be a brand-new member of the church, especially at age 21. He's struggled somewhat, and we've been trying desperately to meet with him and also to have him more connected with the ward. We've been very scared that he's going to slip further and further into old habits. After two canceled appointments this week, we were finally able to have a lesson with him in our bishop's house. It was a miraculous 30 minute lesson where we shared some of the things we'd learned as we thought about him during General Conference. The spirit was so strong and we could feel Heavenly Father's love for David so potently as we talked about the Doctrine of Christ and the Plan of Salvation. It was a huge blessing to be able to see Bishop Jacobson working under the mantle of his calling as he talked with David. We're feeling so much relief after this lesson that we've been trying for weeks to have. Heavenly Father is aware of each of us in our individual struggles and He works things out perfectly for us to be in the right places at the right time.
Another miracle happened with Nancy, our investigator who was preparing to be baptized on the 21st, this week. On Friday night, we got a very long text from her saying that she couldn't be baptized and she wasn't ready to make the change, and basically that she didn't want us to waste our time meeting with her anymore. It came completely out of nowhere, and after a series of nearly "perfect" lessons with her. We were quite shocked and asked if we could meet with her to talk more. She agreed, and last night we met with her. This whole experience made me realize that I need to pay more attention to peoples' needs. Nancy was probably harboring all of those fears for a long time, despite her being very faithful and very prepared to accept the gospel, and I wasn't paying enough attention to recognize that she needed to talk more openly with us! Leading up to the lesson, we weren't sure what we would do or say, but we spent all of General Conference prayerfully looking for things that could help us understand how to help her and how to approach this lesson. When we went into the lesson, we felt we just needed to ask questions that would help her express herself, and then listen. She expressed a lot of doubts and fears and confusion, but also a sincere desire to know for herself that this is what God wants for her. The Spirit was so strong in this lesson with her, especially when a member of the ward shared about how she had come to know that this is Christ's restored church. Nancy told us, "I just need to pray and ask Him!" It was awesome to see her make the connection between her faith, her desire to know, and the need to seek revelation through prayer. The Spirit was the teacher, and it felt so good to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. I'm also so grateful for Sister Osborn and her sensitivity to the Spirit.
Overall, the thing that has been the biggest miracle this week is the power of revelation. Sister Osborn and I decided that we would focus on David and Nancy during general conference and seek out the answers and inspiration that they need to be able to progress. We also both went with our own personal questions and needs. As I am every conference, I was amazed to see how the Spirit teaches us through the words of the Lord's servants. This conference was especially powerful as I tried to focus on the needs of others within my stewardship, and on receiving the direction I need to magnify my calling. Every day I realize more and more that this calling is so much bigger than I am, and that I'm so inadequate in so many ways--therefore it is impossible to do it without the guidance of the Spirit. This weekend was an amazing blessing and I really feel that the heavens were opened in many ways for me personally, and for the people we're teaching. I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of our individual needs and hears our individual prayers, on our own behalf and on behalf of others.