Monday, March 17, 2014

Peekture time

Sunshine and asphalt. Sights I had not seen since October. INCREDIBLE!

Sister Conference after zone training this week. We trained on personal study and had a wonderful discussion on the Atonement. If I look like I'm the tallest person in the mission, that's only because I AMMMMM. FEE FI FO FUMMMM BEING FIVE NINE IS SO MUCH FUN. 

Our teaching and finding led us through the woods to a hooorrrrrrse. HAYYYY.

Had a mildly successful Word of Wisdom lesson this week... :}

Mar 17: Top of the Mormon to ya!

Happy St. Patty's Day, people! Today is transfer calls and the verdict is: Still in Cottage Grove. Still with Sister B. Still having the best day of my life, every day. What the? I KNOW. :)

This week was as epic and climactic as the combined trek made in ALL THREE additions of Lord of the Rings. Think about that for a minute. 

Our story starts this week with a burrito betrayal. That's right. Food poisoning. Chipotle barbacoa, you done me wrong. I was up allllll night Tuesday. :/ Got maybe an hour of sleep. But no worries, because the next morning was ZONE TRAINING and we had a 20 minute training as well as an hour-long sisters' conference afterwards. Literally, have no idea what I said. All I can say is, guidance of the Spirit is real. Also, I have never seen the elders weirder. "Is food poisoning contagious...?" ...NO. Hahaha, GALL. I've never gotten so many handshakes out of concern in my life. We're talking multiple times in the conversation. THIS IS AN ALTERNATE REALITY. ARM PATTING IS UNACCEPTABLE WHEN CONCERNED. But I got a blessing and all was well. 

PLUS. We had the best training on asking inspired questions to discern and find needs. Oh man. If I typed it all out, it wouldn't even impress you, but we were being SPIRIT BOMBED up in there.

I loved Sisters' Conference! It is so cool to see them grow. We had each of them study a different talk on the Atonement, and then we had a wonderful discussion. It was so tender to see how the Spirit had directed us to choose a talk that could teach each of them what it was that they needed. I know that learning comes from Heavenly Father, and not at all from us. It was a blessing to see it! I love these sisters so, so much.

We got to do lots of service this week, in particular for our friend J, who has been meeting with the missionaries on and off for a YEAR. He's a flightly little guy, but we love him so much. He's so anti-norm. He's like the original hipster. I think I told you he's like Ron Swanson, and it's true. Anyway, this week, we worked in his junkyard with him. I USED A SLEDGEHAMMER TO DEMOLISH AN OLD ARCADE GAMING SYSTEM. Then I learned about screwdrivers and electrical wiring and took it apart. Unreal. But also, his love languages are definitely quality time and service, so it was so good. This information will be important later in the email. :) His heart just visibly softened over the course of those few hours. I love him so much! I love seeing the change in people when they really just feel loved. No alterior motives. Just Christlike love. Everybody's walls go down, because everybody's soul is yearning for that. 

Also, maybe we took some selfies with his German shephards while he grabbed us tools. I'm not even mad about it. 

We also found some Africans in Cottage Grove! The Lord does hear prayers. We knocked on the door of a potential I stopped in the library parking lot when I was backing Sister B a couple weeks ago, and SURPRISE. A jackpot of hilarious men from Camaroon. We didn't even get to teach them anything because they kept interrupting and laughing so hard and also quoting Bible verses. Oh, Africa. I have missed you. I was laughing so hard. The one kept coming in the back of the discussion and being like, "What's the address of your church?" Walks by again two minutes later. "I put it in my phone. It's 10 minutes away." Walks by again. "What time on Sunday?" But never stays still enough to be taught. Hahahaha. It was pleasant. Again. This is important later.

We got to visit with the P family this week! I don't know if I have talked about them yet, but they're the sweetest little African American family. Brother P is a baker, and is a single father of two teenagers, M and M. (M is 16 and I love her more than I know how to say.) We found them visiting a less-active. We felt like we should go knock upstairs in her complex, but didn't have much time, so we had to be really prayerful about picking the right door. And the Lord led us to the Ps. :) We got to share the Plan of Salvation with them this week, and they gobbled it right up. THIS IS IMPORTANT LATER.

We had a lesson with J, who was feeling super willing to meet after the service. J had a traumatic accident a couple years back and so as a result, has terrible short-term memory. That's been the biggest thing holding him back. That, and that HE WON'T PRAY. So anyways. We had a lesson with him on the Book of Mormon and faith, and he kept saying, "I try to read and I can't remember what I read. Why isn't God helping me?" And we were like... welll..... did you ASK him...? And he's like, "doesn't he just know?" So then I shared something I've learned a lot lately. That the Lord wants to counsel with us in ALL our doings. It's not selfless to only pray about the big things or to only pray about things you think He wants to hear. It's selfish. Because in reality, He knows everything in our hearts and minds every minute. And don't you think it hurts His great heart to see and feel these thoughts on our minds all the time, and then when we DO talk to Him, hear nothing about it? That has really hit me lately. And that really hit him. We promised if he'd ask, God would change his memory and help him remember what he reads. 

SO. We stopped by to have him look at our bike-rack (no big deal, all the missionary cars have them. By their bike racks, ye shall know them. Only ours got broken in the car-wash... so.... Eh.) and asked him how reading went. He said praying went great. That he talked to the Lord for so long. Then he told us all about Alma 32. You know. THAT HE REMEMBERED. :) God does answer prayers! I hope I never forget how good it felt to hear that, to feel the Savior's joy at J's humility in asking. As we sat on his porch and shelled peanuts together, talking gospel, I just thought, yep. I hope this never ends. 

We had a wonderful lesson with our investigator C this week about the Word of Wisdom. When we began teaching C a couple weeks ago, it was verrrrry apparent that she had Word of Wisdom issues. Her shelves were lined with alcoholic beverages and empty bottles, her counters with coffee, and she smelled like smoke. We were so stoked to finish the Plan of Salvation and invite her to receive these blessings! C is a single mom of a 17-year-old (whom we are working to get involved as well). After the death of her father especially, C suffers from depression and deep pain, which she self-medicates with addictive substances and false cheerfulness and ditzy-ness. 

I wish I could express what a tender blessing it has been to see her embrace the gospel and to see those facades fall away as she relies on her Heavenly Father for the joy and strength she needs. When we began the Word of Wisdom lesson, she told us she'd never give up coffee or anything else. However, she connected perfectly with the joint-teacher, and by the end, we were hefting a moving box of alcohol, cigarettes, and coffee to the car. The faith of this woman made me want to bawl. She's like King Lamoni.  She's giving away all her sins to KNOW Him. SHE GAVE UP EVERYTHING. She was radiant. Someone had given her the Gospel Principles manual, and she's been cross-referencing the Pearl of Great Price, the Old Testament, and the Book of Mormon...!! The ward is really reaching out to embrace her. We love her, the Lord loves her, and she is getting baptized in April! Oh man. She is seriously Mormon already.

P.S. Friday night, we have these little step-tracker things that help us track how frequent and far we are walking, because physical activity is linked to brain health. It also tells you how many calories you've burned a day. The research is being sent into Salt Lake right now, but every time we talk to an elder, we hear where they're at, and then we try to out-step them. Friday night, we were soooo behind on steps. So we came home and literally ran two miles of circles around the house. For like an hour. In our proselyting clothes. It was the weirdest, funniest thing ever. What's even better is that our member-mom joined us, and ran with us for that long. We were dying. Dipping around the coffee table. This cutie 50 year old is laughing and saying, "ooh, a new route!" as we run through all the rooms in the house. Maybe you had to be there. But. I like this place.

Okay. Now, Saturday. Biggest trial of our faith. We had a church tour? Fell through. No less-actives that we had prayerfully planned for were home. We'd feel the Spirit about somewhere, go there? Nothing. We drove all the way to Wisconsin. Nothing. But we stayed happy. We stayed positive. We kept praying with gratitude for the miracles that were coming. For the blessing it was to be guided, even if we didn't know at ALL why. We got to have a lesson with H again, and he's living the Word of Wisdom. (We snatched his coffee, though. I mean just in case...) He said the best closing prayer and prayed for a baptismal date. HELLO. Highlight of our long, wild-goose-chase-day. But still. Hard day.

COME SUNDAY, WE THREW THE RING INTO MORDOR AND RETURNED TO THE SHIRE METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING. Listen to this. We wake up to a text from C. It says, Good morning, see you at church! We go to try to wake up H. How many 21 year old kids want two random girls throwing shoes at them to get them to church? Not that many? Cool. Neither did H. It worked two weeks ago, but not that day. We did everything we could, but he wouldn't get out of bed. But we stayed positive, and called the Ps, because we'd said in their lesson that we would come by to show them the way to church. (We say that to everyone... very few people actually take us up on it.) No, so LISTEN. I call, and they're like, great, we're waiting outside. Proceed to follow us to church and be dressed perfectly, BLASTING GOSPEL BEATS. Is this real?

It is, and wait for this. I'm hanging up my coat and get a call from a weird number. It's the house-full of Africans. They say they're on their way (we haven't even TAUGHT THEM YET) and ask if they can sit anywhere. Um... Yeah, I guesssssss so. It was unreal. I had to pinch myself. Then, cutie Brother H in the ward scuttles over and tells me his daughter, who we teach once a week, is there. EVERYONE CALM DOWN, THERE ARE SEVEN INVESTIGATORS TO CHURCH. HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN. It was miracle after miracle. The whole ward was just looking around and beaming at us. I wanted to run laps around the pews and high-five EVERYBODY!

So then that afternoon, we don't have much time, so we pray real hard and whooooop. Teach two people who happen to be home. First try. Then we go to the President's Fireside, because J promised to come again. But wait, he bails. We call the Africans. They're in St. Paul, but willing to meet us there. (WE STILL HAVEN'T TAUGHT THEM ANYTHING HOW IS THIS HAPPENING) We get to Bloomington and they call and say they'll be there in 15. They call back and say, "I said 50." We panic. We ask one of the assistants what we can do to be productive with the time while we send our members in to the devotional. They jokingly say, "Blitz the area?" Without a map or car. Cool. We grab our coats and run out. Totally led by the Spirit. Find some townhomes. First door we knock, lady invites us in, tells us her life's story. We share the restoration. The Africans call after the closing prayer. We sprint back to the mission home. They hear the final testimony. We teach them over the refreshments.


It was the most joyous, miracle-filled day ever. It felt not real. I know that it came from the Lord, and I know it came because we were faithful and positive through the hard days this week. I know that's true for all of us. During the hard times, we are storing up blessings. The Lord notes every faithful service and sacrifice. it's all real, it's all true. This is His work. I love being a part of it!

Goatin' Bowling. A photo series.

Hat hair and animal shirts has never looked soooooo good. Hahahah. BYE

A Texan, two sister missionaries, a South Korean, a Californian and cowboy walk into a bowling alley....

But. Really.

Mar 10: FAITH, everyone

IT'S SUMMER TIME, though. 45 degrees. I literally skipped every where we went today. And cried when we went outside. You think I am kidding, but I am not at ALL. Also, it's almost General Conference again. ALSO. Nope. Forgot what I was going to say. Anyway. I'm happy. :)

This week was faith BOOTCAMP! I loved it. Let's talk about trials, people. Trials of our faith, specifically, since that's what most trials boil down to. These trials are gifts from God. We agreed to them before this life. We knew there would be sickness, heartache, confusion, difficulty, loneliness, and yet, when the plan was presented, we shouted for joy at the opportunity to experience such tests. Faith is the first principle of the gospel, yes? But why? Why is it so important and foundational? 

Welp. Because faith changes things. We need faith in Christ to see changes, to be instruments of change, and to be changed ourselves. This week, we exchanged with the Red Wing sisters. They are INCREDIBLE. Sometimes, all the times, it is really humbling to think that we have any kind of stewardship over these sisters. They teach us so much. Our Red Wing sisters are BOSS missionaries. Red Wing has been super slow, to the point that President was going to shut it down last transfer, but the Spirit stopped him... :) I loved my time there! Sister Mis an incredible missionary, and working with her, I learned so much about following the Spirit and listening to our brothers and sisters. I know that seeking the Spirit and following it are essential, because every time we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we exercise faith in Jesus Christ. Every time we listen to others and elevate their vision, of Christ, their lives, themselves, we show faith in Christ's Atonement and ability to change us and others. SO. 

In their "dead area?" We found five new investigators in one night. :) AND a part-member family. It was so lovely. I was studying the war chapters before our interview, and it really struck me that Moroni is never like, "Well, this is a super tough battle..." or, "this is just a rough group of people." He has an awareness of the situations, but more than anything, a faith in Christ. Each situation, just like each area, requires a different strategy. Great things never happen the same way twice. We exercise faith in Christ when we allow our lives and circumstances to be different, but our faith and assurance only to increase. They did INCREDIBLE this week. Ahhh. Like a mama. FAITH, everyone.

This week, we were tested a lot! By Thursday, we had taught like 20% of our average lessons in our area. We were SO behind on goals. Things just weren't going through or happening. It was the weirdest. So then I thought about discouragement, and hurt. And how they are Satan's favorite playthings. Because they make us turn inward, rather than outward. They make us panic and fear, and those feelings are not from God. So, rather than listen to the panic that said, you're so behind on goals, you need to work your area, you need to think about your goals, I thought of our district leader's proselyting area. They've been really struggling to teach any lessons at all in their area, and I had never been to the area, but what I do know is that faith can change an area. And increased faith in a leader means increased faith in a district! Faith in a single individual is like a ripple in a much greater pond, its influence is immeasurable and continually spreading. 

And sometimes in the course of repeated tests and trials, which are meant to purify and build UP our faith, we destroy it ourselves by giving in to discouragement. And theeeen, we can become a little like a whirlpool. :/ It's cool. We've all been there a time or two. DROWNIN' in our woes. So I asked my companion if we could go work in the elder's area, like sneaky little blitz-elves. We prayed and we were both more than down. Spirit was bumpin'. That night, we found them three new people to teach, and got to share the restoration with wonderful people. The elders are remarkably good missionaries. You know what the difference was? We went to that area with faith rather than any worldly expectation. We believed the best in our brothers and sisters, and we saw the best. No one warned us about what the reception would be, how rough the area was, etc. We just sneaked right in and saw so many miracles. I know that has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with our Heavenly Father. There were still tests throughout the night, doors slammed, biting cold, whatever. But there were also prepared souls hungering for the light of the gospel. :) I'm grateful for the blessing it was to go work in that area, to help the elders with their goals first rather than our own. It was a beautiful opportunity to exercise our faith in Christ - that He would provide, that in our situation, He would do the same, and that we would be blessed accordingly. 

And we were! :) No need to panic. The week ended up fabulous. Day after day of miracles followed Thursday!

I know that God loves His children. I loved visiting with them this week and seeing the different levels of faith that people have. For instance, our investigator C. We could not convince her that she could go to the celestial kingdom. She didn't believe she'd be good enough. But we know that as her faith in Christ grows, her understanding of repentance and change will, too. And she will catch the vision. That we can make changes, and be changed, through Him. I know that's true. (HALSO, took her on a church tour and she cried the whole way through and the entire drive home. Brother C, one of our ward missionaries, just nodded after and said, "That's good..." She was at all three hours on Sundee. Yehoooo!) 

H, our RC's brother that we've been teaching? Tooootally exercising his faith in Christ and living the Word of Wisdom like a boss. Turning down coffee at work. FORGET ABOUT IT. :) He was so excited to tell us!

We got back in with MIRACLE M finally. She has been in the hospital with asthma stuff. The worrrrrrst. She had just gotten home from the hospital, and said to her daughter, "I wish someone would visit me. No one visits me. No one noticed I was gone." And then she prayed. And simultaneously, at a different place, where our appointment fell through, the thought popped into my head, "Let's go see if M is home from the hospital!" when our appointment fell through. And she was. The elders drove like wild men across town to come give her a blessing. She just cried after and testified that this is Christ's power and this is Christ's church. HOW DID WE FIND HER?!

We also were led by the Spirit to go find at an apartment complex, where NO one would answer. As we drove away, we saw a light on at a potential's house. His wife was sitting in the window. Ding, ding, ding. Rule of 3. :) We stopped by, and it turns out they had just put their daughter in a facility for depression and anxiety. They were heartbroken and praying right when we showed up. :) The Spirit was so strong as we talked about Christ and his ability to bear our burdens as we exercise faith in Him. When we went back for our return appointment, the wife said, "I will never doubt that you are from God. When you were here last time, I felt my faith grow. I felt the love and awareness of Christ." :)

C, our cutie single-mom who had a baptismal date-set, texted us asking to stop meeting. She knows this is true, but feels she can't give her all to it right now. We went and had a tender visit after church with her about the text and the feelings she was having. I felt so much gratitude for the blessing it is to know her. She is so courageous and strong. I have never met anyone so patient, forgiving, and good through adversity. She amazes me. I wish she could exercise the faith in Christ to see herself as He sees her. To know that her life can change. It takes so much faith in Christ to put Him and His ways FIRST, even when it seems logical to do otherwise. When you're a single mom at 25 and have FOUR kids and your abusive ex is getting out of jail, for instance. When we juggle our lives independently, or let the stresses of the world overwhelm us, with Christ as even second priority, we will at some point fail. We will feel overwhelmed. But when we can put our trust in Him first and foremost, He will carry ALL of it. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it." I know that that's true. I know that will be true for C. And I know that she will realize someday. 

We are still meeting with her, but only once a week now. She cried as we said goodbye, and for the first time in a month of teaching, she called after us, "I love you." I am confident that God will continue to test and bless her so that she can rely on Him first. We have agency, but God will be persistent. He loves us too much. If we don't exercise our faith, if we're not tested, if we don't turn to Him, we live a small measure of the life and potential he offered us before this life - all through these different tests and trials and lives that we shouted for joy over. 

And something I really like thinking about as I talk to people, wherever they are at, is that they all have faith in Christ. Before this life, when God presented us with His plan, Christ had yet to perform the Atonement. And yet, every single person who is here on this earth - every single individual we pass on the street - exercised faith in Christ and His ability to redeem them, carry them, and change them, by coming HERE to this Earth. Everyone, every living, breathing soul, has faith in Christ. 

It is the best blessing of my life to be able to see people remember and rekindle that faith and that light of Christ. I wish I could share it with you. I drive home every night SO happy. It's just... joy. Better than happiness. Cause happiness is skin-deep. Joy is soul-deep. I love this time, and feel so blessed to know all these wonderful, wonderful people. To learn from their faith in Jesus Christ. 

I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. I know Heavenly Father has a plan for us, for our general time in mortality, and our lives individually. I know that Christ's Atonement, and faith in Him, better and bless our lives. I can't language the love I feel for them or from them. But I know it's real. I know this gospel is the TRUTH. Through and through. And I testify of the incomprehensible capacity of Christ's Atonement. I know that faith in Jesus Christ changes, strengthens, ennobles and enables us beyond our ability to comprehend. I know we all have faith in Christ. I know we can all exercise that a little more, a little better. I'm grateful for every day that we have on this earth to wake up and do that.

I love you all! :)


Hello, friends!

I feel like I have approximately five minutes. Mostly because I spent all the times emailing Britty. IT'S HER BIRTHDAY THOUGH! Still 19 and lookin' fresh to death. Congrats, cutie pants! :)

This week was suuuuch a good one. I am so in love with this ward and this area. And I have the best companion. I feel like all we do is laugh and eat Wheat Thins. And missionary work. Last week during weekly planning, she just looked up at me after I asked when we should set someone's date for, and she said, "I just wanna let you know... you have like the most beautiful lips of anyone I've ever seen." WHAT. She was so weirded out at herself after and so was I. We were dying. Sensors. Who needs 'em.

Things are still going so good in the area! Miracle M is in the hospital with a super bad cold, so keep her in your prayers. I love that woman. C is still progressing well. She is so overwhelmed. Single mom of four. We spent an hour and half after our lesson Sunday cleaning her house. Cause sometimes, people, it's hard to be spiritually fed when your temporal needs aren't being met.  Oh, I love her so much. Pray hard for March 29th. Stinking cigarettes. She's cut back a lot, but it just breaks my heart to see her so bound by something she hates so much. I know Christ can help her to let that go, and I can't wait. It seriously destroys her self-worth. I guess that's one of the most disturbing things I've seen as a missionary - how badly Satan wants to destroy our sense of worth, and how tricky He is about doing it. And I guess that's why I love sharing the gospel all day every day, no matter the reaction. Because I know that for someone who is ready, this is the joy they can lay hold on. Only through repentance and conversion can we gain true peace and true identity. Christ can help anyone get there. He wants EVERYONE to get there. Anything He lays His hands on, lives, and triumphs. I know that.

We went on exchanges with Stillwater sisters this week! Stillwater is the birthplace of Minnesota, and all the buildings are old and painted colorfully and it's right off the river and it's BEAUTIFUL. Best Main street ever. Go take a walk-see on Google Earth. Cutest. In Stillwater I had the best burger I've had since coming to Minnesnowta, enjoyed winds of like 60 mph in subzero weather while contacting on main, had the BEST blackberries I've ever consumed, and saw the most beautiful stars life has offered me. There are so many happy little testimonies of God's love, every minute if we will see them. Also, it was just forest and antiques, far as the eye could see. Prime.

As much as I felt the Savior's love for my Stillwater sisters, I also felt His sadness as I talked with them. They label themselves and doubt themselves and put themselves in these negative boxes. That's not from God. He doesn't want that. He wants His children, His daughters, converted to the gospel and to the Book of Mormon and to daily repentance because He knows that is what will bring joy. He doesn't ask us things to overwhelm us, but to overjoy us. It's absolutely true. And negative or discouraging labels are a rejection of the redeeming power of the Atonement of Christ. We are His divine children. 

Hm. Oh. On the exchange, we visited this sweet old couple. Taught the husband, who's holding tight to coffee. Afterward, the wife pulled me aside and said, "You have such a calm presence." I was like... can I get that in writing for my mom...? ;) She said, "There's just something that goes all out and around you, even when you smile. It's very calming. It's very comforting to be around you." I told her that is the Spirit, not me! Gash, she was cute. That was one of those little tender things that makes your mission, you know? I love when people feel His influence and His love! I feel selfish, because every time we go to serve someone, I probably learn more from them and am blessed more than they are... so. Thanks for having me? Everyone here is so great.

REAL QUICK. We had a HOT DISH SOCIAL in my ward. Cause most people aren't from Minnesota, and everyone is hilarious. We all dressed up in our best lumberjack or stereotypical Minnesota gear. One wall was I heart Minnesota because.... with butcher paper, and another was, Best MN quotes. Including, "30 degrees?! This is a heat wave." "Doncha know." "A couple-few." "Crick" (creek) "Rutes" (roots) "Oh ya suuuure" "Uff-dah" and more. The bishopric also had lumberjack olympics, during which they had to saw a log fastest with a handsaw, layer up fastest for a subzero day, and carve an ice sculpture... AND we had awards for the best hot dish. This place is literally my heaven. I CAN WEAR BEANIES WITH SKIRTS AND IT'S FINE. Unreal.

I love you all! Homework assignment. Read, "In the Strength of the Lord" this week. We are giving it to our seesters to help them better understand the enabling power of the Atonement. SO GOOD. :)

More Picturesssss

I don't know why every baptismal picture always turns out so terribly... but hey. It's the memories. :) 

P.s. If I look like I've gotten ugly on my mission, it's only because I have.

Hahaha. THANKS.

Feb 24: Joe the overall angel, and MIRACLE MAXINE

Let's begin this week with a tale. Actually, there are so many. But let's begin with Miracle M. Last week, we went finding. Huntin', if you will. We pulled up to an apartment complex where we both felt directed. We did the usual missionary creep-status thing, where we just kind of LOITER (but let's talk about how gross and weird that word is. Hey, hey, hey. Come onnn, now.) until someone shows up and gets in with their key. It sounds worse than it is. Really, I'm just doing the shifty-eyed stank face, "checking" "our" "teeexts" (picture me doing the Chris Farley quotation marks), and "looking over our planners" etc. and praying silently until someone comes a-walking. Trust me. It works FAST. So we get in the building, and with our entrance comes this wave of overwhelming you've-been-here-before-ness. I can't explain it, but I think Dad told me once that he felt that way walking somewhere on his mission... Either way. I knew I had dreamt about it pre-mission. It came back clear as day and slammed me. My heart started beating faster and I was feeling the Spirit SO strong. It kind of weirded me out. I told Sister B and we got soooo excited to go find out WHY I knew the apartment. We had a great night, found a few new investigators, but still no great explanation of the feeling, except that the night ended with a woman buzzing out on a scooter in front of us so fast and suddenly that I thought it was a SCOOTERING MURDERER and jumped ten feet, and then I was laughing and she was laughing, and then she scooted away before we could share the gospel... :/ So... whoops.

WELLL. Here's where we have a plot twist. We went back this Monday for a return appointment with some of our new investigators, L and Z. When we got there, there was a beautiful older, larger African-American woman named M. M radiates wisdom and love, and quietly listened as we talked with L and Z. She looked familiar to me, too. Over the course of the discussion, it came out that she had met with missionaries in the past. She mentioned having a Book of Mormon upstairs in her apartment, and having loved everything inside... EXCUSE me?! Never say that to two eager missionaries. Or, ALWAYS do. We were ON TOP OF THAT. She kept saying, "I could have talked to those missionaries for hours and hours before I moved." M was seventh-day adventist until she moved here in the eighties, at which point she couldn't find a branch of the church she had been a part of, which was very confusing for her... WORD, cutie pants. 

 As the lesson went on, she said, "Man. Every time I talk to the Mormons, I feel this warmth... and tingles..?" Our joint-teacher, Brother T, said, "Well, M, you know what that is, right?" She shook her head no. He said, "It's the Holy Spirit. It's how God is talking to you." She started crying and kept crying for the rest of the lesson. I can't describe how beautiful that was. I feel like the longer I'm on my mission, the less I know how to language it. Just the way we could tangibly see the Holy Ghost surround her in a knowing, loving embrace, as it whispered that truth. That she, M, heard from God. Often. Frequently. That He cared about her individually and wanted to direct her. As we shared Joseph Smith's story, she interrupted several times and said, "I know this is the one. I know this is what God has been trying to tell me. I know this is where I belong." She interrupted the baptismal invite at the end to say, "YES!" She will be baptized on March 22. :) :) :) !!!!!!!! HI. HELLO. We were ecstatic that night. We came home and I may or may not have done somersaults during nightly planning... you know how it is. We went back this week, and she looooves the Plan of Salvation. We also realized that she was the woman who nearly made me shart myself when she popped out on her scooter last week. She was RIGHT THERE. And we dropped the ball. And the Lord loves her and us enough, that He placed her IN a missionary discussion, to make sure she would get His message.

It was a tender and humbling experience, and a testimony to us that the Lord is able to do His work. What a blessing that He allows us this time and effort for the wonderful people like M, that He has been talking to all along. I think sometimes we forget that, when we think of missionary work, as members or as full-time missionaries. We look at the people around us and we feel like our invitations and testimonies will be abrupt. We forget about the Spirit guiding this work and guiding our lives, sometimes. This isn't new for these people. This is a call to that bright little light inside of them, this is a reminder of something already there. This is a pair of eye-glasses on someone already squinting and straining to see truly. The Lord doesn't need us as members or missionaries, to do everything. He simply needs us to be in the right place, listening to the right voice, doing the right thing. On vein of Elder Holland's talk, The First Great Commandment... If God wants miracles, i.e. prepared investigators, baptisms, changed hearts, personal earthquakes, He can make those happen. What He needs are disciples, people who love Him and love what He has commissioned us to do. He needs our faith. He needs our patience through trials of our faith. He needs that unfailing love. And then He will show forth that He really is over all. That He really is doing His work. We are just blessed by participating.

We were also able to have a wonderful lesson on baptism and the Holy Ghost with C, the single mom of four we've been working with. Ahhhh MAN. Good lessons. YES. She really connected with the older couple we brought with us, and as the brother gave her a priesthood blessing and promised her blessings, I was so touched. God loves that daughter. And every child of His with whom we speak. The Lord promised to bless her as she continues reading the Book of Mormon, that the elements will rearrange and her desire to smoke will be taken from her. Heavenly Father expressed His gratitude for her seeking Him, stating that His hand has been outstretched all her life. She set a date for March 29th! We are so excited for her!!!! MIRACLES.

Our baptism this weekend was beautiful. Sister C. was so ready! She radiated joy and peace, and couldn't stop smiling, even the literal second she came back up out of the water. It was tender to see both the love and urgency in her husbands eyes as she was confirmed on Sunday, and he sat out of the circle. We are very excited for his re-baptism this summer, and are so grateful for the good blessing it has been from Heavenly Father to see how intricately woven our lives are. How she found Christ, but not Christ's church, and Brother C. grew up in Christ's church, but couldn't find an understanding or relationship with Christ. And when they came together, they found both. They found their way home, together. It was a lot of twists and turns, but He got them there. God is a God of miracles. I know that He loves each of us. I know He is over all. I know that as we express faith, Christ can carry us as far as is needed. I know we are helpless without His Atonement. I love Him! I love telling everyone.

What else? It snowed 2 feet this week. I mean straight-up dumped. The family we live with is out of town, so now I am pleased to announce that I can successfully navigate a snow-blower. We were cooped inside for a day and a half while we were on exchanges. :/ Awkward. Sorry, Eagan sisters.... so... what did you learn from watching me update the area book and call every less-active and potential...? Good. I hope that was good for you. :/ Hahah BYE. But really, the worst part is when the snow plow comes by, because then you have like four feet deep by five feet wide snow drifts at the very bottom of your drive-way that CAN'T be snow-blowed. So shoveled it. While my companion dug out the car. I'm still sore. Minne-snow-ta. You little scamp. I love it here. :)

Finally... a funny story. We went on another impromptu road-trip to Wisconsin. PRESCOTT, Wisconsin to be exact. We were trying to find a member referral that we felt prompted to visit. That member referral turned into an hour and half of lost-ness, on country dirt roads, many of which HAD THE SAME NAME AS THE OTHERS. We prayed and prayed and prayed and took turn after turn after turn that ended up being NOT the referral. And it always ended with a pleasant exchange, a planted seed, and another twenty minutes back out on the road. I mean, it was just snow and occasional dairy farms, far as the eye could see. Everything stereotypical and hilarious that you can imagine. Then we finally found her, and she wasn't at all interested. And I guess what I learned from that is, that there is purpose in everything. :) Planting seeds is just as good. We don't have to know why always. We just have to obey, and we're happy. And we were!

AND ALSO THAT WE SHOULD LISTEN BETTER TO PROMPTINGS BECAUSE LISTEN TO THIS. We were flipping around on yet another wrong road, and the thought came to me, just get out and back her. Oh, yeah. Have I told you guys that? As missionaries, you stand behind the vehicle and back it up like you're one of Darth Vader's white guys in the Death Star hanger. And you do this, every time someone is in reverse. Even an inch or so. It's GREAT. Often, I like to throw in a little dancing to spice it up. Pretty good. Anyways. It was SOOOO cold and there was so much drifting snow that I thought, ehhh, better not. Sister Breedlove went to flip around and the SIDE OF THE ROAD GAVE OUT. No. Like, our tires were half buried and the front of our car rested on the snow. Awww, nah. So I turned to her and said, as she said at the same time, "I knew we should've backed." She'd had the prompting, too. :/

So THEN. I get out to push her back on the road, which I have done a couple times the past few weeks. I get outside the car in the snow, lean in to push, and all the sudden I drop two and a half feet. Hahahahaha. No. Imagine Sister Breedlove behind the wheel watching my little beanie-d head drop two and half feet below the car. Spoiler alert: Hidden irrigation ditch. Not the warmest. Not the easiest to get out of. Hahahaha. I literally grabbed the hood of the car and pulled myself back up out of it. It was up to my mid-thigh, people. We were laughing so hard we were crying. So we prayed, and decided we would walk up the road aways to the next house. We switched from our classy church boots to our snow boots and locked things up to head out, silently praying we could find help. We weren't two feet away from the car before a truck came down the road, with an angel driving. 

His name was J, and he'd looked out his window right as we turned and got stuck. (I didn't ask if he saw the rest, but for his sake, I kinda hope so. It was prrrretty quality.) And he'd just had a feeling to look. He came with his truck, shimmied under our car in his OVERALLS over his HOODIE and whistled, "whooooo-weeeee... looks like we gotta hitch-er upppp." We got his information for the elders. Way to be better than us and listen to promptings. He was an overall angel! Like. As in. An angel wearing over-alls and also... just overall, a pretty good guy. So.

Anyway. It's. REAL important to listen to promptings. :) Hahaha. Lesson learned. I hope you all have the best week! I love you!