So weird to be writing you guys on a Tuesday. I am so sorry if this e-mail is kind of all over the place because we don't have a lot of time to write. Because today is a normal day and not a p-day we have a couple of appointments tonight that we need to get to. But I will do my best to give you a run down of what has been going on over here in Madison.
|My home girl Sister Kelley. I love her to death!|
For starters- the weather has been SO NICE. Ok granted, it is still below freezing. But at this time last year I was coming home at the end of the night and doing our nightly planning session with our feet in the tub full of warm water so our toes could thaw out. Last week was pretty brutal, but it has been so tame ever since. Knock on wood, but I think I may have lucked out with one of the nicest winters Wisconsin has seen in a while. We will see how it goes.
I might just have to hit some of the bigger highlights from the week since I am running out of time.
|Blurry, but this is us on the bus yesterday. The semester here at the University started up today so all of the students were getting back. There was close to 100 people crammed on the bus.|
So the biggest and most important news from this week would be Ishmael! His baptism is still set for this coming Saturday! He is so beyond prepared. We were able to meet with him a few times this week and they were all great lessons. First, we got to meet with him and we brought Kendall to the lesson. She is the one that just got baptized in December. You guys, I think that this lesson with Ishmael and Kendall is probably one of the biggest highlights of my whole entire mission. We taught Ishmael the principle of tithing. We taught it using skittles and taught the analogy of "pouring out the windows of heaven." Gave him 10 green skittle and after he gave us one back we poured the entire bag of skittle into his hand and he couldn't even hold all of them. haha so that was fun. But the reason that I like that so much is because the "blessings" that he received for "paying his tithing" weren't all green. Some of them were, but most of them were other colors. That is what it is like when we receive blessings. Sometimes it could be financially or temporally, but I feel like more often than not the blessings that we receive for paying our tithing are spiritual. Tithing is a principle of faith, not money.
So as we were teaching Ishmael, we asked Kendall to bear her testimony about the things that we had been talking about. Kendall also comes from a Catholic background and because she so recently was making these same decisions as Ishmael, she was able to really connect. She started bearing her testimony of not just the principle of tithing, but also of her conversion to the gospel in general. As I sat there listening to Kendall bear such powerful testimony, the Spirit just absolutely filled the room. I sat there and looked around and realized that there I sat with Ishmael who has so much faith and is so excited to follow the Savior and be baptized, and here is Kendall who was just learning these same things not so long ago but now has a testimony of these principles because she has already seen the blessings that come from living them.
It was amazing to see the change because it seems like just yesterday that Kendall was in Ishmael's shoes. It was cool because I could see that the things that we were able to teach Kendall are now a part of her and she was sharing those same things with Ishmael. One of the most (if not THE most) powerful lessons on my whole entire mission.
I am so grateful for how I was able to see the Lord's hand not just in my life, but in both of these other children of his in that moment. I will never forget that. Also, I just thought I would let you know how much I love Kendall she is such a great person and a great example for me. I am so grateful that I came on a mission just because I got to meet her and that reason alone. I have learned so much from the people that I have met here and I will be forever grateful for that.
Ishmael had his baptismal interview this morning and he passed with flying colors! He was interviewed by the one and only Elder Harmon from Timpview! So that is nice to have under our belts and we can spend the rest of the week helping him to prepare to make this important covenant.
The other cool thing was that he had his interview this morning right before district meeting so when he saw that all of the missionaries were going to stay there to learn, he asked if he could stay as well. So he ended up staying for our whole district meeting today! haha. Today district meeting was about how to have a more effective study. And then we role played and practiced teaching. So Ishmael wanted to practice too! He shared with us his favorite story from the Book of Mormon. Turns out, he had listened to the entire Book of Mormon in just a few days! So he taught us about Captain Moroni and shared with us Alma 48:17. He taught us about what we can do to be more like Moroni and what we can learn from his example. It was so cool to be taught by one of my investigators! Another highlight of my whole mission. Ishmael is seriously so great and so ready for baptism this week! I can't wait for Saturday! Please keep Ishmael in your prayers this week!
The other big thing that happened this week would be Debra and Jada's baptism. They were the Elder's investigators, but we ended up helping a lot with their baptism and even taught some of their lessons. So it was cool to get to be a part of that. Debra is a single mom and Jada is just 12 years old. They met the Elders when they were trying to contact a referral one day and invited them to church and they showed up! There were definitely a lot of bumps in the road with their journey, but so many miracles happened to make their special day possible! We fasted as a district the day before to ask that everything would work out. Things didn't work out the way that we thought they would, but they did work out nonetheless! So grateful that I got to be a part of their special day!
Debra and Jada's baptism
And yes, that is Elder Harmon. Timpview with the win!
Also- I hit my one year mark this week! CRAZY! We didn't get to really do too much to celebrate or anything this week because we have been so busy. But that is ok, I would MUCH rather be busy. But I am so beyond grateful for this past year of my life. I have learned and grown so much. I can remember the day that I left for the MTC like it was yesterday. I had no idea what was really in store for me. I am so grateful that I still have time left to use the things that I have learned and to continue to become better. This one year mark is also significant for you guys too because it marks one year that you have been the best missionary family in the whole wide world! I am so grateful for you and all that you do to support me out here. Sure do love you guys. Can't wait to hear from you again soon.