I literally feel like I was just emailing yesterday, time is just going by so fast. It makes me sad and happy all at the same time. A mission is truly something that is hard to explain but I feel like I am being trained in every aspect of my life to help me for the rest of my life. Does that make sense? haha anyways...This week was so amazing!
The weather here has seriously been PERFECT and there are so many tourists. We finally got to get a good glimpse of the beach this week and it is just so beautiful. Mom and dad we are coming back to visit in the summer ok? Cool!
On Monday night we drove to Bedford for New Missionary training and we got to stay the night at the mission home. I got to see Sister Keown and Sister Gillies from the MTC and it was so good. It's crazy to talk about everything that we are going through and to see how much we have already grown since the MTC. And staying at the mission home is always a treat, Sister Stoker takes such good care of us.
Tuesday we had the training for pretty much the whole day and it was such an uplifting day. We learned a lot of logistical things but we got to listen to President Stoker speak and man, he is just an awesome man. He reminds me of dad because he is very sensitive to the spirit and cries a lot like dad. But he shared with us a chapter in the Book of Mormon that has helped me a lot this week. It is Alma 26 and it talks about the sons of Mosiah and tells about their missions. In verse 27 it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said; Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." The verse hit me hard because it has been hard and the first week here there were times where I did think about how much easier it was at home and I was questioning what I was doing BUT I have pushed through those times and tried to be patient (which I am still working on) and I have felt that the Lord had given me success. But it is not because of me. I look back and know that he was carrying me through those times and continues to carry me as I humble myself and just ask for His help. That night we had dinner again with the Meyers who have the cousin from Italy. The first time we met with him, he would not talk about God or Jesus Christ but would only ask questions about the word of wisdom or the law of chastity. He couldn't understand how we could be so happy by following those commandments. Well, this time we met with him he was asking us questions about why we believed in Jesus Christ and why we believed the gospel was the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing experience as I answered the words I said were not my own. The Lord truly helped me to share my testimony of Jesus Christ and the spirit was so strong. I was also prompted to share a scripture that I had studied earlier that day in 2 Nephi 2, verse 27 which talks about how we do have freedom in this life according to the flesh but we have the choice to choose freedom in the life after. And the only way we can have that freedom is through following the commandments! The commandments literally will bring freedom and salvation if we follow them. Its such a simple concept but we make it so hard.
Wednesday we had district meeting and I was asked to play the piano and I am so bad at it! I have lost some of my ability to sight read, but I am getting better. But I was also asked to lead the district in saying our purpose which includes D&C Section 4. So yeah that was fun because I'm still trying to memorize it but I am almost there! But, we finally got to meet with Grace again and one of the members, Sister Wright, came with us. We taught her the Law of Chastity and it was my first time teaching that to a real investigator but it went really well! Grace is so skinny shes 36, but she looks like she's 25. We told her that part of keeping the law of chastity is dressing modestly. We explained to her how it shows respect for ourselves and it helps others respect us. And she was like I've been working on this body for 30 years, I like to show off my hard work haha. But she finally agreed that she would obey the law of chastity and she was so willing! Last Sunday we asked the elders to go and give Grace a blessing because she was still having a hard time with the word of wisdom and she loved the blessing. She told us how she could feel the influence of satan go away and that she could feel the holy spirit again! She is so receptive to the spirit. Her heart is truly being changed and her faith is amazing. We had rescheduled her to get baptized on August 30th. She said that she wants to do this right and we agreed that she needed more time so she could be all ready for her baptism. I love Grace!
Thursday we did a lot of door knocking. I don't know how salesman do it. It is still so awkward for me so that is something I am trying to work on! We did meet with a girl and her mom though. The daughter, Julia, is 12 and has been investigating the church. She is friends with some of the girls in the ward and she loves the church! Her mom told her that she wanted her to check out other churches before she gets baptized and that she doesn't want her to get baptized until shes 18. Her mom doesn't want to be taught but she doesn't mind us stopping by so we just talked to her and we got talking about family history and then we got into talking about the gospel and she was asking so many questions but said that she wasn't interested. She just wanted to learn about the church because her daughter was attending. She said that she doesn't think she needs the gospel in her life right now. But we always have good discussions when we go over there so we are just going to keep doing that. :) Hopefully her heart will be softened eventually at least for Julia! Then we had dinner with the Hastings! They are so awesome. Brother and Sister Hastings are getting closer and closer to being baptized. Satan is working hard on them because he knows it! Please pray for Brother and Sister Hastings!
Friday we planned for pretty much the whole day and then we went and visited Sister Harlow who is a less active in the ward. Such a sweet lady she is! She made us cookies with mint chocolate chips and I had to have one! That's the thing about sweets here, we are fed so much and we can't say no which is good and bad all in itself! I have definitely put on some pounds. But I have worked out faithfully every morning since I got here! Anyways, our lesson with Sister Harlow was centered on the blessings of covenants and how going to church is such a blessing not a burden. It was such a good lesson! We taught from 2 Nephi 9. Such a solid chapter, I would definitely take a look at it. Jacob is so amazing. We also got to teach Grace again on Friday night. We taught her about Prophets and we showed her a video of Thomas S Monson speaking at the last Women's General conference. The spirit was so strong and the talk was titled "You are Never Alone", when we were planning about playing it for Grace I didn't really know how the talk would apply but that it would awesome for Grace to actually hear President Monson to speak. Sister Aeschbacher picked out the talk and she was so inspired. The talk was just what I needed even though it didn't really apply to Grace,I felt that Heavenly Father was very aware of me. He said Heavenly Father will ALWAYS love you, and I guess I really needed that reminder. I was bawling by the end. But Grace loved it. She was so giddy as we talked about it afterwards. She just loves the church and it makes me so happy!
Saturday I had the opportunity to sing at the Manchester Fishercats baseball game. It was a Mormon themed night I guess and President asked me if I would sing America, the Beautiful. It was a fun experience. When they announced me they introduced me as "Sister Innes" and it was a little weird because I'm not used to that but it was so cool! I loved every minute. During the game we had a booth with a bunch of B of M and pass-along cards and we tried to talk to people. It was a little tricky because we couldn't go about it like we do when we tract out in public but it was still really awesome. We got to stay at the mission home again and visit with President Stoker's parents who are visiting right now. Such sweet people. President said that a lot of missionaries don't really go back to the mission home and stay once they get there and I've already been there 3 times in the past 3 weeks hah!
But then we got up early on Sunday so we could make church at 9 AM where I had the privilege of giving a short talk and also giving musical number. I shared Ether12:27 and how it had really come to mean a lot to me on my mission so far. I am so grateful for the chance I have right now to devote my life to testifying of Christ. Through this I have come closer to him and come to know more of him and his attributes. But as I have come closer to him I have also become more aware of my weaknesses and have been very humbled. Humility truly has come to really make sense to me and I am far from it but am striving to lean more and more on my Savior everyday. There is no other way to do anything on a mission without His help! I have come to know that I am nothing without my Savior. I cannot overcome my weaknesses without humbling myself and asking for help! His grace is sufficient if we only humble ourselves.
Like Ryan says, "We are all on our way back to God!" I am grateful for the chance I have to help these people in my area on their way back. I am truly humbled everyday.
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for the continual support and love!
Have an amazing week and share the gospel, you've got nothing to lose!
All the sisters at missionary training
president stoker threw the first pitch!