Anyway, good morning! Another crazy week. But it's calmed down a bit since the last one. We've kind of weeded out of investigators based on who's interested and who's not, so that's been nice.
This week we had Stake Conference and Elder Villarreal of the 70 was there. He is a funny, funny man. But I'll report a bit more about what he said later.
We also had exchanges so I packed up my things and went up to Lawton for a couple of days. It's weird to be in Oklahoma. Where things are green and they have water. I saw two girls spraying each other with a hose and I almost had a heart attack.
Oh, also, my companion got her wisdom tooth out this week so I spent two days in a row with a ward member, Sister Pettingill, going to all of our appointments and it was disorienting. I never realized how much my companion and I do for each other... it's weird to be apart.
Last night we had a lesson with Brenda, the mother of the 22 year old who died. I love teaching her because she is so inspired. She knows that we're there for a reason, she knows that Joshua is urging us to talk to her, and yesterday the spirit was so strong we were in tears. My companion, especially. She said she could feel Brenda's son there and he was prompting her to say certain things. It was a very uplifting experience for all of us and Brenda agreed to be baptized for herself so she could be sure Joshua was baptized as well. We layed out the Plan of Salvation and she had no doubt it was true. I can barely handle how prepared the people we meet are. No wonder success isn't measured in baptisms. It couldn't be because we as missionaries don't really do anything, we just help them recall knowledge when they're ready to hear it.
Michelle, the pentecostal preacher's wife, is getting baptized on Saturday. She's been investigating the church since 2005. She even has a quad and reads it every day, but her husband bombards her with anti-garbage. So we've been praying and fasting that she acts on her faith and takes this next step because we know the influence she will be to her family and to our ward. She is amazing.
I've been wondering lately... Why do people say a mission will change your nature but not your personality? I thought it was a good question because there are a lot of things about myself that I wouldn't mind changing... I think most people are that way. But then I had to define what nature is and what your personality is...
Your personality is who you are. Quite literally what defines you as a person.
Whereas, your nature is what you gravitate toward naturally. This can change because much of our nature is habits. It is the desire of our hearts. And we can control what is in our hearts, rather, the Atonement can turn those desires of our hearts in things that would bring us closer to Christ (Even if we think, nah. I'm good the way I am. We all need to change.) That's what repentance is! Change! It is a commandment for us to change.
Sometimes our nature and our personality overlap-- For example, manners...-- But it is our nature that changes when we take steps toward Christ and it is our personality that defines HOW we apply those changes to our lives, how we share the gospel, et cetera...
"IT IS BETTER TO AVOID THAN TO RESIST." Probably the most powerful one liner of stake conference, delivered by our stake president himself. And he's absolutely right. I can't count how many times I told myself that I was strong enough to handle something when, in reality, I probably should have just avoided it all together. All weakness is brought on by being, doing, saying, or thinking what we know we ought not to.
So if we simply redirect our thoughts, mind, locations, or actions to those that are better for us, we will be fine. We will not be tempted. Because the Lord ALWAYS has faith in us, he ALWAYS keeps his end of covenants. Which is interesting because God, who is perfect, retains faith in us, who are imperfect. Yet we lose faith in God, a constant, immovable father. Talk about the flaw of man.
By the end of this week we will know where I'm going next or if my companion is leaving. I can hardly believe it's already June! Crazy, crazy stuff. But I really look forward to the hot summer months down here in the South. ;)
I love you guys. I hope everyone is doing well. Just FYI, I never ever get bored hearing how you're doing so drop me a line! :)
1. This is Daniel! He only speaks Spanish so he sounds a lot smarter than me by default. But he's a cutie. He wants to be a missionary so we brought him a tie.
2. I look really gross, but this is probably the best picture ever. Meet Rockie and Misty. We're trying to get them to quit drinking... and smoking... and drinking coffee... So this picture is really just comedic.