So many things happened this week! It is a really exciting time to be a missionary in the Ripon area... which was not the case when we opened up the area in December haha. Serving here has been the biggest growing experience for me these past couple months- and hopefully I still get to serve here longer. I have really grown to love Ripon so much.
We went on two exchanges this week. I worked in Ripon for both of them and we were blessed with miracles. The first was with Modesto 3rd ward. I worked here with Sister Hogan. She is just a baller, I love working with her, we get along really well. We were able to teach an inactive family that has not let anyone in for the last like 30 years, and then we were able to meet Eddie again! So Eddie. A couple weeks ago Sister Winn was sick one night so we had to walk down to walgreens to get her some medicine. As we walked out this man sitting on the ground yelled over and asked if we were "women of God" haha. We said we were and he spilled on us his life story of how he came to be sitting here on a Thursday night at the walgreens with no family and no car and no life. We had such a powerful conversation, and assured him there is hope and happiness ahead. He said he didn't have a phone yet but he would call once he got one so he could learn more of how to have that hope and that happiness. Well...he didn't call us. But as Sister Hogan and I were biking, we met him on the street! He told us he lost our number and he was praying that day for us to come talk to him. He said he sat outside walgreens for hours hoping we would walk by again, but we never did. We taught him for like a half hour right there on the street and made an appointment to come teach him again. It was a really special experience to be able to answer someone's prayer. Eddie ended up cancelling this week but we pray we can meet with him soon now that we have a way to contact him. One my exchange with Modesto 8/10, I worked with Sister Rugg and we too had a great day working. She is such a fun sister, I just love her. We were able to finally start teaching this lady we have been talking to since I got here in December. She had some things happen in her life that inspired her to look for the deeper meaning, and when we showed up at her door she opened it and said I knew you were coming this week. She had meditated for us to come (she calls her prayers meditations, she is really into like energies and vibes and stuff, she is way interesting but super sincere). We taught some and left her a Book of Mormon to read, and are stopping by this next week! Other than our exchanges we had a couple other visits to our sisters, that we just felt so prompted by the Spirit to go see, and every time this week we were able to see why the Spirit needed us to be there. I can never say how thankful I am to be able to be there for these other sister missionaries when they need some extra love, support and council. I love each one of them.
This week I saw president a ton. We had interviews, which went so well. In my interview with president palmer he was able to bring me a lot of peace to things I have been struggling with. And then we saw him again because we taught Lou and Lisa at his home after we all had dinner. It was a really really cool experience. I was so anxious leading up to it, this family meant so much to me and then I would be teaching them in front of president and sister palmer, but as soon as I stepped inside I felt so much peace and the night went perfect. Well not perfect to my preconceived expectations- but it went exactly how God wanted it to go. We were confident walking out that we followed the spirit in the lesson and that we made more meaningful connections with them. We are teaching them again at president and sister palmer's home this week.
Sunday was the best sunday ever part 2. Lou, Lisa and their son Max came again and so did the other couple Trisha and Robert. AND so did Lindsey who got her baby blessed, and also another inactive member we are teaching. President Palmer and sister palmer came as well again. We were so overwhelmed making sure everyone felt welcomed and loved and knew where to sit and where to go. Considering our worry for the last few months has been getting even one of our investigators to church...this was a good kind of worried and overwhelmed. After church we were able to talk more one on one with Trisha and Robert and it was such a powerful conversation. We got more of a back story of their journey that lead them to search for God. I wished with all my heart I could comprehend and empathize even an ounce of what their lives have been. I have never met someone with a truer broken heart and contrite spirit. We found a member to host their lessons at this week and we are so excited to teach them, and help them find healing in the Savior. As we drove away I just cried for them and I pray that I can be an instrument for God to help them find the answers they need. I know that I can not imagine what they have gone through, but the Savior can perfectly and all I can do is help them take the steps necessary to come closer to Him.
This week I have been studying the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. I have been focusing on Alma 17:9-12, but specifically verse 9. They fasted and prayed not for the Lord to grant them a certain goal or number of baptisms, but for themselves to have His spirit that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring-if it were possible- their brethren to the knowledge of the truth. They fasted and prayed that they can do the Lord's will. I am still not fully sure where the line is between faith producing miracles and the Lord's will being done, but what I do know is that as I continue to pray with all the faith I have and work with full diligence that I am allowing myself to be an instrument for God that I will be able to do His will. That is all I really want. To make my Heavenly Father proud and do what He needs me to do. I want Him to be able to depend on me, and if that means He needs me to do a miracle like baptize someone this Saturday I will do that, but if it means something else I will do that too. I am striving to have every day the true spirit of missionary work as the sons of Mosiah did. At the end of the day, if I did my best to do God's will then that is enough always.
all my love,