July 11, 2016
I will start off with bad news then good news for my email. Bad news is I had my first bike crash! I was on an exchange in Modesto and the sister stopped in front of me, but I was trying to keep my bag from falling after going over a huge bump so I was not looking and then... I just smashed into her. I was hauling down this street, going so fast. Bikes went flying and I also went flying over top of it all. Nothing awful happened though, some minor bike repairs were needed and some scraps and bumps on our end of it all thankfully. It is kind of crazy that is all that was needed, I really hit her bike hard- like demolition derby style. Such a blessing it all worked out okay. I guess for as much as I ride my bike it was bound to happen at least once. Now I have it out of the way though, and no more bike crashes for me!
This week we had a lot of appointments and with exchanges mingled in throughout the whole week, we were busy to say the least. But busy is what I love to be, so I had a great week. Kelly is getting baptized this Saturday atand we could not be more excited!! What a beautiful way to wrap up our transfer. She has grown so much in the last month. Her and her new husband Marco are doing amazing. Kelly's testimony is so strong, and she sees the big picture. She knows baptism is an essential, wonderful gate on her journey to eventually enter the temple to make more covenants, and ultimately be sealed to her love Marco for all time and eternity. Kelly and Marco were telling us how that is their goal , and hearing them make goals for it made me feel the spirit in overwhelming amounts.
The YSA work is really expanding recently. We are getting so many referrals and miracles. Most of our teaching is happening here. I love working in the YSA. The kids our age who we are teaching are just so strong. Most of them are on this spiritually journey alone, without the support of friends or family members, and are often carrying some heavy weight with them. Seeing them receive the peace and healing from the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ gives me such an added strength. I am inspired by each of them daily. We had a crazy miracle this week. Just minutes before the YSA ward began, we were outside just being out in the sun (the chapel was FREEZING), and this girl starts walking in that we have never seen before so we go over and introduce ourselves. She tells us that she wants to learn more about our church, and then proceeds to pull out all of the scriptures and missionary pamphlets that she has bought and been reading. She said she loves it all and has tons of questions about it- then asked who could she talk to to learn more...we happily explained that is our purpose as missionaries. I wish you could have seen our faces...we were just in a state of pure amazement and joy. Ashley stayed for all of church and then set up a lesson with us for the next few days. We love her, she is just the cutest thing! I am excited to teach and get to know her more.
I am anxious with the new transfer arriving next week, I have been pretty much the same for awhile. It will be hard for me if I will change, but I know that Jesus Christ will be with me whatever I do next.The past few weeks of my mission have been the best weeks of my life. I just have felt the spirit in my heart in such a strong, new abundance, and my gratitude for being here on my mission has grown and grown. I don't have words enough to say how much this opportunity means to me. I feel like Alma did from the Book of Mormon. In Alma chapter 29 verse 10 he says, "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, even that he hath heard my prayer, yea; then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." I am remembering more and more,and deeper and deeper, all that Jesus Christ means to me. The times when he has reached out and pulled me up out of hard times. When He has comforted me in comfortless times. When He has offered understanding when I felt none. That fact that no matter where we are in life, there is always that spiritual light beckoning us to Him with the hope of safety and rescue. I know that through Jesus Christ, I will find my only source of happiness and peace, and sharing that truth with others has deepened my own understanding and love more than I thought was possible.
all my love,
Sister Eleanor Neeley