1st- Before lightning
2nd-Lightning striking right behind our home
3rd- The timer going off right as lightning flashed all around us lit up the sky!
The Scorpion and the Pinons holding it :-) They said to mention their cabnets usualy have doors on them, they are just painting right now, lol.
(written Aug 22nd)
This was such a blessed week! Transfers went smoothly and Elder Willden and I are having a blast working together, and Elder Byrd is enjoyingas well. One of our major focus's this week, and this coming transfer, is finding more people who are the elect and ready to receive the Gospel. All of last transfer we found six or seven new people who were willing to listen to our message, and last week alone we found seven incredible people who we have begun teaching, some of which felt the spirit so strongly our first visit that they are already preparing to be baptised next month. We had a very busy week with administrative duties including preparing for zone conference, transfers, and training our new district leaders, which limited the time we had to go out and work with people in our area. One day in particular we had weekly planning, teaching appointments, and preparation for other meetings so we were not able to go out and proselyte at all during the day. We had set high goals for the day and were not close to reaching them by dinner time, so afterwards we dedicated our time to going out and working. Miracles happened and we saw the Lords hand preparing our way. We knocked on six doors with all but two of them answering, and every single person that answered eventually agreed to sit down with us and take the lessons. That kind of success is almost unheard of in our mission and Elder Willden and I were ecstatic all night.
Another experience that showed me how much the Lord is in this work came as I was looking through our phone. I had forgotten the name of someone I needed to get ahold of and thought that if I saw it I would remember, which eventually I did. For some reason I started on the opposite end of the alphabet going through the contacts and noticed a name that I did not recognize as I scrolled through, and seconds after passing it I felt I needed to give him a call. As missionaries we have so many names that we do not know that it seemed very unusual for a name to stick out so much. I have had many experiences teach me to follow those kinds of promptings quickly so I did not second guess and called right away, a little nervous that this man was either a member already or not wanting to talk to missionaries any longer. He answered sounding a little confused at why I was calling but after a brief explanation he seemed excited and asked if we could come over this next week. There is no way coincidences happen so regularly and powerfully!
Then the week ended with some excitement as we went over to the Pinon's, one of my favorite families our here, so that Elder Willden could get a haircut. We were waiting downstairs as they got their kids ready for bed when all of a sudden we heard their kids screaming and yelling that there was a scorpion in the bathtub. The kids ran downstairs and started telling us all about their discovery as Bro. Pinon captured it in a little container and brought it down to show us. He looked it up on the Internet and found out that it was a bark scorpion, which happens to be the most venomous scorpion in North America... After that they challenged us to a competition that I think everyone reading this should try. We took a napkin and placed it on the ground peaked high in the middle, probably about three or four inches above the ground, and then had to stand on one leg and bend over and pick the napkin up with our mouth. You cant touch the ground with your other foot, leg, or any hands, and after the napkin is in your mouth you have to stand strait back up on your one leg. It was so much fun, and in the end I was the only one able to do it successfully, after many funny failures. I'm excited to hear how many of you can do it too :-)
(Written Aug. 29th)
This was such an amazing week. Haha, I hope I don't start to many of my emails that way but its seems like about every week out here is amazing, so I guess you will just have to deal with the repetition. I hope the pictures came through of the lightning storm. Last night we got home at the end of the day and noticed lightning flashing in the distance so we took a seat on the curb, eventually laying down, and watched the light show for around 30 minutes. It was about time for us to get in and collect weekly numbers so we got up ready to go in, but as we did so the storm grew more intense and rain started pouring down in sheets while lightning struck so close that the ground felt like it was shaking at times from the thunder. For a split second we thought of running inside to avoid getting drenched, and so that we could make our calls, but instead we sat back down and I whipped out my camera (very thankful that it was water proof). Near the end of the storm, 15 minutes later, I sat the camera on the curd and turned the timer on hoping for some cool shots of us standing in the rain, and on the last picture I took the whole sky lit up as lightning danced from one horizon to the other. Figuring that was a good picture to end our adventure with we went inside dripping from head to toe, collected numbers, and went to sleep. Isnt it amazing what beautiful shows the Lord can put on for us.
This week we were also able to enjoy zone conference up in Santa Fe. I was asked to conduct and had a very blond moment that I am sure will take a little while to live down. I have conducted many meetings and trainings and given talks in every ward I have been in, so I don't often feel any amount of nervousness when I stand up in front of large groups of people, and this was no exception. But for some reason as I was announcing who would be playing the piano and conducting the music I blanked on what a piano was called and instead pointed at it and acted out playing it. Even though I would probably not do the same thing if I had the opportunity I think it was a good way to start because we all got a good laugh in and were more alert for when President Miller stood up to present. The rest of the day went great and I hope everyone left as uplifted as I felt I did. Many of the missionaries, including myself, had to get up before 5:30am so that we could make the drive to Santa Fe and show up in time for car inspections, but even with the lack of sleep there were no problems with bobbing heads (or as I heard in this week's sacrament talk "slow motion head banging").
We were also blessed again this week with finding incredible people to teach and I had a lot of fun doing so. One of the people we are working with needed help moving across the neighborhood so we went over and spent a little time getting him to his new place. One of his friends came and helped as well, so we got to know him and he ended up inviting us to his bible study this coming week. We were informed that his wife is very anti and believes that if we enter their home we will bring in evil spirits, but he says that he thinks it will be fine if we come anyway. Can't wait to see how that turns out :-) And in between all of our meetings, travel, and service we had some of the more powerful lessons of my mission. I love serving here! The ward is so strong and active with missionary work, the stake is supportive, and the investigators are some of the greatest people I know, and I am so happy with the changes taking place within myself.
One lesson in particular that I hope to never forget was with a father and son we started teaching last week who are preparing for baptism. We showed up to our scheduled appointment and sat down to teach the plan of salvation, but decided to change direction because the son was sick with a cold. Instead, we asked him if he would like a priesthood blessing and then taught what that meant. After teaching what a blessing was and reading examples of them from scripture we placed our hands on his head and administered one to him. After we ended he had a huge smile stretching across his face and said that he felt good. We explained to him that he was feeling the Spirit and it meant what we did was of God, and also told him that he will receive similar feelings as he reads and prays about the Book of Mormon. His father felt the Spirit powerfully as well and is now excited for the time when he can administer blessings himself, especially fathers blessings to his children. They are both doing so well and I can see the light growing in them as they get closer to becoming an eternal family.