Dearest family and friends:
Such cool things are happening. Amazing things! It's sweet. Sister Gladden and I were just talking about how we have fun wherever we go. It's really true. The members here are awesome and I am becoming really close with them. We exercise with some of the sisters in the ward a few times a week. Like the young mothers-like Becca's and Jessica's and Valerie's age. I feel right at home with them because I think of my sisters. Then I miss my sisters. But they are cool too. We really enjoy talking with them about their cute kids and all the things they do. I have been amazed at how much service and help they are to the ward. It's crazy because so much weight gets put on just a few people in this ward. I know they are blessed for it though.
So yesterday was probably the best day of my life. Definitely the best Sunday. I felt an increase of the spirit from the time I woke up. As we got to church, I loved seeing the ward members. I am so happy that I am remembering their names and getting to know them better. It makes church really fun. We just had a great time talking with them. Then the miracles started happening. We had an investigator come to church! Doesn't sound thaat amazing, I know, but it was. It's hard to get them to church. But once they are there, I know that they will feel the spirit and know that this is a place of God. God is there and the spirit is there because the priesthood is being exercised righteously. That is powerful. We also had 3 less active families come that haven't been to church in a very long time. It made me feel so much happiness. Then, to my great surprise, the entire bishopric got changed around! It was really exciting for us and the ward. What stuck out most to me was the quiet humility in the eyes of the newly called bishop. I could see the weight of his calling sinking into him as he stood before the ward. He talked about how he had been blessed with 4 things in his life. 1: A deep testimony of the life and mission of the Savior 2: His wife-who is responsible for everything that he is 3: His family 4: The ability to sleep anytime anywhere. These comments were meaningful to me, because he understands who he is. He knows who he is because he knows who the Savior is. The Savior is the reason we can all repent and rise to greater things than we now know. That is how he was able to be blessed with his family. I was grateful at that time for my family and the examples you are to me. I know that family relationships can be eternal when we know who the Savior is and why it's important for us. I also chuckled when he said his comment about sleeping anytime anywhere, because that is also something our family has been blessed with. :) Anyway, we got to teach great lessons yesterday, and just had a really fulfilling day.
Last week, we had a great experience with fasting and prayer. We decided to fast and pray for this family who we have taught in the past, but haven't been able to see for 6 weeks. (after many times of trying). The family is Mark and Terry. So we were walking down the street that day, and heard a voice say, "Hello Sisters!" We turned around to see a nice woman and her husband who told us that they were members of the church and had just gotten off of their mission. We had a nice conversation with them. As we turned to walk away, lo and behold, there is Mark standing in front of our eyes. WHAT THE! (I decided to throw that phrase in for Toby :)) God just scooped Mark up and set him down right in our path. Mark said, "Hey, I saw you girls on the street as I was driving, so I decided to park and come talk to you" . It was really cool. The problem has been that they are so busy working that there is never a time that they are both home for us to go over. As we talked he said that his whole family would be home at 4:30 that day. This was a miracle. We went over at 4:30 and watched everything unfold beautifully. We got the chance to sit outside with Terry and talk about her job as a caregiver. The people she cares for are very old and are on the verge of passing on. I know that's a horrible way to say it, but I mulled over a couple options in my head and this was the best one I could come up with. She talked about how sad it was to see them pass on because she had grown to love them so much. We talked about the special feelings she felt when she watched them go to the other side. It truly is a sacred experience I imagine. She expressed her concerns about why we have to be on earth to watch people suffer- and Sister Gladden and I got to testify of God's plan of happiness. True and simple. We learned so much from Terry about love. That is what it is all about. That is why we have the plan of happiness-because God loves us so much. We are sent here to learn how to make good choices and love everyone around us. Christ atoned for our sins because of His great love. I was grateful for this experience.
Well, last week I got to go to the Alligator Petting Zoo. It was sweet! This week a lady in the ward is going to give me and Sister Gladden manicures and pedicures. We are stoked. I love to hear about all of your lives, so thanks again for writing me letters and sending me cool things. It makes my life so happy. I'd like to say how awesome it is that Elisa Kynsie and Chelsea got their calls! I am so excited for you all. I hope you read this.
I love you all very much. Keep going to church, keep reading your scriptures, and keep praying-because God loves you!
love sister annalisa wilde