Everything goes by fast. We get up, run all over the place all day while I make a bunch of calls and plan appointments. It seems like there is always about a thousand things on my mind. I'm constantly thinking, "now who am I forgetting? There is somebody else we need to see..." However, when we go into appointments, if we are doing it right (meaning we have the spirit with us), it all stops and we listen to the person we are visiting. Quite a few times this past week we have had conversations with investigators that say "I LOVE it when you come to visit me. You don't know how much it means". This makes me want to work even harder to bring kindness and love and the joy of the gospel to them. Then we go to bed, and five minutes later, it is 6:30 again. Then we do it all over. :)
We played our weekly dominoes game on Saturday with Charlie and 90 yr old Margaret. It seems like everybody knows about our dominoes thing! Seriously, word gets around. As we played at the table near the lobby of the nursing home, people passed by and commented to us about how nice it was to see us spending time playing a game with Margaret. I got the feeling that it is a rare occurance. These elderly people don't get visited much. As we played, we talked with Charlie. He talked about how we literally make people's week by our visits. It's all Margaret talks about. He said that so much of our world, even the religion part is corrupt. Too many preachers do it only for the money and don't practice what they preach. He saw how we give up 18 months to visit the sick and the people who need help and was truly impressed. He said, "you girls give me hope for this world. You restore my faith in faith." Although he doesn't believe in God, he sees that latter day saints care for the people around them and really try to be like the Savior. This was a precious experience.
Nancy and Craig Baldwin are two investigators that we have been teaching since May. I have never taught anyone who had more of a desire to be baptized than Nancy. Her baptism is this Thursday-and I really think she's gonna make it with the word of wisdom. She hasn't smoked in 3 days. This is a big deal. I never really knew how big of a deal it was, but now so many that we teach struggle with this addiction. Don't ever smoke! It's nasty. Me and Sister Gladden like to joke that if we don't come home smelling like cigarette smoke then we haven't done our job. hah. Anyway, back to Nancy. A sweet Samoan family in the ward, the Kennach family, have fellowshipped the Baldwins and are taking part in the baptism. Brother Kennach is performing the baptism. I told them about how my daddy served his mission in Samoa and they got super excited. I was then part of the family. :) We talked all about lava lavas and everything I knew about Samoa (which isn't very much). I told them about how my dad always sings "In Our Lovely Deseret" in Samoan during family night. I tried to get them to sing it for me-they sang a line or two and then stopped, but that was good enough for me. They are singing the special musical number at Nancy's baptism in Samoan. I will be thinking of you Dad! How sweet is that?!
Yesterday I got the opportunity to play the piano in sacrament meeting for Father's Day. I was asked to play O My Father. Thank you so much Mom for sending me those arrangements-and don't be mad at me please-but I decided to just make up my own arrangement. It turned out very well and I loved doing it. My companion was very sweet and prayed for me that I would let my love of the Savior guide my playing and that that would be what would touch the hearts of those in the congregation. Isn't that the reason we should do things? That is why we are given talents in the first place-to bring others unto Christ. It always works out so much better this way anyway. I was able to convey that feeling as I played and many kind people expressed their appreciation afterwards. The whole thing is, it's not about us. It's about the Savior. Lots of time when I'm upset/annoyed/irritated about something it's because I'm prideful and have forgotten to look unto the Savior in every thought. Doubt not, fear not. Anyway, I really love the Hot Springs ward. It will be hard to leave it whenever I have to.
The other night we got to teach Dennis and his grandparents. Do you remember the story about Dennis? We had taught him and his little 5 yr old friend Olivia some primary songs a few weeks ago. This night, Olivia's parents were there and we all sang the primary songs we had learned together. It brought the sweetest spirit to see these children singing about choosing the right. Olivia's parents could feel the light and truth that came when she sang that song. I know that choosing the right-choosing to follow Christ will bring us happiness in our lives.
I love you more than sleep,
love sister anna