So I'm on my 9th to last day in Hot Springs. I will have been with Sister Gladden for 6 months (well, not including the MTC). Isn't that crazy? It's been a good run. It will be hard to leave the area...but alas, I must.
This weekend was a special one for our area. We did this outreach program where all the missionaries from our zone came to Hot Springs and we all went on splits with the members to visit less active families to invite them to take the missionary lessons again. The ward council made 25 different routes and we all went out on Saturday morning. It was a special feeling. I went out with Sister Nelson. At the beginning she said, "I am scared. I've never done this before". I said, "Oh, don't be scared, it's not scary. You are going to be wonderful!" When inside I was thinking about how I was scared too cause I'm not usually the leader, or haven't been in our companionship for the last 6 months. It went really well though! Probably the best experience we had was trying to find Jeffery Lowery at 1008 Leach St. I knew I would like him because he spells his name like my Daddy does. Well there we were on leach street and there is no 1008 to be found. They were all in the hundreds. I suggested that maybe it was supposed to say 108. We looked for that-but there was not a 108 either. We ended up skipping to the next person on our route. After that visit, I said, "Let's go try Leach St one more time." As we drove down, we looked at every house. We got to the end of the street where we saw a house that said 100 A. Sister Nelson said, "I bet you anything that is the house". We got out of the car and this way nice guy came out. We talked to him for a minute and found out he was Jeffery Lowery. He said, "Did my Grandpa call y'all?" "Uh..no..." "Really? He told me he had given my address so that y'all could come visit me. You know, that's funny that you came today because yesterday I was driving along and saw a woman at the side of the street with a flat tire. I helped her change her tire and then she offered me money. I wasn't doing it for the money, I just wanted to help her. Then y'all show up today! What a coincidence!" "Wow, that's crazy!" I said. I didn't see how it connected..but the important thing was that he did. It was meaningful to him. He said, "It just shows you that when you do good things then good things happen to you." He said he needed Jesus in his life and wanted to get back to church but that it was harder than we thought. I understand that.
Last night we had a special devotional for the Hot Springs community titled, "Because you asked...We Believe in Christ". It was for them to learn about what our basic beliefs are. The stake president and his wife were the keynote speakers. They talked about what every mother wants her children and grandchildren to know, and how the Book of Mormon supports the Bible. I can't describe the feeling I had when I sat in that meeting. Something about knowing that Christians of different denominations were there together with us, sharing in our devotion to the Savior. As I listened to the messages, I knew more than I had before that the Book of Mormon is true. It miraculously came forth in our day for our day. The prophets in that book clearly and boldly testify that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and redeemer. This is an eternal truth that we can come to know more deeply as we seek to live our lives for Him. President Petersen always says that I shouldn't be on my mission for any other reason than that I love my Savior. Not for friends, not for me, but for Him. I am coming to know that more than I did before. After the meeting, there was a beautiful display of pictures of Christ. So many people came! Something especially wonderful was that Valerie's mom (who is deaf) came. Valerie was home with a sick child. This is significant because she and the other members of Valerie's family have been hesitant about Valerie going to church. They have heard a lot of anti from their pastor and were unclear on a lot of the things we believe. Her mom brought an interpreter with her to the devotional. As we sang "I Believe in Christ" I looked over to see them signing the words. The spirit touched me in a special way to see that beautiful expression of love for their Savior.
I love you all.