It has been rainy and gloomy all week, but I am totally okay with it because Ohio has turned green!! Everything is blooming and it is so beautiful! They have these gorgeous Magnolia trees here that have big beautiful flowers on them that are either white, pink, or purple. I love them!! [These trees, along with making banana pudding last night with a less active made me want to hit up Magnolia's Bakery in NYC so badly!] Also there are tons and tons of daffodils are popping up! They always remind me of my dear sweet Gran. :)
So I was having a really hard time falling asleep one night this past week (well....that's actually a nightly occurrence. But this night especially) and I was reading through some old papers I had in a folder and came across Uncle Lowell's letter that he sent to Mom while she was out on her mission. I had totally forgot that she had sent it with me when I left. I loved it so much. There was so much helpful advice and encouragement in there. I so wish that I had stumbled upon it about a month ago. It still helped so much though. Who would have thought that his letter to his little sister on her mission would be such a blessing to her later daughter on her mission years down the road.
For the past couple of weeks Sister Ebersole and I have been making a much bigger effort to do more service. It has been so much fun! We volunteer at a really nice nursing home facility in Avon Lake and the little old ladies that we visit with are just too precious!! I love them all so much! And they always get so excited when we come back. They are just a hoot!! Then we also volunteer at the Salvation Army twice a week which has been an awesome opportunity to share the gospel. Every time we have gone I have had the chance to talk to at least 4 different people about the church. They all have so many questions too which has been great! (Have also definitely cleared up some confusion and misunderstanding.....haha) Then also on Saturday the elders called us about a community service project out in Lorain that we were able to go help with! They were cleaning up around the Black River and there were tons of people there. I was able to talk to lots of different people while we were volunteering and even found the elders a new potential investigator! They were pretty excited when they saw me giving someone a Book of Mormon who lived in their area. We worked super hard and were so exhausted afterward but the coordinator for the whole event came up afterwards to personally thank all of us for all of our service and hard work. Yes! Getting a good name out there for the church!
The highlight of my week was probably a new investigator that we found while tracting. At first we weren't entirely sure of his level of accountability because we could tell that he had a disability and was super hard to understand. We gave him a Restoration pamphlet and then he told us that he had the Book of Mormon on his kindle! Umm...awesome! He ended up calling us the next day just to say thank you for stopping by and also had a few question for us. We set up an appointment for the next day and it was so great! We found out that he has had numerous strokes in his life and that is why he has such a hard time speaking, but he is so prepared for the gospel! He was asking about the brass plates vs. the gold plates, about modern prophets, and so many other things! When we explained about modern prophets and showed him the pictures of all of them he just went, "Yeah that makes sense. If there were prophets back then why wouldn't there be prophets now?" And he asked us about our process of repentance and when we explained that we don't do confessional he was like "I feel like that is how God intended it to be." Golden. So Golden. And he has already read the first 5 chapters of 1st Nephi. I can't wait to meet with him again!
I finished the Doctrine and Covenants this week! I know that everyone missionaries testimony of Joseph Smith grows while they are on their mission, but I feel as though I get an extra advantage serving in the Ohio Cleveland Mission. I will never be able to read the Doctrine and Covenants the same way again. It is amazing to read the revelations give to Joseph Smith and to have sat in the very room in the Kirtland temple where he received them. Or to serve in the ward where numerous historic church leaders have lived. I never fully realized all that Joseph Smith had to endure through his life in order to restore this true and everlasting gospel to this earth. I am so grateful for his tremendous faith, endurance, and long-suffering that he had in order to do what the Lord commanded of Him. Those early saints are some of my biggest heroes. I would like to think that I would be able to stand against the same adversity that they had to endure, but needless to say I am grateful to live in a time where we have the Restored gospel to the earth and that I don't have to give my life defending it. I will much rather take a few door slams and angry people every now and then.