"Oh what a BEAUTIFUL mooooorning, oh what a BEAUTIFUL daaaaay!!!"
The sun is up, the magic of St. Marys has returned, the roadkill is a plenty, and for the first time since November I'm not wearing tights or a coat!! Spring has finally arrived! LIFE IS GOOD!!
This past week most definitely made up for last week BIG TIME!! We had more miracles than I can even recall. We met all of our lesson goals this week [which has never happened before on my mission!] and taught over 30 lessons [also a first for me!]. We have been so incredibly blessed!! There is no way that you can be a missionary [especially one in St. Marys] and not believe in Miracles!!
Roxshana came to church again yesterday!! She and her girls all loved it so much. We were in their neighborhood later that afternoon and so we decided to stop by for a quick visit. Now, whenever we go to the Capelle's or Rilometo's all the little girls scream at the top of their lungs, "MORMONS!!!!!!!!!!" when we knock on the door. Then are climbing all over each other to open it. It is my favorite thing!! Until we went to Roxshana's today, when we knock on the door her little girl screams, "JESUS!!!!!!!!" and runs to go get her mom. Her sister answers the door and lets us in and we see little Jallen running back from the hallway pointing at us to Roxshana just chanting, "Jesus!! Jesus!! Jesus!!!" [She was probably a little disappointed when she realized that Jesus wasn't actually standing in her living room, but the sisters. :)] Then as we are sitting down and visiting with Roxshana, Jallen gets up on the couch and starts jumping on it and shouting, "I want to go back to Jesus!!!" Clearly she really loved Primary. [And doesn't know what it is actually called.] It was too cute!!
Well, this miracle was kind of also a huge disappointment too....We went to our lesson with the Capelle'snight and ended up getting there before they got back so we just sat in the car watching Mormon Messages while we waited for them. We see them pull up and Emmy gets out of the car and goes inside and then we see the driver...smoking....Ummm..
What? We were praying so hard that it wasn't Ray...but sadly not all prayers are answered how we would hope. What are you doing Ray?!?!? So we go inside for our lesson and at first we aren't really sure how to go about bringing it up. Then Sister Thomas just goes, "Were you smoking out there?" He felt so bad and said how he was really stressed and upset today and just had one. We explained again the importance of keeping God's commandments and how we will have to push back his baptism date again. However, it ended up being good! [Oh! Previous miracle from earlier in the week, his wife Nellie became a new investigator!] We taught them all that night about temples and eternal marriage. It was such a powerful and spiritual lesson. We talked a lot about the blessings of the temple both individually and for our family. In the middle of it Nellie just looks over at Ray and goes, "Quit smoke!!!" It was too funny. He told us that he was completely done. No more smoking. They all want to go to the temple so badly!! I can't wait to see them all get there someday. We were able to move Ray's date, as well as set a date for Nellie!! We are so excited! Please add Ray to your prayers though. He can use the help right now.
We have been working with Sister Beougher a lot recently to help her quit smoking as well. We had a lesson with herand ended up committing her to only having that last pack of cigarettes that she had and then not buying any more. She was definitely pretty hesitant, but she agreed. She texted us morning saying, "My last cigarette was at 3 this morning." YES!!!! She was struggling with the feeling and temptation though so we went to visit her that evening. We told her how it will be hard, but we, and most importantly Heavenly Father, are going to help her do this. She is so strong!!! We are so excited for her. She has such a strong desire to go to the temple.
We had exchanges this past week and I got to go to Bowling Green with Sister Davis. I met the most wonderful couple!! Brother and Sister Shadle had us over for dinner that night and they made such a strong impact on me. They are both converts and have such strong testimonies of the gospel. My favorite was when Sister Shadle said, "The gospel has worked in our lives, it just has, and it's been fun." They told us how they met and I heard a tiny snip-it of her conversion story which was absolutely incredible. The spirit in their home was so wonderful. I have met so many spectacular people on my mission, even just briefly, that inspire me to become better. It makes me sad that I don't get to actually serve there and get to know them more. Oh also! They said they are going to look you guys up when they go to Arizona next month! :)
Wow, such a long email, and I could go on for even longer about this past week. Lastly though, I had a good long talk with President Vellinga this weekend. That man is AMAZING. There was lots and lots we talked about for a good 45 minutes. But just know, that happiness is back :) Even though things are still hard at times, I am doing so much better. "Don't let anybody take the smile off your face. That would be the greatest tragedy." Happiness truly is a choice. A choice that is sometimes hard to make, but still a choice that is left up to us, and us alone. Also, everyone should read, "All Hell is Moved" by Neal A. Maxwell. SO GOOD!!
I love you and miss you to the moon and back.
Sister Amber Olds