Hey Thorne Fam!
Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I can hardly fathom that this will be my final weekly letter to you. This is my last email as a full-time called representative of Jesus Christ. Time has flown by so quickly. More on that later.
So today is going to go in a different order and you'll see why in a second. First, your email:
1) Is there anything I can do to help the Swanson's and Kathy's family? Please tell them they are in my heart and in my prayers. How is the baby doing?
2) If it's alright with Brit, I think I will take her room. If just for the sake of having my hope chest with me.
3) Congratulations Caleb! I hope you know that you and I will be having a talk before you leave. Don't be nervous. Well, be a little nervous. ;)
4) Guess what??? I'm all packed and weighed and under weight! Woot! I can't believe I just finished my final packing. C.R.A.Z.I.N.E.S.S.
This week was one of miracles!!! We were able to witness so many different miracles this week! It has built my testimony of Ether 12:6. Week 5 was our trial, but as we continued to trust in the Lord, He truly did fulfill His promises in His due time. Aka week 6! Here are a couple that we were able to be a part of:
We had a wonderful lesson with Kenny on Monday. We were able to follow the spirit and ask inspired questions to get a better understanding of where he is with his testimony at this time. He is not willing to make great changes yet, but we talked about how strength and courage comes from reading the scriptures. So we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and we will be reading with him each Monday night and then we can sit back, trust in the Lord and His promises and watch as the Book of Mormon brings a mighty change in Kenny's heart. :)
We met with Joe on Tuesday for the first time. He is athiest/agnostic/very less active Christian. So basically, he's just really confused. We talked with him about the nature of God and how we can only come to know if this message is trust through prayer and scripture study. We committed him to read Alma 32 and pray every night. He'll be a tough cookie, but he'll come.
We stopped by Glenna's on Tuesday and also talked about prayer. Her heart is changing and we can see the light growing in her eyes every time we come by. She is starting to gain a hope through the resurrection of our Savior and it's an amazing process to watch. :) I am so grateful for the Light of Christ.
Also on Tuesday, we saw Kyle that night and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked to him about baptism and why we need to be baptized. He said he's still praying about it. But.... *drum roll please* the biggest miracle was HIM SAYING THE CLOSING PRAYER! He totally was trying to back out of it too. But he didn't! He totally said a beautiful prayer! And know he can do it again. :) I am so proud of him!
Wednesday night we found new investigator Melissa. She is so adorable! And she lives close to our adorable member family the Lee's who will be perfect fellowship for her! She is working her way through UK's nursing program right now, has a deep belief in Jesus Christ and is curious to learn more about the Book of Mormon! It was a true testimony of contacting and talking to everyone. :)
Thursday night we had a quick doorstop lesson with our new investigator Sarah. She is so cute, has known Mormon's in the past and I just feel so very good about her. She has the glow about her and she wants so badly to be a good mom. She is very open, sincere and has a heart of gold. We haven't really gotten to know her yet, but she is reading the Book of Mormon and I firmly believe she will get baptized.
Then on Friday we had a really neat lesson with Chris where we talked about what we need to do to receive revelation and how we can recognize the spirit speaking to us. Then he came to church on Sunday!!! It's the first time in 2 or 3 weeks. And not only did he come to church, but he commented in Gospel Principles and his comments were GOOD! They made all of us missionaries think! I think the Word of Wisdom scared him off for a couple weeks. But we backed down on that and he's coming a long again. Baby steps. :)
Saturday night we stopped by Pam's AND she came to church Sunday! She's only been 3 times since April but she did come! Only for sacrament meeting, but the ward was really good with letting her know she's been missed. Bluegrass is the best ward ever!
Sunday we had a really wonderful lesson with Mike and Dallas. We talked about the faith ladder aka how we can build faith. Faith begins at desire, then hope, belief, action, trial and then witness or knowledge. As we asked inspired questions, Mike told us that he has desire, but is not even at hope yet. So we talked about the things we need to do to grow faith. We committed him and Dallas to read the Book of Mormon each day (because neither are willing to pray. Period.) They said they would!
So as you can see, this week was amazing. I reflect now on my first week as a missionary. Back in Evansville, IN with my trainer Sister Earl. At that time, I thought I knew what it meant to love God. I thought I knew what charity was. I thought I knew about the Atonement, about who my Savior was, about the scriptures, prophets, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon. I thought I had a testimony. But as I look back, I realized that I was still just on my faith ladder. I was acting, but didn't yet have a true witness. I feel like the past 18 months have been my biggest trial yet, but as such, they have produced the biggest witness.
I know that this gospel is true. I know that my Heavenly Father knows me individually and loves me more than anything in this universe. Even though I may be small, my worth is great. I know that my Savior lives. I know that Jesus was not just a man, but truly the Redeemer of the world. I know He suffered for my sins, sorrows and pains and He understands just how to succor me. I know that He is truly my older brother. I know that through prayer, I can access all things which the Father has to offer me. I know what it means to trust Him. I know that the Priesthood is the power of God. It is how he works among us. It is how he speaks with us, blesses us, empowers each of us. I know that that priesthood was restored through a modern day prophet, even Joseph Smith. I know that I am eternally indebted for the great sacrifice he made to give us this gospel in it's fullness. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon using the power of God. I truly know that we can grow nearer to our Father by delving into it's pages. I know how the Spirit speaks to me and I know what I must do to always have it with me and be able to recognize it. I know that trials and sacrifice will always come. But I also know that as we Trust in the Lord, He will fulfill His promises in His due time. I stand as a witness of my Savior and I would die for this gospel if that is what He asked of me. I will ALWAYS stand as His witness. I bear all these things as my personal testimony and do so in the name of my Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
The amazing wonderful Stephens family! Bro Stephens is Josh Wright's cousin!!! He grew up in West Point and took drivers ed from Pop! Their kids are Bridger and Avery. I love them so much. :)
Ashley DeVries and I. This girl is so awesome and I love her!
Our awesome district!!!! Back row: Elder Watson, Elder Lowry, Elder Barker (ZL), Me, Sister Atkins, Sister Austin and Sister Brian. Front row: Elder Hansen, Elder Kidd (ZL), Elder Spaulding (DL). We are all such dorks. I just love us. GO BLUEGRASS FOREVER!
Me at the UK Commonwealth Stadium. Go Wildcats!!!! :D
Me as a bike missionary. I will sure miss these days. :)