This week has been stressful & oh so great!
This ward is really amazing. If you didn't know, we just took over the area that elders had. The ward had been praying to get sister missionaries because of the number of single women in the ward & women in general who could benefit from having sister missionaries to visit them.
The stressful part is just understanding how this area works & getting know the people & how to work here. But I'm loving the beauty that is here.
This last week was AWESOME for a lot of reasons.
Reason #1 - Thursday we had our mission conference with Elder Falabella of the Seventy. Sister Wagner & I sang "Savior, Redeemer Missionary Medley" with Elder Spriggs on the piano & it went well! Before the conference began, Elder Falabella wanted to shake hands with each missionary so that was a really cool experience! I got up there & he said my name & asked where that's from. I said "we think it's Italian." He told me that his name is Italian too! It was such a neat experience to meet & talk to him.
President & Sister Hobbs began by speaking to us & then turned the time over to Elder Falabella, who spoke to us about 2 hours before lunch, then he spoke again after for a couple hours. He had SO many good things to say. I'll just sum up a little about what he talked about.
He started off with a question: "What is the reason you are here today?" Some answered with various answers: to be more converted, to change, to become a better missionary, to receive revelation, etc. He focused on the REASON we do things & the significance of focusing on that in all we do. He talked a lot about the sacrament & the reason we take it each Sunday. What is the reason we take the Sacrament? Are our minds & hearts focused on the purpose of the Sacrament each week, or do we find ourselves getting into a routine & taking for granted the wonderful blessing? The Sacrament is the only ordinance we take part in more than once for ourselves. Baptism, the Holy Ghost, Endowment, etc happen only ONCE for us, but we take the Sacrament every week. He also tore down the phrase of "renewing" our covenants by partaking of the Sacrament & said he believes we make new covenants every week. We should covenant to do better than the week before & be more Christlike. How profound.
He also talked about not giving up so easily. Especially with teaching families. He told us a story about how he went out teaching with elders recently & they were in the living room teaching a woman about the restoration as Elder Falabella heard noise coming from another room in the house. In the middle of the lesson he got up & started towards the noise. He got into the kitchen & saw like 7 other people eating rice & beans around the table. He said "I love rice & beans!" & they offered him some. After awhile, the elders were in the kitchen teaching the whole family.
He promised that as we TRY HARDER & don't give up so easily, we will have families to teach.
Those are just a couple things he talked about, & I did that without looking back at my notes! hahaha
Reason #2 - Church on Sunday was great. Everyone was so welcoming & willing to help us with whatever we need. It's hard to accept help sometimes, but Sister Peacock, who is the Relief Society president, put it this way: "we asked for you, we gotta take care of you!" They are SO generous. Sacrament meeting was great with a returned missionary speaking about 4 Christlike attributes he focused on especially towards the end of his mission in Ghana. Faith, Hope, Charity & Love, & Obedience. We ate dinner at Julie & Gary Moore's. Julie is Deloy & Trenna Anderson's granddaughter. & I was lucky enough to see Elder & Sister Anderson at their house! It was nice seeing them again. It'd only been a week, but it felt like so much longer. haha.
Reason #3 - Monday evening we visited Teresa Howard & Susan Butler, who are sisters & active in our ward. They live together & just a couple weeks ago their niece Alissa & her 12 year old son Kealyn (pronounce kaelyn--the nurse at the hospital spelled it wrong) moved in with them & are not members. They've come to church with them the past 2 weeks. We had a nice time chatting with them and then we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon. They are interested in learning more. Alissa's dad passed away a few years ago & so she is really interested in the Plan of Salvation, which we are planning to teach this Friday. They are our 2 new investigators! & they come to church already, so YAY!
Reason #4 - Today we had the amazing opportunity to attend the temple. I LOVE & cherish every moment in the temple, especially since we don't get to go that often as missionaries. It'd been 8 months since I'd gone, but only 4 months until I go again! The temple is such a blessing in our lives. I encourage you all to find time in your life to go to the temple. There is such great peace in the House of the Lord & more knowledge to gain awaiting you.
I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I'm grateful to have this wonderful message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to share with my brother & sisters here in Wrightwood at this time. There is truth in this world. God has revealed it to us through prophets of old & modern day prophets. If you don't know this truth, you can find it. God loves us & answers our sincere & honest prayers.
Thank you so much for your love & prayers. I hope you know they strengthen me each day.
xoxo Sister Viraldo