This week was incredible! We were house sitting for part of p-day today for a member who is having a TV delivered to her apartment and while we were there someone called and asked if "Sister Courtney" was there. Sister Cheyne's first name is Courtney. This person told us her name is Darralee and she wanted to learn more about our religion and asked us to come over tonight or tomorrow! We set up a lesson for tomorrow afternoon. Darralee lives in a really high-security neighborhood in our area that we aren't allowed to proselyte in, but it's amazing that the work continues there! Apparently she just talked to a member and asked how she could meet with the missionaries and the member looked it up online. The family that converted earlier this year from someone leaving a copy of the Book of Mormon at their doorstep lives there too. I'm so excited to teach Darralee! Before my mission I used to think that this sort of thing rarely happened and every instance was talked about at General Conference because it was so rare, but now I've realized that it happens really often and it's partially because of the amazing members here that openly share their beliefs!
I went to the temple on Tuesday with the group of departing missionaries and went to the testimony meeting and "last supper" afterwards while Sister Cheyne was on splits with a recent convert in our ward. Between the temple and the testimony meeting I went back with Sister Cheyne to teach Angela. She told us that she read the Restoration pamphlet we left with her and she realized Mormons are Christian and our beliefs are much more similar than she thought! At the testimony meeting, a missionary whom I've worked closely with throughout my mission was able to say that she knew that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God--something she didn't know for herself at the beginning of her mission. I went on several exchanges with her at one point and she used to say that she didn't know if what we were teaching was true, so it's been wonderful to see her develop a strong testimony and progress! "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."
We inspired knocked and met a really sweet woman named Betsy! She's moving soon and we taught her briefly about the Restoration at her door. She was super busy but we felt prompted to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon so we did and she was overjoyed to receive it! She said she feels like the world is crazy and she needed another source of direction in her life.
We had a lesson with Mariah and she told us that before we came over she told her mother in law that she was meeting with us and invited her to join in on the lesson. Her mother in law started telling her anti stuff but Mariah still wanted to meet with us and study the Book of Mormon for herself so she can know if it's true! She reminds me a lot of Tracy, whom I helped teach last year and who chose to be baptized! At the end of the lesson we taught her about prayer and she told us she's only prayed once before, and that was years ago. But she remembers feeling good when she prayed! We invited her to pray with us to close the lesson and she was willing to give it a try, even though she was really hesitant at first! She did a wonderful job!
We had another lesson with Mariah later in the week and we were planning to invite her to be baptized on . Her fiancée, Ricardo, was unexpectedly there and he sat in on the lesson! We asked them if they had a date they were planning to be married on and they said after Christmas in the beginning of January, which is perfect! The lesson was unique--the Spirit was strong, despite Mariah's daughter running around with the daughter of the member we asked to come with us and their dog climbing all over us. I will never forget it. We invited them to be baptized on and they said of course!
We were finally able to contact a part-member family and we had a lesson with them on Wednesday! They have a 9 year old son named Jack who really wants to be baptized! They all need to start coming back to church and they're lucky that the church times are changing too, since they said it will be easier for them to come if church started later. They're finding a time right now that works best for their family to come into town for Jack to be baptized!
Late one night as we were walking home from a lesson with Eugene we met a guy named Bill. We told him we were sharing a Christmas video called #LIGHTtheWORLD and showed it to him. He said that he and his wife went to Central (the most popular nondenominational megachurch in Las Vegas), but they didn't like it and were trying to find a new place to go to each week. He invited us back to teach his family more!
We went to an apartment complex and prayed to find someone to teach who will be baptized in January or February and then we met a guy named Sonny! He told us that he just moved there with his wife last week. His wife is a member and they both want to come to church too!
We found some former investigators in our area book named Chelyn and Stephen and we stopped by their house a few times last transfer. We tried by again this week and Chelyn was home with her son named Sawyer and she invited us in! She knows the whole drill with the missionaries since they've been investigating for years. She said they just take their time but love the Church! They even read from the Book of Mormon and come to church when they're in town, since they travel a lot for Stephen's job. It will be interesting to teach them since they've literally been taught everything, but we think a temple tour is in order!
On our way to a lesson with Lily, a guy driving a truck past us stopped and rolled down the window and said, "Hey Elders! Oh wait, you're girls...do they still call you elders?" We talked with him for a bit and he told us that missionaries saved his friend's life! The friend was involved in all sorts of gangs and drugs but ended up finding the Church and being baptized. It was great that we met him!
Our lesson with Lily went really well! She used to go to a church every other week but has fallen out of the habit as her life got busier. She wants to come back! We invited her to be baptized too and she's praying about it!
We were finally able to teach Steve and Lois again! And we finally taught them about the Restoration, after teaching about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ first. Not what usually happens! The member who came with us was absolutely perfect for them! I'm amazed at Steve's knowledge of the New Testament. He's spent a lot of time searching and told us he never found anything satisfactory until we met him outside! We invited them to be baptized on , expecting Lois to be the first one to respond. Steve immediately said yes in a resolute tone of voice and Lois said yes too!
We went to an area we planned on Saturday afternoon and saw a less-active family outside putting up their Christmas lights. Perfect timing, since we planned to call them and ask for help with some legal stuff for one of our investigators! They shared some really helpful information regarding that. Immediately after we met them we received a text from Church headquarters with a referral named Rico to go see that day! We went over to the referral right then and Rico was outside getting the mail! We taught him and we have a lesson tomorrow too! Rico told us that an LDS family used to live across the street from him and they invited him to church and he went one Sunday and was interested in trying it again!
At dinner that night we told the family about Rico and they said that they were the family that lived across the street from Rico! I am amazed by that!
Right before dinner with that family we had a few minutes and saw a house with a bunch of Christmas cutouts in the yard. We met someone at that house before who spoke only Spanish, but we felt strongly that we should knock again. My Spanish skills have seriously deteriorated since I was serving in east Las Vegas but we figured we could show her the #LIGHTtheWORLD video, since there weren't any words until the end. We knocked and a guy named Chris answered! We told him about the #LIGHTtheWORLD video and he said he'd love to watch it and called his ten year old son, Cole, over from the living room to watch it. They loved the video! Cole was smiling from ear to ear afterwards! I am so glad for the prompting to knock on that house again!
Yesterday we took Eugene to the Christmas devotional! They were broadcasting it at a single adult break the fast event, so luckily he's a single adult! I'm so glad he was able to go--sometimes it's such a hassle to arrange for rides! Thank goodness there was a member who had come to one his lessons who was willing to take him!
I love you all! Don't forget to use the advent calendar to find ways to serve each day this month!