I am so grateful to be back on my mission! I'm serving in Warrenton and part of Astoria, so I'm at the furthest northwestern tip of Oregon. It's so different from Las Vegas, yet it's the same work! I feel like I'm back with Sister Wilde exploring Yucca, except it's super green here. Many people live very far apart from each other!
My new companion is Sister Dearden from Gilbert, Arizona. We've been out for nearly the same amount of time and we're having a blast! Sister Dearden is going to be training this transfer and we'll pick up our new companion on Wednesday! We live at a member's home in a loft above their garage, so it's pretty fun! I'm freezing my tail off though, which is a good thing I guess because humans shouldn't have tails.
I hope you all enjoyed General Conference! If you haven't seen it or have never heard of it, check it out on lds.org. It's the perfect opportunity to receive answers from Heavenly Father, and sometimes they come in ways you don't expect! The Saturday afternoon session hit me hard. I love how bold and direct Heavenly Father is! I don't know for sure what will happen for the rest of my mission, but I'm still learning to put all of my trust in God (which is way easier to do when things go the way I plan them to). Also, I saw my BYU chemistry professor singing in the choir on Sunday!
On my first day here, we were on our way to contact a referral and parked on the side of the road. There was a guy outside named Ron and he's awesome! His dad died on Halloween and the stress from that led him to become a heavy alcoholic. His wife divorced him because of that, and then in January he became sober and hasn't had any alcohol since then. He told us he used to be a firefighter until he injured his knee, and that he always tries to think positively! He's one of the most positive people I've ever met. We taught him about parts of the Plan of Salvation and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon! Ron was so grateful to receive it. He told us he used to be the guy who would tell missionaries that he worshipped the devil so they would go away, but his heart has definitely been softened! He told us he felt s lot better after talking about the Plan of Salvation!
Then we had a lesson with an older guy named Roy. We taught him about General Conference and he told us that he really wants to come to church! I invited him to be baptized and Sister Dearden quickly leaned over and whispered, "he's less-active!" Whoops! I guess I missed that part about him when Sister Dearden was telling me what we'd be teaching him before we went in.
Also on the drive to our area from the mission office (I'm in the out-of-valley zone of the Washington Vancouver Mission), I felt two distinct promptings to ask Sister Dearden when her birthday is--and it was that day! Crazy how things work.
We planned to visit a less-active family (this mission teaches a TON of less-active members) and knocked on the door and discovered we were at the wrong house! The lady who answered the door was super nice and I know we were sent there for her!
We taught a part-member family about General Conference and the Spirit was so strong! And as a bonus, they had a pet hedgehog, so I totally got to pet it.
We were at a certain street and about to leave to go to our next plans, but a house on the next street stuck out to us. We could only see the corner of the roof from where we were at, but we knew we needed to knock there! We met really nice girl named Alincia who is a senior in high school. She told us she has some Mormon friends and has some questions that she's always wanted to ask them, but didn't want to offend them. She said she was confused by how many different Christian churches there are and didn't know which one to join, so she was overjoyed to learn about the Restoration! I'm excited to help her find more light and truth in her life!
We met another less-active member named Pauline. We stopped by her house around and her nonmember husband invited us in. She said she was going through a difficult trial and asked us to pray with her, so we did and then asked her if she wanted a priesthood blessing. I am always amazed at how we meet people at the perfect time in their lives because of our inspired planning sessions!
We taught a family that has a 9 year old boy named Gabe who is preparing to be baptized in December! I love this family so much! The dad's name is Derek and he's a recently activated member who is preparing to hold the priesthood so he can baptize Gabe. The mom's name is Melody. They have a 4 year old girl named Maisy and she is full of energy! Sister Dearden taught most of the lesson while I distracted Maisy with the drawing feature in the notes app of my iPad. She found my stickers that I give to young kids and I had stickers on every appendage, just like everyone else in the house. I'm excited for that family! Melody started asking some really good questions about the Plan of Salvation, so we had another mini lesson with her! Apparently she's never opened up like that to missionaries before.
On Saturday after General Conference we were in a sparsely populated part of our area and we were walking up a long road and a truck came down and a lady rolled down the window and said, "you need to get off our street" and the spirit of contention was immediately there. Then Sister Dearden said something in an argumentative way and I was shocked, because that was not like her at all! Then I realized the lady in a truck was a member. Oh my goodness. I totally fell for their trick!
It was pouring rain and we went to another house and an older lady opened the door and invited us in! She told us that she has really strong faith in Christ and shared her story with us, which reminded me a lot of Alma the Younger's story so we shared it with her.
Still in the middle of nowhere, but on a different day, we knocked on a door and a guy answered and said, "how did you find us?! We haven't heard from you !" I thought he was less-active but he's a nonmember. Again, I know that Heavenly Father used us as His instruments to remind this man about Him!
Last night we met a super nice Filipino family that invited us in and we showed them "Because of Him" and taught them about the Restoration! They were Catholic but said they're always happy to talk about God. They told us that when they were living in the Philippines, missionaries came over every month and showed them the same video!
I don't know if anyone else noticed, but it seemed like General Conference focused on missionary work! I know that "more happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children", so don't be afraid go invite others to learn more and experience the joy of the gospel for themselves!