Our first full day as a companionship was Tuesday, 14 January. That day, we started teaching a new girl! Her name is Montana and she is 8. Her mom is Mandy who I have talked about before! I LOVE their family. We have spent a lot of time with them and were finally able to talk to Montana about learning more about the church since all of her siblings have been baptized, but she hasn't. I am very excited for her and hope that it affects the entire family and brings them closer to Christ. Montana is so darling! Throughout the entire lesson she was holding a bunch of deflated balloons and begging to play a game with us. Once we finished, we agreed to play! She handed us each a balloon and we had to blow it up and then each let the air out in a way that would create the most obnoxious noises! Hahah, it was so funny and LOUD.
Whenever new missionaries enter the field, President Morby gives them each a new copy of the Book of Mormon and challenges them each to pass it out before the next training meeting, which is 3 days later. Wednesday, which was the day before was pretty packed with less-active appointments and there were not many opportunities for Sister Porter to hand out that Book of Mormon. We had about 20 minutes left of tractable daylight time, so we drove to an apartment complex to do it! And it happened, S. Porter handed it to a woman named Pamela and she set up a return appointment with us for the following week! We are so excited about her, she seems very promising. Hopefully there will be good news to follow with her! We were able to use up all of the daylight very usefully. It was great!
We went and saw Juana this week and this woman is literally still floating around the house since her baptism! She is SO happy and so full of gratitude for her experiences. She had to be immersed twice at her baptism because the first attempt her foot popped up out of the water. She said that night, in her sweet English, "I not baptized, I VERY baptized!" And then she laughed and laughed at her sly little comment. It was too funny! Her dog had the most adorable puppies too! They are ridiculously tiny and so fun. I love her family and her home!
We had a big day of training this week with President and Sister Morby, I love them SO much and enjoyed training immensely! I learned a lot about humility and how we can only be led by the spirit if we are humble enough to let the spirit guide. We also talked a lot about how nearly everything in missionary work depends on the agency of others. We cannot control what people choose to act on. The ONLY thing in missionary work that we have control over is how well we teach. That really is it. I know that the Holy Ghost really is the best teacher because that is how God talks to us personally. In order to be a good teacher, the one thing I can control, I need to be a good conduit of the spirit. That is what I am focusing on for the rest of my mission!
We have a family we have just started teaching. It is a mother and daughter, Holly and Jenna. They are so awesome! Their husband/dad is a member and has been away for work for about 3 months. Holly has never showed much interest in the church but, since he has been away she has received a lot of support and love from the ward and she is ready now! We LOVED the lesson we had with them. They are so receptive right now and have been prepared for so many years leading up to this time! The ward members are just ecstatic since they have seen the changes over time. This is exactly the type of miracle the ward needed to help rekindle their desire to do missionary work.
The Aloha 2nd Ward Council is finally catching the vision of the Ward Mission Process. This is a program that was established by church leaders to help the ward council provide names for the missionaries to start teaching. This ward had not quite caught it when I first got here, it actually had never been mentioned until Thursday night. This is the specific reason that I claim Sister Porter brings miracles! I have been waiting and waiting for this day to come and it happened during her first ward council meeting. Hallelujah! I am just overjoyed with the fact that invitations will be going out for families to start being taught by the missionaries!!
We had a couple of miracle lessons this week too. We knocked on two doors two separate days when we were about to begin tracting and both houses let us in on our first try and we were able to teach them each a lesson for the whole hour we would have been knocking doors. It was really, really cool. Plus, it was really cold this week so it was a major miracle! They had a lot of really good questions and both have agreed to let us come back. I love serving here in Portland. There are so many people who have heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but have misconceptions and questions and concerns. So it is really neat to teach and clear up so many questions because even if they don't continue on that path, at least we have been able to inform that about what we actually believe.
The last miracle that I will mention...DENVER BRONCOS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL. To all my family: You are welcome! I know that the sacrifices I am making now are paying off. Haha, but in all reality. They are finally back at the Super Bowl and I don't get to watch it. I guess I will hear how it goes though! My thoughts immediately went to Skyler Kerr and how happy that boy is right now.
One of my favorite things that I learned this week : I am the sum total of so many different testimonies. I am so grateful for all those that have gone before me, who have taught me, who have bore their testimonies to me without even knowing it. I feel your spirits with me in nearly every lesson that I teach. One of my favorite experiences this week was while teaching a woman who had studied the church in great detail many years ago. I felt prompted to leave her Alma 32 (a really great chapter on faith from the Book of Mormon). So I did. As soon as I started explaining it to her, I felt Howard Hellenberg there with me testifying together how that Book can help her. Howard's life was changed because of that book. My life has changed because of that book. My parents, my grandparents, my siblings - their lives have changed from that book. I feel such a strong sense of joy every time I give someone that book because I KNOW what it can bring to them. Anyone who has a desire to come to know Christ and how He can help you, please read this book!
Well again, I love you all! Much more than you could imagine. Thank you for your prayers and for your support, I need it and appreciate it so much! I love you, so so so much! :)
p.s. This Wednesday is my 12 year anniversary of my baptism! Holy cow, truly the best decision I have ever made :)