What a week this has been! Sounds like for you too. I could just imagine Alexa pulling that tube out. I remember all too well the last time. Is Tyson taller than me yet? Someone should measure him:) Yes I did get the package, thank you sooo much! And yes my favorite was definitely the letter from dad:) I'm not even sure where to start with this week. We have been so busy organizing the area book and meeting people and doing our best to find new investigators. I think coming back from being full proselyting to little Mormon town Laie is hard for my companion because it takes a lot of patience and faith in the Lord knowing that he will eventually lead you to someone to teach. In the meantime we have been working with the less actives in the wards and with Franchesca. Its so amazing to be able to feel the spirit working with you as you teach, whether it be members who need the spirit more in there lives, recent converts like Brandon who are now preparing for a mission:) or investigators like Franchesca who are waiting for an answer. The spirit and the gospel really do change lives for the better. David O McKay once said, "The purpose of the gospel is...to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature." That is what the "redeeming and enabling" power of the atonement is for. in Mosiah 3:19 is says to "put off the natural man" (bad men good) and "becometh a saint" (good men better) "through the Atonement of Christ the Lord." It is a wonderful experience to be able to share this with others and to watch that change take place as they learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So yesterday for our training in the morning, we learned some good news. The Lord is hastening His work in Visitor Centers! There is a new form of accountability that we are doing here where instead of having goals for how many people agree to meet with the missionaries, we have a goal of how many baptisms we want to see! This means that instead of getting people to meet with the missionaries and then sending them to them, we get to count them as our investigators and be the missionaries who teach them until the missionaries from their area get there and then after we still stay in contact and help encourage them until baptism! Oh how wonderful technology is. Not sure why it took this long to get it to this point but as of right now, the average percentage of converts who join the church because of visiting a visitor center is 1/3. They are now expecting that number to go way up. Not sure if any of this really makes sense to you but be assured it is so exciting for us!:) It helps me to know that these people I meet from all over the world and have spiritual experiences with here in the Visitor Center get to become my investigators and I will get to help them further to baptism!
I think something that I've been learning this week is how much the Atonement is really for everyone. How it's the Atonement that really gives us strength to do things that we can not do on our own. How there are countless instances in the scriptures when the prophets have prayed for strength to endure or change their situation rather than for their situation to be changed. Nephi prayed "O Lord give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound." Alma and Amulek prayed, "O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance " and Alma prayed" O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me." In all these instances, their afflictions were not removed, but they were granted strength according to their prayers and faith. The Savior suffered for us so he can know what we need. So he can run to us and strengthen us as we go through this life. So he can know how to comfort us and lead us through our afflictions. So we can put off the natural man and become more like a saint.
I love you so much. I think and pray for you always. Thank you so much for your love and support for me. It really does mean the world to me. Any time I have a rough day I just remember how much my family believes in me:) I try to count my blessings every day and pray for strength through the hard stuff. Love you all so much! Ill try and get some pictures to you soon and I'll finish up that recording and send it:)