Though the day is rainy and wet, there is sunshine in my soul! :) This week has been great! Noni and Amelia are so awesome! They keep progressing really well toward baptism. We had a great Family Home Evening with Amelia this week which she really enjoyed and the Spirit was really strong as we watched the Restoration DVD recounting the miracle of how Jesus Christ's church was restored. She has been reading scriptures regularly and praying daily in preparation, and we can see how the Spirit is helping her change into an even better person than she already is! :) For Noni, we organized a ward service project to help her. The lawn that she has is quite large and takes about 2 hours just for her to mow by herself, but with 5 leaders and 8 young men plus us two elders there, the whole thing was lookin spick and span within 45 minutes. She also is progressing SOOO well! I think we may even move her baptismal date one week! So please continue to pray for her as she is preparing to be baptized in the next 2-3 weeks. This past week was really SO good :) I love the work down here and hope I can stay here forever, though I know that is not possible :( Seeing how Jesus Christ changes people is too awesome to fully explain. Noni just mentioned the other day that "she did something Jesus would be proud of." Instead of drinking with her friends after going to a concert, she decided to be the designated driver, and even though her friends said she isn't as fun when she is sober, she said that she felt good about what she had done in choosing to not drink. It is so wonderful as people come closer to Christ, they start to just change things by themselves without even needing to be invited. As they experience His love, they want to come closer and start making those small changes which bring greater, and lasting happiness. This work truly is the best and most enjoyable work on earth.
That's all for this week, here is my letter to President Lew.
WHAT AN AWESOME WEEK!! Elder White and I are so happy with the success we have seen this past week. For one, we accomplished our goal to have every lesson with an investigator have a member present! That was really exciting since we had quite a few lessons. Though we did not quite achieve the standard of excellence in total lessons, we were very pleased with the progress we have made and are glad that together, we have taught the most lessons I have taught in one week here in Canberra. Elder White is such an awesome missionary! We are really excited for the success we will continue to have together. Especially with the people that the Lord has prepared for us to teach. Across the zone, this last week we taught more lessons with a member present than what has ever been done as far as we can see. We have several baptisms that will be coming up before the end of this month and we are quite excited about how the work is moving forward in our zone. We know it is because we have some of the best missionaries in the world right here in our zone and we are grateful for them! Each of the new areas continues to grow and is teaching more and though we need to continue to find new investigators, we are pleased that the amount of teaching per companionship is increasing. Especially, we see as we are freely sharing what the Lord blesses us with, He gives us more! For example, when the new Elders arrived in our ward, we didn't want them to just start from scratch, so we gave them several of the people we meet with regularly to help them have people to teach, seek referrals from, and help them to have confidence to progress forward, and as we have done so, it seems that more and more people keep coming who are prepared to be taught. For example, a member just brought 2 non-members to church yesterday who were SOO keen! Though it would be very easy to just jump on them and claim them ourselves, we thought it would be best to have some of the other Elders teach them and gain that experience with them. The elders came home after the lesson feeling really uplifted and said that they both accepted the commitment to be baptized, when they knew the things being taught are true. As we have done this, we see that truly, the Lord has prepared the people for the gospel, and that as we show Him our love and trust, He will continue to lead us to those who are prepared, or lead them to us. I really have grown to love seeing others be happy more than just seeing myself be happy. As those two Elders came back really excited from that Lesson and the 2 new investigators they will be able to work with, I was very glad that I had acted on the thought to allow them to teach, instead of selfishly keeping the prepared investigators for ourselves. I don't say this to boast or gloat, but It has been an interesting lesson that I have learned. As we are willing to share with others the good opportunities and experiences we can have, The Lord blesses us with more. I know that as Elder White and I continue to help each area improve and grow rather than just make ours grow to be a perfect model, we will be blessed. For me, I would much rather have it be where we are now, where we are still striving to achieve the standard of excellence in our area and seeing other areas continue to grow, rather than us be able to achieve the standard of excellence at the expense of other areas by keeping all of our investigators and less actives we visited before adding a new area. The day will truly be joyous when we see that each of our areas in this ward is achieving the Standard of excellence. I know that it is achievable and will be done as we continue to work dilligently and with faith. Thank you so much for this opportunity to serve here. I love to see the blessings that continuously flow. Even though we are not perfect, I am glad the Lord shows His mercy and continues to give us gifts and moments of great happiness. We are very confident that we will continue to see the Lord blessing us and these wonderful people here. I am so excited for Noni and Amelia, both are preparing for baptism before the end of this month. Miracles are happening in the Canberra zone! We are especially excited to have received that personal referral from you and will get in contact with him today and set plans to go up to Goulburn as soon as possible.
This week, I studied more about helping our investigators receive revelation through prayer. I was really enjoying studying deeper and understanding clearly how exactly to help our investigators receive answers to their prayers. Many times they do not understand what all is needed on their part to receive an answer. For example, I think many people neglect to understand that they can only receive an answer when they have the faith to receive one. They may mistakingly feel that they can just wish it will happen, and then IF if does, it will give them faith, but they must have the faith first in order to see the answer. Also, many times we expect the answer to be bigger or different than what it really will be. It is by recognizing the small and simple answers that we can come to know we have a close relationship with God. Why would He shout at us when all He needs to do is whisper? If I am far from someone, I will need to raise my voice, but if I am close, I will speak more quietly. The same I feel is with God and answering our prayers. He shouldn't need to shake us or send us an angel like He did for Saul or Alma, but as we are willing to listen with open hearts and minds, He will answer us through the Holy Ghost and we can know He is closer than what we had first imagined. I am excited to continue to help my investigators and the Less active members we work with see how much the Lord loves them and how they can continue to receive specific answers as they ask specific questions.