It's just been one of those weeks (again). But, that's what a mission has in it, so you just keep pushing forward, having the hope that it will get easier soon. I know it will all work itself out.
One of the biggest miracles this week was again with Karla. Her dad had a really bad stroke on Sunday which left half of his body paralyzed. We hadn't heard anything from her, so on Tuesday we stopped by to invite her to a Relief Society activity. She ended up letting us in and explaining all she was going through with her dad and everything. As she was talking, what came to my mind was that Karla could use a Priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel. We briefly talked to her about it, and she accepted that she wanted one. So we went outside to make some phone calls to find what Priesthood holders we could in the middle of the day who could come and give Karla a Priesthood blessing. We ended up getting the elders and a member of the ward, Brother Liberty (who works a swing shift) to come and give that to her. It was awesome because as soon as we came in, Karla pulled up a chair, sat in it, and bowed her head. She was ready for the blessing. Brother Liberty gave the blessing, and it was powerful. It really struck Karla and as soon as the blessing was over, she looked up with the biggest smile on her face I've ever seen. She just kept saying, "Wow. The burden is gone, the weight is lifted" and other things like that. She felt the peace that comes through obtaining those blessings through Priesthood power and it helped her to understand not only the Priesthood more, but also her relationship with God more and how much she is loved by Him. It was powerful! We ended up teaching her then, after Brother Liberty and the elders left. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her, and it really hit home with her. She understands now why baptism by the proper authority is needed and why we are baptized by immersion (in 3 Nephi 11, Christ explains how baptism should be done, who it should be done by, and what words should be said). It clicked! I have never seen her so excited. We pushed her date back to April 26, 2014 so she can have more opportunities to come to church. She's so solid. :)
Our appointment with Jennifer was again solid. It was really cool, because when we were preparing for her lesson, we really felt like there was a specific Conference talk we needed to watch with her. So we watched it with her, and he comment afterwards was, "This is exactly what my husband needs to hear." It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord can work THROUGH us as people to get to others. Jennifer's husband needed this message, but Jennifer didn't know about this specific talk. We did, so God inspired us to share it with Jennifer so that she could share it with her husband. The Lord works in mysterious ways!
We have a potential, Kyle, that we have been trying to get in with for a couple weeks. On Saturday night, we went to try him again and a woman answered the door. We started talking to her and found out that her name was Jordin, and is Kyle's fiance. We had a really good conversation with her and while she isn't interested to hear or learn more about our message, she is willing to let Kyle learn more...if we can find him home. I've been praying a lot to know when will be a time that we can talk with Kyle again. I truly do think he is interested.
Last night, Sister Manning went on a hunt for less-actives. We wrote down people on the ward list that we don't know who they are and set out to find them. The first one we tried, Cammie, let us right in and we started talking to her (while also finding out that the elders are working with her...oops!). To say her life has been hard is an understatement. Suffice it to say that thought she grew up in a very active home, after her father passed away when she was 16, Cammie turned to drugs and alcohol to fill the hole in her heart. She ended up in a very bad relationship for 10 years and is now free from that. She has a rock-solid testimony, though of Christ's Atonement and the power of prayer. She had a prayer answered in a very real way 4 years ago, and ever since that moment she has had not even a speck of desire to go down that path anymore. She is now sober and living a clean life. She is not able to be fully active in her church attendance still due to work, but it was inspiring to here her story and how prayer has played a great role in her life. For some reason, Cammie and I really connected and got along really well. She laughed at how innocent I was (it is laughable sometimes), but we got along really well and were able to teach and help each other. If I learned anything there last night, it was that God ALWAYS answers prayers and never leaves us alone, and that the word of wisdom is there for a reason. Cammie told us last night that she found out for herself that drugs and alcohol cannot fill an empty soul, but only the atonement and love of Jesus Christ. I know that is true with all my heart.
It makes the work so rewarding when you hear someone tell you what you said helped change their perspective. Sister Feil, a less-active member, recently moved into the 3rd ward, so I have not seen her since. The 3rd ward sisters called us the other day and as part of the conversation commented, "We visited Sister Feil today and she told us that one time you and Sister Jensen committed her to say only prayers of gratitude for one week. She told the 3rd ward sisters that doing that changed her perspective on prayer and deepened her relationship with Jesus Christ and her Heavenly Father." It's awesome how when we follow the promptings of the Spirit, people's hearts are touched.
So Conference was pretty much AMAZING, just like always!! I absolutely loved it! Among my favorite talks were Elder Holland, President Uchtdorf, and Presiding Bishop Stevenson. It was inspiring, uplifting, and encouraging. If you did not watch it or if you missed some of it, I highly encourage you to go online right now and watch or listen to the talks you missed. (https://www.lds.org/general-
conference/sessions/2014/04? cid=HPSU040614654&lang=eng) Unfortunately, no investigators came with us to watch Conference but Ashley did watch it from home! Yay! We have not had contact with Karla or Shirley recently. Jose watched it from home, but Candice did come watch the Saturday morning session with us, which was great. I hope to be able to watch some of Conference with Karla and our other investigators.
And that is pretty much it! It was a good week. Not the best, but it did have a lot of really awesome experiences. I am excited for what this next week will bring!
Love you all! Thanks for the prayers!