I was so happy to come on a mission for so many reasons...but I was especially excited to take a break from dating. It is a roller coaster of emotions and I thought the mission would be a nice break from that. Little did I know, the mission is just like dating! (But not really). Let me explain. You meet your street contact, get their number, set up an appointment...and they're a no show! Then they don't return your calls, they don't text you back and you start thinking "Darn, maybe we text our investigator back too soon?!" , or, "I wonder how they felt about our lesson and how they feel about how they felt during the lesson." Sometimes I feel like the needy girlfriend. Do you see what I mean? Sometimes they even break up with you and that is the worst. Especially when you don't see it coming. But sometimes the relationship is really great! The investigator is progressing, keeping their commitments, and we get them to church on Sunday. It's kind of a funny analogy, but it is so true when you think about it. Don't worry, I'm not dating my investigators haha!
I'm having a great time in the Spokane Washington Mission! The members are treating us good, I live in a comfortable home, and we have some awesome people to teach. For this reason I am very certain I'm not staying here much longer. Doesn't that always happen? As soon as we get comfortable, Heavenly Father sends something challenging our way. Don't get me wrong...I'm very excited to go to Brazil, but earlier this week we walked all day in the sun and I thought, "Can I even handle the Amazon jungle?" Pray for me!
This week we had the opportunity to contact and teach the a sweet family. They were a referral from some Elders in Cheney that met them at a wedding reception for some friends of theirs that recently were sealed in the temple (friends of the Fernandez family). They live only 3 doors down from us and they are really nice! They are both doctors and have 5 year-old twins. We taught them the Restoration and invited them to read the Book of Mormon. The mom and children speak Spanish and their 5 year-old daughter told me that she would teach me some Spanish. I told her that I would sing to her family in Spanish next time we visit as long as they do their homework and read the Book of Mormon. A few days later we were sitting in our car in the driveway making phone calls when all of a sudden, the family goes walking by us!!! We pulled our seats down to laying position so fast and we hid from them until they were down the street. We DO NOT want them to know how close we live to them. Once they were out of sight, we started following them in hopes that we would run into them. Sure enough, when we rounded the corner they were there. I told them I'd been doing my homework and they said "We have been doing ours too!" Sister Strong and I were so happy. Then we casually continued walking down the road like nothing happened. :) We hope to meet with them later this week.
Last Monday we went to the funeral of a young man. (The second funeral I've been to on my mission). Sister Strong and I were invited to go help. They had Sister Strong read Psalms 23 and I talked about the Plan of Salvation. By the time it was my turn to speak, I was completely overwhelmed. But not with sadness, I looked out at the audience of about 50 people and I could feel God's love for every single one of them. It was the most amazing feeling and I can't even begin to explain how much our Heavenly Father loves His children! I talked about the Plan of Happiness and the love of the Savior and the Spirit was very strong. I'm grateful for every opportunity I have to bear testimony of the Plan of Salvation. It was a sweet message of hope and love at the funeral that day. After the funeral I talked with the young man's sister. She holds that family together. I told her how amazing I thought she was and how much I knew her Heavenly Father loved and appreciated her.
Finally, this week we taught a woman about the Word of Wisdom. Before the lesson even started, she knew what we were going to say. After we explained the commandment and the blessings listed with it, she was still hesitant to accept the invitation to live it. She knows smoking is bad, but it will be very hard for her to quit. We assured her that God would help her and bless her as she tried. We brought a member to that lesson who also quit smoking and she was able to relate with her and help her accept the invitation. This Sunday she came to church again and loved it. She was taking lots of notes and even participated in the Gospel Principles class. She told us after that she has really noticed a difference in her family since she started coming to church. She is our miracle investigator and I love her so much! She has such a strong desire to change and apply the gospel to her life. I'm so grateful for the Word of Wisdom and the blessings I've received from living it. I am strong, healthy, and I'm learning so much! I've also noticed that satan has very little influence over me as I've lived the Word of Wisdom. I'm so grateful I decided when I was young that I would never put anything harmful in my body.
I want to leave you with a quote from Elder Holland about missionary work. He says, "This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance..." I love that line...eternity does hang in the balance! The work of Salvation is not only shaping the eternal destiny of future generations, but also the generations backwards. I hope you can feel the weight of that. I know I can. It's the reason why I love missionary work! I love you all so much! I think about you and pray for you all the time. Have a wonderful week!