Well, it sounds like it has been another eventful week back home. I must say your mentioning of Kootenay lake and camping adventures soon made me a little sad that another year I will miss family camp, but hey, I am really excited to be at the Liberty Jail! Now thinking about it I can't believe it is already almost June, man time really is flying by here! Its crazy! I'm sad to hear that the YSA in trail are not really participating in the activities Jeremy is putting together, but I hope he knows that he is doing all he can to fulfill his calling and doing his part, and for that he will be blessed.
So yesterday we had our mission-wide temple conference. It was amazing! Before we went to the temple for our session we gathered in the stake center across from the temple and heard a few words from President Keyes. He talked a lot about the importance of the Family in our day today and sticking to God's Laws on the Family. He went over "the Family: A Proclamation to the World". He also mentioned the importance of the temple and covenants. The theme of the conference was D&C 82:10, " I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." He talked quite a bit on marriage and how with the lowering of the missionary age change some of us will find our eternal companions on our missions. That was kind of surprising to hear from our mission president, haha! But, he tried to emphasize that it is okay to develop feelings for another missionary, but to make sure that we stay true to our covenants as we are serving the Lord and continue to serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength. He said that as we do this, we will be blessed as the Lord will be bound to keep his promises. At the end of our meeting we sang the EFY Medley " As Sisters in Zion/ We'll Bring the World His Truth". So much power filled the room as we. elders and sisters, sang that song. The Spirit was so strong and about half of us were crying. It was incredible!
We then went to the temple and went through the session. It was wonderful. We sang called to serve in the chapel of the temple. At at the end of our session President and Sister Keyes greeted each one of us in the Celestial Room. President Keyes shook our hands and Sister Keyes gave us a hug and they thanked us for our diligent service and for the opportunity they have had to know each one of us. It was our final good-bye to President Keyes as a mission president. It was so peaceful in that room and was so cool to see an Army of the Lord's set apart servants standing together in that beautiful room looking like angels.
Well, this has been a wonderful! We've seen quite a few miracles this week :) So in our area, one of our investigators who sister McDonnell and Sister Halverstadt were working with, wasn't really taking the discussions, but they spent quite sometime building a really good relationship with her and trying to open her heart through service. She is Nazarene and her grown daughter is actually taking the discussions with the Liberty 2nd sisters and is planning on getting baptized in September. So it has sparked a lot of curiosity in S. The other day she was over at her daughters house and baptisms for the dead was mentioned, she was really confused by it and asked us if we could explain it to her. We told her we would love to and asked her if we could share with her our beliefs of what God's Plan is for us. She said that would be fine. Well, last week we taught S. the Plan of Salvation and in that were able to explain to her baptisms for the dead. In preparing the lesson, I really felt like we should base a lot of our scriptures from the Bible, which normally we would focus on Book of Mormon verses. Well, it was good we did, because S. is very firm in the bible and kind of has the "see it to believe it" attitude, haha! Because she is Nazarene she doesn't believe in Pre-Earth Life and she also didn't have any concept of Spirit Prison. It was amazing to see her eyes light up as we shared with her scriptures in Jeremiah 1:5; 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:29. As we explained to her the Plan of Salvation and the importance of temples, the spirit testified to her the truthfulness of what we were sharing. She just sat quietly for a moment and then looked at us and said, " I just don't understand why my pastor has never taught any of this?!" It was neat to see how she recognized that she was missing some important truths in her life.
She's really been opening up, and she even is willing to come to a relief society activity tonight. She has gone to church with her daughter before, but we hope she will be willing to come to our ward on sunday so that she can build relationships in the ward. Otherwise, another neat miracle we had happen was at the Historic Liberty Jail in our teaching center. So, basically where we go to make calls all over the world and answer phone calls and online chats of people who go on Mormon.org to learn more about the gospel. So a few months ago, before I was at the Jail, a guy in Washington state called the Liberty Jail. He mentioned that he was 18 years old and Jewish. He said he heard a girl in his school talk about how amazing the liberty jail is and how much it teaches us that God really does answer prayers. He was calling to learn how God answers prayers and how he could recognize the answers to some of his own prayers. Sister McDonnell had taken the call and talked with him and got his information, but since that first call she hadn't been able to make contact with him for 3 months. Well last week she decided to give him a call and left a message and he actually called back. Sister McDonnell taught him the message of the restoration over the phone. The spirit was so strong in that room as she talked with him. Its so cool, how even over the phone talking about the gospel, the Spirit just fills the room and still boldly testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel. I only could hear what she was saying on her side of the conversation, but I could tell that he was so excited to know that God loves him and made this plan for him. He said he really wants to learn more, and Sister McDonnell invited him to be baptized. He said he would need to wait until September to be baptized when he moves away from home to college, because his parents would not approve his decision to be baptized into another faith. In fact, we learned that if his parents even knew that he was talking to us they would probably kick him out of the house and dis-own him.
Well, the other day we were able to talk to him over the phone again. This was my first time meeting R. and talking to him. Sister McDonnell and I figured it would be good to teach him the Plan of Salvation. He expressed to us that he feels so happy learning about the gospel and that he feels there has got to be more that he doesn't understand. As we talked with him and I introduced myself and tried to get to now him a little better, our conversation was directed to The Plan of Salvation because he asked if we knew if we lived with God before....it was like the perfect question to go into what we wanted to teach him. Since, he's Jewish he really doesn't have a very good understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what the atonement means for him. As we talked about God's Plan for us and Christ's mission and his atonement and what that means for us, he was so excited! It was amazing to be able to talk to him and hear of the happiness and excitement he was gaining in his voice as he realized that he has a Saviour, and that as he prays that he can receive comfort and guidance from someone who completely understands him. It was so cool!! We can tell his understanding of how much God loves him has really grown! He loves learning about the gospel and is continually expressing to us how good he feels when we teach him. We've helped him understand that that is the power of the Holy Ghost testifying to him truth. He told us he really wants to go to church and be baptized when he goes to college in Virginia. I know the gospel is really blessing R's life and bringing him the happiness, peace and answers to the questions his soul has been searching for. I feel so blessed to be able to teach R. with Sister McDonnell, seeing how much R. is changing and just hearing of the new light and happiness that is entering his life as he learns brings me inexplicable joy and happiness. Every time we talk with R. we end the conversation just in shock as to how powerful and strong his Spirit is in directing him to want to learn more truths and to be able to recognize them. He is truly amazing!!
I love it here in the Liberty 2nd Ward! We are trying everyday to find more and more people to teach, but right now I feel so blessed for the opportunity I do have to teach people. I am learning so much from Sister McDonnell and she is a powerhouse teacher. She teaches with the Spirit like the Book of Mormon prophets! She is awesome! I'm grateful to be out hear and I miss you all so much. I'm glad everything is going good back home! I love you and can't wait to hear from you next week!