Back in the Good O' Woods of Estacada!
This past week has flown by so fast...I don't know where the time went!?! I feel like one of the luckiest missionary's ever to be able to come back to where I started my mission to see the changes and growth in the ward and in myself. Not only was I super excited to see everyone, but the ward was excited to see me! Elder Hansen and I were asked to speak on Sunday and share our testimonies and it truly felt like my homecoming talk...WEIRD! I am not ready for that! This week we have hit the ground running! The elder before us only taught an average of 2 lessons a week...this past week we taught 20!! We had 6 member presents, 2 other lessons, 12 RCLA's, and we found 3 new investigators as well as 2 new families to teach!! In ward council this past week Bishop Hawkins called us the energizer bunny, we keep going and going. It was such a blessing to see a lot of the less actives and former investigators this past week as well as meet new members, new investigators, and watch in awe some of the less actives come back to church. It has been a real blessing to see some of the fruits of the efforts here. I know that we can sometimes feel like our efforts aren't good enough or that all of our hard work may not pay off sometimes, but the blessings come. When I shared my testimony I was doing all that I could not to get too emotional...I only got choked up 5 times no big... ;) I guess I have gotten a little tougher!
ITS THE FINAL COMPANION! Elder Hansen is incredible! He is a farmer from Logan, Utah specifically Hyde Park, Utah. He is so funny, is a hard worker, and a great comp to end my mission with. Another blessing!
The Brown's are incredible. They aren't the Peterson's, but they have brought so much good to the ward. So sad that they are leaving on July 20th. ;( We aren't sure if they will have a replacement so it may just be back to 1 set in Estacada now that the Spanish is gone. The cool part is that I will be able to go to the departing temple trip with the Browns and bear my testimony with them. Sister Brown is from Mesa, Arizona!!! So is such a sweet lady with a great sense of humor. Elder Brown is the prankster and jokester. We love them so much and work really close with them. We have our nightly prayers with them and for p day this morning we were able to hang out with them. Such great people.
So Monday we rushed over to Estacada...I forget how Estacada is in they middle of nowhere. A lot of travel time, but boy did it feel good to drive into town. It has felt like nothing has changed. It is so cool. When we have been going around town I have been able to talk with people (non members) that I did when I was a Greenie. They were so happy and surprised to see me back. It feels like home! So we got here and dropped off our things in our apartment, but then we learned that we would be moving into the Spanish Elders apartment which is a lot cooler and nicer (apartment number is now #104 mommy;) We scrambled and moved all of our stuff downstairs and tried to get things settled in our new apartment. We then raced over to a dinner that we didn't know we had (the area was sooo disorganized!!). Our 1st dinner back was with Marilyn and Tom Jones!!!! I was dying inside!! So excited to see them. It was sooo funny...on our way to dinner we saw a butch of little kids jumping on the trampoline nude and I told Elder Hansen "Welcome to Estacada!" I was dying laughing!!! Marilyn and Tom are doing sooo good. They were so surprised to see me again. We were able to have dinner with them and we set a date for Tom to receive the Melchizedek priesthood for July 31st...my last Sunday of my mission. They are so sweet...I love them sooo much! Both have been coming to church weekly...another tender mercy to see them grow and their testimonies strengthened...I felt like a parent!
Kinda cool so we had Sister Billows text us when we got here and asked if we could come over and have a lesson. What is funny is that my first dinner on my mission was with the Billows so that was sweet! BOTH of them came to church this past Sunday!!!
We were able to teach and catch up with Gena Chasteen, Sister Felicia English, the Darity's, Edie Karlin, the Steens, and the Higley's this past week and invited them to church. It was so good to seem them all again and to try to finish what we started here. I love them all so much. It was like catching up with family, but things were different...I was different. I could feel how I have gained so much confidence and a burning testimony on my mission. The atonement has really changed me and it was really cool to have a lot of the members comment how I have grown. :)
This past week we were able to meet with some new investigators. Sara Dysart, April Newton, and Troy Schupp. We are planning to set some dates here this week with Sara and April. April is already praying about getting baptized! So much potential here. We also have a lot of youth from Job Core coming down to attend church and wanting to meet with us! One week there was 12 people from Job Core coming down to attend church with us. We were able to meet with Keith and Zedekiah and will have lessons with them both this week probably on Thursday. Soooo much potential that we are busting out the seams! We got a referral from Bro Trujillo the elders quorum president of a family, the Ferguson's who were interested in learning about the church. We will be going and teaching them with bro Trujillo this weds. WE ARE SOOO EXCITED!
We were able to do service for several non members this week. We did service for a family we met, the Haggstroms and started teaching Matt (the dad) the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He was really interested and him and the family were so good to us. We will hopefully teach the family this weds. We also meet a gal, Melodie and was able to help her on her clients property. She takes care of a man named Gary who has altimeters and Parkinson's and keeps the property ship shape. When we got there we shoveled rotten straw and oh my gosh...it smelt so bad!! I was dry heaving and was dying....I had to smile and say, "It's soo good to be back in Estacada." Elder Hansen was laughing sooo hard because he was use to it...I had to laugh. We will be going over there Tues and hopefully will be able to teach her. She has been taught before so we shall see how it goes.
One Sunday we were able to have dinner with the Browns who invited the Higley's and the Lazott's (Summer and Jason got married). As you know the Higley's are less active and Jason is a non member. After our yummy dinner we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and had an amazing discussion. Jason and most especially the Higley's really opened up. I was bawling....it is so sad to see and hear of some of the terrible things that happen to people. My heart just aches...I couldn't imagine how the Savior feels. It was a humbling week. I am so grateful for my savior who knows and loves me.
Something that the Browns shared with all of us at dinner really stood out to me this past week. "Are you a part of the INN crowd, or one of the STABLE few?" Referring to Jesus Christ's birth it really makes you think about where we are at spiritually compared and where we are at in the world. Where are you? In the Inn or with Christ at the Stable?
Until next time! Have a great week!! I love you all!!