It is great to hear from you all as always! One of my favorite things to do is to get on my email and hear from you guys. I love you all! It sounds like life is pretty normal :) It has been a good week here. Full of many different emotions!
I am sure you all want to hear about Elder Holland. I really want to hear about it too haha, because we unfortunately got some really bad news the day before our trip. Elder Holland cancelled his trip :( it was definitely a bummer, it must have been something really huge that came up on his schedule, because 6 missions of missionaries were gathered together. We were all a bit bummed, but it all worked out. Because they had already rented 6 buses we still went to pheonix and we heard from the area 70 there. They kind of avoided the elephant in the room that Elder Holland wasn't there, until the 70's wife described it as saving your whole life to see the beatles play and having the dixie chicks show up instead haha. It was still really really good. The spirit was strong. The spirit always teaches me so much, no matter who is speaking. He talked to us alot about how we can truly be changed by our missions. Truly it comes down to forgetting about ourselves and serving others. That is the great secret to happiness and success in life. I have witnessed that first hand here as a missionary. It is the best feeling in the world to lose your self in the service of others. That is why the spirit is truly the best teacher. I know investigators must feel that way, because many times our teaching skills in spanish aren't expert level haha.
The day we headed down to Phoenix was on saturday. It was a REALLY long day. I was completely wiped when we were done. I passed out on the bed haha. We got up at 3 am and drove 2 1/2 hrs to thatcher. Then took a bus for 3 more hours to pheonix. Went to the conference, and then made that trip all the way home again. It was great to see many of my missionary friends from around the mission. Phoenix was great. I had never been there before. It seems really nice there. I loved how warm it was :)
We also had zone trainings this week with the Killpack's and the assistants. It was wonderful also. There is always SO much to learn in the mission field. I am just beginning to understand how to truly do this work.
We had some other surprises this week. On thur as we came back from zone training we had dinner scheduled with a member, and so we headed over to their house. This member lives right across the street from another inactive family that we have been teaching alot. The mom Maria had just returned to activity as we had been teaching her. She had been to church 3 weeks in a row and had an appt to renew her temple recommend. We pulled up to the members house there was a ton of police and ambulances (yes I still cannot pronounce that word). We thought someone was hurt, so we wanted to see if anyone in the family needed a priesthood blessing. We talked to the policeman and he let us go inside, where unfortunately we saw the body of our friend Maria who had just passed away. She had a heart attack. She was still on the ground, surrounded by her family. It was very emotional and hard for us. The daughter who hasn't been active in a long time begged us to give her mom a blessing, I think hoping we would restore her mom to life. We were stunned, but gave Maria a brief blessing of protection for her body and comfort for her family. It was a miracle that we happened to be there at the right time to be able to do that. We were shocked, but so grateful to have known and worked with Maria. It is very hard for her family. She is a single mom, and was the rock of her family. Life truly is so precious. The plan of salvation is so real. We had the chance to go back a couple days after and teach her remaining family the plan of salvation. What peace there is in the knowledge we have. Her funeral is tomorrow. We are so happy to know that the Lord's hand led us to her before and after her passing away. She passed away as an active member. What a miracle.
We have been super busy this week, trying to help our investigators to progress and to find new ones that will. We haven't made tons of progress, but we are hopeful about this week. I absolutely adore our branch. It is amazing. The members are so strong, happy, and are so good to us. I would love to stay here the rest of my mission. We actually have transfers this coming weekend. I am 98% sure I won't be going anywhere, but the 2% always scares me. Oh some cool news. Elder Z is going to be our new AP. No surprise there he was a wonderful trainer and is a good friend.
Other cool news! R from Nogales is doing great in the gospel, AND his girlfriend who when we taught him was very opposed to us and the church is getting baptized next week! Awesome news! It always makes me so happy to hear.
On friday the sisters here in the branch had a baptism. It was one of the most beautiful and powerful baptisms I have ever been to. The spirit was amazing, and more than 80 people came (keep in mind our branch has about 30 that usually attend). It was amazing.
Ummmmmmmmm I have some other news. This has really been a week of all sorts of news. I got pulled over this week for speeding :( wooopsiee. I honestly was just not paying attention. SO I have a ticket to pay :( it is 76 dollars. I will pay you back for that one when I am able. I can pay it online. So whatever way is easiest let me know. I learned my lesson.
I have learned alot this week. One more personal experience I had was earlier in the week I was struggling with some questions and doubts that I had. I had prayed that I could find answers to those questions and doubts. I then sat down to study that morning and right as I opened the scriptures, the ensign, and our sunday school manual for this year I was amazed. The answers I needed were right in front of me. I was overcome with emotion at how fast Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. I love him. I love how he speaks to us. I marvel at the Lord's individual care for each of us. I encourage each of you to take your doubts and questions and struggles to the Lord. He answers. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it is even fast. I know that he is real. That he is there and loves us. I love teaching and testifying to people of that truth.
I hope and pray I will still be coming to you from Deming next week!
I love you all so very much!