It was a really incredible, eventful week!
I've seen the Lord's hand so much in my life as this week has gone on, and Hna Hanson and I are really excited for the rest of the transfer!
On Wednesday we had zone conference, which was an amazing experience for a number of reasons. Hna Shaffer and I sang in a small group for the musical number, "I Need Thee Every Hour," which is my favorite hymn in the hymn book. It was a great experience, I was glad to be able to use my talents! And the training that we received in zone conference was really amazing - we talked a lot about the power of bearing testimony and received a promise that if we had 10 quality gospel discussions a day (even if people aren't interested) and always, always ask for referrals, that baptisms in the mission would double. Hna Hanson and I have committed to do that, and we've met so many people and seen them put directly into our path by the Lord as we've striven to do so! As a zone, we also made a very prayerful goal of having 18 baptisms this transfer. When Hna Hanson and I were praying in our companionship about what our goal should be, we felt very strongly that we should settle on the number 4. It's a bit daunting at moments for me, since I haven't had any baptisms my whole mission, but we've talked a lot this week about how the Lord loves impossible odds. I feel no doubt that as we continue to work diligently, the Lord will bring those 4 people to us one way or another who are prepared to receive Him and make covenants! Our whole zone has seen so many miracles as we've continued to pray and fast for this goal.
We got two new investigators this week, which I know was a huge answer to prayer and a fulfillment of the promises we received at zone conference! One of them was Luisa. We met her a week or so ago, and gave her a Book of Mormon. She said she was never home, but we stopped by to see if we could catch her or one of the other people who live there, and she happened to be preparing to leave for Mexico for the weekend, so had some time to talk. She let us in, and we taught her the first lesson. The spirit was so strong! She's already been reading the Book of Mormon, she wants to know how we can know if what's written in any of the scriptures is true and which church is really God's church, and when we shared the story of the first vision her jaw dropped and she was obviously touched by the spirit. At the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized when she knew these things were true, and though she didn't commit to a date or anything she said that she does want to know if it's true and will read and pray, and she's coming to church with us this coming week! Pray for her and the rest of our investigators!
Juan and Sandra are back in Guadalajara, but they're continuing to go to church and meet with the missionaries! We just got an email from Juan that they went to church yesterday and that their daughters came with them and loved it, that they felt the spirit very strongly. Juan's wanted to be baptized for a while now, he's praying for the Lord to open the hearts and minds of his family members so he can be baptized with them soon :)
Angelina's one of our investigators :) We invited her to be baptized this past week, and she said she doesn't agree with organized religion and doesn't want to be baptized in any church. We talked about how it's not about joining a church but about making a covenant with God under the proper authority in his established way. She softened after that, and is praying to know if baptism is something the Lord wants her to do (she even prayed for it right there in front of us at the close of the lesson, which was awesome!)
I've been reading a lot in the Old Testament, I'm really behind on my schedule to finish reading all of the standard works before I finish my mission and am trying to catch up. There's been a lot that I've learned, I just love the Old Testament so much!
Deuteronomy 7:7-18 - I related this scripture to John 14:21.Deuteronomy 8:2-6 - Verse 2 especially stood out to me personally, about how the Lord tries us to see what's in our heart and if we will follow Him. I want to show Him that I will, regardless of my trials.
Deuteronomy 10:2 (footnote) - This verse confused me when I first read the Old Testament - why would the Lord have Moses break the tablets just to write the same things on the second ones that he made? But with the JST we learn that the Lord said "And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, save the words of the everlasting covenant of the holy priesthood..." They didn't qualify themselves for the higher law, so it was taken from them.
2 Nephi 2:1-3 - I'm going to retype this scripture in the way that it stood out to me personally as I read it this past week, and the way I likened the scriptures to myself: "...in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow ... Nevertheless, ... thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed ... and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God."