"Your destiny is in your hands, and your important decisions are your own to make." -Spencer W. Kimball
So this week was a wild ride... it really tested me and I hope you all take the time to read all this blog to get to understand why it was.
We had lunch with an elderly missionary couple, "The Allens", at a Panda Buffet! My fortune cookie said, "You will travel to exotic places on your next trip." I laughed and then thought, "DOES THIS MEAN I'M GETTING TRANSFERRED?!?!" Then I was reminded that Rosepark is probably the most exotic place I could go on the mission. But, I'm thinking Italy would be a good place to go maybe after the mission.. :)
We visited Apolinar and Maurie and taught them some new members lessons this week! They are seriously the greatest and I love them. We visited Yulene and as we were knocking she was getting ready to leave. We have been struggling getting into her house to teach her and I personally was getting a little frustrated knowing she was home. We still didn't give up on her... we set up an appointment for the next day! We visited Cindy and she was making dinner and gave us some tacos like they make in Mexico and it was super yummy! I miss those wonderful tacos...I'll have to learn how to make them so I can have them even after the mission.
In our "power hour" we went out with the Sister Training Leaders (STLS) and they helped us both work in our area. So I was with Sister Johnson working on set lessons and visiting people who are progressing. My companion, Sister Gonzalez went with Sister Pearson to find new people to teach. I was teaching Yulene the plan of salvation and how it changed my life. She really loved what we taught and after I invited her to be baptized on the 25th of January. She accepted without a doubt. Sister Johnson invited her to kneel and pray before we left and ask God if that is the date she should be baptized on. She did and the spirit was so strong and she said, "That's my date." I love Yulene and her decision to be clean from sin and want to follow Christ! She is an amazing mom who has been through a lot! The next day, we visited her again and taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ! Being cleansed from sin, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end.
We also taught Carolina Lopez. She is 17 years old and has 2 kids and has a LOT of temporal needs. She might lose custody of her daughter to her drug addicted ex-husband in California. She believes he is abusive, and all these things. She is not married to Christian, her boyfriend now, but he seems fine. She really loves learning about the church.
So my birthday happened on Friday and THAT WAS A WILD RIDE!
First, the STLS came over with pancakes at like 7 am and then we got ready to go to our zone meeting. We walked and got there early. I noticed there was a funeral happening in the other side of the building. The whole zone sang to me in their native tongue. It was fun to hear English, Spanish, Portugese, and Samoan (AND they were all competing to get their language heard so it was like a yelling birthday song) We were having such a great and spiritual zone meeting. Then we left the multi-purpose room to go watch videos down the hall. When we returned we finished up and got ready to leave. My bag was gone. I had just finished taking out my spiritual journal and PMG but my wallet, camera, $120 cash and everything else was gone. Then I start hearing other missionaries say the same thing "Where is my bag?" Turns out 5 bags were stolen from the room at the church and a van was also broken into in the parking lot. I called the police and when he came we explained everything...
***IT WAS SUPER hard to have to call my mom on my birthday to tell her that it got stolen, but I know it was secretly a blessing to hear my mom say, "happy birthday" on my actual birthday***
It was a pink salmon colored bag that was from target and it had only my wallet and my camera that were of value. It was SUPER hard that day, BUT THANK YOU! to the SigEps & my KayDee sisters who wrote little notes on my birthday. Also for the birthday present from Brax, honestly that really helped me get through the day and to know that everything was going to be okay.
Sister Stratton and Elder Tauaui were devastated that their bags were taken away. They had really personal things they were attached to. I realized in these days (Friday to Sunday) I noticed my prayers. At first we were all praying for these bags to show up, then I changed to ask for Sister Stratton and Elder T to get their bags at least, then Sunday morning everything changed. My prayers were asking for the man who took these bags. That he and his family may be safe and use the money that I know I had in there for good and for his family. I started pouring out my soul for him and I realized it's not the will of God for me to get that bag back. I gave up my will and sincerely had love for that man who maybe made a bad choice, but there is always hope and repentance available in this life.
We taught English Classes and that was super fun. I loved helping a ton of people pronounce words in english and helping them understand the language more. The program we use is really great!
Saturday we also were able to meet with some recent converts, and less actives! It was nice to get to learn and teach them. Sister Gonzalez has tendonitis and we are going to the doctor tomorrow to figure out what needs to happen.
Church was great. I love church. The spirit is so amazing and I love singing the hymns. I love taking the sacrament, getting to teach Gospel Principles and learning more in relief society. Yulene unfortunately couldnt make it, but we will get her there next week! The bishop talked about the robbing of the bags and reminded everyone in the ward about keeping things with you at all times.
This morning we had interviews with the mission president and he gave me "homework". He said I needed to write you and tell you that he has 1 sentence that defines me. "This is one devoted saint" then he needed me to tell you about how impressed he is with my work as a missionary in this mission. He also said that I'm .."an example that shines brightly for all the mission, including him and his wife" He wants you to know that you should be proud of the person I am becoming and how deeply converted I am in this marvelous work.
I love you and know that I need to change and be even better. Everyday I try to apply myself to become the missionary I want to be. The "challenges" I have gotten through are to help me learn and grow and I thank Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity to act on the attributes of Christ that I am trying to develop each day. I love this work and this area, even the crazy hard days are so worth it.
I love you and thank you all for the birthday wishes!!
La Hermana Blankmeyer