Or letters! I love those :)
Or both! I love everything! :)
I want to start this email with a shout-out to my dad!! Happy Father's day! I love you and I'm so grateful to have a dad who loves and supports me. I miss you and think about you every day and I hope things are going wonderfully in Cedar Hills :) Thanks for all that you do!
Thanks to all dads for what you do! You people are fantastic!
This week has been pretty normal. We have spent many many hours out walking the streets of Lancaster, and have consequently had some extremely interesting conversations about many different subjects.
One of those being how Lancaster is seriously like a mini Puerto Rico. Like it really just is. We were commenting about how ghetto the city is, and we made the executive decision to rename the city... and thus, the name "Swankaster" was created.
Welcome to Swankaster.
or, Swanky Lanky.
or Spanky Lanky
or anything similar to those.
We've also spent a lot of time "rating" things.
ie - the other day we were at a Zone Conference, checking out all of the items in the clothing swap when my dear companion decided that she had found a skirt that she liked and wanted to take home. When she presented the skirt to me and told me that she would be charting it with us, I expressed my disgust by explaining to her that, "Why would you take that skirt home? That was one of the skirts that WE brought for the clothing swap. It was literally already in our apartment, why would you bring it back?"
She replied, "Because it's cute and I like it! Why would we put this in the swap?"
Then I commented on how hairy it was.
Well. She took it home anyway. The next day, she was putting it on and, in despair I cried out, "Oh, tell me you are not wearing that dumb hairy skirt."
She said, "It's cute. I like it and I'm wearing it."
In my final attempt to persuade her not to wear it, I exclaimed, "Hermana Tolman, on a scale of 1 to Wildebeest I give that skirt a solid 7."
The best part about that is that I don't even know if Wildebeest's are hairy or not! It just sounds like something that WOULD be really hairy.
But... yes. A lot of that has been happening.
So those good times are sure to continue.
On a more spiritual note, our branch is getting stronger and stronger and more and more fabulous each week. This past, we had our first Branch Council via skype! It was so incredible. It was us, President Gogna, the first councilor, and the Relief Society President.
Then, during sacrament meeting, we sustained a second councilor in the Relief Society and a Visiting Teaching coordinator. And after the block of meetings, President Gogna even called a temporary Branch Mission Leader! He just got back from his mission last week, he served in Utah! It is so cool! So he's super gung-ho about missionary work, and he totally knows his stuff! We met with him last night and he's gonna whoop us into shape!
I just love being able to be a part of something so incredible... to watch this branch grow and develop. I get spirit bumps everybecause it's just something so different to watch something BE organized rather than to be a part of something that's already organized. It's a great blessing.
Still feeling like an early saint.
This week we were able to attend a Zone Conference in Harrisburg. The Assistants gave a super spiritual training on how to use social media. Hopefully that roll-out will be happening soon. We are finally starting to catch the vision of how effective these tools can be.
It was also good to spend time with President and Sister Johnson. Just being around them makes me so happy. And I got to see the Clarksons! That was definitely a highlight for me! I miss those people!! :)
Other exciting things that happened this week:
I helped some nice firemen back their firetruck into the station.
The tornado warning alarm was tested like 3 times and I got way overly excited about that because I've always wanted to see a tornado. I may or may not have spend the better part of my lunch hour trying to summon one up.
We saw a nun running around in Lancaster! Coolest thing ever!
Some dumb stuff that happened:
We tried to find a less active family in our branch and got followed by a police officer who told us that it was getting dark and we needed to go home.
The best thing that happened this week BY FAR was that our investigator - Salvador - had his baptismal interview yesterday and passed with flying colors! So we should be having a baptism on! Talk about letting freedom ring!! That man is going to be cleansed from his sins as he enters into the covenant of baptism and takes upon himself the name of Christ and becomes a member of his church! I can't even wait!
Salvador is seriously one of the most incredible people in the whole world! He was one of the first people I met when I got to this area, and honestly I was a little nervous because in our lesson he expressed how he felt like he didn't think he was ready for baptism!! So that is always alarming when your investigator says that. But, I just said a silent prayer in my heart and asked the Lord to help me know if he was prepared, and this awesome spirit just swept over the entire room and I knew that he was! So when things get hard, I just hold onto that feeling and know that this is the Lord's will for Salvador at this time! The amazing thing is that our district leader AND President Gogna said the same things! So that was awesome! We just know that he is going to make such an incredible difference in the lives of people here in the Colombia Branch. He's such a good guy. So we're going to continue working with him this week and helping him prepare for baptism! So that's really exciting!
I just want to bear you all my testimony that I know this gospel is true! I have been studying about prophets and the restoration and Joseph Smith lately and I just want you to all know that I KNOW Joseph Smith was called as a prophet! His story is true! I feel like I have a pretty strong testimony about a lot of things, but my testimony about Joseph Smith was definitely one of my weaker points when I first came out on a mission, and now I have this powerful testimony of the restoration story. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in the sacred grove and they spoke to him! They knew his name! Isn't that incredible? To think that someone who literally created worlds knows your name PERSONALLY?
I have so much respect for the Prophet Joseph Smith. Amid all of the persecution and trials that he faced, he stayed strong to what he knew! I hope to do the same all the days of my life. Whatever comes at me, I want to say that I follow the Lord and I put him first! At any given time he is the #1 man in my life. I will follow the words of his prophets and treat their guidance and direction the exact same as if it were spoken by the mouth of God himself. Because in reality, that's the way it works.
I am so grateful to be a member of this church and a representative of Christ! I am constantly striving to do and be better! I know you all are! You are wonderful examples to me!
I love you!! :)