Wow, can I just say that I think that this week has been my most exhausting week as a missionary. I feel like I have been running all over with hardly a minute to spare!
So Monday night we started out with a back to back exchange, Thursday morning we were in our area and then had another exchange. Friday afternoon we were in our area and then had another exchange which finished just before the baptism of our investigator Carlos Jr. So basically I spent only half of my week working in my area. By last night Hermana Sheffer and I just wanted to drop. Today has been a much needed break and then we are back to week two of exchanges, whoo!
Even though it was exhausting it really was a good week. All of the exchanges went well. I love being able to see how the Sisters are growing and applying what they are learning. I love the fire that they all have. It inspires me to work harder and be a better missionary so they can learn all that I have learned but faster and better. The work is hastening in Modesto. I felt that so much this week, especially with one of the miracles I experienced while I was on exchanges. I will just call this my one year miracle, since it happened on Thursday, my one year mark!
So the miracle happened near the end of the day with the exchange I had with Sister Neeley. So we were working in her area and were on bike, which was so much fun. We were able to talk to so many different people that day. Near the end of the day we had an appointment set with a member. We were on our way and had stopped to talk to this nice girl. After that we hopped on our bikes and started towards our appointment. As we had been talking to said girl this family had walked past us but since we were already in conversation we didn't talk to them. Anyway, so back to the bikes. We didn't want to be late to our appointment and so as we approached this couple I rationed in my head "We need to talk to everyone, buuut we don't want to be late, so don't have time to stop." As soon as we passed them my concience, or the spirit, started kicking in saying, no you need to talk to everybody. So I was feeling guilty. About 200 ft. ahead we spotted the family that had passed us earlier. They had stopped and were taking pictures of the sunset. Once again a rationalization popped into my head "Wow they look busy and we are going to be late if we stop and talk to them". However I also heard the "Stop and talk to everybody". So we stopped. We started this nice little conversation with them and before we knew it they were asking US where and when church was because they wanted to come. It gets better though. When we asked if we could come by and teach them the mom, Sue, said "Our house is right up the way, why don't you come over now." Sister Neeley and I exchanged looks and said, OK. On the way we texted the member and told her that we would be late. During the next 45 min I had one of the best first lessons I have ever had. This family of 5, (Mom and 4 boys), listened intently, asked questions, and felt the spirit. As we showed a picture of Jesus Christ with a lamb and asked them how they felt to see it, the 10 yr old boy said "I could trust that guy". When we offered them the Book of Mormon they immediately started talking as a family as to how and when and how much they would read of the Book of Mormon, each day. We invited them to be baptized if they came to know that it was true and they agreed. We scheduled another appointment for the next day, the 9 yr old offered the closing prayer, and then left. The next morning we practiced extending a baptismal date because we had not done that. When I followed up with the Sisters on Saturday they said that the whole family had excepted to be baptized on October 31...in just 3 weeks! Then to make it even better I was able to see the whole family at church on Sunday for their first time (our wards meet in the same building). You could just tell they were so happy to be there. Needless to say I am thrilled and bummed at the same time. I am thrilled because all my mission I have been praying to find a family like this however I am bummed because I won't be able to teach them. These last couple of days though I have just been thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't have followed the spirit and stopped to talk to them. I feel bad about missing the couple but at least I and Sister Neeley learned an important lesson about talking to every person you see. You never know who is going to be ready to accept the gospel until you have actually talked to them. It just makes me want to go and talk to everyone!
The baptism of Carlos Jr. on Saturday and his confirmation on Sunday. He is so tall his dad had to try three times before he finally got him all under. My favorite part was his testimony, especially when he testified that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. I know that is true with all of my heart. I am so excited for him and this journey he is beginning. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I just can't wait to see all of the blessings he and his family will experience from this. He has a 6 year old brother who looks up to him and I know who will want to follow in his footsteps.
I'm just so grateful to be here and to be able to be a part of these peoples conversions. I know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the Lord and the work He is doing to prepare them. I am just lucky to get to be the instrument he uses to help them discover the gospel. I feel more than ever that the clock is ticking. I just want to work hard and do all that I need to with the time I have been given.
Well I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Pictures: Me and Hermana Alcaraz on exchanges, delicious Pumkin Curry I had to celebrate my 1 year, and the last from left to right is: Hermana Sheffer, Carlos Jr., Carlos Sr., and Me!