This week has been awesome! We got three new investigators this week! That is like a gold mine out here! Three in one week!!! Unfortunately two of the three decided to stop being investigators before we could even meet with them a second time... Ugh, the thrills of being a messenger :) However one of our new investigators is still interested in finding a way to help bring her family together. Is there a better place to bring a family together than within the gospel of Jesus Christ? I do not think so!!! We met with just her this past week and taught her the beginning of the restoration and testified of eternal families. She wants us to meet up with her and her family next time. I am not sure if that will happen before I leave because they are leaving on a trip soon but I hope it does, if not the next missionary will be just as excited and ready as I am.
I am confident at this moment that my companion is ready to take over the area. He is prepared and I am not worried about anyone falling through the cracks. I have introduced him to everyone and have taught him all the things that we do. He is having a hard time learning the roads and everything though. He will probably have to use a gps when I leave. Haha, I was trying to help him learn how to get from the church back to our apartment which is a trip we make all the time so I told him it was up to him to get us home. I pretended to fall asleep and we drove around for the next 30 minutes trying to get home. He did eventually make it home, it was just a 10 minute drive that became a 30 minute drive. He did learn however the fastest way to get home and has never gotten lost again! (At least not getting home from the church, other places we are still working on...) But we have the important things down, the people. He knows them and loves them. I have handed him the reins of friendship that I have developed with the ward. They trust us and love us a ton! He is going to do some incredible work here before he gets transferred out.
This is a historic conference! The last time we had three new apostles at once was in 1906! That's over a hundred years ago! Not to mention I am on a mission and conference as a missionary is like Christmas in October and April! Less meetings, more spiritual guidance from our leaders who have been called by God! I love it and am super excited. Also as tradition has it, we get to go to the temple during conference week so we are headed up to the temple on the 8th and then I get to go again on the 13th because I'm coming home!!!!
As for experiences or miracles that I have seen on my mission...
The first one that comes to mind it the miracle of Stephens baptism. I can't even begin to explain the amount of prayer and work that went into trying to get everything to come together. We did everything we were supposed to be doing we were as obedient as we could be. We called upon God constantly, asking him for help and guidance. After several months of preparation we were drawing close to the day of his actual baptism. Part of the plans we had set up were to do a trial run baptism a couple nights before to work out any kinks that we may have overlooked. This is where God took control and made everything happen. We had done everything we could and then God said, "Good work, but this is how it needs to be done and this is how and when you should do it." That trial run baptism came together so flawlessly into his actual baptism that the only way it could have worked out was if God's hand was in it. All the different details that needed to be worked out all the moving parts that had to come together; God blessed us with a miracle that night. I don't know if the baptism would have been able to happen at another place or another time or in another way. I cannot describe how grateful I am for Stephen and his faith.
All of the other experiences that I am thinking of right now are all based upon a continual or constant effort of being our best at being obedient . I recall a time when my companion was driving and he took an exit loop way too fast and we somehow drifted all the way around the turn without ending up hurt or dead or even with a scratch on the car. I know that at that speed there was no way we should have come out of that the way we did. We also have this little box in our car that tells us if we are driving aggressively and it didn't say anything. I put that into Gods hands and give thanks for the protection we received.
The last one that I want to share right now is back towards the beginning of my mission. My companion and I were working hard and doing everything we could to find work in our area. We were constantly going. There was no letting up. Yet, day after day we would come home empty handed. Once again we were being consistent with our obedience rather than just giving obedience a shot for a day we made it part of who we are, we made it second nature. Then one day we get a text from church headquarters with a name and an address. This is when we met Golden Gladys. That's just what I call her. We went and visited her as soon as we got the text. She wasn't home but her little brother told us she was working. We decided to go to her place of work and we met her right there and taught her the first lesson right there in the store, prayer and everything. We set up another appointment with her and she continued to express her gratitude to us for coming so quickly and how excited she was to become a member of the church. She is Golden Gladys because she already knew the church is true. She already knew she wanted to be baptized. She was baptized within six weeks of our first meeting at her work. Only God provides individuals like that. He provides them through us as we do everything we can to prepare our friends for this gospel.
I really like these questions each week. I love looking back on my mission. I see times that I had incredible experiences and I see times that I could have done better. I see the moments that I grew the most. I see the lives that I have touched. I see the people I love. What a great work this is. I am so very grateful that I have been a part of it for these two years. I am excited to be on the other side of this work as a member missionary.
I love this gospel! It is true! I love all of you and hope you have an amazing week!!!!
Love, Elder Maxwell