Thursday, July 17, 2014

Letter #34: Blessings, Miracles, and Tender Mercies

i don't even know where to begin with talking about the blessings/miracles/tender mercies of this week.  it was unreal. 

lets first start off by addressing the fact that the Apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, came to our mission this week! Words couldn't even begin to describe what an incredible man he is. We've known that he was coming for several weeks, but we got an extra bonus and his wife decided to come too! 

so starting back at Monday, we polished ourselves up to meet him! and our car. President told us to be in top shape for the meeting and to please wax our cars. something that S. Bringhurst and i had absolutely no experience with! haha be we're pretty sure we did it right... took a while but it seemed to be a bit shinier in the end. 

Tuesday we had a mission wide WebEx and President and Sister Packard gave us the lowdown for the meeting with Elder Holland that week and told us to be on our best behavior. Afterwards Sister Packard came out to Littleton and took Sister Bringhurst and me out to lunch. That was a special treat! we LOVE Sister Packard. and its always fun chatting with the Packards cause they tell us everything thats going on in the mission. They had been with the Hollands over the weekend so we got to hear all about that. 

Wednesday was an exciting day for the entire mission because Brent Packard came home from his mission! the Packards were SO excited and it was so cute. they invited everyone that lived close enough to come to the airport to welcome him off of the plane. funny story. we wanted to go superrrrr bad so we asked a member to drive us so that we wouldn't waste our miles. and there was a big miscommunication and she thought she was taking us to the mission home, not the airport, and we didn't realize that she was totally headed to the wrong place until too late and then we missed it! ughh. oh well. we heard all about it and it was a very happy reunion for everyone! i am so happy for the packards :) 

Thursday!! ahhh i cant even handle it so im just going to say it right away! NATALIE IS GETTING BAPTIZED!! we had a lesson with her that night and at the end she told us that she had been thinking/praying about it and she had decided on June 14th :) ! i almost fell out of my seat/ refrained myself from tackling her with a hug. she is so perfect and i don't think ive loved anyone so much on my mission. she's 17, don't know if i mentioned that before, and she is adorable. she was introduced to the church through her friend Anna Berrey - a stellar young woman in our ward. and she's been coming to literally everything for the past month. church, activities, seminary! and now she's getting baptized! we're praying that June 14th will work out. her dad is on board but her mom isn't convinced yet. but natalie seems pretty confident that there wont be a problem and her mom will agree by then. YAY! she wrote us both the most adorable letters telling us thank you for teaching her and it took everything i had not to cry in front of her. 

Friday was the Mission Conference!! We got there super early to get the best seats! we chose the third row exactly in the middle :) and saved seats to sit next to all my favorite people - sisters cope, gomez, hileman, and lewis. best day ever! so since we got there so early we had lots of time to visit with the other missionaries while we waited. the whole mission has never gotten together all at once and it was way too fun to even be allowed. i just love everyone so much.

they also had the traveling visitor center set up for all of us to see. its incredible. it includes several displays with ipads on a stand that are connected to tvs that show videos. and they all have different themes - the savior, families, joseph smith. they're breathtaking. and some sisters in our mission have been working super hard to get them going. and its exactly that! a traveling visitors center! they take this displays around and can set them up anywhere and turn a place into exactly what you would find at visitors center. super cool.

anyways. so we were all freaking out and no one could even sit still because we were too excited! and then about a half hour before the meeting started it was time for all of us to chill out and actually stay in our seats so that we weren't embarrassing when he came. and sure enough Elder and Sister Holland along with President and Sister Packard walked into the chapel around 1:00PM. 

He started things off with shaking all of our hands. and then told us afterwards that he interviews each of us when he shook our hands and looked into our eyes and that we were a good bunch of missionaries. He brought the President of the 70 with him who spoke to us first - Elder Hallstrom. and then the adorable Sister Holland spoke to us. and then Elder Holland! He talked to us about the importance of staying strong in the gospel after our missions. it was really cool. he spoke up on the stand for a while and then said "i feel a sermon coming on!" and got down to walk around the rows and keep talking to us. it was way cool. He ended with talking about something that hit me super hard. Its a poem that goes like this -

"Come to the edge"
No, I'll fall
"Come to the edge!"
And so I came. He pushed me, and I flew.

I think it means something different to everyone. what it really means to come to the edge and how we do that. But i know that we ALL get knocked off the edge sometimes. We feel like we're falling and really we only have two options in that moment. to hit the ground or hurry up and learn how to fly. and the only way we could ever learn how to fly is if we fall in the first place! so we have to let the Lord push us. We have to come to the edge.

So there were rumors that Elder and Sister Holland would be coming to our ward on sunday. even Sister Packard told us that it was a good possibility! because their son and grandkids are in the Littleton Ward. and so it was like 10 minutes before church started and we were trying not to hope for it. but sure enough, in walked the Hollands! They sat in the pews with their family but we got to shake their hands again and he got up at the end of the meeting to tell the ward how impressed he was. He didn't tell anyone he was coming other than his family (and the missionaries just know everything) and he said it was really amazing just to see an average day in the littleton ward. they went and spoke to the young women during third hour. they're so lucky. and guess what?? they talked to our investigator Natalie and she told them her baptismal date!! we passed them in the hall several times and Sister Holland told us we are adorable - i died. what a day. I was sitting by a returning inactive during sacrament meeting and when he finished speaking she leaned over to me and asked "who is that?" haha and i was like uhhhh let me tell you. after i explained she said "that makes sense. i could feel it." 

so that was our week with Elder and Sister Holland! i couldn't even begin to explain everything that he said to us during the mission conference but it was beautiful and inspiring. and i felt so happy afterwards! 

thats all for now! have a wonderful week and I’ll talk to you again next monday! love you!

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