First of all... HAPPY SWEET 16 MAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It has been a fabulous week! We had a great lesson with Elsa. We read Alma 32 with her. It was awesome! There is such power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. She apologized for not coming to church. She feels really bad!! But expressed that she still wants to learn more from us and that she has a testimony that the church is true. So that was a huge success :)
We also had a great lesson with Miguel. We had a really nice talk and I felt like it went really well! He struggles with feeling like he has to be perfect after he gets baptized... not true!!! No one is perfect Miguel :) We explained that that is what the sacrament is for and it started to click with him! Ya :) We asked if we could set him up with a new baptismal date and he said no... not yet... :( But, we are not giving up on him yet! He translated our Special Stake Conference yesterday with ELDER COOK!!! :) Which leads me to my next story...
Elder Cook came to our mission! Yep, the Apostle! :) Oh what a treat! We had a mission conference with him on Saturday morning. Before the conference began we had heard a rumor that he was roaming the halls... so Hna. Stratford "had to use the bathroom”. haha! We went outside and, sure enough, we ran into Elder Christensen, from the Presidency of the 70 and talked to him briefly. Then we proceeded down the hallway and we ran right into Elder Cook!, as well as Elder Baxter and Elder Rhodes, both from the 70. Elder Rhodes is actually in our ward so he introduced us to Elder Cook and told him we were "his missionaries" :) Elder Baxter told me I look "magnificent" in his sweet Scottish accent :) We were so happy!!! Elder Cook is so tiny! That man is short! ha!
They all came inside the chapel and Elder Cook requested to shake every missionaries hand! He told us that it was going to be a 2 second interview. That he was going to look into our eyes as we passed and it was a personal interview... ah! So we went up and I got to shake all of their hands again :) #2times
The conference was AMAZING!!!!!! Elder Cook began by saying that every missionary is carefully and prayerfully assigned to their missions and even more specifically their mission presidents. We are all exactly where we are supposed to be serving! Every missionary in the world is! He also asked us lots of questions, like how many lessons we are teaching etc. Each of the General Authorities then spoke and motivated us to work hard and taught us how to be better and more effective missionaries. One thing I loved that Elder Baxter taught us... Lennon I think you will like this... is that we
1. Instruct... this leads to knowledge
2. Inspire... this leads to feeling
3. Motivate... this leads to doing
A successful missionary learns what each individual they teach should know, feel and do. Also he said, "From time to time shut up! and let them feel!" A lot of times we can get worried about silence during lessons but really it is during those quiet moments that the Holy Ghost has an opportunity to bare testimony!
At the end of the meeting, Elder Cook left us with an Apostolic blessing :) He promised that EVERYONE that we love and care about, both at home like family members and friends, and those we have grown to love on our missions, WILL be blessed by our service. I was so grateful and comforted to hear this!!! And I certainly hope it is true!
On Sunday we had the great privilege of hearing from Elder Cook again in the Fort Collins Stake Conference :) Before the conference began, Hna. Stratford and I were running around trying to get the translation equipment all ready to go and as we were out in the hall, Elder Cook walked by and came up and shook our hands again! #3timesbaby :) And the Denver Temple president was with him (i actually met him when I was just at the temple) and so we shook his hand as well :)
The conference began and it was FANTASTIC!!!! By far the best stake conference I have ever been to!!! Every single speaker was just fabulous! Everyone talked about the temple. The Denver temple matron said that, "Often in life, we become so busy and overwhelmed and we become so stressed, but the temple is the place where our souls can catch up!" Oh I loved that! It is so true!!!
Elder Cook said that we, as members, in Fort Collins (because there is a temple being built here) need to do the following... But this applies to everyone!
1. Build Zion in our hearts and home
2. Be an example to our communities
3. Focus our vision and goals on the temple
Then he left another Apostolic Blessing on everyone that, as we are preparing and as we are supportive of the temple, we will bring all of our family members closer in a way never before possible. If our families can see how much we love our Savior and how much we love the temple, their love and understanding will also grow.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I had this week to shake an Apostle's hand 3 times! And to hear his words as well as the words of other General Authorities and witnesses of Christ! What a truly amazing blessing that was, and an experience I will never forget :)
I have actually been sick all week... but regardless it was a good week :) I was feeling so terrible, so we ran to the grocery store to get some medicine and as we were walking in, I found $10 on the ground!!! But, I was a good and honest person and tried to turn it into one of the cashiers in case someone came looking for it, but he and another employee told me to keep it!!! So that was exciting :) haha
We also went and did service at a farm this week! It was fun! Hna. Stratford and I were in charge of putting down new wood chips in the chicken coops and picking up all the eggs! I loved it! The other missionaries had to build a green house type thing. The farmer had a few already... with lots of pot growing in them... #coloradoissohigh... We also played with the chickens and I am now a pro and catching them! The trick is to grab them by their tail feathers! :)
I love you all so much!! Thank you for your letters this week and for the prayers! I can feel them!! Have a fabulous week!!!! And Max... HAPPY BIRTHDAY :)