Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 24 - I love this :)

This week was so awesome. :) Super busy, exciting, and just filled with some incredible experiences! I love everything about what we are doing right now. :) We are just working hard and having a ball. 
I love getting to serve

We had a super fun activity this week. :) Sister Raccuia and I organized a Blood drive that we had at the church, and it honestly couldn't have gone any better. It was awesome. :) A few weeks ago we were here at the church e-mailing and the cutest  lady came and knocked on the door and asked us if we would ever want to do a Blood Drive here in the church, we thought it sounded like a cool idea so we swapped information and just started planning! It was a blast. Our ward was super receptive and was so eager to donate and to serve. We were here for most of the afternoon on Wednesday so we could help make sure everything went ok. I even got to donate, which was awesome! I have heard lots of horror stories about people who faint after they donate or just feel super woozy, but I was able to donate and I felt totally fine after. :) There were so many people that came, it was so fun! We had a lot of members come. We had a few less actives who came, that we were totally shocked and beyond excited about having them in the building again. And a ton of people that just walked in and wanted to donate. :) We were able to hand out a lot of pass along cards and we got to talk to lots of people about the gospel. We put together these cute thank you baskets for all the workers that had a Book of Mormon in it, a thank you card, a restoration pamphlet, a card and some other fun things. :) It was really fun, and turned into this awesome service project that helped us share the gospel. 

My Minions :)
We had this really interesting and really eye opening experience this week. We have been teaching this guy named Brother W*****. :) He is so darling and is honestly just the best old man. We go over there every Sunday night and it is awesome. We have had some cool lessons with him lately that have just been super solid. He was raised super super Lutheran and is pretty firm in what he believes and where he sits, so it makes us meeting with him really fun. :) We wanted to create some common ground with him. So the only way that he would let us come over and talk to him about what we believe is if he got his chance to tell us a little bit about what he believed. :) So we told him that we would go to one of the bible studies that they have in the middle of the week. We were a little nervous about it and didnt know exactly what to expect, but it ended up going really well. :) The class was all about how the bible got here and how it was translated and all that fun stuff. So nothing super doctrinal. There was something at the very end that the pastor said though that just really hit me he said "It is impossible to be completely christian. We do not have the fullness of Christs teachings and the things he set up while he was here. We have to struggle to believe and we need to fight to find our own interpretation of the truth." Ahhhh. It was torture to have to stay quiet in our seat. We aren't allowed to proselyte near (haha or in) other churches. But I so badly wanted to stand and say that we have the fullness of the gospel!! Christ has restored the church that he established when he was on the earth, and it is HERE.  We have living prophets and apostles who lead and guide our church under the direction of Jesus Christ himself. We have the Book of Mormon that further testifies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the priesthood power that he used while he was on the earth so we can baptized and make covenants with our father that are solid and lasting. Christs church is here. We absolutely dont have to struggle! :) I was so grateful in that moment for all of the restored truths that we have and that we are so grateful to know. I wish we could have told them all about the truths that we love. It was hard to watch them accept the fact that they dont have the fullness when they absolutely could. :) 

Service with a smile!
Sister Raccuia and I have been working on a piano duet for a while that we got to play in church on Sunday. :) It was so much fun, and everyone was so kind about it.  Brother W***** said after we were done "If you were in my church right now we would have given you a standing ovation." haha :) One of the counselors in the Bishopric stood up after we played and was totally emotional and just bore his testimony about how music brings the spirit so strong. It was a really fun way to serve our ward and I think they really appreciated it. :) We are going to record it and post in on FB this week hopefully. :) I am so grateful that I have have learned how to play the piano! We get to play all the time! A lot of times while we are at church we have to go on splits so that we can play for all of the different auxiliaries. Sister Raccuia will go play in primary while I go play in priesthood and then we meet up for the closing song in relief society. :) haha it is so much fun. 

I had one of the most special moments from my whole mission this week. :) We have been meeting with this man named B***** for the whole time that I have been here. His wife is a super active member and is just amazing. :) We go over there for dinner every week, and we absolutely love it. When we first started going over every time we would start to shift in to lesson mode B***** would get up and leave and we would end up teaching her less active kids. But over the last few months we have really started to notice a difference in B*****. :) First he started sticking around for the lessons and then he started to participate in the lessons. He is so incredible and we have come to love him so much. We have transitioned into teaching him and he is being really receptive and open to the things that we are teaching him. :) A few weeks ago we invited him to read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon. Over the years and years that him and his wife have been married he has never shown any interest in reading and has never accepted one of our invitations.. but this time... HE READ. :) We were so happy. We walked in this week and as soon as he saw us he started telling us all about what happened in that chapter and what he learned from it. It was a complete and total miracle. :) We were able to have a really powerful lesson with him and we just testified to him that we absolutely knew that God loved him, that He was aware of him, and that He could help him with anything. It was so incredible and the spirit was so strong. We invited him to read one of my very favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon (3rd Nephi 17) and he accepted again! When we were about to leave we asked if we could have a closing prayer. His 3 year old grandson, Nephi was really excited and said "I want to say to say the prayer" so he jumped up onto B*****'s lap and said "Pappa help me." :) B***** has never said a prayer out loud so he looked at me and said "You better help me too." So with total awe of what was happening and with tears in my eyes I told B***** what to say, then he told Nephi, and Nephi said the prayer. :) It was a short and tender prayer, but it was one of the most powerful moments I have ever been in. After we said "Amen" B***** said "That was the first prayer I have ever said" and then he just sat there for awhile, totally silent and on the verge of tears. This totally gruff man who is a Vietnam vet, a heavy drinker and smoker, and has never showed any interest in the gospel before just sat there and cried in his seat. The spirit absolutely amazing and just beyond powerful. I love being a missionary and watching the miracles that happen every single day. We get to watch the power of the atonement work absolute miracles! Christ did what he did so that we can change, and it is beyond amazing to watch that process so up close and personal. This gospel is all about change and I feel so grateful that I have gotten to watch the change that has taken place in B*****. :) I love him and his family so much. My mission is the most incredible experience I have ever had, and I am more grateful for it than I could ever say. I love getting to serve. :) 

I love you guys so much and I love getting to hear from you so often. :) It helps me more than I could ever say. Thank you for all the kind words, the amazing experiences you share with me, your examples, your support, and prayers. I LOVE YOU. :) I have the best family and friends in the whole world. Thanks for everything.
Love Sister Watts!! 

Missionaries don't back up

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