Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Week 25 - Christ has changed lives

Corn :)
Well. :) This is totally crazy. But I am getting transferred! It am honestly kind of bummed out leaving his area, because it is so amazing. I love everything about LaPorte. I love the area, I love the people I love the work, I love the ward. Everything. :) I can't imagine a better place for me to have started my mission. Heavenly Father absolutely knew what I needed when he sent me here, and I know that Heavenly Father still knows what is best for me! I am going to serve in the Gurnee 2nd ward with Sister Boyd. I don't know anything about the area or my new companion, so I'm am so excited to just jump right in and get to work!

 President told me on Tuesday that I was going to get transferred. So I have had a lot of time to think about and reflect on the last SIX MONTHS I have been here. :) I  have made friendships that will last forever, I have been blessed with experiences I will never forget, and I have learned lessons that will last a lifetime. We went and said goodbye to K** (our apartment manager) and it was awesome. She told me that she hasn't opened up to anyone like she did me in years. She wrote me a letter and told me how she considered me
one of her best friends and she wants to stay in touch forever. She was so tender. I love her, but I had no idea that we had done something so special. I was way happy. :) Then as soon as I saw J** at church on Sunday she immediately burst into tears. She told me that she had found out Saturday night and has
totally cried herself to sleep. It was so tender!! M****** was very tender too. She came up to me absolutely bawling after relief society and said "you're leavening??" Ahh. I just hugged her so tight. I told her it was o.k., she would get another missionary and She said "Well ya, but sister watts, you are special. I love you and will miss you so much." Bishop was pretty sweet too. So was our ward mission leader. They were all just so nice."

Singing at the park with Bobby and Steve
One of the things that I have felt so grateful to watch since I have been here is how incredible, real and powerful the Atonement of Jesus Christ is. Because of Jesus Christ we can change and become more of the person who Heavenly Father wants us to be. That is so hopeful. :) We make mistakes every day and have moments every day where we need the atonement, but because of Christ we can ALWAYS find peace and happiness and hope. I just wanted to talk a little but about how. I have seen peoples lives change because of Christ. :)

First. :) My cute friend M****** I love her so much. She is the very first person I ever met in the field. I remember the first time. I went over to her home I sat on her floor and listened to her talk about all of the things in her life that were so hard. She told us about how much she was struggling, how alone she felt, and listed off things that I had never imagined someone needing to go through. As an intimidated and scared brand new missionary I sat there and the entire time I had to fight back tears because I was so amazed and overwhelmed at the weight she had to carry every day. M****** was baptized a few months ago and the change that. I have seen has been remarkable. Every single aspect of her life has improved and is becoming better because she is embracing and loving the Gospel. :) She honestly just shines.
She has a temple recommend, she is reading the Book of Mormon, she looks forward to coming to church, and she participates when she is there. And has found a new perspective and has found hope when she was feeling absolutely hopeless. It has been an absolutely unreal and drastic transformation, and it was only possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. :)

Last Crochet Project - LaPorte
Second. :) M***. I love M***. :) She was baptized on the same day M****** was. I didn't help teach her at all before she was baptized, but since she has joined the church the elders have handed her off to us and I am so grateful they did. She is amazing. She is about 75 years old has has been a widow for about the last 5 years.  She was telling their chiropractor about how lonely and depressed she was all the time. She was just so sad. Her doctor was able to testify to her about the restoration the gospel and she was baptized 3 weeks later. AMAZING. But the coolest part about M**** conversion is that it has absolutely changed her. She is different. :) Everywhere she goes people tell sphere that she is so much happier and that they haven't seen her this full of hope and joy in years. She has struggled with depression her whole life, but since she has joined the church her doctors have taken her off of her medicine and she is totally happy and alright. :) She is incredible and an absolute miracle.
Friday Night Boys

I think one of the experiences I will forever be grateful for and just cherish with all of my heart is the opportunity I had to help and teach the P****** family. :) When I first got here they weren't coming to church and weren't showing a whole lot of interest in being active. Their marriage was struggling, they were having a hard time financially, and in almost every area they were just not totally ok. They have come leaps and bounds. :) L**** was baptized, sister P****** received her endowments and went to the temple, and now their whole family is preparing to be sealed together forever. It is an absolute
180 and has been the most humbling thing to watch them absolutely embrace and cling to the gospel and as a result Heavenly father is blessing them more than they or I ever could have imagined. We were teaching Brother P****** this week and we were talking about the word of wisdom. He has always struggled with that and has never totally embraced that commandment. While we were talking with him he said "you know sisters, not only has me preparing to go to the temple helped me quit smoking, but it has absolutely taken that desire away from me. I don't even want to smoke anymore, that desire is gone." We were so amazed. :) The spirit was so strong and we were able to testify to him about how powerful the atonement is. Not only can it heal us from the guilt, sorrow, and sadness we have felt but it can and will help us find the most happiness we could imagine. :) There family has changed and they are seeing the amazing blessings that are literally being pored out on them.

Saying Goodbye
And last. :) I have been so amazed and grateful for the opportunity we have had to teach and learn from B**** He is really special and I have loved watching his heart be softened and his life change. I will never forget the moment we had with him last week because it was so profound. It was little, but it was powerful. I know that Heavenly Father loves and celebrates our little victories as much as our big ones. These are just a few examples of the big drastic changes I have seen. There have been little but no less special changes that we see and are absolutely thrilled about every single day. I know that the gospel brings more happiness than we could find in another way. It is the key to true joy. The blessings that Heavenly Father wants to send us are priceless. :) I feel so grateful to have been able to serve in this area and see these miracles. :)

I will be forever grateful for the amazing lessons and priceless things I have learned while I have been here. I am so grateful for the ways that my testimony has been strengthened in almost every aspect. I love this gospel and I know that it is absolutely true. I love my mission and I love my savior more than I could ever say. And I love you guys. :) Thank you for all of the love and support that you have shown me over the past 6 months. I can't believe how fast it has gone and how incredible it has been. I wouldn't trade this time for anything. I love it with everything that I am. 
Thank you for everything. :) I LOVE YOU. :) Love, Sister Watts
LaPorte Giant

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