HELLLLO FAMILY. :)
It has been a super exciting, fun, crazy, busy, roller coaster of a last two weeks. I'm totally sorry that I ran out of time for writing an e-mail last week. So many incredible things happened last week that I still wanted to talk about and update you guys on. :) So probably the most exciting thing that happened last week is that we had a really incredible mission conference. :) Elder Hamula (a member of the first quorm of the 70) and his wife came and toured and visited our mission last week! It was awesome. :) Friday was completely dedicated to Elder and Sister Hamula. We had to leave our apartment at 6:00 a.m and we didn't end up getting home until 11:00pm. It was crazy. :)
|The Chicago Illinois Mission|
The whole day was honestly just jam packed with really incredible things. We started out the day with the mission conference and it was so powerful and finished the night with a fireside that we brought less actives and investigators to. Too cool. There was a moment in the conference where the spirit was so incredibly strong and I totally believe that Heavenly Father was speaking right to me. Elder Hamula told the whole mission that we had "the faith to come out and serve a mission, but now we have to find the faith to succeed on the mission." I feel like that hit me like a ton of bricks. :) It was very scary for me to serve a mission, and honestly there are still moments after being here for awhile that I feel scared but I have had the faith to make it through. But God doesn't just want us to have the faith to survive he wants us to have the faith to thrive. :) He has called us here to find, teach and baptize. He wants us to have success.
Sister Boyd and I have taken that council and have tried our best to run with his advice. We have left more powerful invitations, have trusted God more in ALL things, and are just striving to exercise our faith in every aspect of the work. Since we have raised our vision a little bit and have recommitted ourselves to having the faith to succeed we have seen so many more miracles and just some really cool ways that Heavenly Father is answering our prayers and blessing us for our efforts. :)
I don't know if you guys remember the guy that it told you about a few weeks ago who asked us if we really believed the Things that we were teaching? And we said YES. :) Well, first off this cute man's name is A****. Anyway, while we were talking with him a few weeks I just instantly and easily could love this man so much. Sister Boyd and I were talking about the experience that we had with him when we first met him and we both just had a super strong feeling that we should go and try to talk with him again. :) So we went over. When we knocked on his door he was pretty excited (and probably a little bit shocked) to see us but he was very kind. :) A**** told us that as soon as we left him last week he started looking up a bunch things about the church and he had a lot of questions. :) We talked with him for about an hour and were able to have a really neat conversation with him. He told us that we would really be interested in coming to church and that he is pretty curious about the things that we believe. We stopped by a few days later and we were able to meet his cute wife S***** and we taught them both about the Restoration and testified of the Divinity of the Book of Mormon it was a super cool lesson and I just really love both of them so much. :) The happiest part about this whole story is that A**** CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!! We were so happy. :) The ward was super receptive, welcoming, and kind to him. It was so awesome. :) I was just so excited for him to come to church. It's been awhile since our area has brought someone to church so we were just absolutely thrilled. :)
Another totally awesome miracle happened with a former investigator named J*****. :) So it was kind of a funny story. It was a few Mondays ago we were shopping at Walmart and we had finished buying everything that we needed. We were loading our car when Sister Boyd remembered something that we had forgotten that she had wanted to get (Inspired Remembering). We walked back in and the first person that we saw was J*****. :) She had been taught awhile ago by the missionaries and ended up stopping taking the lessons. She was SO excited to see us and immediately wanted to set up an appointment with her and she wanted us to come and see her. :) We have gone over a few times and have been reading the Book of Mormon with her. She loves it, she absolutely loves the Book of Mormon and it is very fun to talk about it with her. We love her. :)
Another totally amazing experience we had this week was absolutely priceless. :) We have these two investigators, J*** and R****. They have been meeting with missionaries pretty regularly for about a year and just haven't been progressing very well at all. So we didn't totally know what to do to help them start to love the gospel. :) We were up at one of the properties that they are fixing up one day and R**** was telling us all the things that she wants to get done up there. It was a long list. :) We offered to have a bunch of missionaries over to help them get some of the things done. :) THEN.
we walked around back and saw that she had a giant pile of wood that she was planning on having a HUGE bonfire with before the summer is over. We were so excited and asked her if she would ever be willing to have a big testimony meeting around the fire after we worked around her house. She was so stoked. :) It was so much fun to see her so excited. We ended up having 6 companionships at the bonfire. It was PERFECT. :) Pretty much the whole testimony meeting was about how we have gained our personal witnesses that the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ is true. It was one of the most genuine, sincere, and tender testimony meetings I have ever been to. The coolest part was that J*** and R**** totally felt it too. They both bore their testimonies and shared some incredible experiences they have had. It was just such a priceless moment for everyone who was there. The missionaries were so grateful to be there and everyone wants to do another one before the weather starts to get colder. :)
My very favorite lesson we taught this week was to a less active member of our ward named K*****. :) K***** was baptized when she was in high school. She was introduced to the church through her best friend who is a member and she just loved how happy she felt while she was with her friend and when she was in their home. She fell away from the church a fee years later when her father passed away. It completely and totally rocked her world and was just so hard for her.
She has since completely rejected home teachers, missionaries and almost all of her connections with the church. Sister Lewis and sister Boyd were looking through the church records and just had the strongest impression to go and stop by her home. She said it was a complete and total miracle, but SHE LET THEM IN. :) It was the coolest. I got to meet her this last week and it was incredible. She is such a special woman, I just love her. :) We were able to have an incredibly powerful lesson with her and she was so open with us about how she was feeling and where she was coming from. She told us many times how 'scared' she was to come back to church, how 'scared' she was to pick up the Book of Mormon again. She was just scared. I had a powerful feeling that I was supposed to tell her my story about coming on a mission. I told her about how absolutely terrified I was and how I was scared, but because I have done what God asked me to do I have been more blessed than I ever would have imagined. EVER. It was a super special moment to be able to share with her a story that is so special and tender to me. After I shared that story with K***** her demeanor completely and totally changed. It was incredible. :) instead of saying "I can't" it was "I can" she started talking about how she wants us to teach her boyfriend and how she hopes he will be receptive. It was absolutely incredible. :) so cool.
It's just amazing to me how much God is preparing people to hear the Gospel and how much he wants them to accept it and come closer to him. His ONLY desire is for us to come closer to him and I know that is only possible through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is incredible and I absolutely love everything about what we are doing. :) we see miracle after miracle after miracle.
One last thing. :) Everytime I think or talk about it I totally just cry. I don't know if any of you remember B****? He is the man that We were teaching while I was serving in LaPorte. Right before I left he had just started to Read the Book of a Mormon and said his very first prayer. He has come to church twice in the past three weeks and has completely dedicated himself to quit smoking and drinking so he can be baptized!! :) I don't even have words for how happy and excited I am for him and his family. He has come SOO far and I just love them so much. :) The church is true and it totally changes lives. It's the coolest. :)
Don't forget to have the Faith to Succeed. :) Love, Sister Watts
|Thanks Cindy and Jeff Ross!|
|The Hermanas, Sister Boyd and Watts|
|Sister Watts in Chicago|
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|Sister Boyd and Sister Watts - The Fountain|
|Sister Boyd and Sister Watts - The Bean|