Monday, August 22, 2016
The days are long but the weeks are so short. If I didn't keep a journal I wouldn't remember what happened yesterday. Last Monday for P-Day, we hiked Hatcher Pass. Well, we mostly walked around and took pictures of everything; it's so pretty. The Elders wait until the day of to tell us the plans for P-day fun, so the Sisters from both districts decided we wanted to hike so we had just a girls outing. Afterwards we got fireweed milkshakes! Oh my goodness!!! I don't think I've had a milkshake that good.
On transfers the zones who are allowed to travel to Anchorage have temple day. We drove down Wednesday with the other sisters and it was amazing. A member in our Ward who recently was called to be the Stake Patriarch was our session director. I love the idea of small temples. Apparently the Anchorage, Alaska, Temple was the first small temple to be announced by President Hinckley. It is all volunteered run and it is located on the parking lot of a stake center. It was a neat experience. Following the session, the sisters all went to a placed called Waffle Rush. These waffles are made with dough rather than batter. It is most likely not the healthier choice, but it sure was fantastic.
Funny story of the week: We got a cancellation before lunch but we wanted to stay on the mountain, so we looked up some former investigators to see who lived near by. One turned out to be part less-active. We pulled up but the sign said, "no trespassing". We parked the car on the side of the road and walked to seem less threatening. We knocked on one door and they told us the family was the next house over. As we were walking up, four dogs were lined up like a firing squad barking at us. We decided if they came up to us then we would put our hand down in a non-threatening way. They did indeed come toward us barking, but like all other Alaskan dogs, they are big softies. The family wasn't home so we started walking back and a couple of the dogs followed us. One led the way, almost like a police escort, and the other had this huge stick in his mouth wanting us to play fetch with him. We kept telling them to go home but they continued to follow us. We got to our car and pulled away but they stayed in the street. Sister Nield thankfully went back so we could get them to go back to their home. We ended up putting the dogs in the car and driving back. One of the ladies who was checking her mail on the
street was watching this happen. I hope she didn't think we were kidnapping the dogs. Once we got to their house, we let them out and drove away.
We got a new investigator this week. The story of how we found him is cool: We met this lady a few weeks ago who said we could come back to talk to her so we were on our way to do just that when there was this guy trying to fix his bike. We talked with him and he said he had a friend who is Mormon. He also said he has always liked the Mormons. We asked him why and he said it's because they have a better relationship with God than anybody else. I asked him if he wanted to build his relationship with God and he said yes and agreed to take the lessons from us. We told him we could meet with him tomorrow. We then went to the lady's house who we were originally on the way to visit - she wasn't there. I feel The Lord just wanted us to follow the prompting so we could meet this guy. We taught him the next day, gave him a BOM and a Restoration pamphlet, and he said he would read both. Awesome !
The best news yet: We had an investigator drop us all of a sudden about a week or so ago but we asked him if we could come by to answer some questions he had. He likes to talk a lot so we don't get much word in, but I went off on a rant about our purpose in life and felt prompted to ask him to be baptized and he said yes! How do you go from a dropped investigator to accepting the invitation to be baptized? I said the first date that popped into my head out of excitement, which is too soon for him, so we are planning to push it back when we see him next.
At church on Sunday we had three investigators come: Mary, her daughter Lizzy, and Cindy who had only been to church once prior to me being out here. Cindy has PTSD so we tried to accommodate her by taking her out early to avoid the crowds. Our Gospel Principle lesson was on Priesthood authority, which is exactly what Mary needed to hear, and it turns out Cindy did as well. We talked to Cindy later that evening and she is already asking questions about after being baptized. We have a sit down lesson with Mary every Sunday and we talked more about prophets which led into Priesthood authority. Now Mary has been taught by many different missionaries and hasn't been baptized yet. She talked about the lesson at church today and said she finally understands why she needs to be re-baptized. After showing her some videos and talking, I asked her, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God?" She said, Yes! Her main issue has been that she knows she needs to be baptized, but just never put a date to it. Sister Nield and I prayed about a date about a week or so ago for her so I said, "We are holding a Baptismal service on September 10th. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?" She agreed. She is a little apprehensive but feels that she doesn't need to wait. She said she will pray about it. Her daughter has wanted to be baptized for a while so she is good to go. We have three people committed to being baptized this week!!! The cherry on top is, after talking with Bishop about the things we were excited about and about our other investigators, he asked us if the Relief Society and Elders' Quorum was involved and we said we don't really know them by not attending Ward Council, so he said we are to come to Ward Council next Sunday !! We haven't been able to go but now he wants us there.
I am so excited for everything happening here and can't wait to see these people start on their journey to salvation.
Sister Shelley Willden