So you guys are taking a road trip up the coast of California to Portland with some camping stops on the way? That sounds like a blast. I can't wait to hear about how the trip went and how much fun you guys are having. Here I will start out with the Pres. letter:
"We had another busy week, that was really exhausting, but rewarding. It is funny how every night we get in and talk about how tired we are, but we also talk about how much we enjoy each day and how happy we are. Heavenly Father really strengthens us throughout the day to give us the energy to keep going. We have seen so many miracles that have come from just being in the right place at the right time. An MTC teacher told us that we just have to prepare the nets to catch the fish, we have to put ourselves in the right place to meet and teach the people Heavenly Father wants us to. I think this has come from trying harder to follow the spirit and praying more often for the spirits guidance. We are also trying to be more effective at nightly planning, because we know that will increase the tender mercies even more. I think this whole experience is making Elder Stratford and I grow closer together and I really feel like he is my friend rather than just my companion. That makes sharing the gospel that much more enjoyable and effective. But that doesn't mean that it is easy at all...the challenges are helping to unify us the most. But I am grateful for those. We are trying to work hard with the ward and with Heavenly Father and it is working.
This week I really buckled down and studied the tree of life story for a talk that I was giving on Sunday. I think it is so cool how the dream really focuses on three things: prayer, listening to the spirit and reading from the scriptures. I have loved the concept of not only being on the right path, but being pointed in the right direction and those three things will do that. It related very well to this month's First Presidency message where Pres Uchtdorf talks about how without spiritual landmarks, we tend to wander. That is true, and prayer, the spirit and the scriptures are some of those landmarks to point us in the right direction. These primary answers really are so true, and focusing on these little things will bring you so much happiness day to day and in eternity."
Man, so much happened this week I am trying to figure out how I can get everything down haha. Here we go... We met with this family, the T.s, on Tuesday. Actually on Tuesday we just met with him and we had a really good visit, we played the song and got to know him a little better. He is an off-shore diver and is from Pleasant Grove, Ut. He is super nice and really personable. We went back on Sunday to meet with his family and it was a lot of fun. We hung out, ate some hamburgers and just got to know them a lot better. We also found out that Bro. T. is not a member, but his wife is. We had no idea, becsaue both of their names are on the roster and he is from Utah, so we just assumed haha. It is just cool to see that even though he is not a member of how open he is to have the missionaries come over. That is a really cool situation and we are becoming better friends with them.
We have still been doing a lot of service at the salvation Army and this last week was nuts. We came in on Tuesday and there was about a 30 foot long stretch with garbage bags filled about shoulder high on the wall... it was really overwhelming to say the least haha. But they brought in a box truck so we could fill it all up and then there was a domestic dispute because the truck was parked in a ladies parking spot. The police had to come and it was just crazy haha. Me and Elder Stratford didn't get involved at all, we just stayed in the the other room eating donuts, so it was okay haha. But we finally got back to work and we filled that entire box truck by hand in hot humid weather. Our backs got so tired from chucking those bags around and I got so sweaty and stinky. Trash and sweat is not a good combination. But afterwards we went to this little drive-in burger place and got some pretty good shakes. I got this really yummy fresh strawberry shake, that brought me back to the good times at purple turtle after Cammy's. Ahh... That same day, we had just come back from institute at a members house and we were going to take a quick break and we got a call from the stake Pres. asking us to come to the hospital. He actually runs the hospital and a member in our ward had had a heart attack earlier that day and we got called over to give him a blessing. That was a pretty scary blessing to give, because it is different when a life threatening event has happened. He asked Elder Stratford to do the anointing and me to give the blessing. I really had to focus on the spirit to guide me what to say. But it was an awesome experience. The priesthood really is such a blessing and I feel so grateful that I am worthy enough to bear it and use it to bless the lives of others. He had surgery and they put a few stints in and I think that he is doing a lot better.
We were able to meet with our next door neighbor and share the song with her as well. We became better friends with her and she told us to come by again and that when we come up with another song we can practice it with her. She also said that she would read from the Book of Mormon and think of some questions for next time. So that is pretty cool. We had a cool FHE with Richard and Christy Stock. He is about 30 and he jut got called to be the first counselor in this new Bishopric a couple of weeks ago. His wife is really nice and down to earth and she made these really good homemade taquitos (however you spell it) with spinach, chicken and cheese. Richard is a really cool guy, he has a really dry sense of humor, but once you get to know him he is really easy to get a long with. He is a bold and driven guy. We got to play the song for them and his brother in law, Brady, who is the one from Orem that actually served his mission down here in Louisiana. Pretty cool. But that was a lot of fun. We were getting home that night and we got a call from the Bishop that Bro. Barrilleaux wanted a blessing. We have met with his wife a couple times and she is really cool, super nice, easy going and humble. She has been such a big help to us in these past couple weeks, helping us learn the new area. But her husband has been super sick with a sinus infection that he hasn't been able to get over for about a month or two. We went over earlier that day and he was dizzy and throwing up from all the fluid in his ears, it was making him nauseous. We were able to give him a blessing and then have a little lesson with him and his wife. We became instant friends with him and he is a really cool guy. I know I am using a lot of fluffy adjectives haha but the people down here are just really very super cool and easy to get a long with. His biggest passion in life is fishing and after my mission we could come back and he could give us a little fishing tour down here. That would be awesome. But even better, he came to church this sunday! That made my day yesterday. Our talks went well yesterday. Pres Stock was there so that was kind of nerve-racking, but I think they went well. You know how you talked about how we need to put our confidence in Heavenly Father and the spirit rather than ourselves when we give talks or bear our testimony? Well I really had to do that tomorrow. Our week was so busy last week, we didn't have much time to go the library, so we never got to write down our talks. That made me pretty nervous for awhile, but I just decided if I needed to write down my talk, we would have had the time to do so. And so by process of elimination, I decided because of that, Heavenly Father just wanted to use the time and preparation that I had put in during personal studies and go by the spirit. That was scary, but I didn't feel nervous about my talk all week after I prayed abou that. And it went well, not great, but good and that in itself is a miracle haha. I did use your story though and it worked well with the message, so thank you!
Well I bet you guys are having a ton of fun and I can't wait to hear all about it. I love you guys so stinkin much. Love you guys!
Prayers and thoughts always