I love this area. I've been serving in the Yakima Valley for almost 9 months now. After this transfer, I'll only have 9 left! But I have loved serving the people here. I feel like I know every member in the valley which is pretty awesome, actually.
I am so lucky to serve in the Cottonwood Canyon Ward and YSA. This past week has been one of those reminders, and I've realized the bond that I've developed with the members. I have learned so much on my mission, and now Elder Bird and I are in a position where we can just work hard and apply those things! It is the best.
Here's a miracle: Last week we had a lesson with Tim where he complained for about a long time about how the ward doesn't care about him as a person and only wants him to get baptized. He also told us that they don't really communicate with him unless they need something from him. We did our best to help him understand what is really going on, but Heavenly Father did the rest of the work. During the last 10 minutes of our visit, his wife got a text from our WML's wife asking how their family was doing. We thought it was a funny coincidence, but the next morning Tim called us and told us that since we left, about 5 other families had called/texted him out of the blue to see how they were doing. He was kind of blown away by that. It was a perfect example of how we are not alone in this work, and that we only control a small portion of it. Heavenly Father inspires us and others to fulfill his purposes and change lives, and that is why missionary work works!
It's truly humbling to think about.
We met a few cool new people last week. At one house, we stopped because we realized that it had 3 front doors, and 3 doorbells. We decided to ring each one, and behind the 3rd one, right when we though no one was home, was YSA aged guy named Ric. Long story short, he's cool and we've started teaching him. And his Grandma is a best selling author of Amish Christian novels, so top that. We also found a young family that invited us back for a lesson this Tuesday. I'm super excited, because the father, Clay, and I get along really well and he has a lot of great questions that I've had myself. We also had another lesson with JC. He explained that he just feels imperfect and inadequate, and we explained to him that we all are inadequate, which is why we need a savior. It really made sense to me as we explained to him our quest to become like the savior through a life of repentance. This gospel is seriously beautiful and perfect!
We took our Jerald twice last week, and he loved it. Even when people don't answer the door, he still just loves missionary work. He is such a champ! We should all try to be like Jerald when it comes to missionary work!
I went on exchanges last week with Elder North in Zillah last week, and it has to have been the funniest exchange I have ever been on. Boy. Oh. Boy. The highlight of the night was when we went over to a single elderly lady's home to have dinner. She had invited her youngest son, Jeff, to come eat with us so that we could actually come inside, but he wasn't there when we showed up. So Sister Pattingale started getting really upset with her son. From outside her quaint little home and over our muffled laughs, we heard a long string of borderline cuss words that reminded me of that one scene from A Christmas Story. She started calling the whole ward directory to see if someone could come eat with us, and it was so funny hearing her talk over the phone. "Well if you hear a boom from across the field, it's Jeff's head flying over the moon!" Haha, she is so spunky. Luckily, she found someone to eat with us, and he was there a few minutes later. His name was Brother Bergener, and he is actually from Blackfoot. In fact, his dad was the mayor when he lived there. He also served his mission in Yakima back in the 70's. We had a good time talking about the high school and everything else, and he was a character himself. I wish I had enough time to give all the details of that dinner, but it was just too jam-packed with comedy gold.
Elder Bird and I tracted into one older couple last week that seriously disagreed with us. As soon as they opened the door, they just started talking about how Joseph Smith was a false prophet and that we were lost. The only thing that I could do was bear my simple and loving testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I've thought back to that day, and I've realized how much I've grown since the start of my mission. Experiences like that don't weaken my faith. They don't discourage me or leave me thinking what I could have said to persuade them otherwise. Instead, they boost my testimony that the elect are out there. Even Jesus Christ was rejected by his own when the truth was right in front of them. I can't force my testimony into others. Instead, I can love them. And if they reject or mock me, I feel it a privilege to feel an ounce of what the savior must have felt when He was rejected. It is a privilege to be a missionary!
Peace and blessings,
|Yakima Stake correlation meeting|
|Splits with Elder North|
From Sister Lewis' blog:
I’m grateful for the Gospel. It’s everything in my life. It brings me happiness. When all else isn’t there, it’s still there.
I’m grateful for my family. I love my family even more since being here. We all love each other.
I’m grateful for nature, especially forests.