I got to drive for a day this week while Sister Risenmay was at a mission leadership council in San Antonio and it was TERRIFYING. I haven't driven that much since right after high school. But it was great! Nothing broken or anything! Sister Facer may have something else to say about it, though... Haha! I feel like I know the area a lot better now, though, which is really nice. :)
We also helped a couple sisters (Sister Hatch and Sister Reece) move into our apartment this week and it's been so great! Sister Hatch is from Snowflake! Which is really great because now I can tell a lot of jokes that I couldn't before... And she understands when I make St. Johns references. Haha! It's really great. They're both so wonderful and have such amazing testimonies. I'm excited to continue to learn from them!
One of the most incredible miracles this week started off... not like one at all! An investigator we have been working with for three months showed up to church and told us that he would stay for church, but there just wasn't enough evidence for him to be baptized and that we didn't need to worry about him anymore. We were shocked. The two times we had met with him this last week were two of the most powerful lessons we had ever had with him! But we went forward in faith and smiled and took him to the seat we had saved and prayed the entire sacrament meeting to know what to do. The most amazing thing happened. It seemed as though every single speaker had written his/her talk for him. The youth speakers spoke of Joseph Smith and the First Vision. One of the adult speakers spoke of the sacrament and used a lot of scriptures from the Book of Mormon AND the Bible, something that our investigator had said we lacked. The departing missionary who spoke spoke of the Restoration and bore powerful testimony. To top that off, he had an amazing experience in the 2nd and 3rd hours of the block. He LOVED the training from the Apostles about the Sabbath Day. When he came out, he looked at us and basically said "All is well. I will continue learning." ¡Que milagro! Revelation through church is real! I am so grateful to members who are so in tune with what the Lord would have them say! And I'm grateful that our investigator still had his heart open enough to receive the messages!
We have an incredible week lined up: zone conference, an exchange with Sister Clawson and Sister Greenwood, weekly planning, and an opportunity to learn more from Sister Facer, all topped off with a wonderful finding Saturday followed by the Sabbath. I don't know about you, but I think that sounds like an incredible week filled with many miracles! (But really, what week isn't?)
The BEST part of this week was definitely the Sisters' Conference on Friday. There were some incredible trainings given by the lead sister-training-leaders and amazing testimonies by sisters President called on the spot, but the thing that stood out most in my mind was the very beginning when President showed us the Dove video about the doors labeled "beautiful" and "average" and how people had to choose which door to walk through (something that you would think that we would have expected to be covered at a sisters' conference... but for some reason no one saw it coming.) After the video, President stood at the pulpit and said "I would like everyone in this room who is beautiful to stand up." Not missing the point of the video we had just seen, every single sister stood. Through tears, he looked at us and said "That's right." Then he gave us permission to quote him (something he tells us all the time NOT to do). He said: "If you ever feel as though you are not beautiful, or someone says that you are not, you can quote me and say 'I am beautiful because my mission president said so.'" There wasn't a dry eye in the room!
But the most edifying part of the day was the temple. Yes, because it was the temple and the temple is amazing, but what I loved most about the temple was the opportunity to "hear my Father say so." I appreciated very much the permission to quote President Slaughter in saying "I am beautiful because my mission president said so," but being in the celestial room gave me the opportunity to reflect over the entire day and the things that I learned and I felt in a very real way that I am beautiful because my Heavenly Father said so, too.
I've really been thinking this week about what I wanted to have you take away from "that one email from Sister Waite we've gotten every week for 8 months". There's just so much that I could say and that I want you to know. Things like how much your Heavenly Father loves you or how much this knowledge and the gospel can bless your lives, or maybe even how much the temple needs to be a part of our lives and we shouldn't take that tie to heaven for granted. But the most important thing is this:
You are beautiful (or strong or courageous, if you'd prefer) because our Heavenly Father said so.
President Uchtdorf has said:
"You're sons and daughters of the greatest most glorious being in the universe. He loves you with an infinite love. He wants the best for you... Our destiny is greater than we can imagine, if only we understood who we are and what is in store for us. Our hearts would overflow with such gratitude and happiness, that it would enlighten even the darkest hours with a light and love of God, our Heavenly Father."
May you always remember that.
You are incredible because our Father said so.