Sundays seem to be the gauge of how the work is going in each individual ward. Fast Sundays it's even easier to tell. Yesterday was a huge tender mercy, and evidence to me that the work is really going well here in Brownsville. Ever since I got here on day one, I've had the strong feeling that we need to focus less on "traditional missionary work" with it's lots of walking and knocking on doors, and instead try to follow the prophets council to come together with the members, and help THEM do THEIR missionary work. Not gunna lie, I've had a hard time trusting that doing service and visiting with members so much was really going to help. Yesterday in Fast and Testimony Sacrament meeting, several members got up and bore testimonies of how fasting for missionary experiences has greatly enriched their lives. One in particular had Sister Heywood and I crying. The branch president's wife is supermom to the max. She does everything and then some. Everyone we talk to just loves her, and thinks she has no flaws. Since we're over there almost every week, she has opened up to us about how she often feels inadequate and like a bad mom. She has also told us more than once about how doing missionary work is really scary for her (though she does it anyway). One time in particular, we encouraged her to reach out to someone she knew and that we had met and felt was ready to be invited. Sister Heywood told her about how the success of missionary work is all in the invitation. Later that night, she called us all excited, and left a voicemail about how she had invited, and that it wasn't scary at all, but that the spirit had been with her and made her feel good about what she had said and done. She also mentioned in that message that Sister Heywood's encouragement to her earlier that day just made her feel so much better and more confident. We encouraged her to share that experience in testimony meeting, and it was so beautiful!!!!! For me, it was like the same level of excitement you get when somebody you've been teaching says that they just prayed about Joseph Smith and they know he was a prophet! Big Deal! For me, it was such a sweet reminder that the Lord is in charge, and that he sees the big picture.
Olivia and Elliot are...about the same. They've recommitted to doing more family scripture study and family home evenings, so that's good. Olivia's trying to find a job (she's only submitted one application...kinda silly if you ask me). With them, I've been so grateful for the help of the branch. Their problems are so much more than missionaries could take on. The branch President has been so awesome. Bah! I'm just so grateful to be a part of such an awesome church!!!!!
We've received the green light to go back to teach Shawna, with the caution of, watch what you say. . .To me that sounds super fishy...so...we're still trying to seek guidance from the Lord and our leaders as to whether we should even go back. :( It's hard, because we love Shawna so much, (and Skip too, for the most part) But when both of dread going over there because an occasional friendly teasing has turned into a hurtful harassing at least once a visit...mmmmm kinda don't wanna go!
Other cool things from this week...We invited several people to take the lessons...most just did the polite no, but left it open for another invitation in the near future. tee hee ;)
Sister Heywood got sick this week...She woke up on Tuesday and was like, "Sister Chappell, I feel terrible and I didn't get much sleep." So I sent her back to bed with NyQuil. Six hours later she woke up and we went out to work! Ahhhh missionary life is the best.
I finished the New Testament this morning! :) I love the Bible. The more I read it, the more I love it. I feel so blessed, The lord really has expanded my mind so much! The knowledge I've gained and depth of understanding has probably been one of the biggest blessings I've received since coming out here. LOVE IT!