Sister Barrett and I with Michelle. Isn't she just glowing?!
Their sweet family. I love them so much! So excited for Brandon and Michelle to be married on !
The flu was only a small set back for such a fantastic week. We worked as hard as we could but went in for the night, seeing that I was throwing up until. I know the priesthood blessings we received were so essential in our healing process. Otherwise, I have no idea how I would have been able to get up morning. But we did! Our efforts to find new people commenced. And so our incredible week begins..
We have done a lot of finding this week. We started focusing on using members to get new investigators rather than always resorting to simply tracting. Sometimes the members don't know anyone for us to teach, but they give us ideas of where to knock on doors. It's so important to let the members know how important their role is in missionary work. Our awesome new district leader, Elder Metivier gave us this statistic a few days ago: 1/1000 people who we find and teach on our own as missionaries will be baptized. 340/1000 people who are found by the missionaries and taught in members homes are baptized. 600/1000 people who are introduced to the missionaries by members and taught in member's homes are baptized. It is so incredible what members can do. It's been our main focus this week to find more people through the members.
Markeitha is doing great. We taught her about temples this week and we had Sister Johnson with us. She's a recent convert of just under a year, and she's good friends with Markeitha. It was so cool having Sister Johnson share her experience of preparing to go to the temple and how she got to take a tour through the Atlanta Temple before it was dedicated and before she was even baptized and how that experience drew her nearer. We invited Markeitha to Michelle's baptism and she came! It was perfect for her to come. It was very spiritual. I felt such a swelling within me throughout the whole thing. Michelle's fiance Brandon got the priesthood last week and was able to baptize her. They were both so nervous, but they were great. After trying a couple times to get her completely immersed, her sins had escaped her body entirely, and her face was beaming with happiness.. As she was changing in the back room, Sister Barrett and I could hear her crying. We were a little nervous, because her parents didn't show up and so we thought that upset her. I didn't want that to ruin her day. But she came out of the dressing room and she told us they were good tears and she was just so proud of herself for going through with it all. I am so proud of her for fighting off all the doubts she had and sticking true to the feelings she felt throughout her taking the lessons from us. I'm so happy she learned to pray in times of doubt and rely on the Lord.
Sister Barrett and I sang Be Still My Soul after the baptism, and I had to fight so hard to control my voice shaking because I was just in tears. The profound happiness I felt that day changed something in my heart. Seeing Brandon and Michelle and their son Brandon Jr. together as a family unit singing the closing hymn "Families Can Be Together Forever", smiling so bright, watching Markeitha listen to everyone's testimonies.. everything about that day was perfect. This happiness is everlasting.
Sister Barrett and I work very hard every day. But I think one thing we have needed improvement on is using Preach My Gospel to help further the work and to improve our teaching skills, and understand our roles as missionaries much better. We started studying more about how to become Preach My Gospel missionaries. I can't even tell you how much it has effected our week. We started off with studying "A Successful Missionary". Something I've read a million times before, but needed it now. It tells us that discouragement weakens our faith. Meaning that no matter how many doors get slammed in our faces, no matter how many appointments fall through, etc. we need to avoid the discouragement. It doesn't make me a bad missionary, or a failure. Our success needs to be measured from within. Our success has nothing to do with another's achievements, or how many lessons are taught in a day. But it has everything to do with our commitment to bring others closer to Christ, out of sincere love for them and a desire for their salvation. "A successful missionary measures his success by the peace that comes into his heart from time to time when he can honestly say 'I am doing my best. I have a lot of weaknesses and a lot to learn. But I am with-holding nothing from the Lord. I am serving with all of my might, mind, heart, and strength. I am faithful and giving it all I have to give.'"
I have felt that peace. I have felt the true joy that comes from this hard work. The happiness I feel from seeing people change, as well as seeing myself change and learning to appreciate each blessing and live in every moment - this happiness is everlasting. It's learning to be content with where you are and who you are, yet always striving to improve and become something more.
I love Georgia so much. I seriously love these people!
Sister Barrett & Ugochi haha
Us with Sister Helsing! We love her!