Hello and happy monday!
Sister Starnes and I have had a fun week up here in El Dorado! The members keep commenting about how much we love each other and working together, we keep teasing that we don't like each other at all ;) but we've had an exciting week that I've been looking forward to writing about.
We have been LOVING the family we live with, Sister Nardonni is a character. She makes us a green smoothie or fresh juice every morning and we love spending that time with her at breakfast. She and her husband went up to Seattle for the week so we've been watching their dogs for the week,Tut and Baby. So much puppy love, we can't stand it. They slept with us every night but those dogs are total bed hogs, who would have thought such little dogs would take so much room. The two always ended up over on my bed which made Sister Starnes mad that she wasn't included on the puppy love haha
On Tuesday we had a lesson with Linda! She's had a few strokes in the past and has had a lot of pain in her back so we were worried the lesson would fall through but we went over and she opened the door and let us in and was so happy we were there. She told us later that she had thought about cancelling but felt like she shouldn't. We were able to talk with her more about her religious background and how she came in contact with missionaries. She already remembered everything about the first vision and Joseph Smith so it turned into a discussion about the Book of Mormon. She still has some questions about it but we'll be going back this week to read with her. The spirit was so strong and there's something very special about her.
We went and met a part member family, their oldest daughter who is 9 was baptized in October but hasn't been reading from the Book of Mormon. Her dad isn't a member although he's very supportive of his wife and girls going. We're hoping to go over every other week or so to read with Mimi and the family in hopes that he'll also be there. He's a great guy and everyone knows he'll become a member at some point, just waiting patiently until then.
On Friday our stake president, president weston who served as a mission president in Peru has been wanting to go out with us for a few hours to introduce us to some of the families he's been thinking of. He knew of one family that lived on a street but couldn't remember which house it was. So he decided he'd stop at one to see if they knew where the family he was looking for lived. He knocks on the door, and a couple answer the door and they immediately recognized each other. Turns out our stake president used to do their taxes but hadn't talked with them in years and they had since moved into that house we knocked on. They let us in and while president weston was talking with the husband, we were sitting and talking with the wife on the couch. She tells us that she grew up as a Jehovah's witness but hadn't gone in years, and while she and her husband have a strong faith in Christ haven't been going to a church. Then she leads us into the perfect opportunity to talk about the church by saying, "I've always known mormons but I don't really know what they believe..." So we of course jump right into explaining a brief overview of the restoration and re-established church back on the earth. Then someone said something and distracted all of us, but a minute later she says, "so anyway, you were saying?"And brings us back to the conversation! We left our card and a pamphlet and president weston told them we'd all have dinner at his house in the next few weeks after his vacation. But it was such a cool experience that of all the houses he knocked on the one of people he knew! They keep coming back to our minds and we're keeping them in our prayers that we can talk with them again soon. Goes to show how important having members with you, while i'm sure these people would have been nice if we'd knocked on their door alone- we probably never would have gotten into their home had it not been for the member with us. So go out with your missionaries, people! Miracles happen!
Then on Sunday, we also got to have a lesson with Robert! Not sure if I've gone into detail with him, but he's a less active guy, probably in his 50s that hasn't been to church in years but we went by a few weeks ago and said he wanted to start reading in the scriptures with us. We didn't end up going last week but yesterday worked out perfectly. We brought a couple with us that have been members for 30 years or so, great having them with us. We went in and started talking more with him and what he's wanting to get out of these discussions. Really nice and humble guy. Definitely ready to come back to church, but has hardly any knowledge or memories about gospel principles/scriptures etc. He reads a chapter from the gospel principles book every day so reading from the book of mormon will be perfect. As we're talking about the purpose of the book of mormon and all bearing testimony about it, you could definitely tell he was feeling the spirit. He told us something interesting though, that when he was younger he could feel and just knew that he would someday fall away from the church, even though he didn't want to, he just knew he'd get lost along the way but that he wanted to always remember what the spirit felt like in his life. We thought it was so interesting that even as a little boy he could know something like that, but the member we brought with us was so kind and bore witness that as a convert, he too felt lost but because of the gospel, because of Jesus Christ and his atonement, we can always be found. Such a powerful experience, we're so excited to go back next week!
So good things are happening here, we love the ward, and love the area. So keep us in your prayers! Grateful for the love and support everyday, hope everyone has a great week!