This week was off to a great start! Transfer meeting happened, and I get to stay with Sister Mills for my last five weeks here! Hurrah! We could not be happier and look forward to spending more time together and progressing. It's official, the companion that I had for the longest will be Sister Woods, 2 transfers, and then Sister Mills, who I will be with her a week short of two transfers. For my second Outbound there is potential to be with the same companion there, but she will be the same time as Sister Mills. I guess I was just meant to constantly have something, and someone different! Keeps me on my toes :) Also, my Preparation Day is Monday now for the rest of my time in Nauvoo, probably for the rest of my mission too but I guess you never know- some missions have weird P-day! Just keeping you guys on your toes! ;)
So for this week we were moved up to the second story of the Hatch House, so now there are only six sisters living there. Quite a difference from when I came last summer when there was nineteen in the same house! Sister Mills and I spent some time reorganizing our room. I have discovered on my mission that I am picky with how things look. This sounds funny, but I just don't like a room to have a weird flow, or feng shui. So, for two hours Sister Mills and I moved furniture, carried out some extraneous dressers, and created a wonderful living space for the two of us! I am so lucky to have a companion that wants the same things I do, and allows me to be creative. It's so fun the things you discover on your mission- who would have known that I care so much about my room?!
On Thursday I was able to have dinner at the Hall's home. The Halls are Site Missionaries here in Nauvoo, and happen to be my best friend Alyssa's grandparents! It was so fun, and such a delight to be with them. It was also very cute- they made us tacos because that's what they make when their grand kids go to visit their house. I loved hearing stories and how everyone is doing! It was also a really fun dinner because the next day was Sister Hall's birthday, and so we sang to her and instituted an Allred family tradition and went around the table, saying what we loved about Sister Hall. She is just a joy to be around, and I love her and Elder Hall so much!
On Friday we served the morning in the Post Office, and then the afternoon in the Visitor's Center doing Teaching Center. That morning when Sister Mills and I were in the Post Office, not a single soul came in to get a tour, but it was a great time to discuss some key points of doctrine with her. During those two hours we came up with a complete syllabus and class outline for a future member missionary class that would be great to implement in any Ward (we were thinking it could be used on my second Outbound, and also when we get back to Utah and are in YSA Wards). We also came up with ideas to magnify our calling and to further help the mission. Oh, I think I might have forgotten to mention this. Sister Mills and I have a new calling that is essentially an Office Sister. We still work in the Sites and in the Visitor's Center, we just get to help with administrative duties and doing things for the Mission. It's great! We also wanted to share our ideas with the Assistants so we called them and made them come over for lunch. We knew that since it was their Admin day, they probably would not get time to make lunch so we could make it for them. Also here is a surprise- while I have been on my mission, I have developed a love for cooking! Also, cooking as healthy as I can :) So, for lunch Sister Mills and I made a banana and blueberry fruit salad, slow-cooked some sweet potatoes and tossed with olive oil and italian seasonings, made some pasta with pesto, bite-sized paninis with sundried tomatoes and grape juice. And would you believe it, but with two people working with one heart and one mind, we were able to do it all in 20 min! Prep and clean-up time. It was wonderful, and a great time to be able to talk with the Assistants so they could be in a stress-free environment. We are currently working on a 5-year plan for the mission so that there can be long-term progression even though the missionary force is never constant. We are very excited and hope to be able to help Nauvoo become better and better!
Something that has been great in my studies is reading "The Power of Everyday Missionaries". I personally have gained so much inspiration from that book, and I have gained so much knowledge and insight from this book. As a result from this book, Sister Mills and I recommitted ourselves to ask everyone that we meet for a referral. I feel that we witnessed a direct answer to prayer this last Saturday.
When Sister Mills and I had were on the Visitor's Center Floor that day, I had been helping several members in passing who only had a few minutes before heading out to the sites. When the floor became empty again, Sister Mills shared an experience with me of how she had been able to get a member referral from a great young couple. At that moment, I remembered my commitment to the Lord the night before when I told Heavenly Father that I would find a fruitful referral for Him that day. I said a silent but very fervent prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father would allow me the opportunity to find a referral. Just as I finished my prayer, a man in his late 40's named Joe walked in through the door. I had the very distinct impression that this man would be my referral. At that moment, my assumption was that he was actually a member of the Church, and I would just get a referral to help him with his missionary work. I immediately started talking with Joe- I figured if he was meant to be my referral, why should he stand around and look at the kiosks? I needed to help him with Missionary work, why wait! Sister Mills later joined the conversation. We quickly found out that he was actually a non-member from Quad Cities area, on the Iowa side and had come here on a whim. After a few moments and asking our questions, we were able to teach him principles from the Plan of Salvation and The Restoration to answer his questions. He had been to SLC once on a business trip, and his friend that lived there was a non-member, but was the descendant of one of the pioneers. The reason why Joe's friend was living in Utah and was not in the Gospel is because of the friend's great-grandfather was excommunicated. It lead to a lot of questions about excommunication, which lead to baptism, and then to ordinances for the dead. We were able to explain it plainly and clearly (hopefully!) and then there was a really sweet spirit as Joe opened up to us. We got Joe's contact information, and then tried to send him on his way so that he could experience the Historic Sites before they closed. He continued to hang around the Visitor's Center, and I again felt prompted to go talk with Joe. I came up to him again, and he had many, many more questions that had come to his mind. We addressed several, and I felt the prompting to give him a Book of Mormon. I started to introduce it, and then he became very excited. I was able to give him one, and we are planning on following up with him tomorrow about what Joe was assigned to read.
Earlier that day, Sister Mills and I had a great opportunity to teach a Less-Active named Jonathon. Sister Mills and I joke that our entire teaching pool is less-active teenage boys, non-member middle-aged men and helping member teenage girls with their missionary work. Jonathan falls into the former category. He is just so eager to learn and to choose the right! We have not been able to teach him that much because we had his email address, but the incorrect phone number. He was not able to get on his email at home and had to go to the library, so we had to wait a while for him to respond to our email and get his correct number. It was really cute because we were in Teaching Center on the computers when we immediately got a reply back from Jonathon with his number. Sister Mills and I looked at each other, and figured that we might as well call him right away! When he answered the phone, and we told him it was us, it was quite a surprise to him. We were able to have a great lesson that mainly consisted of principles from the Plan of Salvation and understanding Heavenly Father's plan for us. Jonathon comes from a broken home, and was having a rough time coming to peace with what happened with his Dad. I was able to share my experience with coming to peace with trials in life that we have no control over, and Jonathon was really touched. The Spirit was incredibly strong, and we look forward to teaching him again on Saturday!
Also as a side-note, I consider it a personal victory whenever I can get a little teenage boy to say "Love you!" at the end of a phone call. Jonathan timidly replied, and I don't know why but I think it is so adorable! I love working with youth and helping them feel the love of the Savior.
Today I was reading in Alma 22 about King Lamoni's father and how Aaron was able to teach him. I think a particularly powerful verse was when the King in prayer said, "I would give all my sins to know thee". I think that particular concept is so powerful, and such a stunning powerful statement. In my own life before my mission, I wanted to have a deeper relationship with Heavenly Father. I did not fully understand why I did not have it at the time, and while I have been on my mission I have come to realize that what I needed to do was to change my heart. I did not need to drastically change any actions, but with having my heart in the right place, and giving up sins of the soul, I was able to gain a closer relationship with Heavenly Father. I think that is also why one of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 4:28, when Lehi says, "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul." I feel that this scripture is a perfect description of what has happened to my on my mission when I have devoted my entire self to serving the Lord and His cause.
I feel so blessed to be here at this time, and to see miracles!
Love you all, and have a great week!