FIRST THINGS FIRST. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANT!!!! I hope ya'll (remember how I hate the word "y'all"? Yeah well. President is from Texas so him and his family say it all the time. Also, all the missionaries say it. SO I'VE STARTED SAYING IT. But at least I don't have a sister missionary accent yet!) Anyway, I hope all of you are having the best time at Bear Lake! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sending me pictures! Maggie's haircut is so so cute. I can't believe that Grant is 11! HOW IN THE WORLD DID HE GET SO OLD????? Something I love about Grant is that he has such a big heart. He loves everyone no matter what and I love him for that. He's such a sweetheart and I miss his hugs! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUD. I LOVE YOU! (Ps. I hope you got the card that I sent!) The sisters and I made him a birthday video but for some reason it won't send, but just know that everyone in Darien, Connecticut says "Happy Birthday!"
So I basically love being a missionary so much and I feel like I'm living in a dream because of how great life is. There is SO much to tell you and so little time! AAAAHHHH. I never knew emailing was so stressful. WOW.
Every Thursday Sister Sam and I get to go and serve at the food pantry here in Darien! It's so awesome. They have this cute little church that members of the community donate food to! It's all run by volunteers and I LOVE IT. We are there to help the people do their grocery shopping and make sure they have everything they need to provide for their families. It's a really cool program! Sister Sam and I were there last week and this lady was asking me where I was from and before I could even answer she said "Let me guess. You're from Utah. The God Squad around here is always from Utah." HAHAHA everyone at the food pantry refers to us as "The God Squad". There are so many good people here!
BRIDGETTE. Bridgette is so wonderful. She's getting baptized on August 6th! She's been meeting with missionaries on and off for about 2 years, but she is GOLDEN. We were talking about the temple last week and she was telling us about how excited she was to be baptized so that she could go to the temple. I wish all of you could be here to meet her. She's very sensitive to the spirit and she's very very smart. She bascially knows everything and teaches me all the time. I love her.
OLIVER. What a guy. His wife is a member (SOLID.) and his little girl is probably the most adorable girl I've seen here in Connecticut so that's cool. Something I've learned from Oliver is that we have to be humble to learn from the Lord. That's something that he's working on. He comes from a Jewish family so it's interesting to see his faith grow every day! He's not quite ready to be baptized, but his faith and his diligence amaze me every time we meet with him!
I feel so blessed to be here in CT and to have the Lord trust Sister Sam and me to teach His children the gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone else that we have the opportunity to teach is Monica. She is so brave. She's been going through a really horrible divorce and so she stopped meeting with the missionaries about 2 years ago. BUT. On Thursday, Sister Sam and I were planning AND SHE TEXTED US SAYING THAT SHE WANTED TO MEET WITH US. We met with her last week and we were able to testify to her that she can find peace and healing through the His gospel. The spirit that I feel here in the mission field is something that I wish I could describe in words. IT'S INCREDIBLE. Being able to testify to Monica that her pain can be taken away through Jesus Christ was one of the most powerful experiences I've had as a missionary. Hearing her pray for the first time out loud made my heart burst. HOW GREAT IS THIS GOSPEL.
On Friday, Sister Sam and I got to go to a meeting with President and Sister Smith in Scarsdale, New York! I learned A LOT. I feel like a huge part of why I was called to the NYNYN mission was because of President and Sister Smith. I love them! Something that I've been praying for is for Heavenly Father to help me recognize my weaknesses and what I can improve on. There's always room for improvement! Something I know is that Heavenly Father answers prayers. So I know a lot of my weaknesses now and I know what I need to improve on! HAHA I've been humbled FOR SURE. While I was at this meeting with President and Sister Smith, I was asked to list some of my strengths. It's funny because the night before I had made a list of my weaknesses. SO. What I'm trying to get at here is that if you're going to make a list of your weaknesses, YOU BETTER MAKE A LIST OF ALL YOUR STRENGHTS TOO. We all have them! We can always improve, but I feel like our weaknesses are gifts from our Heavenly Father. This past week I've been able to recognize my weaknesses and ask Heavenly Father to help me make them into my strengths. I don't know if that makes sense but just go and read Ether 12:27. Something else President said really hit me. I've been thinking a lot about Grandma Bain. I was worried about her health and I just wanted Heavenly Father to reassure me that she was fine. President called on me during the meeting to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:1. It says "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power." So I'm not worried. I know that my Heavenly Father is taking good care of all of you! God is so good.
I've been asked to play the piano a lot while I've been here. I've played at mission meetings, district meetings, sacrament meetings, Relief Society, and ward council. It's been really good. I've missed playing! I was also asked to say the prayer in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday AGAIN:)
There have been so many miracles this week. My favorite one was Homer. We were having kind of a rough day. All of our appointments cancelled and nobody seemed to be home when we were out finding. Something Sister Sam and I have been working on is including the Lord in everything that we do. This is HIS work after all! So we pray before we do ANYTHING. I feel like we're praying all the time. Which is good! But anyway, we prayed to Heavenly Father asking Him where we should be spending our time. We felt like we should go through our area book and find someone who hasn't been visited in a long time. So I was looking through the area book and the name Iliana came to my head. I looked for an Iliana and sure enough, she was in the area book. It gets better. Sister Sam had the same impression! So we asked Heavenly Father if Iliana was who we should visit and we felt good about it. We drove to the address that our trusty GPS took us to, and GUESS WHAT. It lead us to some random parking lot on Main Street. We were tired and hungry and very frustrated, but we kept driving. Sister Sam saw some apartment buildings behind this school next to the random parking lot so we decided to check it out. WE FINALLY FOUND HER HOUSE! We knocked on the door super pumped to teach the Restoration and she opened the door and before we could even say "hi" she slammed the door. We still don't know if she was Iliana or not, but that's fine I guess. I really just wanted to cry right there on the doorstep. Sister Sam was done and as she was getting in the car I got this thought "Sister Bain. There's someone here." I told Sister Sam that we should knock some doors. We crossed the street and knocked 7 doors. Nobody answered. So that was a bummer. I was reminded of Alma 26:27 "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." MY HEART WAS PRETTY DEPRESSED. But cute Sister Sam looked at me and said "Let's try C19." So we went to C19, rang the doorbell, and waited for a solid 5 minutes on the porch. THEN. Someone answered! It was this HUGE man covered in tattoos and his house smelled like hardcore drugs. We were able to teach him the Restoration and testify of the Book of Mormon. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said that his sister is an active member in Honduras! HOW. COOL. On that day, when my heart was depressed and I was about to turn back, the Lord humbled me and showed me that this is HIS work. He knows who is prepared. He knows where Sister Sam and I should spend our time. I know that God knows us individually and He knows our hearts. HOW GRATEFUL I AM that I get to be here in Connecticut and dedicate my life to Him.
I wish I could tell you every detail of every day, but there's so little time! It's time to get back to His work! I hope you know how much I love you all. I pray for you. I think of you often and I hope you know how much God loves you. If there's one thing I want every person in Connecticut to know, it's that God knows them individually and that He cares for each of us.
I love this gospel. I love that I get to wear His name on my chest every day. The miracles I've seen, the spirit I've felt, and the people I've met will forever hold a special place in my heart. THANK YOU for helping me get here.
I love you so much!! I hope you're having a good time at the lake! Send me some more pictures and keep smiling.
"His example points the way.
When faced with temptation, He shunned it.
When offered the world, He declined it.
When asked for His life, He gave it."
-President Thomas S. Monson