Janet came to church!!! Janet is Richard's wife which makes that the most exciting news of the week. She came due to a compromise, but she came all the same! The story is that Richard wasn't too keen on spending Thanksgiving with her sister who doesn't have the best opinion of the church, but she told him that if he would go that she would come to an hour of church. Thanksgiving went well with no arguments and I think Janet really enjoyed sacrament meeting. When she left she made it sound like the next time we would be seeing her would be at the baptism, but as Richard keeps inviting and we all keep praying we hope she'll come around more often. They have a home teacher lined up who lives on their street so that should be perfect. Richard is making all the plans for his baptism and we can't wait! He always refers to us and everyone else supporting him as his "team mormon." He's phenomenal and I can't believe that I get to be a part of his life and witness his conversion. It's truly an honor.
The other great news is that we found a family this week! They were former investigators from earlier this year who just had a lot going on when they met the other missionaries. We set an appointment with the father and were a little surprised to see that he had his family all assembled and ready for a lesson when we came. Miguel and Theresa are the parents and they have Jonathan(17) Michelle(15) and Stephanie(4). The kids seemed more like they were trying to be obedient than actually interested, but it's a good start! They didn't make it to church because they had a cousin go to the hospital, but they seem really sincere and like they want somthing more for their family.
We've actually been finding quite a few young people in our area that are interested. One even came to us at the V.C. Unfortunately we have to transfer them to the sisters serving in the singles ward which is a total bummer, but it makes sense.
We had stake conference this past week and had Elder Porter from the Seventy come because we got a new stake presidency. As always it was amazing to hear a general authority speak. He talked a lot about following the spirit and recognizing answers to prayers. I think I assumed that was something that would come cery naturally on my mission, but even without all the distractions of the world it's such a delicate thing and difficult to master. I appreciate all the guidance I can get in that regard. Something that I've opened my eyes to recently though is that the Lord will never direct us in all things. Turning to him for guidance is essential, but I can tell you first-hand that looking for direction in every minor detail of our lives only brings disappointment and confusion. I'm finding that I have a lot more trust in the Lord and confidence in my future as I make decisions that are in alignment with the covenants that I've made. In the end if we're choosing the right God will never let us go astray. That's somehting I've always known, but as always the application can be more difficult. It's amazing to me that we all come to the same conclusions when it comes to truth, but everyone has to get there in a different way that brings it to light for them. Anyway, the conference was great especially because I'm still in the Santa Monica stake which means that I got to see everyone from the Palisades Ward :) So much love!
The Visitors' Center has been bustling with people this week who are expecting the lights to be on. Usually they come on the day after Thanksgiving but this year they are holding a special reception for government and religious leaders for the first lighting which is happening this week. The Director and his wife are very nervous about it althougth they haven't said so. They have given those of us that have been invited to be on shift a dress code and all the do's and don't's of how to act and what to say. Sister Jones and I have been invited to be the hostess companionship and cover the guest book! The center will not be open to the public that evening and we are not allowed to proselyte. We are just here to be warm and inviting and answer any questions. No pressure! I guess there will be foreign ambassadors in attendance. I'm just excited to meet everyone, I think it will be fun.
I mentioned last week that people tend to come in waves. This weeks has been loads of fun! We keep taking couples around where one is not a member and the person they're dating is sharing the gospel with them. All have felt the spirit here and ended up referring themselves. It's been a faith building experience to teach them and it's fun to send referrals to other missionaries knowing that the person is prepared. One couple was especially impressive. He joined the church 6 years ago when he was studying to be a catholic priest. Talk about a change! And she was so excited to learn and they mentioned a temple marriage as their goal. Also, random fact: He is working on a movie called "The End of an Empire" that is about the Book of Mormon from the war chapters to the end and supposedly is going to have Liam Neeson in it... What?! Watch that one for me will ya?
Well I'm out of time. The church is true! I am always grateful for the gospel and for all of you, but especially at this time of year.
Happy Holidays! (We've been listening to Christmas since September...)
Love you :)