why hello. :)
DENISE GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! yay!!! i'm so happy for her. she is seriously the biggest sweetheart i have ever met. also, her boyfriend joshua who was baptized on my birthday gave an AMAZING talk at her baptism. he tends to just use the opportunity to speak in front of people to make them laugh... he's slightly inappropriate/unorthodox. :P so we warned him that while he could still keep his personality in it, to please keep it appropriate--and we couldn't believe our ears! all of the members of our branch were turning to us with disbelief on their faces and saying, "wasn't he JUST baptized??" he was even quoting jacob 5. that kid is ridiculously intelligent... when he wants to be. :)
after the ordinance she gave the most pure, humble testimony i have ever heard. she mentioned a hole in her life that is being filled, and how she knows this is where she's supposed to be even though her father disagrees... she loves the family that she has gained in the branch and that has supported her through it all. she's so much happier than she used to be, and it's because she's made choices that bring her closer to the spirit and invite light into her life. :) it is SO REWARDING to see the gospel change people like denise. i wish you could all experience what i've experienced with her.
we also had a cool experience with one of the members of our branch. his name is matt. we had some time on thursday that we didn't know what to do with, and we weren't traveling to our area so we couldn't just go out and contact people. we were a little stressed cause we didn't know what to plan for that time. (this was when we were planning on wednesday night.) we ended up planning to just chat with people on mormon.org, even though we didn't like that plan. but then sister miller and i said our personal prayers before bedtime... and sister miller always prays for like half an hour... i usually fall asleep before she finishes. right before i fell asleep, though, sister miller turns to me and says, "i think we need to meet with matt tomorrow." matt is an active member... we met with him a few months ago, but he's not really someone we work with a lot or keep tabs on. (speaking of which, he taught an AMAZING lesson in gospel doctrine the other week... everyone should read "the great apostasy" by talmage.) so it was pretty inspired that she randomly thought of him.
matt agreed to come down to the battalion and meet with us there. and wouldn'tcha know it? turns out his sister is getting married in a few months and she wants him to be at the sealing... she had just told him a few days earlier. so he'd been thinking a lot about preparing to go to the temple. (he didn't serve a mission so he isn't endowed yet.) he explained to us how 90% of his testimony is factual. he's super super smart--going to law school and everything. "ask me anything about why this church is true, and i can prove it to you by facts alone. i can't lose," he said. :) but he recognizes he needs more of the spirit in his life... he needs to build a testimony more firmly founded on faith. welp. he had just been having a three hour long conversation about this the NIGHT before with another ward member. like, WHILE sister miller was praying about him. and then we called him up and asked if we could meet. :) in case you were wondering, heavenly father is SO AWARE of his children.
i've been reading "jesus the christ" lately and its BLOWING MY MIND. it's like reading the bible, but better, cause talmage explains all the deep stuff behind it. :) i'm gaining a much different perception of who christ really was/is. however, i'm still working on the relationship part, and on having more faith in him to overcome my weaknesses that have been getting me down lately. so i've gained a testimony that now matter how learned a person may be on all the facts of his life, and no matter how many times a person may have read the bible, and even if he's got a masters in divinity (yes--we actually met someone with that degree), that isn't what it takes to truly know him. (2 nephi 9:28-29--you wouldn't believe how this much this scripture has rang true to me lately!) i'm learning that i definitely need to know my savior better.
anyway. that's about the only exciting news from california! is it getting warmer there yet? :)
i love you!