we had a crazy week this week. we hardly got any teaching in cause we had a lot of shifts, service projects, and a lot of meetings. one of the meetings was called MTE, missionary training exchange. this is where we have a 3 hour gathering with about a third of the missionaries in our mission... i just realized i've probably explained this before. ha. but anyway, after the meeting where we learn a whole bunch of stuff, each companionship goes out with a "coach"--another missionary that's usually been out for a while--and then you spend the rest of the day applying what you learned together. they asked me to be a coach for one of the mandarin companionships at the battalion (sister miller's companionship! yay!). mandarin! ha. it was fun. i learned how to say three things in mandarin: "chein fu" (completely wrong spelling) means heavenly father, "yesu gido" means jesus christ, and "wo i nee" means i love you. :) and we had a cool miracle. one of the topics we discussed at MTE's was creative finding ideas.... one of those ideas being to offer church tours to people on the street. so when our plans cancelled, that's what we did! we drove around to 3 different churches... there were no people to be found ANYWHERE. so at the 4th church, we decided we'd just wait on the corner with a sign that said "church tours." ha. :) well, before we went out to the corner, we went inside the church to make sure all was well, that we could get into the building, etc. right after we walked in, we ran into a maintenance guy. we said hello and chatted for a little bit... we quickly came to learn that he wasn't a member. this man had been doing maintenance on all the church buildings in san diego for years, but had never been to a service. so. turns out our person that we needed to take on a tour was already inside the building!! haha it was crazy. we took him to the chapel and let him feel the spirit there. he kept talking about how much he is always impressed by member of our church whenever he interacts with them.... especially missionaries. turns out he's pretty strong in his own faith.... however, he did agree to have missionaries sent to his house. :) super cool! allen will probably take a little while to get to the right path, but heavenly father has EVER so slowly been preparing him over the years... and this is another small step on his journey.
at the end of MTE's--when we come back together and follow up for a couple hours the next day--they make all of the departing missionaries stand up and bear their testimonies. bleh. can i just say that no matter how often i bear my testimony in lessons, to people on the street, etc, doing it in front of a crowd doesn't ever get less intimidating. :P
one of the other awesome "meetings" we had this week was my last mission president's fireside! oh my goodness it was so great. so powerful and so full of the spirit. sister riggs, miller, davies, rasmussen, oneill and i did a special musical number called "when he comes for me." (these are all of the sisters that i came out with and that i'm going home with, and they are very close to my heart.) the whole experience was absolutely incredible. we stood at the mic together and locked fingers and just poured our hearts out in song together as a departing testimony of this work. i couldn't stop smiling the whole time we were singing... and let's just say, these sisters got TALENT. we sounded GOOD. :) each of us also sang a two line solo for the verses... even me. holy moly. i was so nervous. there were probably 400 people there. but heavenly father really helped me out cause i was able to get through my lines without my voice cracking or fainting or anything... and then as soon as i finished, my lips starting shaking like crazy! haha. my prayers worked. :) anyway. that will always be one of the most memorable experiences of the end of my mission. it felt so wonderful to bear my witness of the savior through song with my BEST friends.
also, another miracle: one of my former investigators from santee, who totally fell off the face of the earth, showed up to the fireside with his old fellowshipper!!! i was sitting up on the stand with the choir, and about 30 minutes into it he wandered in from the back... and when i realized it was him i gasped. i about died i was so happy to see him there. i don't know if you remember me talking about joe and his little son named freddy, but he was SO PREPARED. and then didn't go through with his baptism. i got to talk to him for a quick minute afterward... i don't know where he's at still as far as investigating, but he was THERE. and that means SOME progress. and now i kinda understand how the father of the prodigal's son story must have felt. :) gosh i love these people!!! i can't believe how much love we have the capacity to feel for the sheep that heavenly father puts in our care.
i had a cool experience at the battalion this week as well. i took a few people on tour... by where they were from, the way they were dressed, how they talked, etc, i assumed they were all nonmembers. two of them were a 40-ish year old mother and her daughter. at the end of the tour, they were the last ones to leave. we were out in the courtyard panning for gold and just chatting. i didn't think anything was going to come from our conversation... usually you can feel when you need to keep people talking so you can invite them to learn from missionaries. but the as the conversation went on and we started talking about her children and places she'd lived, etc, it came out that this woman was actually a completely inactive member of the church. i was totally shocked. but i kept my surprise hidden. :) (they didn't even know there was a mormon museum in old town, they were just down there to play around and wandered in.) suddenly she got kind of quiet... i could tell she was debating internally on what she was about to ask. she then explained that she'd recently been divorced... and that her ex husband had not been approving of the church at all... but now that he wasn't around, she kind of wanted to get back into it. "i just have no idea how to start," she said. :) :) :) boy, were those the magic words. "i can help with that," i said. :) i got her address and told her i would be sending the missionaries. AH! so cool. "dear to the heart of the shepherd, dear are the sheep of his fold... send us out into the desert, seeking thy wandering sheep!!!" I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
so. now that i've told you all the good news... i have heartbreaking (well--heartbreaking for us) news as well. george is really, really struggling with the word of wisdom. and not even because he's addicted--he's been off of tea and coffee for two weeks now and has been totally fine. but because of the social, cultural aspect of it all. he's filipeno, and he's grown up with tea--it's a big part of their culture. he considers it a part of his identity and doesn't want to let it go... which leads to him questioning if it's really a commandment since it's not even in the bible... which leads to him second-guessing the witnesses he's had that joseph smith is a prophet... :( :( STUPID SATAN. he works the hardest on those that are the most prepared. so... george was supposed to get baptized this saturday, but there's a good chance that he won't. :( however, he is still meeting with us, and he loves being around our ward, so there is hope! we are doing our best to have faith. and even if he doesn't get baptized before i leave... i will be sad, but i know he'll get there eventually. and i know it's not about me. it's about him. and heavenly father will help him get to baptism whenever it is his will. so it will be okay. but still--PRAY FOR GEORGE. please.
i'm sure you've all heard about the phillipines... :( so sad. please keep the missionaries--and the whole country--in your prayers as well.
i love you all! :) keep growing in the gospel and strengthening your testimony, and the testimonies of others as well!