Sister Roberts was feeling much better with all of the antibiotics and steroids in her system, so we headed back to work! We had a scheduled appointment with Tua, and we were planning just to have a quick in and out visit with her. We'd show her the video, see if she was interested, set another appointment if we could. We were just feeling everything out. We brought our fellowship, Sarah Stark, with us, and prayed for the best. We get to her house and she had made us TWO different kinds of desserts and was boiling water for Samoan hot chocolate. This would've been such a treat if we hadn't eaten our own body weights at Panera Bread a measly 15 minutes earlier. We showed the video first so we had time to at least digest our previous meal, and it didn't go as well as we had anticipated. She is still a little bit upset with her situation, but when we asked her if she felt like God answered her prayers, all of a sudden she had three separate occasions where she knew for a fact that God had directly answered her. There were big events like her landlord giving them a gift card that was the exact amount they needed for her husband to drive to work, or a coworker showing up unexpectedly with groceries. Her heart softened as she gave us these experiences and Sister Roberts and I were filled with so much joy. She isn't quite ready for the gospel, but the kindness of others is helping her regain her faith in God. 'Tis the season for love and service and charity!
The dessert was fantastic and the Samoan hot coco was the strongest thing I've ever put into my body. It's literally straight up coco bean ground up into a powder and then added to boiling water. So bitter. So good. I could taste coco bean for hours after that.
That evening we had another miracle with our investigator, Janet. Sister Roberts and I had been praying to know how to work with her, and when we brought up our concerns with the District at DDM, we were advised to give her the drop talk. Sister Roberts and I both felt that that wasn't the right decision, so we decided to go with our first plan: teach about the Sabbath day. We taught at the Kieselburg's home, and I could tell almost immediately that the lesson we had planned wasn't the right thing to teach. I waited and asked questions and listened both to Janet and to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. She admitted to us that she didn't know if she could overcome some of her trials before she was baptized, and that scared her. She knows baptism is a huge commitment, and doesn't want to mess it up. I was prompted to share 1 Corinthians 10:13. It's my favorite scripture in the Bible, and I've shared it with many of my friends during hard times. I read the scripture to Janet, and at first she didn't quite understand. She asked me to read it to her a second time, and I took time to read it slowly and carefully, letting the Spirit work through me. By the time I had finished reading, she understood. Sister Roberts bore her testimony, and the Spirit was so strong in the room. Then Sister Kieselburg asked her, "Do you want to give in to your temptations, or do you want to follow Christ?" Janet said with determination, "I want to follow Christ." We spent the remaining time talking about ways to distract ourselves from temptation, and Sister Kieselburg is helping Janet keep herself accountable. It's so amazing to have ward members in the work with us. I'm so grateful for the Valle Vista ward and for everything they've done for us Sisters:)
We had a lesson with Jade this week! We were teaching the Plan of Salvation, and I usually invite our investigators to baptism at the conclusion of the lesson. In interviews with President Mullen this week, he told me that we don't need to necessarily wait to the end to extend that invitation. Wait until the Spirit is strongest, regardless of where you are in the lesson. (Another note, President and I have the same favorite Christmas scripture. Isaiah 9:6) We're halfway through the lesson and BAM! The Spirit is strong, Jade is so intently listening and learning, and I introduce the invitation and Sister Roberts asks, "Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on January 17th?" "Yes!" We asked her why she'd want to be baptized, and she goes into her testimony, she expresses the love she has for her Savior and what she wants for her family. It was beautiful, and she wants us to keep her accountable with her Book of Mormon reading:) I'm so grateful for Jade, and I pray that she will keep this desire with her to the end!
Some other fun things happened this week! We volunteered with the Salvation Army and gave out Christmas packages, we went caroling with the Youth in a Jeep (even in SoCal, it gets cold! We were bundled in blankets and sleeping bags and blasted David Archuleta in between homes), and we made gingerbread houses!....
I love you all, and I'm so grateful for my Savior. I'm grateful that He came down to this earth to learn and grow and give His life for every single one of us. Through Him, we can live again. Through Him, we can be eternal families. Through Him, there are always second chances. Through Him, there is strength. Through Him, there is love. Remember the reason for the season.
We should strive to give as He gave. To give of oneself is a holy gift. We give as a remembrance of all the Savior has given. - Howard W Hunter