Okay, I don't even know where to start.... This week has been amazing!I'll start by saying that I am NOT getting transferred and I am staying in the mount herman ysa ward :D I am so grateful!!!!!!!!! I know we don't get fed much, but I am SO GRATEFUL I get to keep working with Chase and Joseph!!! Did I tell you about Joseph? He's our other new investigator that we got. We rely pretty much alone on member referrals to get new investigators because generally people only get interested in the church if their friends invite them. All of the people Sister Larsen and I have found on our own have always backed out sooner or later. But Chase and Joseph (Chase especially) are staying strong!! Unfortunately, we had to move Chase's baptism date again because he missed church again to go skiing with his friends. We have only ourselves to blame for that, though, because we didn't explain to him that he had to come to church at least 3 times before he gets baptized. When we told him that, he was like, (in his Virginian southern accent) "Ah, if I woulda known that, I woulda told mah friends no way!" That made me really happy :) So his new date is for the 7th of December. I'm so excited! I've attached a picture of him and Drew and Sis Larsen and I. Drew is on the right by me and Chase is on the left by sis Larsen. In our heads we're both thinking "AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
So Joseph is this guy we're working with who has a TON of questions about the church, but doesn't particularly want to join haha. Right now he just wants to learn more about Mormons. His friend Alysha invited him to church and she's been great fellowship for him. I worry a little bit though cause sometimes I think he's more interested in Alysha than he is in our religion :( that happens a lot. But we've had meetings without her there and he's still ready to learn lots. He always makes us food which is WAY nice of him.. except last time he made fish and I couldn't have any :( we all felt really bad haha. We asked him if he was going to come to church and he said probably not, but we got to church yesterday and he was there!!! He did the same thing when we invited him to a baptism the Elders had. he said he wasn't going to go, but we showed up and there he was! I really think he's going to get baptized, but it might take a while. I'm so grateful I have more time to work with him.
Okay now for another amazing part of the week: Last Wednesday, the day after I emailed you asking about Jake, we went to see this girl Ashley Ricks who had given us a referral (her friend named Shelby haha). First of all I need to let you know how much i LOVE the Ricks family. I got Sister Ricks' autograph because she wrote a book called... dangit I can't remember what it's called, but I'm going to read it when I get back! It's about dragons. You can actually buy the ebook online if you're super interested. Her full name is Patricia J Ricks. Anyway I love her to death. She is so spunky and down to earth. They have 7 kids and the youngest two are adopted. Ryan has down syndrome and he is the most adorable little thing I have ever seen in my life!!!! Nathan also has special needs, and he is the most friendly little guy I've ever met :) Their family is really struggling right now and their house might get foreclosed because Brother Ricks can't find a job anywhere :( I wish there was more that we could do to help. So we stopped by on Wednesday to find that the sister missionaries from their family ward were already there having ice cream, so we just had this big ice cream party haha. In passing, sister Ricks said, "So, all of the missionaries in the Philippines have been accounted for." Then sis Larsen and I looked at each other and I started crying haha it was a very happy moment!
Now for the best part of the week! On Friday we went to the church with all the missionaries in the surrounding zones for what was called a "mission tour." We were asked to study covenants in order to prepare for the mission tour because Elder Shane M. Bowen of the seventy was going to come and teach us about covenants. I learned so much!!!!!!!!!!! SO much!!! After he spoke to us and all the missionaries were eating lunch, one of the AP's came up to me and told me that I was chosen to be one of the six missionaries that Elder Bowen wanted to interview personally! Six out of about 60 missionaries or so. I was kind of nervous, but it was one of the best experiences of my life. One of the reasons he chose me was because I'm a 19 year old missionary. He asked me what I had learned and then he asked, "is there anything at all that you want to talk about?" I thought for a while and then told him about my decision to serve a mission and about my experience with receiving my call. I expressed how I had prayed to know if I was supposed to go to Colorado and that I had received an overwhelming answer that I was. But even though I had that, I would still let myself get discouraged about it. He interrupted me and told me that he KNEW I was supposed to be here. He said that he had seen the apostles assign mission calls and that it is such an amazing experience and it is through direct revelation that they assign those calls. I guess I already knew that, but I was so amazing for a general authority to tell me that personally. He told me a lot of other things that I needed to hear and I made sure to write them in my journal. He told me I had a bright smile and bright eyes and he was impressed with my confidence. Lastly, he assured me of how much my Savior loves me and made sure that I knew that for myself :) The day after I met with him, I kept waiting for the feeling discouragement to arise in myself about serving stateside. Not even once did that happen, nor has it happened since. Instead, the Spirit keeps testifying to me of why I DO need to be here. It's amazing. You would not believe how much I love this place and how honored I am to serve here. I never want to leave. My heart is here and that's where it should be for another 15 months.
I love you so much! I can't wait to hear from you soon :) I pray for you and the rest of the family all the time!
-Sister Shelby Peters