There's no place I'd rather be than the great land of Redlands. This week was grand. And sunny and warm. I'm getting tanS! ...Watch tans, ctr ring tans, all kinds of tans. The sun is always shining, but I think monsoon season is approaching.
On Monday we had dinner with Richards family, and went to Bishop Rowley's (pronounced "Roll-ee") house afterwards. We shared a video called "Hector preaches the gospel" and I got to know his family, and they are so great. I love this ward. The Rowley family is kinda big, so they have a big van like the Ogletrees. the license plate says "RLYPLY" haha. And Bishop Rowley reminds me a lot of Dad. He started his misson in Texas somewhere, but was switched to Spokane, WA after going home for medical reasons. It's complicated, but i was so excited to hear he served in Spokane! They also have a son who studied Nutritional Science for preMed, which was cool.
On Tuesday night we taught a dental student named Joe. He's a really cool guy and was interested in becoming more spiritual. it was a such a great lesson, and we had a priest with us who testified about the first vision. Really great experience, and we committed him to reading the Book of Mormon.
On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, Elder Alo and Elder Daines. Elder Alo came with me and I had to take over the area for the first time. I was kinda nervous at first, but it turned out to be a really great day. we taught a lady named Dianne, whose daughter is a convert to the church. she commited to baptism and to reading the Book of Mormon. We also taught Laura. we had planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation, but we felt like reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon with her b/c she hadn't been reading. We read Ether 12. The spirit was so strong. We testified about why we need faith and hope in Christ to be an anchor to our soul, especially when we go through hard times.
After her lesson we went to go get an oil change for "Tom", our Chevy Cruze. ;) it ended up taking way longer than we thought it would, so we walked from the car place to go get lunch, then walked toward potential investigators' homes. We were pretty far from any homes/apartments, so it ended up being a long walk with not much people to talk to. But it was really great. I really go to know Elder Alo. He's from the same place as Elder Taylor, and he's a great missionary. I'm really grateful to have such great mission leaders. I learned a lot from that exchange. Also, while we were walking we ran into a guy named Zachariah who said he didn't believe in God . He said that "if God existed, why would he let such bad things happen in the world?" I thought about that a lot for the rest of the week.
On Thursday we had a mission-wide trainer/trainee meeting. it was really great to hear from res. Van Cott again. I love that guy. And it was cool because that morning I had been studying Ether 12 in my personal study, then he talked about Ether 12 in the meeting! Coincidence? I think not.
On Friday we had more exchanges with the Pioneer ward. I went with Elder Harline and we were on bikes (my first time! :o! ). He's a funny guy. He's from monument, CO and knows the Bodily's pretty well. He's also cousins with Johnny Harline (*editor's note: FYI on Johnny Harline-- he has a place in BYU Cougar history for catching the game-winning touchdown from his knees to beat Utah in 2006). I learned a lot from him too.
Sunday was the best. we're really getting to know the members and i'm trying hard to learn everyone's names. We went to the Nygard's home for dinner. They just moved here from Seattle. But, I found out that Bro. Nygard is from Wenatchee, WA, and Sis. Nygard is from Spokane, and they lived in Cheney for a bit (areas where Sis. Emily Judd is serving). They are so awesome. SO awesome. Bro. Nygard ran track at WSU and ran in the 400m hurdles in the PAC-10 championships, WHILE HE HAD CANCER. Boom. And he also wrestled. Cool family. Young family. I'm excited to work with them more.
Overall, the work is hard, but "salvation isn't a cheap experience". I know that the savior knows exactly how we feel in every part of our life. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. He wants us to return to live with him. He knows that we struggle and that it isn't easy, but that is why we have the Savior"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
I know that my redeemer lives. I know that he loves us perfectly.