Great news- Julie has a baptismal date!!!!
We had an appointment with her on Tuesday, and the most amazing miracle happened. Right when we got there, she told us she had a present for us and handed us a grocery sack. I opened it, and inside were her coffee, cigarettes, lighter, and ashtray. It was all I could do not to burst into tears, I was SO happy. She said, "I'm done with all of that, I'm serious now, I want to get baptized. I haven't smoked since Friday." So incredible! We had planned to go in to set a baptismal date with her- so this was perfect timing. She expressed to us that she wanted to be baptized in May. We had prayed for a week leading up to this, and knew that the Lord could help her be ready far sooner than that- not to mention, she has been taught almost everything. We had a powerful lesson about how baptism is just the beginning of the path to eternal life, and that we don't have to be perfect to be baptized. Sister Willson had come with us and bore powerful testimony to Julie that by delaying baptism until May, she is only delaying the blessings that Heavenly Father wants to give her. The spirit was incredible, and Julie felt it. We told her that we had been praying about a date for her, and that we know that she can be ready for baptism by February 15th. She accepted the invitation to prepare for that date. We have seen her just about every day since then, and she is doing well. It has been a full two weeks since she last smoked. She is so strong. Pray that all will go well leading up to her baptism, and that she will have strength to continue living the word of wisdom. Her baptism will be different for us, because she actually lives in the neighboring ward, and we will have to get everything arranged for it through them, and help her get adjusted to that ward. The bishop and members there are great though, so we know that everything will work out.
We have had quite a few other miracles this week. We found a lost sheep (less-active whose records are floating around in her last ward) while we were looking for a former investigator. Her name is Hannah. She is about our age, is really sweet, and has been less-active since she was 14. We had a really great conversation with her, and she happily agreed to let us come practice teaching the lessons. We are so excited to work with her, and I just love her already.
We also found a new investigator, also named Julie, at one of our weekly service activities. She is a sweet older lady, and was really receptive to our message. She is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.
Angie and Mick are both doing well. Mick will get the Aaronic Priesthood this week. I know this will give him additional strength, and help grow his testimony. They will both be going on the ward temple trip Feb 8th to do baptisms for the dead. We aren't allowed to go, but I don't mind- the ward is embracing them so beautiful, and that is what matters.
Sister Sumsion and I just love each other. We get along fantastically, teach and work well together, and have a ton of fun. I am very blessed to be serving here with her as my companion. I know that the Lord is aware of us and is waiting to bless us as we continue to work hard.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. I am always able to feel them, which is a pretty incredible experience in and of itself.
I love you all.
We had both been craving ice cream for a week, and found these delicious gems while we were grabbing some things at the store one night. It's the little things that make us happy. :)
Elder Keeley, Elder Musick (our district leader), and Elder Allred at district lunch.
We found a place with actual delicious, authentic-ish tasting mexican food!
I was so happy, the midwest sucks at mexican food. Anyway, Elder Allred innocently
ordered the house burrito, and it was the biggest burrito I've ever seen in my life.
The Elders in our district and zone are awesome. They always make us laugh.