Possibly this was the greatest weekend ever. Why? We had stake conference. Normally, I'm pretty indifferent towards it, but the two meetings we had this weekend were no joke, the best, powerful meetings I've ever attended. SO GOOD. It was a constant high of spiritual slaps in the face and just so much good stuff. Wow. I'm excited just typing this. So the Buffalo stake Saturday night adult session isn't the most popular thing... the highest number of people to ever attend was 330... and that was super good for them.. Well this time, the Stake Presidency set a goal to have 600 people attend. It seemed crazy, but they had faith. We've been telling everybody about it and inviting everyone to come, and President Pace promised our stake, "if you have the faith to attend the meeting, Heavenly Father will bless our stake." Well, drum roll please, there was EXACTLY 600 people who attended. Huge Miracle. It was the most inspiring, spiritual, powerful conference, ever. They asked everyone to study Ether ch 2-3 before hand and how we need to act in faith (especially for missionary work.... okay, pause right here real fast to give a special shout-out to MYSELF! (cocky? yes. don’t care.) I am serving a mission at the coolest time ever. Go me. Everyone go share the gospel. ) Anyways, we got there and they gave us all our own stone (like the bro of Jared) and we talked all about faith and actually acting and it was so good.
Then during it, President Pace asks who is serving in Tonawanda and to "come find him after the meeting..." ooohhh. This was exciting. And he told us the greatest thing ever. That Tonawanda will someday be a branch and then a ward and we can come back and visit it in our life. Ummm. There is one couple who lives in our area. One. and its going to be its own branch in the future. The work is definitely hastening. And we have our work cut out for us! What I took out from that, is there is definitely people prepared to hear the Gospel, here. We just have to find them! He told us we are the Pioneers for the area (because there has never really been missionaries here before) and our work is paying off... even if we aren’t seeing any of the fruits, and that we probably wont see any of the fruits, but he thanked us and told us he knows we are making such a huge difference! Aww! Thanks President! Means so much!
So I attended a Russian Orthodox service this week! (yes, we had permission). Our investigator is struggling between the Mormon church and the Russian Orthodox... so we went to the Wednesday night Akathrist (or something.. I forget its name now.. not important haha) Anyways, we attend and we get forewarned that we cant show our hair.... okay, that’s cool... we'll make really cool burkas out of our scarves. So we show up, so proud of our creations, and Michael says, "You look like you're trying to be Muslim." And yes, I took that as a compliment because I have been feeling extremely white lately. Anyways, we wore our cool burkas despite the fact that everyone probably thought we were really strange, and it was really interesting. Then after the service, we had a Mormon lesson, and it was SO GOOD. for all of you ex-missionaries... it was like in the District when the elders are teaching Jynx... and she drops them but then realizes the Book of Mormon is the evidence and she wont get an answer until she reads... anyone know what I’m referring to? Anyways, it was so good because he finally realized that the second he stopped reading from the book of Mormon is when he stopped receiving answers to his prayers and seeing miracles in his life. I love watching people realize how much the Gospel and Book of Mormon bless their lives!
So I had the most lovely epiphany this week. So it was just one of those days... everything that could go wrong, went wrong. and not gonna lie, we were feeling pretty sad--to the point where we popped out our hidden stash of chocolate in the cupboard. But about 4 pm, we decided "we're stupid." (stupid if we are sad, cause there is still so much good and other miracles... even if the entire city of Buffalo didn’t want to talk to us.) We were having our final lesson with one of our dear, dear friends Ron. Everything about him is a miracle. (Well, everything except the fact that he just dumped us... we'll look beyond that haha). The way we contacted him a few months ago, and just how everything worked out. When we met him, all day he was just in need of a smile, and then us three came up to him and started talking to him and the ONLY reason he was willing to talk to some Mormons that just came up to him was A) we were smiling and happy, and B) his ex-wife's parents were Mormons and they were the best people he knew. He had absolutely no interest in the church back then when they were alive, but their examples to him were MONUMENTAL. Just by the way they lived their lives, they were the greatest missionaries in the world and completely impacted Ron's life. He never told them this, but even though they are both passed away now, they forever changed his life and planted those seeds so he would be ready to talk and open up when three sister missionaries walked down his street. Anyways, so so sad, but he called us this particular day and said he needs to do thinking on his own for a while--not completely dumping us, but taking a break. We managed to see him one last time and Sister Wills came with us and we were talking about how challenges and difficulties make us stronger. (super good message for us for the day as well haha) and I got this epiphany that I mentioned before I went on this huge tangent... So when I think of challenges, I usually think how they help us--that from the hard times we grow and gain experiences and it makes us stronger for the future. Our roots are planted more deeply and we become more capable to take on challenges in the future. But I was thinking, that's not all! It is also a kick in the butt to Satan (you know how bad I want to kick him haha) Satan is mad at God--what's the way to really hurt a person? Go for their children... No I have never had my own children, haha, but I think it's a pretty obvious concept that loving parents don't want their children to get hurt, fall astray, etc. We can handle when people do bad things to us, but it's a whole different game when people go after our kids... So Satan, being the smart cookie he is, has figured this out... Go after God's children= stab in God's heart. So he has set out his dream team to attack us, He knows what hurts us, upsets us, our inadequacies, etc. BUT we can fight back. We have our own starting lineup as well. And I think one of our best plays of defense is thanking God. Thanking Him for the good, the bad, and the ugly. As we thank God for our hard times, we are growing closer to Him and not letting Satan win. His whole motive and intention is to turn us away from our loving Heavenly Father, but as we grow closer to our Savior as Satan is doing his thing, it not only helps us, but it makes Satan back off... why keep throwing crap at us if it just backfires at him and strengthens our relationship with our Father in Heaven? stupid on his part, if you ask me. Moral of the story--we need to be grateful for EVERYTHING! keep that in mind with thanksgiving coming!
I don’t know if that made any sense and I don’t feel like going back to re-read it, so hopefully it worked out haha
Thanksgiving coming up... we are currently having 4 dinners. I think I should fast the whole week before. But at least ppl here are having Thanksgiving.... the day after Halloween everybody started celebrating Christmas. No joke! Everyone already has up their trees, lights, and Christmas music is everywhere! And oddly enough, I’m not complaining. haha
Love you! Glad you're doing good!
Love, Hna D
Last p-day we did a walking tour of Buffalo...5 miles in the pouring rain. woo. that was a fun one. But I found a statue of a buffalo! So that makes it worth it, yes? haha (also, I promise we aren't as huge as we look...we wear coats under our coats and I'm wearing 2 pairs of leggings under my jeans haha).
And our cool new missionary attire...