I feel like the most loved missionary in the entire world. Thank you so much for your prayers, emails, letters, advice, everything! On Tuesday, I received an incredibly thoughtful package from Sister Karlinsey, a letter from Elder Karlinsey, and a letter from Momma! It felt like Christmas. Thank you for writing me and telling me all about your lives. It sounds like the Cobb family is having a pretty exciting summer! I love you all.
It has been a fun, spiritual week in Sparta! I feel as though I have been a missionary for years instead of weeks (in a good way)! We met our new mission president and his family on Thursday. They are amazing. He has a wonderful vision for our mission, and I left the meeting feeling inspired and ready to work even harder.
One of the great joys of being a missionary is learning to love the people. Each week, I learn more about what it means to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I strongly believe that in order to be a true, worthy representative of Him, I need to love and serve the people as He would if He were here. I have found that as I forget myself and truly love those around me, Heavenly Father blesses us with miracles and spiritual experiences. Last night, I was struck by how much I love the people here. Our neighbors in the apartment below us knocked on our door to drop off some homemade lasagna (she’s italian, and it was delicious). At the grocery store, we ran into a less active member of the church who joked around with us in the freezer section! One of our investigators taught me how to make homemade empanadas (she’s from Puerto Rico). Everywhere we go, we run into our laundromat friends, our “scary” friends from the apartments down the street, ward members, and neighbors. It’s amazing! I actually have friends here! I love them, and weirdly enough, they love us too! It’s amazing how the love of God brings people together. My hope is that every person that I talk to feels the love of God. They should feel like the most important person in the world. We might be the only people who listens to them and loves them all day! I have seen the love of God change lives and hearts and creates eternal friendships.
This week, I have learned more about the power of faith. On Saturday, Sister Taylor and I were out walking the streets of Newton, hoping to find 8 more people to contact and a new investigator. We had no idea where to go! We stopped to say a prayer in the middle of the street and asked the Lord where He needed us to be. We had the thought to go visit a family of potential investigators that lived the next street over. We had tried to contact them several times over the past few weeks, but they were always gone! However, the Spirit prompted us to go see them, and I knew they would be home. As we were walking, we saw a group of teenagers sitting on some porch steps. They were in the opposite direction of where we were headed, so we didn’t walk up to them at first. Then, I had the thought that we should probably contact them (because everyone deserves to hear about the gospel, right?). We decided to turn around and talk to them, and I am so glad we did! We had a great conversation with them about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and they wanted to meet with us again! Heavenly Father blessed us with 3 new investigators! That never happens.
After that miracle, we walked over to ____________ home (our potential investigators), and —– was home! He was really excited to see us again, and wanted to meet with us again the next day! His face lit up when he saw us, and we could tell that he really wanted to hear about the gospel. He felt something in his heart and wants it for his family. He is so prepared to hear the gospel, but we need his wife to be on board with it. We are praying that her heart will be softened and that she’ll be receptive to learning about the gospel.
As we were walking home from ——-‘s house, we walked past a bright red house with a light on inside. Sister Taylor stopped, dead in her tracks, and said, “We need to knock on that door”. I looked at her like she was crazy, because we contacted this entire street last week. However, we walked right up to the door and knocked. A lady appeared, surprised and excited to see us. ******** had just moved in with her family, and she had a ton of questions about the gospel! She was asking us all about prophets, the Book of Mormon, and what makes us different from other religions. It was amazing!
Here’s what I learned from that night: Heavenly Father blesses us when we act in faith. We had no idea that the thought to go see ___________, contact those teenagers, and knock on ******’s door were spiritual promptings. They just felt like thoughts. However, when we pray and show the Lord that we are willing to move our feet, knock on every door, and talk to every person we see, he puts people who are prepared in our path! Miracles happen here everyday.
Fun story: On Friday, I fell through the wooden staircase outside of our apartment. We knew it wasn’t a safe staircase because Sister Taylor’s old companion fell through it a few weeks ago. However, our landlord fixed it and said it was safe to use. Well… it isn’t. As I was running down the stairs to go on our morning run, my left leg went straight through one of the lower stairs! It actually hurts really bad, but the gash isn’t too deep! Besides, it is a great conversation starter.
I love you! I am so happy and so grateful to be here. Be Jersey strong.