The highlight of the week, and so that I don't have to retype it:
I think that the crowning moment of this week for me was yesterday during our ward conference - our Branch President said during his remarks that he could feel the love that has grown between our members, and I too could feel that yesterday. As I looked around at the people present at our meeting, I caught a little glimpse of just how much the Lord's hand has been in the work here in our branch. There was a mother and daughter present who hadn't been coming for quite some time, that have started coming again after we "randomly" ran into them in the street on the way to an appointment. I could on and on with more examples of individuals and families that were there and that served as a witness to me that the Lord is truly leading this work. However, I'll just say that so many of our prayers as a companionship and my personal prayers were answered yesterday during church. Our new convert S was baptized and confirmed this week - and I wish I could adequately describe how much joy and happiness that brought her, me, and her friends who introduced her to the gospel. Some little tender mercies during the past few days with that: After the baptismal ordinance, I ran back to see if I could help S with anything, and she turned to me - she was just glowing - and said "I'm so thankful to you all, I've been waiting for this day for such a long time." S is a testament to me that the Lord really does pour out his spirit to prepare the hearts of the children of men to receive his gospel. When she was confirmed by President H , he blessed her that she would be a light to her family and that through her example, her family would be brought to the knowledge and joy that she had. I callled her last night to see how she was doing and feeling about everything, and one of the first things she said to me was "I talked to A (her daughter) and asked if she would like for you two to come over so that she and her family can hear God's word, and she said yes!" She acted so quickly on the blessing that she had been promised from the Stake President, and I know that we will see the fruits of that faith very soon.
I spent some time reflecting this week on the journey that's it's been to get this investigator to baptism. I was thinking back to when I was on splits with Sister Morreal before she left to go back to America, and how she said that she felt that she had been called to Armenia because there were specific people here for her to learn from, teach. amd love. This investigator is definitely one of those people for me. Two others who I am so happy I've met are leaving on their missions to Ukraine this week! These girls (sisters?) were some of my very first friends here in Armenia. and on one side, I'm really sad to see them go, and on the other, I know that they are going to be such a blessing to the people in Ukraine. We had a little dance party as a branch for them, so that was pretty great too.
One other person I wanted to mention is a recent convert that was baptized when Sister Bowen was still here in Center, who we're going to see tongiht. She's really, really sick with cancer - and she is the sweetest, most faithful woman. Today I was studying the plan of salvation a little bit for her, and as a was reading and thinking about how much I wish that I could've been here when she was healthy and could do more of the things that she wants to, the reality of the fact that she really will receive a perfectly healthy body at the time of resurrection was pressed into my heart. And I know we'll be friends then too.
I can't tell you how happy I've been the past few days. Pictures are coming really soon, promise.
Because the fam wants more "large plates" items and not just the small plates:
Our CO2/smoke alarms have been going off for the past couple of weeks every few nights, and hopefully we won't have to move because of it. There's not a gas leak or anything in our apartment - our landlord make sure to check for that last week with a lighter.. yes, a lighter... Last week I was exhausted because we hadn't slept through the night for most of the week. Along with that, I was on and off the phone with our mission president, our landlord, and the Armenian that helps with all of the housing contracts to try to figure it out. Honestly we think it's because there are a lot of individual homes outside our apartment that have their smoke stacks pointed straight up, which makes the smoke travel directly up to our window. But once we moved the detectors out of the windowsill (is that how you spell that?), it hasn't been a problem. I've learned lots of really obscure words in Armenian because of it, that's for sure. Rest assured that all is well now though, because it's been 5 days (maybe 6, I don't remember) since it's gone off.
One little spiritual thing I've been thinking about today to end off this letter:
This morning I was studying in the 62nd chapter of Alma, where Captain Moroni is on his way to go to battle against the kingmen who had overthrown Pahoran from the judgment seat. As he's going, it says in the 4th verse that "he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever plave he did enter, and gained whatsoever force he could in all his march towards the land of Gideon." In essence here, Captain Moroni is fighting the same battle for liberty that we all as disciples of Christ fight each day. As he went about doing that, he did all he could in all places that he was in to gather people to join in that cause. It hit me this morning that Captain Moroni was keeping his baptismal covenant by doing this - he was standing as a witness of God at all time, and in all things, and in all places. I know that as we do that as missionaries, members, and disciples of Christ, we will see as Moroni did, that "thousands [will] flock to [that] standard" and can have the same joy, peace, and perspective that we enjoy.
Love you all, have the best week!