This week was wonderful! The area is blossoming. We have made some good relationships with the members and know who we can always turn to in times of need. The people here are so kind and loving. The weather here has been getting colder, but it's not as bitter here as in Georgia or Mississippi with all the humidity, so I have not been too cold. Some days, portland is simply breathtakingly beautiful.
We have had tons of miracles, but I will just share a few!
We had a lesson with George, a referral from two different people! a veteran and has been in and out of work for a long time, but finally has a steady job at a gas station! He said he looking to "get off the fence." He made so many comments about wanting structure and organization in his life, wanting to take care of himself personally, and wanting to do things that really mean something. These are ALL things that this gospel brings into people's lives! As it turns out, he was friends with an lds family as a youth and went to FHE with them, and His uncle and his co worker, Fred weeks, at the gas station are LDS. It just truly shows that God is always planting little seeds and that they truly do add up and help people come closer to God! We taught the whole first lesson. He is seeing that we have the puzzle pieces that he has been searching for. He is super committed to read the BOM everyday. We had another lesson Sunday with him and it went really well too! He actually came to church, so we had both our investigators at church yesterday! He is learning more and lots of things made a lot of sense to him. He even gave the closing prayer!
Second, we were about to teach a lesson to our investigator Samm, who has been recovering from some surgeries! She asked so many great questions and really liked the answers. She said she has always had some missing puzzle pieces in her Understanding of God and religious and that we were able to provide her answers to those questions that really made sense! She was super excited to come to church and continue learning :) Then, we were able to have a second lesson with her and give her service later in the week. This lesson went just as well! She is such a kind, nice person and we are so excited for her!
Third, on Friday, a girl came into the VC who said she was from Centerville, UT. I know Elder Gowdy is from there, my best friend ever, and so I asked her if she knew him! It turns out, that she does!! We hugged and talked for about an hour! In fact, if any of you read Elder Gowdy's blog, he has been teaching a guy named Malone. Malone was referred to Elder Gowdy by this girl, named Camille! So she was really excited to meet the girl who Elder Gowdy talks about and expressed her gratitude that he is teaching her friend! Small world! :)
Lastly, remember Nancy who came into the VC last week? Well the Bishop who was in the group emailed me about Nancy. She went to church for the first time and is even mentioning baptism! She really wants to come back to the VC, so I hope she visits soon! So cool :) I love seeing the Gospel change lives.
During the rest of the week, some of the people we taught include Karen, a woman who lost her father 3 months ago very unexpectedly that we met in the VC, Amy, a lady we met on mormon.org chat, Floyd, an older man struggling to come back to church, King, a borne again Christian wanting to further his knowledge, and Vera, a mother going through divorce. The gospel truly heals all wounds :)
Haha. One of our lunches this week was cottage cheese and canned pears and beans from 2010... We didn't get sick though :)
For one of our dinners,we had awesome minestrone soup and salad and cinnamon streusel muffins from Betty Crocker - SO GOOD. I recommend them.
Thanksgiving this year was different, but great! We went to the VC in the morning, got a little gift from sister Morgan, and had a great breakfast all together. Then we hung up decorations and the Christmas tree! I was super nervous about dinner because the family eats super organic, and the last time I was there for dinner, I struggled with all the new foods.
Well...I only liked 2 out of 12 ingredients in the salad, so that was a struggle, but the rest of the dinner went surprisingly well!
( Please don't get me wrong here, I am SO GRATEFUL for the members who feed us and for having food to eat, but I just seriously am picky. I really am trying to stretch myself though and be polite. This member really is a fantastic cook. I see why I didn't go to a foreign country now. I joked about the foods there, but I seriously do get super anxious about eating new food. I don't think I could have handled it!) Anyways, we had tons of options for dinner! We had the choice of organic wheat rolls (made with spelt), turkey( raised and killed from their backyard), twice- baked organic gold potatoes, this rice and meat stuff, green beans, organic coleslaw (made with coconut milk b/c they do not eat mayonnaise), sushi rolls, mixed organic vegetables, and personally squeezed grape juice (they had grape vines in their backyard). In fact, the grape juice was from 2010! Everything was gluten free and organic, if you can tell. For dessert, there was pumpkin pie (with no condensed milk), talenti caramel sea salt ice cream, organic vanilla ice cream, pecan pie (with no corn starch), peanut butter cheesecake with choc. Gelato on top, persimmon cobbler, and pumpkin swirl bread, ALL Made with palm sugar. They even make their own mayonnaise and sea salt! They do not eat real sugar, corn, condensed milk, or soy, among other things. I loved the twice baked potatoes, bread, turkey, the grape juice ( super delicious!), the rice and meat, and the green beans :) For dessert, I had the pumpkin pie with my favorite icecream - the Talenti caramel sea salt (you should try it. It's at Walmart :)
We also listed 100 things we were each grateful for. I wrote a lot of things but this year, I am MOST grateful for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, for my family, for being able to be on a mission, for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that allows me to repent, for the Scriptures, and for the Holy Ghost, who testifies of truth, comforts me, prompts me, and warns me of danger. Every single one of these things is crucial. I cannot live without them or return to God without them :) I am also grateful for all the people in my life, food, a roof over my head, a warm bed, indoor plumbing, my temper- pedicure pillow and heaters :) haha.
On another note, we got a Christmas tree in our apartment!
Most of you know that, in order for me to serve a mission, I had to pause my schooling in music and put down my horn for 2 years. It was hard to just trust the Lord that He will bring those skills back quickly when I return so that I can continue progressing in my career. But, I realized this week, that I went from PLAYING an instrument to BEING an instrument for God.
I think the latter is much more important. I will affect so many more people's lives for the better here, on a mission, than I ever can/ will in my lifetime of performing music.
Second, I have been studying about Nephi, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephi 4, Lehi is giving his dying last sermon and Nephi talks about all at God has given him and entrusted him to do. Yet, he is frustrated because he is still susceptible to weakness and sin. He knows what's right and he still does wrong. But he cried unto God and decides to trust in him and turn everything over to him!
I really liked the reminder that even Nephi, who was a great prophet, sinned, made mistakes, and had to repent. Even he got frustrated with himself for falling into the same pattern of knowing right from wrong, but still falling into sin. So when we are super frustrated with ourselves for our mistakes, let us remember that the Lord will never get fed up with us. Even the best of us mess up, but if we use the Atonement and repent, we can always wipe our slate clean. We can always start over and recommit to becoming closer to God.
Quotes of the Week:
"God does not expect you to be someone you are not, but sometimes he does expect us to be someone we are not yet" - God sees us not as we are now, but as we can/will be" - anonymous missionary.
I, with all my love, encourage you to pray daily, read your scriptures, and follow the commandments. DON'T make excuses. Jesus Christ never did :)
Also, go to Mormon.org and watch the new Christmas video called " He is the Gift!" It is a wonderful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas! It should be on the homepage and is only 3 minutes long :)
Love, Sister Bergman