Hello my dear family and friends!!
This week has been an interesting one... We've had our high ups and our low downs. A mission is a funny thing because one moment you are as happy and joyful as you could ever imagine and your cheeks even hurt from smiling so much! And then the next you feel as if your heart has never ached so painfully in your life. Regardless of the many emotions I have experienced while being out here, I have never felt the influence of the spirit so profoundly in my life.
Our day started like this: We had a wonderful lesson with our recent convert, Mollie, and then a lesson with our investigator, Alexis. Alexis is what we call a "golden" investigator; she is searching for all the right things in life! Baptism is in her near future and it's only been our second lesson with her - the Lord truly has prepared the hearts of those in the Bloomington Stake. With the help of a lot of members, of course! All the investigators we are teaching have been found by the members. They. Are. Awesome. And I could go on forever about that but I need to move on...
So after those two lesson my companion and I had so much hope for the missionary work in this area. We were smiling, laughing, holding doors open for one another, etc. Until I accidentally shut her thumb in the car door...and the poor older lady who was driving us around just about fainted. She's all better now, though :) We were on our way up to a lesson with the Feltchs - a family who's parents are extremely inactive and their teenage children are unbaptized. And guess who found this family?! Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Olsen!! And MEMBERS!!
When you have seven different ward mission leaders at once, you begin to kind of notice the work and effort that certain ones put in their calling. I thought about Brother Olsen earlier this week and how he has found about five of our investigators! He is someone who magnifies his calling. It was so cute, about a week ago he called us and left a voicemail saying, "Hi Sisters! It's Elder - I mean Brother - Olsen!" We laughed and laughed. It was so obvious he was fired up about this missionary work and we LOVED it! We had a great relationship with him, contacting each other regularly and working together with each investigator, he was like our best friend!
So back to our lesson with the Feltchs, we were teaching it in a members home and Brother Olsen and his wife were going to join us. And then we were going to all eat dinner together afterwards. Fun night! Well, when we walked in I first of course asked for an ice pack for my poor companions thumb... but we also realized that everyone was here and sitting down except for the Olsens. We learned that ambulances and fire trucks were at their house... My companion is so sweet and asked if she could offer a prayer right in the middle of us playing picture telephone with them (which leads into the lesson of the apostasy and restoration). We felt better and continued to teach all the way to the importance of the Book of Mormon. Then we got the news that Brother Olsen had unexpectedly passed away. The room fell silent and we all sat there tears streaming down our faces... Here was a man who brought this family back to the knowledge of the gospel, who was a dear friend to these members and who helped with his whole heart to move the missionary work forward. We sat there quietly and pondered about what just happened. The member with us then talked about how the Book of Mormon can help us find the answers to the questions of our soul: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?
My companion and I then bore testimony of this book and the Plan of Salvation. We talked about how it is so important for us to prepare IN THIS LIFE to meet God. We told them why the gospel is so very vital in our lives - it helps us make the steps necessary to return to live with our Heavenly Father. We talked about how the Book of Mormon is essential in helping us meet our celestial goal, in helping us feel prepared to stand at the judgement bar and look our Heavenly Father in the eyes and say that we are ready to live in his presence. I don't personally know anyone more ready to meet our Heavenly Father than Brother Olsen. The spirit was very strong and at the end we knelt in prayer and Brother Fetch offered a very heartfelt prayer; he cried as he spoke and we joined him as we reverently folded our arms.
My companion and I then went to visit Sister Olsen. We gave her hugs and talked about he fun times we had with her husband as our ward mission leader. But I couldn't help have the thought pass through my mind that I am only 19 years old - how am I supposed to comfort this dear woman who just lost her wonderful husband? There wasn't much I could do but put my arm around her and tell her we love her and are always here if she needs anything - anything at all. She was just worried if the salad she sent over for our dinner that night turned our okay. We assured her that everything was delicious and now to worry about a thing. It's still hard to realize that we can't call Brother Olsen anymore reporting to him of our progressing investigators he found... But I am grateful for his great influence he's had in this stake. I am grate for the way that has been prepared for us by our perfect brother, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Atonement and that by it we are able to fully repent and be forgiven of our sins. I know that He lives and the He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my everlasting friend.
I love you all so very much, thank you for your prayers and your support :)
Much Love, Sister Martin