Hey guys I happen to be back in my homeland, the beautiful southeast of Alaska, ummmm it's a SUNNY AMAZING day and I am in love with it.
So Tuesday the Sterling sisters came up from Anchorage to stay with us until zone conference. All the zone leaders and Sister Burbank and I went to "MLM" (missionary leadership meeting) with Elder Zwick of the first quorum of the 70 and his wife on Wednesday. Then that night was a Member Missionary Devotional with Elder and Sister Zwick, to which all stake presidencies, ward councils, bishoprics, ward mission leaders and ward missionaries, and full-time missionaries were invited to attend. Thursday was zone conference which lasted until 4, which took place in the Brayton chapel, with 5 zones in attendance---Soldotna, Anchorage, Anchorage North, Chugach, and Wasilla. Friday our awesome quiet 17-year-old investigator in the other ward got her baptismal interveiw and PASSED, and ALSO that day, two other investigators---the amazing couple who I taught once but mostly they've been being taught by the elders in our ward---got baptized!!! And then on Saturday our 17-year-old investigator got baptized, and right after that baptism, North Anchorage YSA was having a baptism and the person who got baptized is this tall 6'11" guy who I remember teaching TWICE on two separate times over a YEAR ago when I was on splits with various sisters in Anchorage, and I was so shocked and HAPPY to see him finally get baptized! In between our baptism and the 6'11" guy's baptism, Sister Beesley took Sister Burbank and I to get hamburgers, and I just love Sister Beesley.
So our girl's baptism was great, she looked beautiful, she didn't own any skirts and so I found some clothes for her from the sisters' closet at the mission home so she ended up picking one that used to be Sister Rivera's and she looked ADORABLE, and she even BORE HER TESTIMONY after she got baptized, and it was so good to hear. She said she knew she had made an amazing choice, and was excited for her future, "following God's commandments." Yesterday was stake conference, so she'll get confirmed in sacrament THIS upcoming Sunday. Since Sister Burbank and I are outta town this week, the elders that are in her ward are gonna stop by and make contact with her often this week to help her to keep the Spirit until she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost herself. So wonderful.
Saturday night we picked up a new investigator, he's the 22-yr-old son of a couple in the ward who got baptized a few years ago, they are Alaska Native. He likes to box. I told him I got taught to box once (sort of). But I am too scared to be a boxer. It was a lovely first lesson, Spirit was strong, when we were testifying of the Atonement and how our guilt can be swept away, he looked like he was gonna cry for a second.
Sunday was Stake COnference, and then we contacted two investigators we haven't seen in about a week, the Russiana and the Filipino. It was so good to see them. Sister Burbank is sick and lost her voice and she said after that every time she tried to talk in the Filipino's lesson, he looked like he was trying not to laugh at her, HAHAHAH. The Russiana is so sweet, and oh man do I love her 6 kids. You know when you meet that batch of kids that are pure and have maybe gone through a lot and are quiet and humble and well-behaved? Those are these kids. We shared a quick spiritual thought and I was smiling at the 12-year-old girl and she was just smiling peacefully back, smile seeming to get bigger by the second. They are moving to OHIO with their DAD for 3 months in a lil over a week, but don't worry guys, Mom gave us their ADDRESS so they can get involved with cub scouts and young womens there.
After that we went to the mission home and brought President Beesley pie and had a meeting with the Beesleys and the AP's to try and figure out how to implement some of the things Elder Zwick wants all the ward councils to start doing. It was a long meeting. Let's just say waking up at 5am this morning to get to the airport at 6:30am has resulted in me being VERY tired, but I am happy to be here. We are in Juneau with Sister Peterson and her trainee, Sister Faupula, and we'll be here until Wednesday morning, and then we're flying to Sitka, and we'll do exchanges with Sister Claspell and Sister Hedelius, and WE are very excited that we happen to be going when they go and do their two weekly community service activities---WEdnesday they go and feed the bears at this one place (apparently Pres Beesley told Sis Burbank in confidence to make sure she filmed me feeding the bears) and I'm sure they actually do something community servicey there, and then on THURSDAY they go to the RAPTOR CENTER (oh my heck!!!) and help with the EAGLES!!! (Whatever that means!)
So this is gonna be a fun week.
Having Elder Zwick here was awesome. Hearing his crazy mission experiences in Argentina and Bolivia was eye-opening. He was in one area for 17 months and his companion was a horse---and three other elders each with a horse. His mission president was ELder Richard G. Scott, who sent them there to build a chapel and baptize 3 cities in a place where not a single member had been baptized yet. Elder Zwick knows several of the apostles very well and has close interactions with them on a regular basis and hearing him talk about these men on a first-hand personal account was so fascinating. Those are real people! And then missionaries got up during the practice teaching part and one was reading a quote by President Faust and I was like, "Oh man there is someone here who knew Pres Faust personally, and here we are quoting him." But just a witness to me that we do not need to see or get to know these men to know they are men of God---we are all testifying of these men but only Elder Zwick actually knew them.
I love you all
P.S. MOM DON'T WORRY I AM WORKING ON YOUR BIRHTDAY AND MOTHER'S DAY GIFT