I was out of my area two days this past week for exchanges. Tuesday in Red Bluff with sweet Sister Trease and Thursday in Corning with Sister VanDuren. I don't know if you all remember me talking about David Castleton. Sister MacDonald and I met him in Yuba City, he had been inactive in the church for about 20 years and he waved us down Sister MacD's first week in the field. Well David has been active in the church ever since that day. I found out that he was living back in Los Molinos with his new wife, Reba. Los Molinos is Corning ward boundaries and on Thursday I got to go over to David's and meet his family! Sadly David wasn't there, but everyone else was and it was so cool to see how much David's life had changed since he decided to come back to church. He has been sober for a long time now and bringing the gospel back into his life happened at the perfect time. God's timing is always so perfect!
The Redding Sisters called us and referred us to one of their recent converts who just moved into our ward. Their records had no trailer number, so we drove through this huge trailer park looking for a red headed, 10 year old boy named Collin. We drove all around the park looking for him and the last street we turned down, there was a little boy with a baseball cap on. We couldn't see the color of his hair, but he seemed around 10 years old, so I rolled down the window and asked if he knew where Collin lived. He told us that was his name and sure enough, there was a little red hair sticking out from underneath his baseball cap. We introduced ourselves as the sister missionaries in the Anderson Ward and sadly his mom was sick and we couldn't meet her. His aunt and her boyfriend were there and they are both non members. They asked which church we belonged to and told her that Collin and his sister Mary Jane had been baptized in March. She told us that she was visiting from Ohio and was trying to find a church to attend here in Anderson. Her and her boyfriend had googled "churches in Anderson" the night before and chose a random one to attend. She said that she wanted to try our church and that she would see us at church next Sunday! I really hope that her and her boyfriend come next week! It was a miracle Heavenly Father even allowed us to find them.
Last Monday I got a random email from a missionary serving in Peru from the Anderson ward. He referred us over to his nonmember parents saying that he was really sick of being the only member in his family and going to church by himself. We contacted them on Saturday during the giant rain storm and they fed us some homemade chili to warm up. They really know nothing about the church or what their son is doing in Peru, so we offered to teach them the same lessons that their son is teaching in Peru. We didn't get a yes or a no, but they said we could definitely come back anytime we were in the area! We are really hoping to teach them.
I am almost through the Book of Mormon for the fourth time! I wanted to finish one last time before I was done with my mission and I think I am going to be able to do it! This time through has been so different and I really have taken in so much more. I feel like I can actually picture the stories in my mind and everything is so real to me. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon!
This week I read in Alma 53 and received some awesome revelation. Alma 53 is when Helamen pulls together the 2000 young stripling warriors to help him in the war against the Lamanites. The 2000 stripling warriors are the sons of the Ammonites, or the Lamanites who were so converted that they buried all their weapons of war and made a covenant with God to never raise up their weapons against another person again. In Alma 53, these men who have made this covenant see the sufferings of their brethren and truly desire to help them fight. They are "moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country." But then Helamen steps in. Helamen realizes how incredibly important and vital keeping your covenants is and does everything to help them keep their covenants. Their sons, who haven't made this covenant, step up and fight in place of their fathers. Good friends help you keep your covenants. Surround yourself with friends and family who will help you be the best person you can be and make sure that you become someone who allows other people to keep their covenants when they are with you.
Alma 53: 10-18, "10 And now behold, I have somewhat to say concerning the people of Ammon, who, in the beginning, were Lamanites; but by Ammon and his brethren, or rather by the power and word of God, they had been converted unto the Lord; and they had been brought down into the land of Zarahemla, and had ever since been protected by the Nephites. 11 And because of their oath they had been kept from taking up arms against their brethren; for they had taken an oath that theynever would shed blood more; and according to their oath they would have perished; yea, they would have suffered themselves to have fallen into the hands of their brethren, had it not been for the pity and the exceeding love which Ammon and his brethren had had for them. 13 But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country. 14 But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made. 15 And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls; therefore all those who had entered into this covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions, in their dangerous circumstances at this time. 16 But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites. 17 And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage. 18 Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country."
I love you all! Thank you for all your prayers and love.