It is a b-e-a-utiful day here in LaPlace, Louisiana! And I would just like to say that I am so proud of my brothers! Good job on the LOTOJA! It sounds like twas a smashing success! Ha, ha! But no, for reals, I am very excited for you. Good job on taking 2nd in a CAT-4 Andz! And good job Jeff and Todd! Next year will definitely be even better, and I will be right there supporting you! Sounds like it was a lot of fun, and I am so happy you were able to do it. GO EARL FAMILY! We are cool.
Anyway, it has been an AMAZING week because of Shai Richard, but on the other hand it was a slow week because I got a sinus infection among other things. So our numbers weren't so hot this week, but were able to find a lot of awesome POTENTIAL investigators, but no new investigators this week. So next week we have a feeling it is going to be like....WHA-BAM!!!!!!!! It's going to be rockin'. But I will now tell you about Shai....dun, dun, dun, dun! Shai is FOR SURE GETTING BAPTIZED SATURDAY! She is just wonderful We taught her the Plan of Salvation on Wednesday night at Young Women's, and it was really neat to get them involved. Shai is really shy though and doesn't open up when there are a lot of people, but she said it all makes sense, so that was good. We then taught her on Friday about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and were trying to finalize some things for her baptism, but apparently we have to talk with her mom (which we are doing tonight). Her mom has some misconceptions about the church (like we don't believe in Jesus Christ), but she said Shai could get baptized if that is what she really wanted. So we are going to talk to her parents tonight so we can clear up any misconceptions they may have. Her Dad is supportive, but the mom isn't as much. The baptism will definitely be happening this Saturday, we are very excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am probably more excited than Sister Hill because this is the first baptism I will have seen. So this is a new experience and I am excited. We also taught Shai last night, and we taught her all of the commandments. It was pretty neat. When we would ask her to commit to live the certain commandments she was like "Yes", and when we told her about the Word of Wisdom, we told her no tea, and she said "What kind of tea?" And we told her no green tea, or iced, and the other stuff, and she said, "Oh, I like that stuff, it helps you lose weight! But, I will just start drinking lemonade now." AHHHHHH! Ha, we just started telling her that we loved her. We are so excited. She is just excited to be baptized and be a member. It is going to be a really neat baptism. I will tell you about the services and everything next week. But to answer your question about sending her something, if you want to send her something you could maybe get her like the paperback Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price if you want. We are going to be getting her a journal, and I think if you want to get her those, it would be nice. I don't think they are too much, so that would be good. Shai (and her name is pronounced Shay if you were curious) is awesome.
She was the probably one of the biggest highlights of the week. We were also able to FINALLY sit down with Debi Swetnam and talk with her. She is just wanting to go to the temple now. She knows that baptism is a step to get there, but she wants to have her own testimony before she gets baptized. So she will definitely be getting baptized, it's just a matter of when she gains her own testimony, or when we think she is ready, so yeah!
Debi's brother-in-law came to church on Sunday. His name is Randy, and I might have talked about him before, but I don't remember. So if I did, I'm sorry. But Randy was a Branch President quite some time ago, and has since become an alcoholic, and he does drugs. After his mom got really sick (she was the funeral we sang at a couple weeks ago), he had been sober for about a month I think, when we first met him. Bishop said it was unheard of to see him sober. So he has come a long way these last 2 months. The family is worried that he is going to slip back, but Bishop thinks he's coming back. He came to church on Sunday and said he really enjoyed it, it was hard, but he needed to hear the talks that were given in Sacrament meeting. They were on opposition, and how we NEED opposition in our lives. I think with what he is going through, it was a really good sacrament meeting for him to come to. So hopefully we will see him continue to progress.
But about Sacrament meeting, it really was neat. They talked about how there has always been opposition in all things. If there isn't opposition, there isn't really agency. We don't have the opportunity to choose for ourselves, whether it be the right or wrong decision, we don't have agency. In the preexistence, we had a choice to follow Christ or Satan, and I am so grateful that we all chose to follow Christ. I couldn't imagine my life without each one of you! We have opposition here! Light/Dark, Sweet/Bitter, Happy/Sad, Smart/Stupid, we have it all. We can choose what we want. We can choose how we react to the opposition we face. That is something I am definitely learning here on my mission. When it's blazing hot outside and I choose to be happy when we are tracting vs. when I choose to be whining and complaining about it, it is a much better experience when I'm happy! Even if we don't get in the door. We all have opposition, and how we react to it, makes the biggest difference in the world. I hope that little schpeel just made sense, but I dunno. It did in my head, so hopefully it does in yours!
Really, we did see some miracles this week, and though it was a little bit of a slow week, we were able to see miracles. Oh! Ha, I forgot to tell you about Wednesday when we volunteered at an animal shelter. One of our members runs the animal shelter here in town. We were able to go and help there. It was pretty interesting, a lot of cute dogs, and some really ugly ones, but it was fun because most of them were so sweet and just wanted to be loved. We cleaned their kennels, changed their food, and it was pretty interesting. Luckily we left before we went to the back kennel. It is rat infested. I was super paranoid. Ha, I didn't want a rat crawling on me. But yeah! We'll be going back this Wednesday too. And we'll probably leave before we go to the back kennel. Ha!
Well, there is nothing really else of note. All I know is being sick on the mission isn't fun. I am on the mend. So don't worry about that, but yeah! Oh and I would just like to say that my companion Sister Hill is applying for Physical Therapy grad-school right now, and she just got secondary applications to her schools and she wants to go to ATSU (which is in Mesa) and President Woods used to be the Dean of dentistry there, so Sister Hill has a pretty good reference. She will probably be going there when I get home! Ha, so that will be cool! But yeah, she wouldn't be going there till August, and I will be home by then. So yep! Anyway, I am really excited that I have such a wonderful family who loves and supports me. I am very very grateful you sent that package this week mom...I ripped 2 skirts this week, so I just lost 2. I lost the long brown and white one, and the hot pink one. Tragic, but true. So thank you for the new skirts. I like them a lot. I also was able to enjoy the first sandwich I have had in 6 months, and it was glorious. So thanks for the bread. Grandpa's funeral looked like it was good. I really liked the program. Especially the picture with me and Grandma and Grandpa! I'm a cute little kid, lets face it. Ha, but really I am so grateful for all you do for me. Thanks for being the best family ever! I am grateful I am a missionary and I am grateful for you.
I love you all.
Sister Stacy Earl