It's been an amazing week. That sounds like fun going to Branson! Any trip with the Vincents is always fun. We'll have to do a big return missionary trip at a Wyndham in the Amazon or something. :) Thanks for the care package. I loved the picture too.
This week was one big miracle.
It all started a couple weeks ago when the Hills moved to a 3 story apartment to allow their grandchildren to move in. The grandchildren never ended up coming, so they had an extra bedroom in their apartment. They were really struggling to make it by. Then the week after, Brother Hill lost his job. They were devastated, but you have got to meet the Hills; they just asked for a blessing and kept doing missionary work. In the blessing, it said that as they continued to do missionary work, opportunities would open up for them.
Then the next week we got a call from an investigator, Melanie (name changed) who had just gone through a second time needing to go to the women's shelter. As missionaries we can't counsel with her, but we called Bishop and had the Hills come with us to give her a blessing. We went to give her a blessing but something came up and she couldn't make it to the church. So we went to our next appointment with the Hills which was to help another investigator, Keith, to move and find a place to live by the strip. (Which saddened us, because no missionaries are allowed on the strip.)
For the next part to make sense you have to know the back story about Keith. He has two boys and a wife and recently moved to Las Vegas. He's also a 7 yr All-American (football), professional chef, boxer (Brother Hill used to box too!), and so many other things. He came to Las Vegas by himself to find a job (coming from California) and ran into the church through employment services. We went over to visit him and found out his roommates (from South Africa) are very anti-Mormon. As soon as they found out he was investigating the church, they kicked him out of the house. That was the reason he had to move, although he was struggling financially.
We introduced the Hills to Keith and they made an instant connection. Brother Hill and Sister Hill looked at each other took a deep breath and smiled. Elder Phipps and I know that means they both had the same great idea. They turned to Keith and said "Welcome home, son!"
Keith, a big, 300 lb NFL player, just broke out in tears and gave them a big hug. They brought Keith to their place and he is now living with them. Both Brother Hill and Keith found jobs in this area and are doing really well. They call Keith their son and he calls Brother and Sister Hill mom & dad.
We're teaching the fourth lesson to Keith tonight and he's thrilled to learn about the Gospel. Last night he went with us to an powerful fireside and has been coming out with us to lessons. He is amazing.
The next day, Keith came with us and the Hills to meet Melanie at the church. We gave her a tour around the chapel and the Spirit was so strong. She said "I feel like I'm at home!" We went to the chapel and taught her the plan of salvation. She is a professional musician, so I played "Where Can I Turn for Peace" on the piano while she sang. The Spirit was so strong. Then we gave her a blessing. We told her all about how the Gospel can help her, her 12 year old son, and baby boy. She is an amazing lady that just got herself in a bad situation. With Bishop's help she is coming out of it and it's all working out.
Before my mission, I never realized how much love God actually feels for each of His children. It's like He's making a quilt, some dark colors, some light. When He gives us the dark colors (trials) it's hard to understand at the moment. But when we arrive at the end, we'll see the plans He has for us. Through our trials God can work miracles and weave eternal life.
I'm so grateful for the experiences I have had. There's nothing like having the perspective of a missionary - getting to see the Atonement change lives.
"For, consider the lilies of the filed, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these. For our Father, who is in Heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things." - Doctrine and Covenants 84:82-83
Have a good week!