I can't believe it's been one year out on my mission. It's been the best year of my life! I'm so glad I get a few more months to be a missionary for the Savior (even though the last season I'll see here is winter!).
BEST NEWS EVER: As of last night we have 3 new baptismal date-sets!! Two of them are Gene and Rosemary, the Catholic family we taught last week. At our lesson they said that they had felt something really special when we left the other night. They've been reading the Book of Mormon and feel like this is the path for them to take for their family. When we asked them to be baptized they said, "Actually we were planning on doing it before the end of the year." Good thing the end of the year is next month! Being Catholic they'd never really said a prayer straight from their heart before, so when they prayed out loud last night at the end of the lesson the sprit was tangible. Then that very next lesson we taught Tanner again, and he said his very first prayer! It was so simple and pure- the Spirit was SO strong. He was so nervous and we sat in silence for about three minutes while he tried to find the words to say. Right when he said "Dear Heavenly Father," my heart legit melted and tears came flooding to my eyes. The Holy Spirit was there witnessing that God was hearing his prayer. BEST day ever. The power of prayer is real!!!
The Hmong are still going strong in Eau Claire! Teaching them English every week has been the highlight of the transfer. Last week we had them write out the alphabet, and one of the oldest niam tais had never even held a pencil before. Elder Yang taught the rest of the class while I sat with Tais Shoa and held her hand over the pencil as she wrote for the first time in her life. After she wrote "A B C" she cried and said she thought she would never have the opportunity to learn how to read or write. It made me so grateful I was born in a country where everyone has the chance to receive a formal education. Saturday was Hmong New Year, so we went to this big event and got to meet a ton of new potential investigators! Some of the niam tais from our English class were there, and they bought me and Sister Wilcox jewelry and tried to marry us off to their sons. They're the sweetest people!! I asked one of the women in our class if Sis Wilcox could borrow some of her daughter's traditional clothes so she could look Hmong too haha- she did, and she looked fabulous!
The #1 fun part about living in the boonies of the mission- road trips! We had a zone conference back in Minnesota which was awesome. It was a tri-zone, so I got to see some of my companions, all the Hmong elders, and people you never get to see when you're living out in Africa (aka Eau Claire). We had a really solid training on planning for miracles and expecting them to come through your faith. Fear and doubt are the opposite of faith, which sometimes is hard to get rid of (tracting is sometimes a little scary, not gonna lie!). But when we put our trust in the Lord and accept His will, then we can see real miracles. The Eau Claire elders are in a trio, so since we have rule of three, we carpool a lot. They drive this super big soccer mom van, so we always end up piling in there. But the elders have this habit of "running somewhere real quick" and then leaving us alone in the van for like forty minutes. One of those times, they were nice enough to leave the keys in the ignition for us, and we joked that it would be so easy to drive away. Then after laughing, we were like, "But seriously." So I slid over to the driver's seat and we just drove away. It felt like a game of Grand Theft Auto (I've actually never played that before, but I'm pretty sure this is what it feels like). We drove over to a Burger King- we're not that adventurous. Also we drag-raced with our bishop at 10:30 at night but that's another story for another time. Gotta go grocery shopping! #exciting