Happy New Year!
Can't believe I spent the entire year of 2014 in Iowa. I love it though! The wind chill factors in Dubuque Iowa this week/today are suppose to be anywhere from -10 to -50. Makes winters back in Utah seem pretty wimpy and manageable. I can take on anything now.
This past week we were stuck inside our house super sick for three days and we were finally able to get back to work again after the New year. Spent New Year's Eve watching old church films, for instance "Only a Stone cutter" and others. We enjoyed it.
We have been trying really hard to get one of our investigators to attend church with us and this week our meeting time changed to 1 in the afternoon so we thought for sure we would be able to see her there, but we were wrong. Sometimes when you have never regularly been to church your whole life it is a little scary to come for the first time. There is so much love and welcoming in our Dubuque ward and I can't wait for her to come one day soon. We had a really great lesson with her on Saturday. We had planned before had what we would talk with her about and discuss with her and after we headed back to our car we realized how perfect everything we said and talked about turned out. The Spirit was with us in an increased intensity the remainder of the evening. We felt as if everything we taught that day wasl not our words.
We helped Sister Swift on Saturday with shoveling some snow and moving some things around her house. She pulled out a laptop and a brand new Samsung Tablet which she didn't really know what they could do or how to turn them on. She's older and says that there was an info-mercial and it seemed like a good deal so she bought them. lol. We showed her how to turn it on and pull up a webpage browser and search for all the movies and videos the church has put out on lds.org and mormonchannel.org and her eyes opened really big and her mouth dropped. She said, "oh my goodness, i didn't realize this whole time how amazing this is!" Really fun reaction to helping someone discover the wonderful vastness of the internet! So cute! We said a prayer with her and as we were about to leave she didn't get off the couch, she just looked up at us and said, "I think I'm going to be here for a while." She's so funny.
We both were able to feel the Spirit at church and got up to bare testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't even remember all I said either. I didn't pre-determine my comments before I went to the pulpit. The Spirit just spoke through me and then I sat down again. It's a pretty incredible feeling, knowing exactly what's going on in those instances and also knowing that you are a worthy enough to be such a instrument in the hands of the Lord.
The missionary work overall in Dubuque has been struggling substantially the past year, no matter what missionaries President Jensen puts in or takes out. It's a tough area and it's very hard to find new people to teach. Our baptism goals for this New Year were only set at 12 when our goal last year was overshot at 20 and we only got 5 of those baptisms to happen.
We do our best and President and Sister Jensen are doing their best to help us. I really think this year it will progressively get better here.
Hope everyone is continually strengthening their testimony everyday and following the counsels of God and not the World. God knows the pit falls and all the consequences. The only reason why he gives us commandments is to preserve us and help us succeed and avoid misery. It is and never was about power and control or else God would have had something better to do than create us and put us here. It would not have been in His own self-interests. In knowing the reason for God and what He does, all we need to do is apply (in this instance and not all others) a little bit of logic and truly ponder and think about it. He LIVES and this is a fact just as Gravity is a fact that we can't choose to believe or not, if we jump up we're going to come back down. Never stop studying! The more you learn about the truth and reality the more excited it will become to you.