I hope this email finds you all well. I am doing so great! I loved General Conference this weekend, I am so pumped to keep going hard and spreading the joyful message of this gospel. Also, I was SO excited to find out that there will be a temple in Saratoga Springs!!! I did a miniature freakout in the chapel where we were watching conference, and everyone looked at me weird, but I was so excited! I cannot wait to see it finished and to be able to go inside someday! Yay for the faithful saints back in Saratoga :)!
We were a little worried because we didn't have any more investigators to work with after Angela's baptism, but apparently we had nothing to worry about because on Monday night we went out and found 3 new investigators in the short 3 hours we have to proselyte after P-Day! We were so excited. Total this week we found 6, but unfortunately all of them have dropped off by now, except Jose.
We met Jose while knocking, he is an old man from Cuba, and he is very sweet. He has Alzheimer's, has suffered from 2 strokes recently that have made him blind in one eye and mostly blind in the other, and he has had all of his furniture repossessed so he lives in a pretty much empty little apartment. Yet, he still has so much faith and love for God. That is one of my favorite things about the mission, is getting to see people that are going through such hard things, but they have not lost their faith. I don't think that we will be able to keep teaching him because his Alzheimer's makes it difficult for him to remember previous lessons, and he doesn't have a phone, and he is possibly moving to Orlando, but he is an amazing example of faith. We brought our crazy 72 year old Cuban ward mission leader to one of our lessons this week, and the two of them are practically best friends now, so that was awesome!
Other highlights from the week were that we were able to go help a member in our ward clean her house. She has 4 little kids, and when we showed up her house was nearly unlivable with clothes all over the place, food/drink spills everywhere, and garbage littering the floor. An hour and a half later Sister Carling and I felt pretty accomplished as the house looked a lot better! I love doing that kind of service, plus an extra bonus was that she made us BLTs for lunch, so hey, it doesn't get much better than that!
Another highlight from the week was on Saturday night after conference we went to visit a recent convert named Maria Medina. She is kind of grumpy old lady at first, but once you get to know her she is the sweetest thing on the planet, and I love her, and also she makes the best flan of all time. We had dinner with her, and afterwards we were just talking. She doesn't usually open up to us very much, but that night she expressed some doubts that she was having about the Prophet Joseph Smith. We listened, and after she had finished speaking I was racking my brain trying so hard to think of what Heavenly Father would have us say. Nothing was coming to mind, so I just decided to bear my testimony. I told her about how I gained my own testimony of the Book of Mormon through study and prayer, and how this helped me to plant the seed of my testimony about the prophet Joseph Smith, which has since grown. Sister Carling also shared her testimony, and the spirit was very strong. By the time we had left, she was feeling much better, and she really appreciated the visit. We will definitely be visiting her more frequently this week to try to help her work through her doubts.
One of my favorite visits of the whole week was when we went to visit Angela after General Conference. She had been very busy all weekend, so we weren't able to see her until Sunday night after conference. She was so excited to tell us about all of the things that she'd learned. She had taken 6 pages of notes on the first two sessions alone. She raved about how humble the prophet was, and about how beautiful the music was, and how many people there were in the conference center. She also couldn't believe that there are 155 temples around the world, she was so excited. She was also telling us about how she had visited another church for a Women's Conference with her son's girlfriend's mother. She told us "I just didn't feel the same. I never want to go back!" She is doing so well. She also showed her son Carlos a little bit of general conference, and she said he seemed pretty interested. We are going to start teaching him this week and we are so excited! Another awesome thing about Angela is that we took her to visit Sister Robinson, a little black lady from our ward who was also raised Baptist. The two of them hit it off so well, we literally didn't even say anything for the whole lesson. The two of them just talked about God and their "journey to find the truth." Next thing we know, a few days later we get a call from Angela who told us she had just finished taking Sister Robinson (who can't drive due to a recent surgery) to the grocery store, after which she had raked her front yard, and cleaned her house. Angela is so awesome! She loves to serve people, and she told us "I can feel myself changing, ever since you knocked on my door." So cool!
Just a quick thought that I loved from General Conference. The whole conference seemed to themed on focusing ourselves more on Jesus Christ. So many of the talks were about how it is only Jesus Christ that can bring us peace, hope, and happiness in the hard times, but also in the good times. I know that is true. I feel so grateful for Him. One of my favorite talks was about "looking up" to Christ, instead of looking around. Rather than focusing on what other people think, or what the world is doing, as long as we keep our focus pointed on Christ everything will work out! I hope that everyone has a great week!
Love, Hermana Monson