Did you know that in Central America they don't celebrate Halloween because of superstitions about witches? Last year, the little primary kids dressed up in costumes for the ward activity of the week and some lady got really offended, saying "What kind of Christians are you that you celebrate this pagan holiday?" Oops... Good thing she doesn't live in the States!
It's been such a good week. I feel like every week has challenges, but this week, I just feel grateful for all our blessings. We're always working on finding prepared people and not wasting time on people that aren't ready to accept the Gospel/who don't want to change their lives/who don't want to investigate. There's a reason we use the word "investigators" when talking about the people we teach...because those that really want to find out for themselves (aka investigate the church) are those that we want to focus on. And this past week, we've found a lot of such people.
Another blessing. We're always struggling to help investigators come to church, and this week was no exception. But as we left the house, in spite of the fact, that we only had one confirmed to go to church, I felt an assurance that there would be more. Imagine my surprise when we passed by the house of our investigator, and she wasn't even there! But the Lord works in many ways, and it turns out, one of her neighbors, who we had invited earlier in the week, was in that very moment getting ready to go to church with us! We went and knocked on his door, and there he was, ready to go! (in the end, the investigator ended up going to church with her member friend...so all worked out well!)
Yesterday, I had a wonderful spiritual experience during the sacrament. This past general conference, there was a focus on how we can better take advantage of this weekly ordinance, and I love an experience Cheryl A Esplin shared about a woman who tried to do a self-evaluation every week during the sacrament: that, by focusing on her sins and repenting, "she began to feel gloomy and pessimistic. She could see that she was making the same errors over and over again, week to week. But then she had a distinct impression that she was neglecting a big part of the Atonement—Christ’s enabling power. She was forgetting all the times the Savior helped her be who she needed to be and serve beyond her own capacity."
I know that Jesus' Atonement has allowed me to "find strength beyond [my] own" (Hymn 220). I have felt this many times this week. God loves us so much that he gives us experiences that will help us grow, and he has also given us the Atonement so that when we ask for help, it is abundantly given us. May we all in this week use this marvelous gift. Let's not, as I sometimes have done, get bogged down in our own errors or feelings of inadequacy, but rather remember that weak things can be made strong through the grace of Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful week! I love you all!