So this week was pretty great. We started it off with exchanges in KIRKLAND, my last area. It was so fun! I got to spend the day with Sister Thomas. Love her! It was strange to be back. I knew the members that came with us to lessons but I didn't know the people we taught, and driving their car to the apartment without Sister Schuerch was really weird. I've never had the experience of having two different companions in the same area, so in my mind each area is inseparably linked with the companion I had when I was there. So yeah, it was weird. But awesome.
Another highlight from this week was meeting with a new investigator! Well, new to us. He's a former investigator that was recently picked up by another team of elders before they got flushed out of the ward and we took over their area. He's so cool! He's in his 60s and is a really good pianist. Something Sister Clement and I have been focusing on as a result of our zone training meeting a while back is 1) having a vision of what we can accomplish and what our message can do for those we teach, and 2) helping others catch this vision, which gives them the motivation and desire they need to repent and progress. So with this man. that's what we did. And it was crazy to see how well it worked! We sat there and testified of God's love for him and promised him blessings that we know come from accepting the restored gospel, including eventual salvation and exaltation. As we did so, we saw his face lighting up, and he eagerly began asking, "Okay - so, how does this work? What do you want me to do - should I read? Or -" and we were able to explain that finding out if this message is true and being baptized would take time and effort. He would need to meet with us 2 or 3 times a week, read and pray daily, and attend church. And he was excited about it! Do you know how often that happens? Almost never. It was so great!
We also had stake conference this weekend. I loved it! We heard from President and Sister Patrick, a recent convert, a YSA, and a couple of other members. I especially liked a story shared by a woman in our ward. She and her family recently moved to Montreal from Newfoundland in order to get more intensive health care after she was diagnosed with cancer. More difficult than the cancer though, was the effects the move had had on her children. One of her teenage sons had decided he didn't like anything about Quebec, and every day he asked if he could stay home from school. At break, he would text and ask to come home at lunch. At lunch, he texts to ask to come home now. Every day. Someone in the ward invited him to a leadership camp (or something like that) to see if it would help him break out of his shell. the first day there, he texted his parents, asking to come home because he didn't like it. His mom remembered an earlier time when one of her other sons had felt very out of place at a youth conference in Newfoundland until a sweet 17-year-old girl named Jay befriended him. She prayed that the Lord would send her son someone like Jay. The second day of the camp, they didn't hear from him. they thought his phone must be lost or broken. But in the evening, they texted him to see if everything was okay. He replied, "Yeah, I have a new bestie! Her name is Jay." Prayer answered.
When I heard this story, I couldn't help but think that Jay, whoever she is, probably had to go out of her way. It probably wasn't her first choice to hang out with someone with a negative attitude who didn't want to be there. But she did it anyway. And that boy's parents were so grateful. It reminded me that no matter who it is, behind each person we see there are loving parents who want the best for their child. They pray for them, and hope that someone will come along who can make them feel loved, valued, and welcome. Whether those parents are here or on the other side of the veil, or whether the only "loving" parents this person has are their Heavenly Parents, it doesn't matter. Every effort we make to love one of God's children will be worth it.