Well, it's been an awesome slash very sad week here in the Spokane Valley. I'll get the sad part over with first.
After setting a baptismal date for July 28 and getting so ready and so excited about the gospel, Hermana Ramirez left Washington! I realize I haven't talked about her very much, so you don't know much about her, but along with Steve, she has been our most commited, prepared investigator and I seriously love her like my own grandmother. I taught her on my very first day in the field and have been teaching her ever since, and it's incredible how close we have grown, despite our slight language barrier. She was visiting her daughter's family for six months and was supposed to be here until September, but some family problems arose, and we got a call Sunday morning saying that Hermana Ramirez would be flying back to Columbia on Monday morning.
So last night we went to see her, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Sister Ruiz and I just sat on either side of her on the couch and cried and cried. But I have seen how she's grown and I've seen her faith, and there is no doubt in mind that she will be baptized in Columbia. And we got her address and are calling in the referral to the Columbian mission today, so she doesn't have much of a choice about seeing the missionaries again! :) I will miss her alot, but thankfully, even though we had a really good relationship with her, her relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus is even stronger, so she's going to be just fine.
In other news, I can't believe I haven't told you about Angelica!! Angelica is a sassy, strong-willed girl (I guess she's actually like 30 but she seems super young) who just moved in with her mom and her mom became a member of the church about five years ago. The missionaries started working with Angelica in March, but she has had a lot of hard things to work through and has been moving very slowly. Ever since I've been in Washington we've taught her and it's been a very slow process, sometimes with two or three weeks of not being able to make any contact.
But about three weeks ago we visited her after about a two week hiatus, and she was a changed girl. She told us that she had been praying and reading the Book of Mormon which is HUGE for her, and she just had this calm, happy spirit about her. She has plenty in her life to make her frenzied and unhappy, but turning to her Heavenly Father and His words in the scriptures has made a change in her and it's absolutely beautiful. So a week ago at church, she came up to us and asked, "When can I get baptized?" We were sooo excited and she is getting baptized this Saturday! I will send you pictures and tell you more about Angelica in the next letter.
This week I have really been learning alot about the power of the Book of Mormon. This book is seriously amazing guys. And I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for giving me some recent experiences with the Book of Mormon because, to be perfectly honest, it has never been one of the strongest parts of my testimony. I've just never been super fired up about the Book of Mormon. So I've had to go through some spiritually humbling experiences in the past two weeks to recognize my weaknesses in this area. But just like it says in the Joseph Smith movie, "sometimes the Lord lets us fall so He can lift us higher." That is exactly what has happened with me and the Book of Mormon, and now I am on this upward climb to nourish a real, burning testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and I have this crazy love for the book. Fam, read and pray about the Book of Mormon every day, even if you just read two verses. Read and pray about it every day, and miracles will happen because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be in your life. That's what I promise our investigators and I'm promising you! It's the coolest thing ever!
Man, sorry for getting on my soap box for a minute there. I love you all so much, and knowing of your support and your goodness gives me so much strength and happiness. I love being a missionary! Have a wonderful week fam!