Yes, things continue to "explode" in Maricopa!! Maybe a better word to use would be "increase" or "progress". There are so many people who literally are waiting around for the truth to be delivered to them because they have searched and searched and haven't yet found it. So when two young missionaries meet them on the street and share the truth with them they are ready to listen. Or, when a friendly neighbor invites them to partake of the joy of the gospel with them, they don't refuse. Sometimes we call Maricopa "MiracleCopa".
The second best experience this week was helping a family commit to live the Word of Wisdom. There were smoking problems and alcohol problems that none of the victims wanted to participate in but had become so dependent they could not overcome the addictions by themselves. This week we stripped the gospel down to the basics and focused on Faith in Jesus Christ unto freedom. As they studied the scriptures and prayed and allowed Christ further into their lives, they were ready this weekend to dump the alcohol down the drain and hand over their packs of cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters. So far they are doing AWESOME! We also had them sign a paper titled, "Declaration of Independence" which talks about independence from addiction. It was awesome to see how happy they were to give it all up and then feel the spirit confirm the decision was right in God's eyes. The whole family came to church this week which was really exciting for the ward and it was fun for us to introduce them to everyone.
My testimony of Jesus Christ continues to grow. Preach My Gospel has a chapter dedicated to Christ-Like attributes and how we can acquire them and I've made it a focus to work on them. As I've done this I have developed a greater relationship with Him. I look at Him as my teacher and example and the more I grow the more I recognize the need for improvement.
Earlier I paraphrased my story by calling it the second best experience of the week. That is because the best experience was talking to my Mom, Dad, and WONDERFUL sister Emily!!! It was great to see their faces on skype and catch up!! They looked amazing even though they seemed tired and VERY hungry (due to an awesomely extreme diet!). I love my family so much!
Love Elder Janis