Our Tuesday devotional was by Elder Holland (WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! A recording from May, guys--don't get too excited). And of course, it was really powerful. I had been feeling pretty 'bleh' spiritually, because it is really challenging to forget yourself and go to work. That morning, EVERYTHING was ticking me off, and then I heard that the video was of Elder Holland, and I was like, "Well, here comes the intervention." He talked about how the mission should mean everything to you. And that doesn't come cheaply. He said that he had pondered all his life about why missionary work is so hard, and the only answer he is satisfied with is that the mission of the Savior was never easy for Him (and then I started bawling). I think this applies to life and living the gospel too. The Savior atoned for our sins and experienced all the pains of mortality for us--if we are going to unite with Him in doing His work, it can never be easy. He can ease the way for us, and send the Comforter, but applying the Atonement in our lives requires work. And if we are inviting others to apply the Atonement in their lives, we better have done it ourselves. That's what I'm working on most--my relationship with Jesus Christ. It all comes down to that. If I am testifying that this is Christ's church, and that faith+repentance+baptism+gift of the Holy Ghost+enduring to the end is what you have to do to go home to God, and I need to be living those principles 100% That is how I have the Spirit with me while I teach, and that is how people gain a testimony. Elder Holland also talked about how hoping that someone is going to attend church is not missionary work. You have to be with them, helping them make the steps every moment. They can choose not to take those steps, but you can't leave it up to chance. He talked about how we need to stop talking about getting back to "real-life" when we are home from our mission, because the salvation of God's children is as real as it gets. We need to be truly converted on our mission. If we fall away after our mission, what does that say about our capacity to teach while we were there? There was so much in that talk, and our district discussion was really good afterward.
Happy news, happy news! Hermana Hardy and I had our first 'investigator' commit to baptism!!!! I almost started crying, and it wasn't even real. We continue to improve in our teaching, but we still have a looooooong way to go. Learning Spanish is key, I need to nail down those pesky verb tenses. Also, we got to do initiatories in the temple today, which I love, and the temple worker ladies are so sweet. One of them kept calling Hermana Hardy and I "Hermanita linda" and hugging us, and kissing our heads every time we went by. I feel lots of love here, so don't worry about that :)
Love you all and pray for you,
P.S. Erika Tenney: your cousin left for the field about 2 weeks ago. I talked to him maybe two-ish times, but I heard that he did an impressive rain dance for his district one day :)