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This Little Church in the WIlderness

February 10, 2014
Hi all!
Synopsis for Davis: missionary work is the BEST. You should do it. It makes you happy.  And I only heard one mouse all week. 
The rest of things for everyone else:
Firstly, I got this fabulous picture in my inbox from my MJ and there are all these people I love in it and it made me VERY HAPPY!  I’m still smiling.  Thanks for writing me with my family–you guys are the best!  Seriously, how do I always luck out to no end?  Thinking about people I love makes me really happy.  And there are a lot of those people.  I get to serve around many of them.  So I’m usually pretty happy.
Big news of the week:
On Monday/Tuesday we had exchanges with the Cameron sisters–Sister Moody and Sister Costello.  Sister Moody and I were MTC buddies and it was super fun to go live in her space and work in her area for the day.  Sister Costello came out with S. Bowden and she and I have almost identical pre-mission life stories, so that was cool.  Miracles happen on exchange days.  Almost all the appointments fell thru, but we found some good people and had some powerful lessons. 
Wednesday’s miracle was a beautiful thing.  Wednesday means district meeting which means 3 hours in the car and not much area time.  So the Lord blessed us with 2 new investigators!  We were having dinner with a member and her nonmember grandson and his wife and baby showed up.  We got to talking and they’re looking for a church.  We stoked about them. =)
On Thursday I got to join in on a conference call President Keyes set up with some of the sisters in the mission.  He quoted King Benjamin and told us that he had not called us to “trifle” with the things he had to tell us.  In less than 2 weeks, eight of the best sister missionaries ever are going home.  That’s the largest group to leave the mission at once.  And when they leave, 18 sisters are coming to this mission.  That’s the largest group to ever come at once.  In less than 2 weeks, the number of sisters in the MIM will jump from 70 to 80.  And of the 40 companionships of sisters, 30 will be involved at one point or another in the 12 week program.  Our mission is SO YOUNG!  30 of our soon to be 80 sisters are in their first 12 weeks.  President told us it’s a critical time for sisters in the mission and emphasized the importance of us who are a little older in the mission to be good examples.  I just got here!  And “the greats” of sisters here in the mission are going home–it’s crazy! Probably doesn’t mean as much to you, but that conf. call was a highlight of the week.
My poor companion has been sick for pretty much a month off and on.  She got whomped with stomach flu so we’ve been mostly housebound for the past few days. Last time she was really sick, I went stir crazy and drove myself insane trying to figure out how to fulfill my purpose while still taking care of my companion while not leaving our apartment.  This time, I’ve been less frenetic and actually gotten some very uplifting and refreshing studies.  I’ve had opportunities to develop patience.
Here’s far and away the best part of my week: sacrament meeting!!!  Since S. Bowden is super sick, we only went to sacrament meeting.  And since the Lord loves me, He packed that meeting so full of joy and the Spirit that I felt completely full afterwards.  We haven’t had any of our investigators come to church in 7 weeks.  We’ve invited 12-20 people every week, made phone calls to no end, invited members to invite our investigators to church, and for 7 weeks no one has come.  This week, all of that changed!!!  Two wonderful children of God whom I have had the privilege of teaching the gospel came to sacrament meeting!!!  Jesse came with his family and Gypsy (I don’t know her real name, but she’s getting baptized in 3 weeks) came with Sister Francom.  And I got to lead the music so I could look at the congregation and just beam at everyone the whole time.  I couldn’t even sing half the time because I was so overwhelmed with love and joy.  Joy not only that our investigators had come, but joy for the less active members who I’ve never seen at church before, joy for the active members who have been sick for a few weeks and for those who have been out of town for a few weeks, SO MUCH JOY!  I know every single person’s name in that congregation.  I know most of their backstories and struggles and triumphs and their families.  I’ve been to most of their homes. I’ve prayed for all of them.  And they were there!  There were some who weren’t there, so I know there’s more joy to be felt, but for me things reached a new high.  I’ve been reading Our Heritage (with a sick companion I’ve been reading just about everything in the missionary library) and I found this quote by Parley P. Pratt.  It rings true for me and the Albany branch, too.
“There was a spirit of peace and union, and love and goodwill manifested in this little Church in the wilderness, the memory of which will be ever dear to my heart.”
The Church is true.  Wherever it is, however big or small it is, whoever has been called and entrusted to lead it, the Church is true.  And it’s true because it has the power of God on earth to teach the doctrines of the everlasting gospel, to perform sacred ordinances, and to bind us by covenant to our Savior and our Heavenly Father.  It’s true.  It matters. It’s worth it.
I love you all!
your humble servant and never deviating friend,
Sister Rackham

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