From Ryan (from a church news article, I believe):
"As Church leaders had anticipated when the change was announced, the number of individuals who have begun the missionary application process has increased significantly. Typically approximately 700 new applications are started each week. The last two weeks that number has increased to approximately 4,000 per week. Slightly more than half of the applicants are women."
Last week the church received 7000 completed applications! Can you believe that!
From President Hall:
I know that this is the time that that the Lord will hasten his work. We found out this week that the approved number of missionaries for our mission has immediately been increased from 190 to 250! In fact, all missions in California have had their missionary complement increased to 250 young missionaries! So amazing!! Some 18 year old men and 19 year old women have already received their calls and we could begin to see some of them arrive in the next transfer or two!Elder Marcus A . Aidukaitis of the Seventy told us this past week that the average for missionary applications per week had been averaging 300 per week and there were 4500 the first week after General Conference,4700 the second week and another 2700 half way through the third week!! Instead of about a thousand applications since Conference, there probably have been close to 14,000!! Now that is a true “hastening of the work!”
Isn't that so great?! This work is so cool!!!
Mom, I forgot to say thanks for the package I got last week with the small Spanish Preach My Gospel. It is perfect! I can just keep it in my backpack all the time :) Also, I got the beautiful New Mexico stamps this week. Thanks!! You are so great!!!
Basically life is continuing to be great. Yesterday we had stake conference and we had two people from the 70s come up to talk. It was cool when they talked because they had a translator and I understood what was said both in English and in Spanish. Ha-ha! But they were there because the stake got a new presidency. The meeting was so great, though! Like you could feel the spirit so incredibly strong. President Hall was also there and he gave a great talk on missionary work in Spanish (I always love hearing his talks--you can get so inspired to do and be so much better in everything. I think my favorite parts, though, were when Sister Hall gave a 2 minute testimony in Spanish (she knows almost no Spanish) and also when the last speaker of the 70 came up after his talk he had the translator sit down so he could try to bear a testimony in Spanish as well. Both of those were so simple as far as the vocabulary they used, but the spirit was so strong in the entire room. It literally didn't matter what they said. It was how they said it and that they spoke with the spirit and they really meant it. It was so beautiful to see and it helps testify to me that I don't have to speak perfect Spanish at all. The language is just a tool. Having the spirit is what is important.
We now have a grand total of 9 baptism dates!! Isn't that so great?! We got two more this week. One was with Marvin, a teenager who I found out by Hna Hansen this week isn't a member but his mom is a somewhat recent convert. But he's been going to church for a long time, he just hasn't been baptized. So we're on it now haha!
The other is Hermana Yengle, or Mayra, who is the one who had the baby super early. She's had some pretty spiritually intense experiences since the baby was born like 2 or 3 months ago. The baby is still in the hospital until the end of November (because that would have been his due date). But many things have happened. For instance the baby, Ethan, has gotten sick several times while at the hospital. The most recent time he was very bad and the doctors were talking about him like he was already dead saying things like "I'm so sorry" etc. His skin was grey and his ventilator had to do 100% of the work. Well her husband is a member and he called up people from the ward to come over to give Ethan a priesthood blessing. They said that a half an hour after he got the blessing Ethan was already so much better. His ventilator went down to 40% and continued to decline until now he doesn't even need it. He now can be in an open crib rather than his incubator. That experience was so powerful for Mayra that she can't help but cry when telling us about it. We taught her a lesson on the Restoration emphasizing at every step about what the priesthood is and what it all means. She said she felt like it was exactly what she needed to hear right then. It was exactly what she had questions about and we were able to answer them all. She accepted the baptism date.
It is crazy that events like that just keep happening to us. We are so blessed and I believe as we are continually trying to become better teachers, become better people, become better companions, listen to the spirit better, love people more, et cetera that God really is blessing us left and right. We were looking at our schedule and we might have to do splits this week because it already looks extremely full with all the people we need to visit and all the appointments we have. I'll have to tell you about how that goes if it ends up happening.
I finished going through the Preach My Gospel section on Faith, so now I'm onto hope. So your quick spiritual thought on hope for today...Scriptures and Preach My Gospel kept on saying things like how hope is "an anchor to the soul." So I was trying to figure out what that might mean. I mean I guess I kind of get the theory, but I have never seen the ocean. I am pretty sure I've never seen a boat big enough that it needs an anchor. So it doesn't mean anything to me. But I do understand kites. And I got to thinking about it and it is like hope is that person at the bottom of a kite who holds onto the kite no matter how hard the winds blow. Really, because of that person, or because of hope, you're able to have that anchor to the ground so you don't have to worry about floating away. With that hope you can resist the worst winds that come at you. In fact, with that hope you can fly! With that hope, it doesn't matter how harsh the winds are... bring it on... the more opposition the better you can fly! That is what hope is about. It is being able to keep the positive attitude and continue to do good no matter what the circumstances are. It is keeping that hope because you know what the outcome will be. It is always remembering that eternal perspective and how small the little day to day battles really are in the grand scheme of things. It is remembering the things that are most important in life regardless of the circumstances. (Another analogy that works too is us surfing the canal in Idaho every summer by hooking the board to the bridge. that rope and bridge create the circumstances that make it so you can ride on top of the water because you're letting the resistance flow under you even to the point that you're like standing on water haha!)
Anyway, that is all for this week. I sent some e-mails of some pictures from the last week or two, especially the hike we went on early this morning. I hope you enjoy them! Oh, I don't know if I've told you, but somehow I've also convinced Hermana Hansen to go running with me like 3 days a week! It is so great! And an elder in the district is also working on getting me a copy of the Insanity workout dvds. I'm so excited for them! But thanks for the yoga dvd a few weeks ago. We love doing that sometimes in the morning and sometimes before we go to bed.
You all are the best! I hope you have a fantastic week!