Hello hello everyone! I have had an incredible week, all over the state! We had a training meeting on Thursday, so Sister Kurtz and I drove down there on Wednesday night with the Summit sister missionaries and stayed in Concord, NC with the sister missionaries there. Then on our drive back, we did an exchange with the Summit Sisters. This means we traded companions for a day. I stayed in Greensboro (Summit area) with Sister Albertson, and Sister Kurtz when back to Eden with Sister Tanner. Greensboro is BEAUTIFUL! I loved the time I was able to spend there. We met so many good people! Sister Albertson and Sister Tanner actually opened the area, which means there were not sister missionaries there before, so they are trying to get to know all the ward members and the people in the neighborhoods. It was a great experience, but I think the greatest thing I learned was how amazing my companion is!!! My love for her has grown so much as I have seen how much she has taught me. Sister Albertson has only been out 5 weeks longer than me, so she is still learning too, but I feel like my trainer is probably the greatest trainer in the mission. I will definitely miss her when she goes home in 15 days. FIFTEEN DAYS! AAAHHH!! She is getting a little "trunky," but she is still doing such a great job!
Okay, I have a story for you. I've had a lot of great experiences this week, but I only have time for one story. Sorry! Anyway, this 20-year old guy called us on Thursday night. He didn't leave a message, but we called back since we missed the call. His mom and step-dad are in the ward here in Eden. When he was in high school, he was a great member of the church. He went to four years of EFY, graduated from seminary, baptized his step-dad, went on teams with the missionaries, etc. When he went to college, he said he decided to try out life away from the church. The funny thing is, all the friends he made were strong Christians and good people. He began attending other churches, went on a week-long service mission, studied The Bible like he never had before, etc. Well, he stopped reading The Book of Mormon and began telling people he was no longer a Mormon. Long story short, over the past few weeks, he has begun to question what he has been doing over the past few years, which is why he called us. We know his mom pretty well, so we know she's been a little concerned about him. She knows he is doing great things, but she knows that he can't find all the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these other churches. Anyway, we set up a time to meet with him on Saturday with his mom and step-dad. It was incredible!!! He just started talking and we just let him talk for about 40 minutes. He pretty much figured everything out on his own just by talking it out. We did talk to him and answer a lot of his questions afterwards, but really, I think he just needed to vocalize his thoughts before he could figure out what he needed to. We helped him realize that he definitely still has a strong testimony of the Gospel, he knows The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We explained the Atonement of Jesus Christ to him and I think that was one of his biggest concerns about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He grew up believing that we thought that we were saved by works and not by grace. As he has studied these other religions, he no longer believes that. Some other churches believe that we are saved by grace alone, but he didn't believe that either. I believe he found a different church that believes we are saved by grace and works. We told him what our Church believes and helped him see that we ultimately are saved by grace, but that our works also play a part. I told him that I used to believe the same way he did (that the Church believes we are saved by works alone), but that I had come to find what our Church teaches; what the scriptures teach us. Do you remember when I gave my farewell talk in the Mitchell Ward? I said that I used to believe the Atonement was like me carrying a load of laundry from the dryer to the couch. The symbolism was that I would be saved if I could get the entire load to the couch in one try. I thought that the Savior, Jesus Christ, would just pick up the few pieces that I dropped. As I studied the scriptures and continued to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I found that that was completely wrong! Jesus Christ paid the full price! He carried the full "load of laundry!" He just asks that we follow Him and His example in order to be saved. We must do the things He has instructed us to do through the Scriptures and through the Prophet. We must come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and allow Him to heal us from our sins. After sharing those thoughts, we compared the Atonement to the analogy of the mother paying for piano lessons for her child. She paid the full price for the lessons. She does not expect her child to pay her back in cash. She expects her child to practice and learn how to play the piano. That is how the child can attempt to "repay" the mother. Anyway, this 20-year old kid came to church yesterday and I feel like he is figuring out what he needs to do. He knows that the priesthood authority is back on the Earth and that it was given to Joseph Smith. I have high hopes for him, and I'm hoping he decides to serve a mission. We committed him to begin studying The Book of Mormon again to help him regain and strengthen his testimony. It was a wonderful experience!!! His mother was so grateful for the time we spent with him, but like we told her, he was pretty much teaching himself. As he talked to us, he realized what he knew was true.
Okay, I'm sorry I don't have time to write more! My zone is getting together to go to the Natural Science Center in Greensboro today. I love you all!!
Love, Sister Hudson