Living with the sisters has been going pretty well. We're all getting along much better and our stuff fits. We have the kitchen all worked out and it's just good. I like it here. I've thought a lot about my purpose this week. I'm trying to remember to be a missionary and not a friend of the YSA. I know they'll always be my friends, but now is the time to help them spiritually and set an example. It's hard, but the blessings are so worth it!
Richard changed. I feel he deserves his own paragraph. He's always been back and forth.. But this week, something clicked. He switched! You can see it in his countenance, feel it, hear it... He's been change by the gospel. He loves it and he knows it is true. Richard is getting baptized on Saturday and will most likely be able to go on the temple trip the following Saturday. It's going to be fun to teach him to be quiet in the temple.. He often blurts out during Sacrament meeting haha. Richard has endured some pretty incredible trials this week. I'll tell y'all about it.
Monday: FHE was just a bunch of games we did to try to keep them entertained haha... It was stressful because none of the military guys would listen. After, we all went outside to play a game, and it involved flour. This was Austin N's idea. At the end Austin N. soaked Austin S. with water and then we all threw flour on him - haha it was our goodbye gift.
Austin S. covered in flour.....darn him for moving!
Tuesday: We taught Calvin and he is doing good! He hasn't found an answer yet... So that's frustrating. His baptism date passed and he has worked on Sundays. I feel like he's just kind of idle right now. He feels the spirit but we only see him once or twice a week and so that doesn't really help. Hopefully he can come to more activities and church to get that testimony going! We also met up with Sinclair, one of the YSA's. I love her! She went through the temple Saturday. She said she loved it! She is struggling because she just got called as a Primary teacher in her home ward. Our stake President says that's a no no. YSA shouldn't have callings because they need to be in YSA. So he's going to work on releasing her so she can come to YSA. We also saw Richard this day. He's been living the Word of Wisdom and just doing good! We went over the Law of Chastity and he accepts it no problem! We also talked about the Prophet and he hasn't stopped talking about all the videos about "Thomas M. Swanson" haha he can't get it right. We also went over the baptism interview questions. He is doing so good. We also saw Gwen and Asia for a brief moment. Gwen is avoiding us and being awkward. When we see her she tells us how busy she's been...Even though we know she's home because we know her car. No progress there! Lastly we went tracting. I have been wanting to go tracting for the last FOREVER but due to busy plans, we haven't. So finally, I turned to my companion and said "We're going tracting today." We did that for the last hour of the night at our new complex. As we were getting supplies I said a prayer in my heart "Heavenly Father, I KNOW someone is prepared. And I know they're here. Please help me have the faith to find them and not worry about time." We started and we found 4 people who were interested, AND one of them was a YSA girl!!!! Her name is Laken. We need YSA and we need girls! Miracle! She used to be really involved with activities at her home church. She's so sweet and wants to come to activities. Also, one guy answered the door and he was not interested at all. He slammed the door and a few seconds later opened it, asked what church we were from, and slammed it again. As we were getting out of the car that night he pulls up and asks for a business card. We live a few rows over from him. We gave him a pass along card and I went inside and did my happy miracle dance! My companion thought it was a little creepy... And when I think about it, it is pretty creepy. But maybe he's super interested and Heavenly Father made him track us down!! Either way.. Haha tracting was a success and I now see the promise working. I hope we can tract every day this week and see even more miracles!
Wednesday: We taught Calvin again and tried to help him see that he has found what he's looking for! We read Mosiah 2-5 and talked about the commandments, including baptism. We didn't commit him to a date but he wants to be baptized by the right authority. He said he might be able to come to church but he didn't show up... Goodness. I don't know what to do for him! We also taught Richard again. He is... Ah! Amazing! He loves watching Mormon messages and reading handbooks and pamphlets and Preach My Gospel. He is also reading the Book of Mormon and taking notes (which is just copying down the scriptures he likes.) But he's making so much progress and he just smiles all the time! Lastly we had Institute. We were all taking loads of pictures at the end. Oh and a member named Donovan came with his nonmember friend Matthew. Donovan had no clue about the YSA! He came to sports night and to church. He's going to be a great support! Matthew is semi interested. He asked about something in class and it ended up being us teaching about the Book of Mormon right in class and giving him one. We're meeting with him on Tuesday.
Being silly after Institute.
Thursday: What a day! We taught Richard about tithing with Annalee there. She loves his crazy comments. He understands and is so ready for it! He already has tithing ready to pay once he gets baptized! We then went to dinner at a members home and I learned that cooked squash is actually really good. At sports night, we were all standing outside and Richard had been in his suit when it rained so he was soaked. J. made fun of him and ripped off his bow tie and told him he looked stupid for having a pink shirt underneath his white one and that he shouldn't wear a suit to sports. Richard went in the church and sat down and cried. He felt so bullied and attacked. J. just has a thick head and doesn't get it. Richard was so sad and heartbroken! We tried to talk him into playing volleyball but he just wanted to pray and read the Book of Mormon. J. wanted to talk to him and I think it went okay, but J. couldn't lower his pride to just apologize. Richard said he wasn't going to fight back. He just wanted to follow Christ. That right there is someone who has changed. Someone who knows Christ. J. is angry that we took Richards side. He yelled at me later and texted us and said "You're crippling that kid." Oh well J., get over it. But Richard followed Christ and became stronger. He recognized that as a temptation from Satan because he didn't want to come to church, but he did and He listened to J's lesson.
Richard, soaked to the skin in his nice suit.
Friday: We taught Amanda. She still wants baptism but she's super busy. So we're still working with her. Gwen dropped us. She couldn't even say it to our face. We had an appointment and she left a note on the door saying she couldn't believe only one church was right. Couldn't she have told us this 3 weeks ago? And
to our face? Goodness. I studied a section the next day in Preach My Gospel about no effort being wasted. It says "you have raised a voice of warning." That's what we did. It's so sad. But we did what we could and people have heir agency.
Saturday: Daniel, from my first area in Nashville, took us to lunch at Texas Roadhouse (Woo Hoo) for a belated birthday lunch. Then Daniel took us and the elders to Mt. Juliet for a baptism. There were so many missionaries there. But it was so special! The guy got baptized in a lake! He wanted it done just like Jesus. The spirit was incredible. I think that's the best baptism I've ever been to!
Too many missionaries in the car.
Sunday: The Frogues took us to church. Richard went up to J. before Sunday school and said "Hey man, I forgive you for Thursday." And reached out to shake his hand. The whole class was watching. J. looked discussed and said "Go sit down!" Whoa. Then he gave a lesson on service... J. maybe you should practice what you preach! I don't know why he's so mad, but he'll need a long time to cool off.
This week was full of challenges, rearrangements, and miracles. I saw The Lord just working through us this week and I want to be better this week so He can use me as a better instrument. I love this gospel so much! It's all I live for. I wish others would jump at the opportunity to hear about it. It's that good.
I love my mission. I never want it to end. You know that. I don't want to go home, I don't want to quit. Why couldn't I love my mission at the beginning? Man.. I wasted so much time... I still have 7 1/2 months though. You bet your bottom I'm going to work hard and live it up. Thank you for pushing me to become the person you know I can be. It's been a blessing. I hope you have a good week! I love y'all.
The Vision of the South
Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir men's souls. This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together. There are great hosts of marvelous Baptists, members of the Church of Christ, Methodists and Catholics who are honorable people and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love Him. As they see their church veering off to the right or to the left, they will begin to search for truth, and as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands, in your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be temples plural in the South states. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people. The missionaries love the South. We are making great strides and expect to continue. ~President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone~
Cool huh? I like it. We repeat it every morning.