The work here is going so well. We have found another person that wants to get baptized. This has been so busy. I love this area. I feel a deep and special connection with all of my investigators. I have never related so well with my investigators as I have in this area. When you combine my connections with Elder Denton’s skills in utilizing the members it become a dream situation. I am happy the ward is welcoming our investigators.
I’d like to share a story this week which demonstrates our ability to reach and connect with our investigators. We go and teach this man named Mike on Saturday. He has come to church twice before this visit. It was always because we committed him to do it, more like an obligation rather than desire. Elder Denton and I were talking about the lesson before hand in the car. The last couple of times, it seemed like we were teaching lessons not teaching him. We both agreed that we didn’t really know too well. So we spent the first half hour getting to know him. He soon revealed his concerns and we able to teach accordingly. We left him with a commitment to read and pray about the Book of Mormon daily, which he gladly accepted. Then we extended a church invite, instead of commitment. He was there early the next morning. We are going to teach him more often. The members invited him to a service project, which he said he would love to go to. It is a huge blessing.
This past week flew by. I cant believe how fast the time of my mission is running out. Elder Denton and I are using the time we have left to the fullest.
This week, I went on exchanges with both Elder Kanahele and Elder Curtis. They both helped me learn more about showing sincerity and concern for the people that surround us. That has been one of the things that I am working on. They are both great examples of this.
We saw four investigators make it to church yesterday. It was nice to see the ward receive them and welcome them.
The work is going really well. To give you an idea, we have on average 6 lessons set every day, and one day last week we had 12 appointments set up! It is crazy busy here. The Tobias’, Becksteads, Prices, and Steeds are preparing for their baptism in September. We have a lot more potential investigators in works. This is the busiest I have been on my mission since my first area (Ashton & Island Park). The Lord is certainly preparing a lot of people.
We hiked up the side of a mountain to see the eclipse today. It took about an hour and a half. The eclipse was an incredible experience. It was phenomenal! At the top, we found a road. We followed it till we found some hikers (who happened to also be mormons). They offered to take us down in polaris razors! It turned out to be a really fun trip
Last week, we had a very spiritual zone conference with a lot of good trainings and preparations. The part that I took away the most from was when we were discussing lesson plans. Elder Denton and I have been able to teach together and see great results in committing our investigators to repent.
I went on exchanges with Elder Gilman and Weber. It was really fun to be with those Elders. Elder Weber is 27. He was a great example of dedication and sincerity.
Elder Denton has been one of my favorite companions so far. We are working hard and having fun. I couldn’t ask for anything more. One goal I set this past week was to stop complaining. I tend to whine or complain about little things, but in reality, I have nothing to complain about! I have the dream situation as a missionary. I am continuing to progress every day. I need to take President Hinckley’s advice and stop seeking out the storms of life and enjoy more fully the sunlight, peaceful times and blessings.
My first week in Soda Springs went well. First of all, our companionship is doing great. Elder Denton is from Texas. I’ve known him for the last 18 months. He is going home in six week. We are the oldest companions in our mission. We get along really well. We teach in unity very well as well. Both of us like to work hard, which is a good thing. We are starting to see some results from our labors. Right now, we have three people preparing for baptism. Our efforts are being blessed plus there is a lot more potential in this area.
We fasted for Ben, one of our investigators that he can have the strength to quit smoking. We are working closely with him. With the Lord’s help he will be able to quit.
It appears my time in Blackfoot has come to an end. I am sad to leave this area. There are a lot of people that I really care about. I am sad to leave but I have found success in helping them along their own journeys.
Blackfoot and its members and my companions taught me a lot. I have learned true integrity and the dependance on our Heavenly Father. I have deepened my testimony of the restored gospel through an intensive study of the Book of Mormon. I have learned better ways to express love for those who surround us. I have deepened my desire to fulfill my purpose and fought through all sorts of opposition to do it. It has been a great six months!
I look forward to these last two transfers of my mission. They should be the best ones yet.
One thing that stuck out to me from my studies this last week:
“And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;
But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.”
This has been a very good week. We have seen a lot of trust in the branch, and progress with our investigators as they continue to attend church. As we focus on helping them commit to read the Book of Mormon there is always opposition in all things. One of our investigators who has come to church and was reading the Book of Mormon got a DUI this last week. We had a lesson with him and brought a lawyer from the Branch. We will see his fate. He is more receptive and humble now. So I guess there is always an upside to things.
It has been a sad week. Saturday night, our ward mission leader passed away from this earthly life. I have had family members pass away, but I have never seen these sorts of things first hand. My first week in this area was the last week the I saw him at church. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer the next day. The doctors only gave him 5 months to live. I was there to see every step of the way. I watched by as the cancer ate away at his body, making him skinnier and lighter as the weeks went on. I gave he and his family blessings, but the Lord’s will overpowers the priesthood that I hold. The branch seems to be taken back a little bit from it. We are doing all we can to nourish them through this tough time.
Our work is going really well. We are consistently working through and throughout the day. We saw one of our investigators make it to church yesterday. We honestly didn’t expect him to come. We called him in the morning to wake him up, and he didnt answer. Then out of no where, he walks in the chapel! He was a little bit under the influence of alcohol (at 9am), but he came none the less.
This transfer has been going by so fast. I think the attribute that I’ve been working on is meekness. It is a tough one, but it brings peace and blessings. I have already seen it bring certainty to my mind of the good outcome of submitting to God’s plan for me.