The past week has been colder again in International Falls - highs below freezing and lows just below zero.
Thanks Mom and Dad for the package I got! I got it and your note on Monday night. It was very well-timed, I love you 2. Speaking of mail/packages, I am heading into Winnipeg later today for Zone Meeting, and will get mail. Because I have not picked up mail since about Valentine's Day, there may be people waiting responses to letters they wrote a while ago that I still haven't seen. Patience please.
So this week was another good week in the Falls. You know Dad, you said it's cold up here and that I need to brace myself for more cold—it’s not cold! Whether I like it or not, I am turning into one of those "up-north tough guys" who think anything above freezing is not cold. My favorite temperature is actually just below freezing and sunny, because tracting isn't muddy, the mosquitoes won't be out (not out yet, but probably soon), everything is just good! In weather like that I wear a summer jacket and I feel great and actually a little warm. I remember Auntie Susan saying that by March or so that I would think that temperatures about freezing would be t-shirt weather. I thought, "ya right", but....it’s true. I do actually like this winter, but I have missed the morning fog and light showers from back home.
This week had some interesting stuff happen. Mom will love to know that Elder Morris and I actually fed a snake that an investigator has. We fed it baby mice and the snake was so fast! You blink and you miss the sudden snap! The investigator is Anna, our baptismal date we set last week (for April 23rd) and she went to visit family this weekend so she could watch General Conference next weekend, or else she would have visited family instead of Conference. She is in her mid-20s or so. She thought her father would be against the idea of her joining the Church because he is a non-denominational pastor--we'll see what happens when she comes back. She is working at overcoming smoking and coffee and has wanted to overcome them for a while, so its relieving knowing that she has the desire to overcome that. Sometimes that is the hard part, getting people to see that overcoming those is a commandment from God and then to actually ACT on that. Faith and works, right?
We met a younger guy at McDonalds one night. He said he wasn't very interested (they all start like that, fyi) but that he had a few questions. Well, I really felt for this guy, Andy. He shared a few dear experiences and said that he is looking for something that he feels is missing in his life, a hole, kind-of-thing. He added that he now feels like life is numb, senseless, without feeling. How depressing a thought! Like I said, I really wanted to help Andy. Like I said, he asked a number of questions and we shared our testimonies and some experiences that we felt might help. The Atonement of Jesus Christ really is our ultimate hope! Through it, God's great Plan of Salvation can work and we all can return to live with Him again. By Adam came mortality and death, while by Christ came immortality and eternal life. Don't quote me on that, I read from the Ensign this morning. By the way Mom, Elder Morris and I have been reading through recent Church magazines and I have actually read a few New Eras. To those who don't know what I am talking about, I hated reading the New Era because it was so corny and I always could predict the ending to every story. As a missionary its not too much different, but they occasionally can make for interesting and spiritual reading. Proud of me? There was this one story I got really into about a girl going on a trip with just her mom and best friend. A non-member who she really didn't know, approached this girl and asked if she could come along too. I found myself nearly begging the girl out loud to invite this non-member along. Yes, yes....only a missionary would do something like that. Once I realized what I was doing, I knew I had to tell my Mom that I got really into a story in the New Era.
I'm a missionary, and I looked at my ties this week and had a great thought. I used to think that giving someone a tie was the worst possible Christmas/birthday present, but now that I am a missionary, it is the best! Think about it--I wear a white shirt and dark pants every day, every missionary does, so what sets every missionary apart is their ties. It’s the one thing we can switch, so we missionaries love having good ties to wear. I have no idea what I am going to do with all my ties after the mission though....
Hey, so I am going to tell you a little bit about Elder Morris, because I don't think I have told you very much about him. He is probably the most determined missionary I have ever met, and is certainly the best goal setter and achiever that I have ever met. With that, he is a goof in the apartment. And maybe what I will remember best is his inability to remember people's names. We are always laughing because he inherited his dad's "trait" of instantly forgetting people's names. This past week we were teaching a Karen and Elder Morris invited her to be baptized when she received answers from her prayers. The only problem is he said "So Kathy, will you...." Oww. I told him afterward and he busted up laughing and got all red. What a guy.
We read Elder Richard G. Scott's talk from last conference about faith and character in priesthood in the Falls and in the Fort. It’s still my favorite talk, and I read it again this morning. It is so good. I urge you to reread some talks from last conference in preparation for this weekend's Gen. Conference. Also, go into Conference with a question. I keep hearing people say to go into Conference with a question and it will be answered. So, I need to come up with a question. Anyway, try it out for yourselves.
You asked for gift ideas last week. Well, I would still like my other flag jacket if possible, another memory card so I can send pictures home, and there is this pull-up bar at KMart here that is like $25 or so, and so I may treat myself to that.
The past couple of weeks I have seen the ability that individuals may have in other’s lives. Elder Cutler quotes Pres. Monson often, and there is one quote I really like: "The power to lead is the power to mislead. The power to mislead is the power to destroy." We ought to be careful with our agency and the way we live our lives, because our lives will have impacts on others, whether we are conscious of it or not. Oh how great the joy is to help another!
Well that's all I have, except that I just remembered that I have been out for 8 months as of today. Careful, pretty fast, EH?
Love you all, especially my family,