We had our P-Day activity at a "Candy Cane park". Look it up, it may be my favorite park ever. There we saw thousands of geese. One particular group nearly took up the entire sky! A loud, squawking, moving cloud.
On a more serious note, we also had one of the greatest weeks of my mission, with this next one looking even better. You have no idea. Again, you have no idea how good it will be. Someone has been praying for us missionaries in the CWM, seriously. PART of the greatness of this upcoming week will be on Saturday. Get this--I will be able to join Sis. Harder from Saskatoon (whom I baptized in Dec. 2010) in the temple to take out her endowments in the temple, followed by Tom's baptism.....followed by more teaching appointments already scheduled. How about that? But it doesn't even stop there. Elder Dunn and I were present at a lesson yesterday where we had with an investigator's mom show up. Now, to preface, her grandparents are members of the church. The investigator, Sarah, learned that her mom is a member just after she began meeting with us, and her mom was initially antagonistic towards Sarah joining the church. The mother refused offers from Sarah to join us at a lesson--until yesterday, when we had planned to meet with Sarah just after church. Now, Elder Dunn and I felt like we needed to take a different route with the member fellowship and bring one of Sarah's good friends in the ward (we don't usually take Relief Society sisters because we need a male at all lessons if meeting with a lady) and a guy. So we had 2 members there at the lesson and Sarah shows up and...so does someone who looks nearly exactly like her--her mom. Whoa. We taught a short lesson to Sarah and then talked with her mom. I think her mom was initially a little up-tight and had wanted to meet with us privately after the lesson to talk about some concerns she has, but after introducing ourselves and having a short lesson she seemed comfortable enough to express some concerns she has about the Church and Sarah. She brought up some concerns she had--some easy to resolve, but a couple that were pretty difficult. But Sarah's member friend (whom we had never before taken to a lesson) proved to be an absolutely indispensable key to helping Sarah's mom's concerns that no other person could have helped out with. I was blown away. This usually-quiet member started off hesitantly and then began to be bold and even extended bold invitations. Whoa. Elder Dunn and I piped in with some very Spirit-driven comments and Sarah and her mom were even in tears. At one point, Elder Dunn brought up General Conference and asked Sarah's mom to explain what General Conference is to her daughter. Now, Sarah's mom has not been to church in over a decade, but she described it well and even added in something about how the Spirit feels, and Sarah has struggled to recognize how the Holy Ghost feels. So I then asked Sarah's mom to further describe how the Holy Ghost feels to her and how she has recognized answers to her prayers or questions. She did. She did, and even got teary-eyed. Sarah was crying, her mom was crying, my mom would have been crying...I was near tears. Here was this person who has not wanted any contact with the church for over a decade describing how she has recognized answers to her prayers and describing it all to her daughter who had never before seen this side of her! Poor Sarah was totally thrown for a loop. After all of this, Elder Dunn invited Sarah and her mom to come to church this Sunday, and Sarah's mom said she would genuinely think about it. I think Sarah is all-in now that she knows her mom supports her. Oh, I left out that Sarah's mom straight-up told her that she would support her if she wanted to join the church and be baptized. That was new! Oh...what a meeting...2 hours...but what a meeting. I probably left out a bunch of stuff because I am so excited, but I hope you get the gist of it. There may be another baptism and a reactivation here! Elder Dunn predicts that Sarah's mom comes to church this week and will even share her testimony in fast and testimony meeting. We will see. Please pray for them both.
You may be wondering more about what is happening on Saturday. Elder Bodily did his baptismal interview on Saturday and Tom "passed with flying colors". It is amazing to me that this man hardly knew anything about God 3 1/2 weeks ago, yet here is being baptized on Saturday. After the interview he initially asked me to baptize him, but I think he did so thinking that he had to "reward his teachers", sort-of-thing. (China has a very high respect for their teachers) We explained that he did not need to feel obligated to ask us to baptize him, and after he recognized that he picked another Chinese recent-convert within the past year to baptize him. Yes! He then picked the newly-called Ward Mission Leader to confirm him. Perfect! Statistics generally show that retention is better when members baptize investigators, and so that is what we were hoping for. However, I was honored that Tom would choose me to baptize him. Oh, Tom wants me to come stay with him in China. I told him that it probably wouldn't be for a little while. Oh, and when Tom was told that the Church is not yet in China, he said that he would become a government leader and then allow the Church in. He also said he looks forward to the 12 hour train ride to the Hong Kong temple from his home of Changsha. What a stallion! He will make a great member. Sunday morning he gave us a scare by arriving 25 minutes late to Sacrament Meeting. Had he not been there his baptism would have had to be pushed back because he would not have been to church enough. I was so stressed...we couldn't get a hold of him, and then it all just worked out...I am glad that investigators need to be at sacrament meeting at least 3 times to show increased commitment, but sometimes it can provide scares like yesterday morning...
As for Sis. Marj Harder, I got a call last week from elders in Saskatoon in the Wildwood Ward that she was coming down to the temple. I immediately called President and asked for permission to go to the temple with her on Saturday. Needless to say, I will be in the temple at noon on Saturday. I am also attending the temple with the missionaries this Wednesday morning, bright and early, so I am getting a double-dose of the temple this week. To be honest, it just feels too good to be true. Is this really happening?
Adding to that, the mission and our zone had a really good week, as did our area. We taught a lot of meaningful lessons, helped a few people come to church, found a number of new investigators and enjoyed it all. I really feel that Elder Dunn and I have set strong examples the past few weeks. The zone needs to be shown that it can achieve more than it is doing. Things are on the way up, and there is still room to improve. Good! I was emotionally drained last night and actually went to bed on time last night (zone leaders are RARELY able to go to bed on time, or so I find). I feel good, and like I can take on another week, but boy, missionary work sure is tiring.
Because I am in a YSA (Young Single Adult) ward, I get to go to FHE (Family Home Evening) and bring investigators and LAs Less-Actives). I was in charge of the activity and guess what we played? Mike's game. And everyone absolutely loved it. Nailed it!
Something interesting is that my Patriarchal Blessing is extremely specific with some gifts of the Spirit I have been given, and I literally can see the fulfillment in me at times, sometimes restraining me, sometimes propelling me forward. Wow.
I don't want to look through all the emails you have sent me, could you tell me my email again? I totally forgot. I will write it down this time.
I am so glad to hear about the house! Oh, it will be such a relief and a weight off your shoulders. I am excited for it, but more excited for both of you and the weight of the situation being lifted off your shoulders.
As for BYU, I didn't look at the classes too closely. I looked at the available ones. What do you think about me going into business? I want your opinions. At this point, do not sign me up for the civil engineering courses. Nothing sounds more boring to me that a class on "measurements". I think I remember that at some point there was the option for a persuasive writing class. That could really help me. The Roman history class sounds very interesting, but I don't know how helpful that will be. Sign me up for that if it clears me of some requirements. I would LOVE to take that class and read Talmage's "The Great Apostasy". Oh, I will race through that book! Although I do not enjoy biology or chemistry, it sounds like I need to take those for general classes. I wouldn't know what math to take, because Math113 was incredibly difficult. So hard! Actually, I could see Statistics helping me. Please don't overwhelm me, I am thinking something like 12-14 credits. Tell me what you think.
I appreciate all the updates and the spiritual insights. This is God's work and the Book of Mormon is true and of God. It is that simple. Through a modern prophet, God has restored vital truths to His Plan of Salvation. If you don't know that, then start studying, searching and get on your knees. Don't fool around. As Elder Holland said last conference, "we cannot afford to dribble out of bounds". Go to church, pray often--on your knees--and study the scriptures. I am grateful for my upbringing and my loving family, and for the peace that living God's commandments brings. God bless.
Love you all,
They call me the "Gally Goose"!
The goose is part of a playground at the park we had P-Day activity at and I couldn't pass up getting pictures.
You can't tell from the pictures but the neck is actually a tube slide, one wing is a climbing wall and the other is a set of 3 open slides. Talk about fun. I felt like I really had a chance to release energy. I have not had a normal P-Day activity outside since October 2010. Felt good to run around, play frisbee, toss a big foam airplane around (a missionary had one), go to Wascana lake and walkaround, and, of course, play on the playground. What a great start to the day, seriously...
I did get my camera cord, by the way. I have only taken a few pictures the past few weeks partially because I forget that my camera is working again. More will come, just keep on me for them.