Seems like a lot to write about and respond to this week. I will do my best!
I just about roasted the past few days: plus 7! (about 45F) Jackets off and let’s go, sort of thing.
This past week was a great week for Elder Dunn and I, and a so-so week for the zone. Despite that, however, I feel like I need to do a better job setting the example and the bar high so that others can follow. Coming from previous areas with great success, it has been a gradual building process here, but now we feel like we are at the beginning of a big wave of success. We are now teaching many people and teaching more lessons too. Now, I know that success is not strictly based on numbers, but Key Indicators sure "indicate" how the work is coming along pretty well. I am trying to improve our Key Indicators for the people we are in contact with, not solely for the numbers. Like I said already, I just need to provide an example for the rest of the zone. There are so many new missionaries, and I am finding that they need more training, positive feedback and quality examples than I originally supposed. What a challenge! I am up to the task.
Elder Dunn and I's week was pretty busy. The Assistants came through and we exchanged with them a couple of times and they helped us find a few promising people. Elder Bodily (the district leader in Regina and my former companion whom I love) and I also went on an exchange with the elders down in Weyburn. He is going through a difficult point in his mission and our talk helped him some. He has had some difficult companions as of late and he expressed that without his first 3 companions (I was his 2nd) that he would not have made it, so I saw that as a big compliment. Thanks Elder Bodily! We discussed how we can better help the work in his area and the district and had a good chat. I reminded him that much is expected of the leaders in the zone and that we need to set better examples. "To whom much is given, much is required." We discussed ideas. Anyway, the exchange in Weyburn really seemed to help the Weyburn elders. We found a bunch of potentials for them and set up a number of appointments. The visit really boosted their confidence in the work and in their abilities....Now getting to my week...I am contacting as many people as I can, and seem to be drawn to the Chinese people here. Oh, many are humble and eager to learn more about God! One in particular has been progressing. Tom approached me a couple weeks back and asked if he could come to our church and learn more. I said, "sure!" We have visited and he has enjoyed the learning process and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted a BD for April 7th. He also said that he wanted to meet EVERY DAY until then so he could be ready. He has already learned so much, considering he started at ground-zero. But...the biggest news is that he said he reviewed his schedule and that he wanted to reschedule the BD--for earlier. So ya, the building is all booked and set to go for March 24th at 1:30! Elder Dunn and I are going to have a baptism together! He has been discouraged for a while because he has not had a baptism for nearly a year. Now, no more! Oh, Tom is so eager to learn and he and another Chinese member are developing a good friendship. He will need more friends and this week we need to get him ready for his Baptismal Interview, which Elder Bodily will do. Phew. As far as Elder Dunn and the area go, the Assistants dropped a hint that we can expect changes in a few weeks, so stay tuned, I guess.
Before I share an experience from the past week, I wanted to throw in a few random things. I absolutely love this Recent Convert from Nigeria, named Kuami. He is so dynamic. Another Recent Convert from Chinese really helps us out a bunch, Damon. Damon is our main source of support for the Chinese investigators and we are trying to help out some of the other Chinese recent converts get to the point where they are spiritually mature enough that they can help us with appointments and fellowshipping. We also had a Ward Mission Leader (WML) called for our little ward. He is preparing for a mission himself and is a die-hard member. He will do amazingly well, its just weird having a WML who is younger than I am...I was asked last-minute to conduct the music during Sacrament Meeting and I was comfortable with that--until I got up and saw that the first song was in 9/8 time for the 2nd half of it. Phew...I just did a quick 3/4 time swath and it seemed to buff-out.
So this past week Elder Dunn and I were asked to give a blessing to a member of the ward. We knew the family of this stalwart member is living a very rough lifestyle, but we were still taken aback when we walked in the door. Piles of clothes and stuff were piled all over the place. To give you a little sample of what the atmosphere was: loud, stupid, rap music was blaring from downstairs and and rough "friends" of the family were there, who asked us "questions". Ugh. We had them turn the music WAY down for the blessing, which went well, but the whole ordeal (which I cannot even scrape the surface of) really reminded me of how truly fortunate I am for my life, and my upbringing. I would be extremely prideful to complain about my circumstances. My so-called "humble" livings all the sudden look like luxury living. Wow. The people there and their comments strengthened my testimony that there is peace and TRUE happiness in keeping the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom, which are given by God as commandments for our protection and eternal happiness. I also was reminded that the family unit is the best place to raise a family and that the family is under attack like never before. It is our duty as children of God to defend the true nature of the family, and to be bright examples of the true happiness that is found therein. The visit made that big of an impact on me. Now, before I finish, this member and her mom live valiant lives and earnestly try their best--and do well. Their family makes things difficult for them, but they are wonderful and delightful.
Ok, to try to answer a few things...I am really pleased to hear the house is coming along and I pray daily for a quick sale. Best of luck to Delaney with her volleyball tournaments. Oh, speaking of my family, I was also given a glimpse of what I want to do in the brief period I will be home before university. I want to spend a lot of time with family and go on walks and drives with my immediate family and nieces and nephews. I especially want to help them in any way I can. (I was teaching a first lesson and the individual asked about "back home" and instead of giving the easy answers I thought about back home and my family and these ideas came to my mind.) As far as classes go, I really don't know how I feel about engineering. It seems so boring and seems like it just isn't a passion of mine. I am rethinking...maybe business? I know that BYU's business college is like shooting for the stars, but the stars are still in reach, I could do it if I set my mind to it. What could be better than managing a car dealership?! I honestly don't know, maybe since I have been away from engineering for a while, it has cooled off. At this point, please do not sign me up for engineering classes. We'll leave it open. Please give me your opinion....Oh...the car news makes me drool. Can you send pictures? No, I have not heard about Mikey giving that talk. I look forward to that. I appreciate the occasional emails from Kim. Nothing is better than feeling connected with family. When I saw the name Dan Romero my heart skipped a beat. This rat-killing-dog loves that man. Yes, I still tell that joke.
Have I worn you out yet? That's all I got, and this may be a record-breaking length letter from a missionary. Can't promise I can do this every week, but the stars aligned for you. A good week for me, I hope for a good week for all of you.
Oh, big news: I spoiled myself and got a cuff-link shirt. Oh, it is beautiful. Yes, I have cuff-links to go with it, the hanky, and the smile to polish it all off.