This week was a whirlwind. We had transfers and lessons and also we had a ton of administrative stuff to do for the beginning of transfers. First off like I said we had transfers and Elder LaMarr left Hopewell, we had a good time but oh well. My new companion is Elder Turner Knight from American Fork Utah! Kinda crazy that I have a companion that just lives right down the street but it’s cool because we have a lot of similarities and know a lot of the same people. He is a new zone leader just called this transfer so he’s pretty excited and ready to work, so far it seems like it’s going to be a great transfer.
Monday was pretty cool because we got to go finish a lot of the civil war sites around and there are a lot of important ones. We saw the rest of the Petersburg battle field and also went to City Point which was like a huge supply depot place and a really big headquarters for General Grant. Yeah, I honestly had no idea about any of this stuff before my mission. I swear they don’t teach you about this in school haha. But it was really cool, I think I sent the pics last week.
We also had a really cool lesson with a new family we started teaching that has a son we may be able to baptize, the Archers. She used to be really active and has had a lot of life struggles and stuff go on but we were introduced to her and had dinner and talked about the Book of Mormon. Her son is like 10 and reminds me a lot of my sister Ally because they have some similar trials. They are a really special family and I think they are going to be really great to teach. We also went over to Sister Jordan’s for ice cream because that’s the tradition for all the missionaries when they leave Hopewell. She's super fun.
Tuesday was Valentine's Day, wwhooo hooo! Felt like any other day, haha, life as a missionary is so weird. But it was a different day in the way that Elder Vargas was sick so we did splits with the other Hopewell elders. Elder LaMarr stayed with Elder Vargas and they both packed because they left, and Elder Turner and I went out with Elder Baer and covered both areas. A lot of the morning and afternoon we were working and trying to see people in the other Hopewell elder’s area, but we also saw some of our friends. We had a really good lesson with Leslie and talked about the baptismal interview questions. She is still going through a lot and has struggles in life and we talked about burdens too, but I thought it would be good for her to go over the questions because it would help her keep the end goal in mind. I think it was really good and she felt the spirit, I think we just need to help her recognize the spirit a little better and figure out how to keep it in her life.
Elder LaMarr and I also saw Sister Heacock again and went out with one of our priests Parker. First Parker is a really funny kid haha I love him. He is Hunter’s brother and they both love the outdoors and hunting and fishing. Parker is so easy going and just wants to go fishing, go to the U, and just do the things he’s supposed to. We saw the Heacocks and showed them the Restoration video which was really good for them... even though they have seen it like 5 times haha. It was a little crazy in the house but it seemed like everyone was happy and they were working through some of the things that are weighing them down.
Wednesday was transfers which was a lot of fun. It was another pretty large transfer and there were a lot of people there that were fun to see from old areas and stuff. We didn’t get home till about 3:30 so most of the day was gone but we had a really good evening with Elder Baer again. We saw Armine and her family which was really cool. They are all from out of the US which is fun because they have cool stories and accents. Her husband isn't a member but is really supportive of her and wants to help her follow her beliefs. We talked about the story from the Old Testament where the children of Israel get mana from heaven and have to provide for their daily sustenance. We relate that to the things we have to do to be spiritually fed such as reading out scriptures and praying.
I think serving around Elder Baer for this last couple months has really taught me the importance of daily reading and praying and making holy habits. He works a lot with less active and members and that is the commitment her leaves with them the most. I have seen so many people in this area have their faith and lives strengthened because they have simply read the Book of Mormon and prayed every day for a week or so. It’s really amazing how big of an impact that has. We finished the day seeing Sister Heacock because she wasn't having a good day at all. Obviously I won’t share everything but she is going through a lot of trials right now and we did a lot of listening while we were there just trying to be supportive.
Thursday was also pretty busy. We had a little bit of planning and stuff to do in the morning then we went out with Elder Baer in the afternoon and were able to have a couple lessons. We taught a referral we got named Shirley the Restoration and talked about the Book of Mormon with her. She is aging and I’m not sure how much she is remembering, but she really does have a sincere love for Jesus.
We were also able to see Emma which was awesome. She still wants to work towards baptism, but is also super busy so it’s hard to meet with her. But we had a really good lesson and read the Book of Mormon with her and we invited her to come to church Sunday.
Thursday night we went out with Brother Vance who used to be a bishop here and knows a ton of people. First off we had a super good lesson with Leslie. She was reading in Mosiah 25 and 26 so we read 27 with her and talked about the story of Alma the Younger. It was really cool because she applied it to herself and we talked about testimony. Brother Vance was able to talk with her and help her realize her testimony a little bit and bear his own powerful testimony. We also stopped by and saw a couple families in the ward both active and less active that Brother Vance knows and just got to know them and shared a little thought.
Friday was a day of administration. We pretty much did management stuff like all day it felt like. In the morning we were calling and texting people and emailing a bunch of stuff for President and the assistants and also just stuff we needed to get done. We are also in charge of a part of Zone Conferences from now on so we had to plan and coordinate with the other zone leaders and the sisters to figure out what we are going to do. Then we had weekly planning which takes up a good chunk of the day as you know. In the afternoon we helped the swift creek elders move a piano for one of our members to a non-member’s house in their boundaries. Hopefully they will get to start teaching them, it was a good little introduction.
Then we went to the Archer’s which is the family we saw Monday night and it was another really awesome lesson. Her non-member husband sat in this time and we mostly tried to teach their son who's not a member yet but is working on it. He’s only 10. We talked about prophets and kept it really simple which I love. I freaking love teaching kids because you really have to make sure you aren't making things complicated. Sometimes people make the gospel sound way more complicated than it is. It’s so simple and so amazing.
Saturday was kinda the same way. We had a meeting with the new district leaders which are Elder Kholer and Elder Escudero and talked about what their duties as a district leader are. It was a good discussion and reminded me that we all have the same job out here, just trying to help those around us. We went to lunch afterwards and then headed home because we had to send off a couple other emails for the assistants. We had a good lesson with Leslie about testimonies and especially about her testimony. She has a really great knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true, but we just need to help her realize it now and help her know what to do with it. She committed to live the Word of Wisdom again which I think will help a ton.
Sunday morning we went to the Fort Lee branch which was amazing, I think that is one of the best meetings I have attended on my mission. I almost had to speak which would have been kinda crazy haha I was looking through my talks in the past trying to scramble one together. But the two speakers eventually showed up and they were amazing. One of them was from Africa and served his mission in Ghana. He talked about service and told us a story of his mission where they were living in a city but felt a really strong prompting to go to a little village where they had some investigators about 40 miles away. They didnt have any transportation except their bikes so they decided to bike the 40 miles out there which took them like all day! When they got there the whole village gathered around and they were able to teach them all about the gospel of Christ. On their dreaded bike ride home they got to a little shack selling water and went to buy some when a guy in a van pulled up and told them to get their bikes and get in, that he was sent to help them. They got home safe and sound and gave the mystery driver a Book of Mormon. Not sure what happened after that but it was an amazing testimony of serving the Lord. Makes me grateful for the car and the mission I have, but also makes me so grateful I have so many people around me that already believe in Christ and are that much closer to accepting the truth.
Leslie came to church again which was awesome and we had a really good service at the Hopewell ward as well. We also had one of the biggest “linger longer”s I have been to on my mission haha soo much food. Then we went out with Elder Baer and saw some less active families and invited some people to come to church next week, I think they will.
Overall it was a good week and I think Elder Knight and I are going to have a good transfer. I forgive him for being a Caveman[American Fork High School’s Mascot, a huge rival of Tyson’s high school] haha but for reals, it’s pretty neat that we are from the same place. We are going bowling today which should be fun, I’ll report back next week on how I do! Love yall!