So, first off this week was transfer calls again and Elder LaMarr is being transferred! Dang right, kinda sucks and it’s going to be my 3rd comp in a row that I’ve only had for 1 transfer but that’s how it goes. I’m going to be staying in Hopewell ward for another 6 weeks which should be good, hopefully we can have a couple baptisms coming up soon. Besides that this week was good though, we had 2 exchanges and the other Hopewell elders had a baptism for a guy they have been working with for a while.
Monday was pretty tight. We had a zone p-day with everyone and we went to the Petersburg National Battlefield Park and were able to hang out and see some of the sights. It was really neat and they have a pretty cool visitors center and movie they showed us and I found out how important it actually was. We also saw this big cannon they have called "The Dictator" and it’s pretty sick. The rest of the day we went and played sports and hung out and all the elders and sisters were there and it was a ton of fun.
The rest of the night we went out with Elder Baer and saw Brother Benjamin who has been coming back to church over the last year or so and is getting his patriarchal blessing this week and he invited us to go with him! So I’ll talk about that later, but it was a good night and we had a really cool dinner with the Bennetts too, who are also recently coming back to church.
Tuesday we had exchanges with Chesterfield Spanish elders, Elder Peterson and Elder Conners. I was able to go out with Elder Conners who has been out like 6 months and is still working up to some of his potential but he’s a really great missionary. We had a couple lessons and the first one was with a guy named Shawn we tracted into. He’s pretty rad and was really interested in the Book of Mormon specifically. So hopefully we can work with him coming up. That afternoon we went out with Elder Baer and were able to meet some less actives and it was great to get to know even more of the members.
That evening we saw Leslie again and also talked to her daughter Autumn. We were able to start talking about the Plan of Salvation and review that with Leslie which she really needed and we felt the spirit. Then we talked to Autumn, who is not super interested, but is really nice, and introduced some of the gospel to her and told her about some of the basics. She has a lot of good questions and desires and hopefully we can start working with her.
Leslie is doing awesome and we also saw her Sunday night and Autumn too and hopefully she can be baptized here soon. We have been reviewing a lot of the basics with her lately and talking about reading and praying again because it’s all about setting those holy habits. Autumn is also getting slowly more interested so hopefully that can move along.
We had district meeting Wednesday morning and then the rest of the day was just full of service. First off, Elder LaMarr met a family on exchanges that needed some leaves raked and we went and bagged them up for them and it was actually pretty impressive how many leaves we could fit in the crappy bags we bought haha. Then we went and tried to see the Browns who we had an appointment with but when we got there they were outside raking their leaves and cleaning up garbage because they have inspections coming up. So we ended up helping them for about an hour and burning a bunch of their leaves and stuff. Good fun and the weather was actually pretty great.
That night we met a pretty cool less active guy named Jason Smith. He has been out of church since he was a teen and is like the nicest guy ever. We talked and he told us about what he is busy with and we just shared some of the basics and stuff with him but it was really nice to have a good conversation and just talk to a less active like that and hopefully we can work with him and get him back.
Thursday Elder LaMarr and I hit 17 months just so you know, kinda crazy! We had weekly planning like normal and then we went out for the day and didn’t really see anyone till that evening when we went out with Elder Baer. We were able to meet another really cool less active and we know her son pretty well already. But, then we had a good lesson on the Word of Wisdom with Leslie and talked a lot about her stopping smoking. She understands that she needs to and now she understands that it’s a commandment from God so hopefully we can work with her to stop. But, it was a really good lesson and I think her prayers will be answered.
Friday morning we had apartment inspections which we passed with flying colors. This apartment is one of the easiest to keep clean for some reason. Mom you should be proud. [mom is very proud!] Then we went out with Elder Baer again which is freaking awesome. He is the coolest senior missionary there ever was.
We were able to see a referral and talk to her about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Her daughter was there and she was kinda bashy but we worked it out. Then we went and saw Sister Wilson which went really well. She gets attached to missionaries and we wanted to introduce her to Elder Baer because he will be here a lot longer than we can to work with her. We talked about faith and it was really cool to see how much she actually still knows about the gospel. She was singing primary songs and everything. But she didn’t want to set up a return appointment but while we were out with Elder Baer later she called him and set up an appointment which is so great because she is starting to trust him.
The rest of the day we went on exchanges with the Belmont Elders and I got to go with Elder Payne! He was my little buddy when I went to return and report with Elder Maedgen so we had fun getting back together, he’s a really, really great missionary and I see lots of good things for him. Sadly, though, he is going to go home for about a month for surgery but will be right back and running in no time.
We had a lesson with one of their investigators named Jamel who has a lot of questions. Honestly she is seeking the truth, but I think there were some things she is just thinking too hard about. That is one reason why I love the gospel is because it is so simple and makes so much sense. The rest of the night with Elder Payne kinda fell through haha his iPad died, our other 2 lessons canceled, and everyone we tried wasn't home. But that’s ok, that’s how it goes sometimes. Elder Payne is an awesome missionary.
The next morning we went with the Belmont Elders to help someone in their ward move and Elder LaMarr ripped his pants! Nothing big but it’s always kind of a bummer. Then after that we went home and went out with Elder Baer again! We had a couple lessons set up with some families that are kinda dodgy and they both missed their appointments. Lately we have been working a lot with the less actives and trying to find out who each one of them are and it’s been slow but rewarding.
Saturday night we had a baptism in the other Hopewell Elders area and it was awesome. They have been working with Ben for a while now and he has been up and down but you can tell that his whole heart is into it. It was fun to be there for him. We also got transfer calls during the baptism so our ward mission leader took us out to eat afterwards to send Elder LaMarr off.
Sunday I had one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my whole mission. Church and all was great and we were able to help confirm Ben and also give another blessing. I didn’t get to go to Fort Lee Branch this week because we had ward council but its ok cause I’ll go next week. Ok so on the spiritual stuff. So, Elder and Sister Baer have been working with Brother Benjamin on coming back to church. He was baptized a while ago, like 8 years maybe... idk, and fell away because he thought that he was kinda done and didn’t have anything else to work towards. Well the Baers came in and told him about everything else he needed to do and he has been sooo pumped to keep moving on. He actually baptized Ben Saturday night which was a really cool thing and then he invited us to go with him when he received his patriarchal blessing on Sunday. The patriarch in our stake lives in Lawrenceville which is like right by the North Carolina border so we drove all the way down there with him. Like I said it was one of the most powerful experiences of my whole mission and brought back memories of my own patriarchal blessing. Obviously, I won't share any of it, but at the close when it was over Malik stood up and told us about a vision he saw while the blessing was taking place of Christ standing in front of him. It was a life changing night for him and really amazing for myself and Elder LaMarr. I know Brother Benjamin has a lot of amazing things ahead of him.
Overall it was a great week. Hopefully we can keep it up this next transfer. I’m excited to see who my new companion is, it’s always kinda nerve wracking, haha. But this week is Valentine's Day so happy V-Day to all of you out there, remember, “charity never faileth”.