Man this week has been intense. It has gone sooo quick and been so busy, not even sure if I can remember it all cause so much happened. So to start off Monday was pretty fun. There are 8 or 10 elders around here that are pretty close so we all meet up at the church in Swift Creek and hang out. After that we went home and changed and went out to work and were able to have a lesson with Brother Bennett.
So first off we have a senior missionary couple in our ward that are just the best. Seriously. They have been on like 3 other missions and have served as temple president and wife. They work really hard and work with us and over the time they have been here there have been a ton of people that have been reactivated in our ward because of them. They teach just as much as we do and it’s awesome. Sooo they have been teaching the Bennett family but couldn't make the appointment so they asked us to go and it was great. Brother Bennett is coming back to church with his family and he really wants to go to the temple. The lesson was great and they have all the right desires.
Tuesday we had a zone conference with the Midlothian zone. It was fun because I got to see Elder Maedgen and some other people and we got to learn a lot about unity from President Smith. He wants us to work on our unity in all aspects and I think it’s really important too. Another one of the things that we talked about was a new schedule that we are going by as a mission. I heard about it in an email Monday so Elder LaMarr and I kinda knew what was coming, but basically they are giving us a little more flexibility and trusting us a little more. Our morning has been very structured before this, but now we do 30 min work out, 1 hour getting ready, 1 hour comp study and 30 min planning in the morning and we can do them in any order we want. One of the things I thought was funny was that the First Presidency and the Twelve were talking about our planning and how we used to do it at night and said "We don’t even plan at night, we’re tired! We go to bed!" So now we have the chance to go to bed a little earlier. We also do our comp study and we can pick any time of the day that works best for our schedule to do that. So I’m pretty excited about that. But the zone conference was really good.
Tuesday and Wednesday we also had exchanges with the Swift Creek elders, Elder Burila and Elder Kohler. Exchanges have been changed a little bit which makes it complicated but also a lot of fun. So now instead of just swapping companions like we used to, all 4 missionaries go to one area for 24 hours. The leaders are supposed to have a "model area" which the other missionaries can use as an example... so they want the leaders to be bringing the other set of elders to our own area and working with them in our area. So Elder Burila is our district leader and we got to work in Swift Creek because this was the exchange that he planned.
I got to go with Elder Kohler which was fun because we came out together. He is a really great missionary and really bold. I learned a lot. We were able to have a couple good lessons through the day. One of them was with one of their investigators who is starting to be taught again. The lesson was good, but short because she wasn't feeling well. We also got to go out with their ward mission leader and teach a guy who was just a potential. It was a ton of fun being on bike again and Elder Burila and Kohler seem to be doing great.
Wednesday night after we got back we had a meeting with our bishop and some of the priesthood leaders and it was really good. This ward is really into the less actives and seeing and bringing them back.
Thursday morning was weekly planning and that was good, we talked a lot about ways that we can find people to teach and add to our teaching pool. Then Thursday afternoon we went out with Elder Baer all day and saw different Less Actives and people. It was amazing and the day just flew by. A lot of the people we saw we weren't able to teach, we just got their info and introduced ourselves, and some of them we just found out they have moved or don’t want to talk to us anymore. We did get to teach the Newton family who has a girl named Emma who is really great. She’s in high school and has been talking to missionaries for a while because her mom is a member. It was a good visit. That evening we also went out with Elder Baer and went on Fort Lee and talked to all the people that we didn’t know, if they still live there. Our ward is really transient because of Fort Lee. There are lots of people who are here for a short time because they come here for training so some of the records are here and the people aren't anymore. It was good though and we were able to meet a couple part member families that are really promising.
Friday we had exchanges with Meadowbrook Elders, Elder Beazer and Elder Wolverton. It’s interesting with 4 missionaries in our area since we mostly cover the country. So we had Elder LaMarr and Wolverton go to Hopewell and bike and Elder Beazer and I went to the country and taught some people. We had a really good day actually and had some powerful lessons.
First we found Robert and Dorthy. This is kind of a funny story. We were looking for someone who was taught before but found them and they let us right in. Robert is older and had a stroke in 2001 and as soon as we sat down he slowly walked in the room and had a Book of Mormon already in his hand! So we talked to them and the spirit was really strong so we ended up talking about that the whole time and just helping them recognize it. We set up an appointment for Saturday night and Elder LaMarr and I went back and talked to Robert with our ward mission leader Brother Williams. Well we had another really awesome lesson on the Restoration and Robert already knew everything, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Aaronic and Melchezidek priesthood, everything. So we set him on date for February 4th and he was like "I’ve already been baptized." We get that all the time so we just explained it to him and he agreed and we left. Well we got home and were calling someone to give him a ride to church and they told us that he was already a member! Haha! So that was funny and we talked to him and apologized and everything. It’s not every day you find a member and set them on date to be baptized again, haha. And in my defense, he never said anything about it.
Elder Beazer and I also had 2 really good lessons with Jessica Friday. The first one was in the afternoon and we talked about how reading and praying will help her in her life. It was a really simple but powerful lesson and she explained how she was still reading the Book of Mormon which is great. We told her to read a bit and then we would come back and read more with her that night. So we came back in the evening and had another powerful lesson with her. When we got there she had read up to 1 Nephi 3 which was so cool and she was pumped about it. We read another chapter with her and talked about it and asked her to keep reading and praying and she said she would. Since she slid back a little she has been really progressing a lot and I think she can be baptized eventually if she keeps it up. Elder Beazer and I also taught Ashley and her kids who are a part member family and Hannah who is 11 told us she wants to be baptized which is great so we are going to work towards that.
Saturday morning we went and helped clean the church with all 6 of the elders that were around and that was fun. The rest of the day we were able to go around and see some people. This evening we saw Robert like I said, we also were able to see Sister Heacock who is a lady with some kids that has recently moved into our ward and she is great.
Sunday was a good day and it was great to finally get to attend church. The ward here is great and we had a really good ward council meeting before church. This afternoon we went out with Elder Baer again and were able to talk to some of the people we tried to see Thursday. It was a good day and we saw a couple of people in the evening. We were able to see Jessica again and she is now in 1 Nephi 8 and is praying. It’s so cool to see how much happier she has been since she has been reading every day and praying and even the people around her in her family have noticed it. Really think she can progress and be baptized soon.
This week, like I said, flew by. It’s been sooo busy and the rest of the transfer is pretty stacked just like this week. Really loving this area and it’s so fun to be here. Love Yall!
Elder Tys Larson - VRM