October 7, 2013
Wasn't conference incredible??? I was thinking of you the whole time. I felt like a huge focus of the conference was how challenges are essential to our progression. It's almost unbearable to listen to President Monson speak while he goes through this difficult time but it gives me so much strength to know that even a prophet has challenges.
Yes, I got the package with the squirt guns, subway card, brownie mix, cups, and my FAVORITE OATMEAL!!!!! Strawberry and Cream oatmeal..... Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss...
..... You ROCK. :) I also got the 2nd package!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful for you putting that together! The packages always seem to come at the least expected and most needed moments :D Elder Goates has been sick most of this week and I was struggling a little as I've had to stay in the apartment for most of the week. It's very unusual that my last two companions have had sicknesses that have put them up for so long. The Lord is teaching me a very important lesson of patience, love, and service. I have such a strong desire to serve the Lord and build up the area I'm serving in and it kills me to not be pounding the streets as much as possible but this is what the Lord is requiring of me right now and I am grateful to learn the lessons he wants me to learn. Elder Goates is getting better quickly now too so we should be able to start working consistently this coming week.
I had the sickest experience this week at our weekly planning session with our zone. The zone leaders asked me to give a 5 minute motivational speech/pep talk at Zone meeting on Tuesday but because Elder Goates wasn't well enough to go, I gave it on Friday. I'll have to write it up and send it in my next letter cause I forgot to bring it with me :/ I got so pumped up though. As I was practicing the speech I was having a fun time experimenting with different voices. My two favorite I seriously considered using for my speech was the voice of a black southern preacher calling down Hell fire and the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I ended up using my own voice though and it still went well :)
Even though we were in the apartment most of the week, we were able to build up more work this week than in previous weeks! We have 3 new investigators, 2 of which are progressing really well! We will be extending a baptismal date invitation on Tuesday which I'm confident they'll accept. Also we taught our 90 year old investigator G** last night and halfway through our message he interrupted us to tell us he's ready to be baptized!!! This will be my 2nd 90+ year old baptism and it's such a wonderful thing to be a part of. I may need to be a life guard again for this one because he asked his 89 year old friend to baptize him :D HAHA. I can't wait to be old and baptizing all my old buddies :)
I also had the opportunity to go on exchanges with one of our zone leaders. He came into my area and Elder Goates went into the zone leaders area. The highlight of the exchange was going on splits with a priest after dinner. We drove over to a part-member families home and found the nonmember husband smoking on the drive way. We got chatting and he told us all sorts of stories from his career in the Navy. He's a really cool guy! He grew up in LA and then moved to detroit. Yikes. Joining the Navy was something everyone told him he would never be able to do but he did it anyways and he accomplished his goal. We shared Alma-13 with him and set up a time to come back and teach.
From conference, one powerful thought has really stuck in my mind. In our lives, we have challenges we can solve and challenges we cannot solve. Some challenges will not pass until we pass to the next world. The atonement gives us the power to endure these challenges until we do pass. I would encourage anyone who is going through a challenge to rely on the atonement to help them ENDURE their challenge until it passes, for it surely WILL pass IF we persistently ENDURE. What solace this can bring to the troubled heart. It surely has brought peace to mine.
Being a missionary is the best. Seriously THE BEST. I mean, we're fed delicious meals daily, meet super funny people all day, baptize old men, and develop the strongest friendships with missionaries, members, and investigators. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Love you all!
Love Elder Janis