Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Joshua's email - 11/5

Hello everyone!

This week has been awesome!  It's starting to get really cold, which is unfortunate, but we're still staying really busy.  Our mission president allows us to have an hour of exercise time a day since we have less daylight through the winter, which is awesome.  Elder G always tells me, "Before transfers, I just kept praying that I would have a companion that would want to exercise with me and push me to do more."  Well he definitely got the right companion for that job then.  We run at least a mile every morning before Elder G. does core and I do other stuff.  Our apartment is awesome because we have a bench and a barbell and weights.  We also have two sets of dumbbells and my resistance bands and a speed jump rope.  So we definitely get our exercise.  I'm getting physically stronger every day as well as spiritually stronger.  Somehow, I manage to lose weight even though I eat a TON every day.  Elder G. eats less than me and he gains weight.  Last week, we didn't have a dinner for 3 nights, so two of those nights, we both ate an entire frozen pizza each.  You could probably guess that we will never want to eat pizza again.  The very next night, we both went to a diner called Country Cafe, and we both ate double cheeseburgers, fries, chilli, and milkshakes.  We both felt miserable afterwards, hahaha!  And somehow I still can't gain weight............ It makes me laugh because I was always really worried that I was going to gain so much weight on my mission, that the damage would be unrepairable.

We hung out at the [C's house] again last week for Halloween.  Wisconsin has a law that you can only trick-or-treat between the hours of 4-7pm, and it was bright outside until about 5:45, so that was pretty weird.  The Cs feed us a TON every time we eat there, and our routine has been to check our weights before and after we eat (they have a scale right next to their dinner table, haha) so that we can see how much weight we've gained! They seriously feed each of us enough for an entire family......

We also had a District Training Meeting last week, so that was pretty fun.  There are two other sets of elders in our district.  I'm the youngest one by far.  We have an elder who has been out for 14 months, and I've been out for 1.  The time goes by super fast here, but at the same time, it feels like I'm walking down a million-mile path, and I've only walked a very small fraction of it, physically and spiritually.  My testimony has grown a lot so far.  More than I could have ever imagined, so I can't even imagine how much stronger it can get throughout these next 23 months!

One thing that I have noticed so far, is that I'm starting to really care and love the people here.  At first, I had a hard time with that.  I'm starting to find the desire to build their faith and bring them closer to Christ through helping them to receive His restored gospel and by being baptized.  I'm still trying to learn all of the ward members names, but some of the families that I've met are some of my favorite people already.  The same goes for some of our investigators, less-actives and part-member families.  For example T's family.  I can't remember if I talked about them before, but they're a Hmong family that lives here in Sun Prairie, WI.  T is married to N, and N is a recent convert.  T has two sisters, Y and S.  T has two kids, E (4), and S (3).  They're SO funny! I love teaching them and seeing their loving family and really how blessed we are that God has given us families.  I hope that they can make the decision to be baptized soon.

We've run into a few new potential investigators in the last two weeks.  One is an old lady named M.  We haven't been able to have a lesson with her yet, but we've visited her a few times, and have even given her a blessing because she was really sick and has a hernia.  She promised us that she'll read the Book of Mormon and she's really really willing to hear our message, which is awesome.  I know good things will come from us knocking on her door.  We also ran into a lady with a lots of kids.  I remember when we knocked on her door, Elder G introduced ourselves.  Normally we refer to how the gospel of Jesus Christ - the same one that He established - has been put back on the earth today in its fulness through a prophet, Joseph Smith.  This time, you could tell that the Spirit changed the words that Elder G spoke, right at that very instant.  As he spoke, he put more emphasis on how God blesses us with families that can be eternal, and you could seriously tell that the Spirit pierced through her when he said that.  So now we're going to be meeting with her pretty soon, and hopefully good things will come with that experience as well.  We are still meeting with K, who still has a baptism on December 1st.  We're trying to get his wife involved.  She's very willing to hear our message, but is very busy with work (K doesn't work because he had his hips replaced, so we speak to him often).  We're also meeting with the J family.  T is the mom, and she has four kids that live at home.  We brought a family from the ward, the Gs, to help us teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to T and her kids.  She has a strong testimony of the bible and has a lot of faith, and we're trying to build her testimony in the Book of Mormon as well.  She has accepted our invitation to be baptized, but she is praying to know if Dec 1st is the right date.  Her 18 year old son, H (he's huge! 6' 7")  is interested in our message too, so we're hoping we can get the whole family involved.  Elder G. says that he often wonders why we're so blessed to have so many investigators with lots of potential.  I'm hoping that they can accept the gospel and see how it can bless their lives as it has ours.

Anyway, that's pretty much all I have for this past week! We read Ether 4:15 yesterday and talked a lot about it in church, and it has inspired me to strive to have a humbled heart.  Read it, live it, love it!

Please write me!

Love, Elder Whicker!

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