Monday, January 28, 2013

Joshua's email - 1/28

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a great week!  It was a little difficult to adjust to a new companion at first, but Elder J and I are getting along really well now.  We both laugh a lot and work hard, so we're definitely enjoying the work!  I still can't believe he's 6'6".  I seriously thought that anything over 6'4" was just a myth! Haha.  We've discussed our goals, and we both have very similar goals as missionaries, so that's really cool.  We're both focusing on finding people to teach through members, and we're focusing hard on trying to find a family to teach and baptize.

Wednesday, we drove to Madison's stake center for Zone Conference.  This was my first one, and it was AWESOME.  I was expecting it to get a little tired from sitting down listening to speakers for 7+ hours, but I actually had a really strong spiritual experience there, and I learned a lot!  It seemed like everything we talked about there was directly pointed to my needs and struggles right now.  We talked about how to involve members with missionary work, about patience through hard times (hard, cold winter months), and we bore our testimonies before we watched an incredible talk by Elder Holland.  It was a great day.

So, we've been looking for our referral, K.  I think I mentioned how we had met him in my last letter, but I'll re-cap.  Elder G and I were looking for a less active who, at one point, lived in an apartment building.  We stopped by, and found out that someone else was living there, named K.  He told us we could stop by another time, so we set up an appointment. We came the next Saturday, and he wasn't there, so we left him a pass along card.  He actually called the number and requested a Book of Mormon, so we got a referral for him, haha!  We've tried to catch him several times since then, but he works sometimes up to 16 hours a day, so he's very busy.  His girlfriend, T, is always home, but we usually just tell her we'll try to catch K later.  Finally we decided to ask T if she was interested in our message, and she said she was and that we could come back.  We taught her part of the Restoration, and she had lots of questions.  The lesson went really well, and we've got a return appointment set up for Tuesday.  That was way exciting.  We invited her to be baptized on February 23, and she accepted.  She told us she would try to make it to church next week (she couldn't come this past weekend because of work), so we're really excited for that! Hopefully we can figure out how we can get K involved too and then we can teach both of them!

Friday evening, we had a dinner at a member family's house.  The parents are insanely intelligent people - the mom is a super genius chemist and the dad is a surgeon who has saved people's lives on numerous occasions. The dad is a non-member, but he's very open to having the missionaries come over and discuss the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  I think the only thing that holds him back is how busy he is with his occupation.  He told us about some of the incredible spiritual experiences he's had, and we talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation, in particular, life after death.  We really enjoyed talking with them, and some of the dad's stories were incredible!

Saturday morning, we had breakfast and a coordination meeting planned with our ward mission leader.  Elder J and I had both forgotten that we had planned to eat breakfast that morning, so we had both eaten a huge bowl of oatmeal just before going over to the WML's house.  Turns out that his wife was gone, and he had eaten with her earlier that morning, so he made breakfast just for us.  40 pancakes.  Just between me and Elder J.....  Elder J ate about seven, along with a small glass of orange juice and 5 strips of bacon.  I downed eleven pancakes, 4 pieces of bacon, and 3 cups of chocolate milk.  Haha! Our WML kept asking, "Are you elders getting weak on me now?!" and we had to just keep eating on an already full stomach.  It was a pretty entertaining experience.  It's been a while since I've felt like puking from eating too much.

Other than that, not a whole lot of anything super exciting happened this week.  We're doing a lot of finding, and we had a few first lessons this week.  Tonight we're teaching a Hmong FAMILY! So hopefully everything goes well with that. This is the first time I will have actually taught an entire family! I think they have 4 kids all under 10 years old.  That's going to be exciting.  Also, we were looking through the area book and found a potential investigator from a couple years ago that we wanted to visit.  They no longer live at the recorded address, but the lady that lives there now listened to us as we taught a brief version of the Restoration, and then she referred us to a lady across the street who she said could really use our message.  We haven't been able to contact her yet, but we're really excited to meet her.

I'll leave some scriptures that have really struck me lately, and have helped me out a lot.

Alma 37:37 - Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Alma 38:5 - "... as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

Love you all!

Elder Whicker

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