March 4, 2013
Alright, who's the one who's been praying for us this week?
Yep, it's a pretty solid winner. This past week has definitely been one of the absolute best of my mission. I've only got a little bit of time, so I'll scrunch what I can into my e-mail!
So, the district leader meeting went SOOOOO good! It was like a zone conference, but almost better I'd say because it was so focused on just us figuring out how to help the mission grow and progress by tackling problems and figuring out resolutions for them on the council. In addition, I found out some great news from Orenburg! Elder and Sister Chepurov and still doing way great there in Orenburg AND I found out that the guy we baptized now has the priesthood AND he's sunday school president! Wild, right? He misses us lots, which means I've got to get workin on his letter! Another friend and her family are also doing well, which was wonderful to hear. I sure do miss my Orenburg :)
But that's not even the best part. Sister Kiestler and Sister Crane have been seeing miracles left and right in their work. Their main investigator stayed for all 3 hours of Church yesterday and he wants to take part in the activity that's happening on Friday! Woah snap! He's been reading the Book of Mormon and reading about it and he drew out the events of 1 Nephi 13 on a chalkboard just to make sure he got it when he met with the sisters. If everything goes according to plan, he'll be baptized on April 13th!
Meanwhile, in our part of the city, an investigator has been making incredible progress with praying and reading his scriptures. We've now committed him to read the Book of Mormon everyday and to discuss with God in prayer about setting a baptismal date. I feel really really good about his progress.
So get this, right? For the past few weeks me and Elder Warkentin have been receiving tons of referrals from members, less actives and investigators. A couple of weeks ago we got a family referred to us, a family that lives with a great active grandma in our branch. The father of the family had been hesitant about coming to church or meeting the Americans, so he's been putting it off and finally just said that he didn't want to meet with us. Sunday, however, a sister brought the family’s two kids. anyways, the kids loved it, but they took from Elder Warkentin a rock that looked like a useless rock but is really a fossil with some memories attached to it. So, after Church, we dropped by their home to get the rock and, lo and behold, the parents were also there! We sat down and talked for a bit, and even though at first the father was pretty wary of us, kinda giving us the cold shoulder, by the very end he was saying "Come on by on Thursday! Oh, and hey, can we come to the activity on Friday?" Needless to say, we bonded with the family really well and we'll see what good stuff comes from that all next week.
But that's still not even the best part! Get this. So, one of the counselors in the branch presidency, came to us saying "Hey, my daughter wants to meet with you and learn the Gospel." Well, yes please! I was a little skeptical though. She and her parents and brother are members who have been through the temple. Of the whole time the Wings have been here they've really only seen her once or twice since she's avoided really having meeting with the missionaries. She's heard everything, her parents have talked to her about it before a million times and now, out of nowhere, she wants to meet with us and learn the Gospel. I was thinking "what can you teach someone who knows it all already?" Anyways, I didn't know what to think of the meeting, but we knew everything was gonna be ok, so we were gonna play this meeting by ear and by faith.
We walk into the apartment, and there we see the daughter. She has, by her side, the Book of Mormon and just about every brochure you can think of (including the food storage one!) and she looks like she's about ready to cry. She told us "I want to be baptized before the Wings go. I'm ready to learn now. I feel empty inside and I know this is my answer." She proceeded to tell us that a few days ago she had a dream wherein she saw her deceased husband in white, telling her that he was ok, that he was in the next life and that people were teaching him correct doctrine and principles and that she needed to do the same now. She felt the Spirit in the dream, and she took time in talking to her parents and in looking at her life. Her favorite things to do are to shop and hang out with her gal-pals, but in looking at her life she felt empty inside. She looked at her parents life and the life of her brother and saw just how much they'd changed (they have a REALLY cool conversion story, but that's for another day). So, she made the choice. She's quit drinking coffee, which was the only thing holding her back Word of Wisdom wise. She's ready to pay tithing and to come to Church every Sunday. It'll be a sacrifice for her work wise, but she's got a plan for it and she's ready to come and be active. She cried so many times during that meeting. I was so taken aback. Here we have about 12 years of prayers, fasting and miracles pent up and this week, and especially yesterday, God opened the floodgates of miracles for this family and for us. She will be baptized on March 16th, if everything goes the way we hope it does. It's a real miracle.
It's days like Sunday, and just weeks like this in general, that really remind you of how merciful and all knowing God is. There's no doubt about it, the Lord works in His own time for the salvation of His children and in His own ways. It's hard to express how exhilarating and humbling it is to be in the right spot to see all these miracles happen. And it's not us at all. The Lord could have put any missionaries here at this time, I think, and these miracles would have happened. But He let me and Elder Warkentin be here to see it and be His instruments in bringing it to full actualization.
So, what's the advice for this week? Go on a mission! It's really good for you! You see miracles and have good times. I really hope you, Mom and Dad, go on a mission...even more so I hope you go to Russia! Speaking of all of that, the Wings want to be at my homecoming, but they want to know when my homecoming will be. Do we know when it'll be or how that works out? That'd be spiffy :)
Thanks a bunch for your e-mail Dad! I'm gonna have to ask you the same question I've been asking Sean (and this is really for anyone in the family who wants to answer), but what exactly do you think I'd be good at? I've been thinking about it a lot too, and I want to take classes at BYU-I to figure out what I want to do, but any ideas would be spiffy. Ideas would be wonderful :)
Anyways, time is up (called it!) so I'll end that here. You all have a great week! I love you lots!
Love you always :)