This guy will be home in a month! Here's the updates from the last two weeks...
September 3, 2013
Well, the past few days have been pretty crazy here. I can't say I was expecting to get transferred. On the ride up, I broke zippers on both of my luggage pieces.... gah! It was super stupid. However, I think I can finagle it to work at least for the plane ride home.
As usual, when getting doubled into an apartment, there was a lot of cleaning up to do. I swear that President Pitt has made me into the unofficial missionary apartment cleaner-upper. As usual, we cleaned out the 7 year old food out of the fridge and pantry. As well as cleaning, dusting and vacuuming each room. (we still haven't gotten to the upstairs parts yet. We live in a townhouse.) We threw away a couch or two, and then figured out that the apartment came equipped with a single air conditioning unit, and no dressers of any sort. Bleh....
We met a few of the members on friday night. Bro. B is our Branch mission leader, He's really awesome. I'm excited to work with him. The members have been really supportive lately. I've been really excited to work here. The Branch hasn't had very much success lately. It's been a while since their last baptism, and their faith is a little low. E. Nelson (my new companion) and I are here to rebuild their faith and excitement for missionary work.
We have an average of about 30-40 members show up to church each week. We don't have very strong numbers of young people. Our primary generally consists of 0-5 kids, depending on which families show up. We currently have one young man who comes regularly. Most of the members are older couples who have lived in the area for all of their lives. We're trying to focus on finding young families and getting them out to church.
Mannington Branch is really close to two of my previous area, Fairmont and Clarksburg. So, Yesterday, when we went to go do laundry, we did it in Fairmont at the Bishop's laundromat. It was pretty funny to see the looks on their faces when I walked in. They didn't expect it at all.
In addition to teaching several new investigators and taking members out with us, we also were able to help build a hayloft, and my companion was defeated by the He-man eating challenge, when we went to lunch. (I tried and failed last year when I was in Fairmont, it's a garbage can lid full of breakfast food.)
Anyway, It's been a fun past few days.
September 9 2013
This week I did a poor, poor, job at journal writing. So Hopefully I can still muster up something of a good letter.
The goal that was given me from President Pitt when I got here was to get a baptism, a true conversion, in this area. The branch hasn't had a baptism in over a year. So we're here and we'll get it. I think I've started to realize that all high baptizing areas are based almost entirely on faith.The faith of missionaries, the faith of members, and the faith of investigators. They all add up to the miracle of baptism and true conversion. I've been reminded of the verses from Moroni chapter 7 which read:
33 And Christ hath said: aIf ye will have bfaith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is cexpedient in me.34 And he hath said: aRepent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with apower and great glory at the last bday, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he awithheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that amiracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of bunbelief, and all is vain.
Throughout the day we found a couple of new investigators. The Lord really blessed us. One of them, his name was C. He'd been taught by missionaries previously. He's an older gentleman who has some health problems (on oxygen, in a wheelchair, etc.). He was really excited to see us. He invited us in right away. He said he was always really happy when his "Brothers" would come to see him. We found out that he had come to church a few weeks earlier and had felt immensely blessed by going. He told us how he was really cold while in sacrament meeting and that one of the members went out to her car, got a blanket, and lovingly draped it over his shoulders.
He was so impressed by this that he told us he wanted to come back again and again. It's amazing how the small and simple things make all the difference. I'm so grateful to whichever member that might have been, whose simple act of love made all the difference for this man.
Had a cold start to come on Wednesday which made the day a lot less fun. However we were able to get some good member involvement with a couple different members coming out to a couple different lessons.
Cold was really bad, but not so much to keep us from getting out. We had a great dinner appointments that night with some members, where they gave us about 5 or 6 referrals. Right after dinner we had an appointment to get to, so we asked if one of the members would be willing to come with us. They jumped right on that, and we taught that night with a member present.
Friday we had a wonderful zone meeting up in Morgantown. It was really faith-building. It was based on a talk that I will attach to this email. It was on faith. It was an awesome talk, and I highly recommend reading it. It was given by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy, in Lima Peru, at the Area Council Meeting of the Andes area in 1980.
After a power packed zone meeting, we went on exchanges with our district leader. I got to be with E. Turner, the District Leader's companion. and we went and contacted many Part member families, and referrals from the ward. We contacted a particular family who, we were told, were attending the Methodist church. The wife was a member, but the husband was not.
I was surprised at how friendly and open they were to hear from us. The nonmember husband started asking a few really good questions. He asked, "If your church believes in more scripture, like the Book of Mormon, given from prophets, then why aren't there more sciptures given today?"
We explained how the words of the prophets are scripture, and that twice a year we have General Conference where we can hear more of God's word. We also explained a little about church magazines and other church material that was produced with words of the prophets. He liked that answer and invited us to come back again the next week.
Saturday was some more contacting of referrals. I've probably received more referrals here than anywhere else in my mission. We're having trouble keeping up with all of them. In fact, we've been receiving referrals faster than we can contact them. It's a pretty great problem to have.
Around 6 or so, when we exchanged back with the New Martinsville elders, we saw that there was a car show going on downtown in Mannington, Since we needed dinner anyway, we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat at one of the little shops set up, and and ate while we admired the beautiful cars. It reminded me of the fun times spent in Escondido at the Crusin' Grand car show in the summer.
Sunday we had an awesome Stake Conference. We had two people speak who had just received their mission calls, following which, we had President and Sister Pitt speak. Then we heard briefly from the Stake President, and then from the a member of the Washington D.C. Temple Presidency, Pres. Pratt. It was awesome! Every talk was geared toward missionary work.
Anyway, it's been a good week so far, more good stuff in the future!