So . . . They say that every drop of sweat from missionary work makes your wife even prettier, so how do raindrops fit into the equation? It's coming down pretty hard! No tornado warnings this week (did I tell you about that? Whoops if I didn't. Nothing serious. The one that hit was about four miles away, and a member family swept us inside and wouldn't let us leave until the warning was expired).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! You're 50! Just 12 more of that and you get to build an ark!
Happy Fathers Day as well!. We're in church and people start saying it, and we're like: "oh yeah, that's today." So, we got pie from one ward and cookies from the other. I've decided I like father's day... and the primary kids were just as out of tune and just as adorable here ;)
Some exciting stuff going on here. We just got statistics, and we're the number 1 baptizing mission in the entire North East region again!! We're also the number 1 for trips to the ER, but then again, I probably shouldn't be telling mom that...
I don't have the time or ability to answer all of your comments from letters, but I love getting them, so I'll answer as many as I can so you don't stop!
Tempest sounds like it was awesome! I can't wait to see the dvd!
Elder L really is keeping his head in the game. I'm impressed. Like I said last week, the airport is really close by, so he often sees the exact model of plane he'll be on flying over us. It's gotta be hard, but he stays focused. Most important part is he works hard still. I've decided there's no such thing as not being trunky in some way. The problem is when it affects your work. The trick is getting trunky without getting trunky. ;)
My bike is working very well! The front fender doesn't stay attached for more than a day or so, so I've just been riding with a rear fender alone. It works great though!
Transfers this time around are a little weird. They're 9 days early because President Riggs is coming in, and President Albright didn't want to throw transfers on him first thing.
How was the long drive with Rachel, Jeff and Aurora? I woke up that morning and was totally like: "Whoa! (Insert stoner voice) My sister is like, going to college." Where did the time go!? She's not old enough for that, is she? How is it? roommate? classes? etc?
Thanks for the tick info, both Nana and mom. Elder B was actually roommates with us when I first got here, and it was't lyme disease fortunately. Elder A, we're still waiting to hear on. Their first priority is clearing it from him so it doesn't become permanent. He wants to stay out here, so he's basically living on pills. Keep him in your prayers.
My leg is doing better. I tried playing soccer with a less active boy last week and some of his friends (his family is actually from Le Paz, Bolivia), and it was good for most of the time. It got a little sore near the end, but it was good to be out on it again. I couldn’t resist the temptation and tried a backflip . . . I'll need to rebuild that muscle a bit before I try again, my knees are still a bit sore.
I'll keep my eyes open for the Roneys. Do you know what ward they're in? Bishop Lewis really is fantastic. We love him. And we know the Cahoons. Don is a crack up! They would do anything for us, but they never let us get near them without making it interesting. Imagine Dave Pettey times about 6 ;) Our ward mission leader in Ashburn is like a father to the missionaries too. He's so reliable and genuine. It's awesome.
Now, a weekly update!
We finally got in touch with one of our former investigators. He wants to come to church and get baptized, and his dad loves the idea, but his mom doesn't... He asked us to talk to her, so we're praying and preparing ourselves so the spirit can soften her heart.
We had two exchanges this week. First one was with Elder K and Elder M. Elder L went to their area in Hamilton/Catocton, and Elder K and I hit it up in our area. We went to our first dinner (we had two again) at the Petersons house (our shelter from the tornado). Sister Peterson reminds me very much of Danai and she takes great care of us. As we were leaving, something really funny happened that has nothing to do with spirituality, but is one of my new favorite stories. A couple weeks ago, Sister Peterson introduced us to her neighbors right across the street so we could offer service (they're redoing their house) and maybe fellowship and teach them. Well, their neighbor's 18-year-old daughter K opens the door . . . K ever since then has been sort of a running joke representing distraction from missionary work . . . Very pretty girl, but she doesn't leave any doubt . . . We were glad when her father refused our service because she was a bit immodest . . . Anyways. I'm here with Elder K now, and we're hopping on our bikes to ride down the driveway and off into the sunset and, as I'm coming down the driveway, I see K - in cheerleader attire - on her front porch. I reach the road, turn and start riding. Suddenly, I hear: *CRASH* and I turn around to see Elder K, with a very red face, picking up his bicycle from the ground! It's become a favorite story of the Zone. haha :D
After dinner wih the Petersons, we went to J's house. We've been helping her grandmother move into a retirement home, and she decided it was time to treat us to some real Italian food, so J's whole family is there. Sister , Mother, Father, Grandmother and some friends! All nonmembers! We get there and J offers us some soda, and her dad interrupts: "Oh! Don't taunt them like that, they can only drink water, right? No soda." Then Grandma comes running over with wine: "Here! I pour for you." J: "Oh, Grandma, they can't drink wine, remember?" Grandma: "No, is okay. I'm 21! I buy FOR them." I was getting really excited for this dinner. The food was great, and afterwards, we talked about the gospel, shared a message with them, answered some questions and pointed them to mormon.org J is on the uphill. Things are still tough, but it's getting better. Please continue keeping her in your prayers. You really are working miracles.
Last night, our dinner appointment was with the W family. He's from Cody, Wyoming, so I couldn't resist. I asked him if he'd been to the Frost Caves. He saw right through me: "Are you talking about the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites books?" haha. I guess I don't keep a good poker face. He showed me pictures of them and it was really neat. Afterwards, Sister W asked me to play the piano. I did, and THEN they told me that Brother W is the ward music coordinator . . . nice..
Return and report was Thursday. Elder McGoffin and I hopped in a car, and started driving, hoping our GPS was really taking us to the mission home . . . It worked! I loved talking with him in the car. We talked about scripture study, the work, shared fun stories about the work, shared serious stories about the work. Ashburn is a "tough zone" and it shows. It really tests the faith of those working in it. Apparently he and his trainer, Elder G had a girl on date in their area , then knocked on her door for a visit once, and she answered it to reveal her and her boyfriend not in any fit state to be visiting with missionaries. Needless to say, she's not on date anymore.
Anyways, we get to return and report, and it was SOOO neat to see all my old MTC buddies!!! They're all doing so well, and everyone has huge smiles and bigger spirits than they had just weeks ago, which is saying a lot. It was going so well, and It was incredible! Then we started our testimony meeting. I was toward the end, and I noticed a pattern as it was coming across the room. It seemed that a good 70% of the testimonies being shared had at least one story in them that ended with: "and then we put them on date." It wasn't just a few people, either. Practically EVERYONE told stories about their fantastic investigators and the miracles that got them to accept baptism. Elder McGoffin and I looked at each other. I think we were the only to in the room who didn't have someone on date. I sat, tears welling up in my eyes as conversion story after conversion story was told, and the best thing that had happened to me thus far was J's sister listening to a short message. I felt like a failure. Then for some reason, I felt prompted to flip through my notebook, and I almost opened straight to a quote by John Wooden: "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." Immediately I felt better. The spirit testified to me then that my work was not being ignored or forsaken, and I remembered again that this work is done on the Lord's time, not ours. This happened just in time too, because then it was my turn to bear testimony. I stood up and said humbly: "They often say that the greatest convert from your mission is yourself, and that is my testimony to you today." After that, I bore a simple testimony of the Savior and His divinity and mission, and of the wonderful message of the restoration. I searched my mind for SOME experience to share, but felt the spirit whisper to me to just bear testimony. So I did. And I sat down feeling the spirit and feeling comfort in my work.
Afterwards, we had to wait because our car was blocked in by other cars. I was sitting talking to some Elders, and President and Sister Albright called me over. I walked over, and she started off by telling me that I have a wonderful laugh and a broad smile. I thanked her and said simply that I had a lot to smile about..
Elder McGoffin and I shared on the drive how we both felt similar during the testimony meeting. It's hard for both of us feeling like we're working so hard, and not seeing people come unto Christ. But we still see miracles every day, and it's a wonder to behold. Sometimes the Lord sends us places to help the people there, and sometimes, He sends us to places where He can help us. Somehow we wake up every morning with strong faith. What an honor it is to be involved in this sacred work.
- Elder Matthew