Flood, Sweat and Gears. Kinda has a good ring, right?
First off, there's this place we go every P-Day called Carolina Brothers that has LEGIT North Carolina Pit BBQ, and they feed Elders for free!!! So, I've decided that's my "Ashburn thing." So, I'm getting a T-shirt!!! surprise... Anybody else want one? I'm getting Mom and dad one for their Birthdays so they can have matching "Here's where my son doesn't starve" shirts, but anybody is welcome to one
We were over at a members house the other day and I decided I totally want to be a FSO. Any objections? Because I think the idea is SWEET!!!
Of course, everybody out here thinks I should do something different. Somehow our wand fight made it to the ward in general and many of them think I should go into movies, while a piano store owner here thinks I should major in Piano Performance. And some people think I should just never go home and be a missionary my whole life. haha
Cool quote I found: "If I die, I will be with God. If I live, God will be with me." Such a cool point to make. We really have nothing to fear out here as long as we're doing what we should be. We'll be with God one way or the other by doing all we need to. So, maybe that van that almost hit me wasn't really that close? Who knows? haha. Anyways, just thought that was cool. Not that I'm planning on... Haha... Yeah, anyways...
As it sounds like you saw on the mission blog, we had a half mission conference to bid farewell to the albrights. It was very cool.After we all had a chance to say goodbye to the Albrights personally and when it was my turn, sister Albright said that she was sorry she didn't get to work with me longer, because she expected great things. Very humbling to hear form people that I respect so much, but associate with so little.
The departing missionary fireside was really cool. It's a fireside they hold where all the people leaving can talk for a bit. The Albrights spoke too since they were "departing missionaries." At one point, the missionaries organized a flash mob where we stood in clusters and sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth." It was very neat.
Elder L got very quiet his last few days in the field. Up and down and overall just very distracted when we were at our apartment. His last night we were riding home and he asked to go see fireflies one more time, so we went back to the WNOD, which is just filled with them and sat there for a while talking. It's gotta be weird coming home. I mean, this is all we know right now and we LOVE it. I asked how much he wanted to go home on a scale of 1 to 10 and he said 4. I'm glad I don't have to worry about those sort of emotions for a while.
At the transfer meeting, I was put with Elder R. He's from Fiji and is an awesome guy. It's kinda funny going from 5 foot 6 165lbs L to 5 foot 11 250lbs R. It's a blast though. He played rugby, so he's in shape and is fast on a bike and strong in the spirit, so it's sweet. At the end of the transfer meeting, we had organized another flash mob thing without Pres knowing. When it was over, we all stood, called out "We love you President and Sister Albright," then sang "Called To Serve." Wow. I've sung that song how many times? and with how many missionaries in the MTC? But with just 150 of us there, that song meant more than it ever has to me. It was very neat.
Pres told us too, how mission presidents are called. He was at work one day and his secretary came in: "Mark, There's some guy named Bednar on the phone. He says you'll know who he is."... lol
We went with the Sisters from here the other day and drew huge chalk drawings on the WNOD, so if those show up on the blog, that was me :)
Fun story, apparently they tried to get a GA out here for a youth conference and Salt Lake denied their request with a note that said: "find someone from your area. You have amazing people there. D.C. is the church's training ground for worldwide leadership."
Poor Elder R, this is his first time as DL and he had two Emergency Transfers in the first two days. The first everyone kind of saw coming. The second was just some elder somewhere who decided he didn't want to be the DL on a bike in the summer, so complained. That's what it sounded like when R told me at least. Anyways, I'm starting to believe it. This new guy who is here now was supposed to be our ride to the library, but we can't get a hold of him. R says he's probably asleep. So we rode here on bikes. Very nice guy, just not the drive I'm used to seeing out here in D.C. South where EVERYONE just has a fire within them.
We taught two really good lessons this week. D, a guy missionaries have been working with for 20 years was one of them. We challenged him to read and pray about the book of mormon and the idea seemed totally foreign to him. Apparently the Elders, for the past 20 years, have been giving him little "bible thoughts," which are great, but.....
The second lesson was N, and THAT is the reason I'm on a mission. Moments like that when the spirit is just so strong. He says he's been considering baptism for a while, and likely will be, but he won't set a date yet. We meet with him again tomorrow. We're excited. S was a huge benefit to have there too. It was my first lesson actually having a member there to help us, and I wasn't sure how to "use" the member present, but then the spirit told me to invite her to bear testimony about Joseph Smith. She was caught off guard just as much as I was, but bore a very sweet testimony that brought the spirit very strongly. After she was done, I asked N if he felt the spirit, and he - usually very loud and enthusiastic - whispered with tears in his eyes: "yes, I do." Those are the moments that make it all worth it for missionaries. We ride all over and knock doors all day, but in the end, moments where people change for the better are why we're here. We invite them to come unto Christ and there is nothing like when they do. I've seen it multiple times with Less Actives we've met with, but this was my first time seeing it in an investigator, and wow. I can't wait to meet with him again tomorrow.
Hey, thanks for sending the ipod and other stuff with Justin. I don't think you even know this, but you included my FAVORITE picture of the Savior. And it's only been my favorite since the MTC. :) The ipod is great too. It feels like home now that I have Afterglow and Goodman Family :D
Last week at the zoo, we had some kids harassing us and they didn't know ANYTHING about what they were talking about. IT was almost sad. I came up with this great rebuttle , but the spirit told me not to use it (L says I should have haha [he had me write it in my journal too :P]). These kids would follow us around and say a few things, then leave. Then you'd see a security guard walk past, then they'd resume. People everywhere were watching us humbly "take it" and they said they were very impressed by us and that the kids were timing their abuse specifically to avoid the security. Very interesting.
As we were leaving the zoo. a really cute thing happened. We hear this little voice behind us: "Hey!! I want to be a missionary someday!" We turned around and theres this little boy, probably 3 or 4, running towards us with ice cream dripping down his shirt and his mom trying to keep up with him. We stopped and talked to him for a bit and found out his name was W M and his dad served in Santa Rosa. He told us that when he was 12 we could start calling him "Elder Mr" and that he couldn't wait to serve. As we were leaving: "Wait! Um... you can call me Elder M now if you want..." He was adorable.
Now, the Flood, Sweat and Gears. The Flood from the storms, the Sweat from the heat, and the Gears because we've had to do 4 different bike repairs since I last wrote :P
IT's HOTTTTTT here in Virginia! One person we met with on Friday said the index was at 117! I don't know how true it is, but I believed it! IT's cooking! We were doing studies one morning and Elder R goes outside to feel the weather and comes back in saying: "Man, we're gonna need a snorkel out there today!"
Then Friday night, the storm hit! We saw lightning in the distance as we were riding home, but we were asleep for most of it. When we woke up in the morning, we started hearing all sorts of stuff about power outages all the way into Pennsylvania, Funnel Clouds over the Capitol Mall, and four fatalities in Springfield, just a few miles away! There are some missionaries without power, but they're all taken care of. We spent most of Saturday in service clothes on our bikes riding around looking for service to do. It was crazy. We said a prayer that we would be guided to those who needed to be served, said amen, and we started riding. We would turn here, or not turn there, and we would end up somewhere with a tree in the road! Then we'd leave from there, and we'd just know "keep going. Turn here, etc." And we'd wind up somewhere else! By the end of it, we were in areas I'd never been to, but I still knew exactly where to go. It was an incredible experience being guided by the spirit like that. After we were done serving, we were going to visit a potential in the area, when suddenly the promptings came again. "Turn left and get on the bike trail." We were in a suburb, there's no bike trail her- and there it was. So, we got on it, and I knew: "Follow this, then it will take you to a sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, there's another trail that will take you there." So we get to the sidewalk and start riding down it and it's a dead end! But no, I had to keep riding, and within about 15 feet of it I could see the trail, which took us straight to some guys who needed help. We truly are guided by the spirit here.
Saturday night and Sunday we had another little miracle. We met a Less Active Saturday night named L who wanted to come back to church and read scriptures again. So, we got her to commit to church and left that night, hoping to get her back to church, then passed off to the singles ward where she should be eventually. As we left, she shared that her biggest fear was not having any friends. So, we spent the evening calling people to meet her at church. Everyone was out of town or not going to be there or something. So, we put in another call on our knees, asking that a friend would be sent to church tomorrow that she could meet. The next day at church, we show up and there's a missionary homecoming, so half of the singles ward is there!!! Who holds a missionary homecoming on Fast Sunday?!?! But that was what was needed, and she's going to FHE tonight with a new group of friends and a testimony that is growing again.
This is the Lord's work. He asks that we thrust in our sickle, but does not promise overwhelming success with every swing. What he does promise though is that our burdens will be made light, that we will become stronger and that our testimonies will grow, so when we reach a fruitful portion of our service, we can reap with all our might. He guides this work, He supports this work, He does this work with us, and "I'll not rest, till I make of my hands what they can be. Till these hands become like those of Galilee."