Wow. That's all I can say is wow. It seems that sums up every week of my mission for one reason or another. It's a good feeling though. My very first day in the MTC, I was challenged to make my mission a "WOW" mission. Something seems to be working
This week was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg! How cool is that! I SOOOO wish I could have driven up there to Gettysburg! It's such an amazing story. The heroes on both sides shaped our country in those three days in a way unlike any other. My favorite story is the story of the Battle of Little Round Top. The far left flank of the Union army. Outnumbered and out supplied, they had no hope of victory. The were nearly out of ammunition, then their Colonel, Lawrence Joshua Chamberlain called for a bayonet charge. With the incoming charge, the confederate troops surrendered. The battle was won. It's always been an inspiring story to me of the impact that one person can have. I've always gained such strength from it knowing that what I do does matter. Without that bayonet charge, the flank, the battle and soon after, the war, would have been lost. That ONE move by ONE man changed the course of history. Such a wonderful reminder to never underestimate ourselves.
So, as far as the WOW week goes, one of the coolest things was the 4th of July. President Riggs gave us permission to go to fireworks shows provided they fit within certain parameters.... Well, 2 blocks from home, within walking distance is Signal Hill, which had a fireworks show that was approvable!!! So, we got to go see fireworks at Signal Hill!!! It was one of the most amazing things to be there atop signal hill seeing the fireworks and hearing the boom they made. It was very cool to think about the cannons that made that noise less than 200 years ago. The acoustic nature of the valley was amazing. The fireworks just pierced as the sound reverberated. It was one of the best shows I've seen, too. They had one misfire though and go off before clearing the treeline!!! It turned out to be inconsequential, but it looked scary! It was one of the most amazing places to spend Independence Day. God Bless America!
Friday was Mission Leadership Council again. As usual, one of the highlights of my month. We spend a lot of time working hard and bearing testimony, trying to fill the cups of others, and experiences like MLC are always amazing, because we get to be around others who have similar stories, and who bear testimony to fill your cup more. It's always a very nice "recharge."
Our new Ward Mission Leader is absolutely inspiring. He's taking the new changes and just running with them, and it's showing. The ward is catching on like wildfire!
Last Friday, we were knocking on some door when a lady came running down the street towards us: "Elders! Elders! Are you busy?" She was from the ward. "We're always busy, but we have a moment! How can we help?" She walked up this driveway and knocked on the door! We followed and acted like we knew what was happening. When the man opened the door, she spoke. "Kevin! My husband said you had questions about our church. These missionaries will answer them! Why don't you come to our house and learn?" So he did! We taught him 3 days in a row and will be going back soon! He's a 7th day Adventist and has some KILLER questions! They're all with pure intent, but some are really tough! People always told me no to be afraid to say "I don't know" and I have had to use that advice! haha we try to tie it back to the Book of Mormon, and invite him to just find out.
A couple weeks ago when we were knocking on some doors, we heard a voice behind us. "Hey, this is my door. But you're welcome to come in!" That's how we met Michael. As we were talking, he said something about "us Mormons" that confused us. Turns out, he was raised in the church, but lost his way and hasn't been in 15+ years! He's really ready for this in his life now and is soaking it up like a sponge! Whenever he comes to church, he has this Book of Mormon and ALL of the pamphlets we've given him. His roommate Shane is also investigating now, so we teach them both. They're some of the coolest guys, and both in school to be engineers, so they're pumped for the Elders Quorum Pinewood Derby this weekend! haha
Last night, Michael came with us to the New Member Fireside, where recent converts speak and tell their stories and share their new testimonies. It's AMAZING every time. Well, we go, and the 2nd speaker was... Nghia Tong! I don't know if you remember, but Elder Porter and I tracted into Nghia, then passed him off to the singles ward just before we left Annandale. He and I went to Nghias baptism early this transfer. He spoke! It was such a blessing (and music to a missionaries ears) to hear how his life has changed with the gospel and how his testimony has grown.
This Wednesday is the Zone Musical fireside, so we're anxious for that!!! And just before, we're giving a chapel tour to a sweet Syrian family we're teaching. They were formerly Muslims of the Eloite sect, but after moving here and having seen the violence in their country, they've concluded that no "god-fearing" man would commit acts like that. They've now turned to Christianity and love the aspects of peace and forgiveness. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with them last night and they loved it.
Love you all!!