Random sidenote--today is my half birthday! Elder Graham said "well almost congratulations" this morning.
We've been very blessed the past couple weeks. It'd been really tough to find new investigators but God is blessing us a lot right now. I've come to realize even more now than before the fact that finding investigators has little to do with how skilled we are, but rather how much God sees fit to bless us. We do have to work hard and do things right, but as always, He blesses us when it's time for us to be blessed. We found 3 new investigators last week. Unfortunately we've had to "drop" a couple because they were no longer interested. Bryan  was one of those. We had a long conversation on his porch but he isn't willing to try to exercise any faith and try anything. It was really sad when we left, because he was so close to finding something that will help his life significantly. That's when the greatest sadness comes for us missionaries--when someone is so close to accepting the Gospel and changing their lives, then they reject it. It's never any easier to deal with! But I am sure he'll find the Gospel later in his life.
I've been on a lot of exchanges for 10 the past 11 days. Exchanges are when Elder Graham and I exchange companions for 24 hours with another set of elders in the district. I have to exchange with and evaluate every elder in the district every 6 weeks, as well as going with one of the zone leaders for them to evaluate me. It's been fun and lots has been learned, but it's worn me out! Luckily we're done with them for the next few weeks at least. One of the cool things about exchanges though, is it seems a miracle happens every time we go on one, in one form or another. Elder Graham and Elder Hunt (zone leader) picked up a new investigator--Vanessa  (her husband Will is a semi-active member). Vanessa accepted to be baptized, but Elder Graham (and for some reason Elder Hunt) was too shell-shocked to set a date for the baptism! I've never even met her because we've had so many exchanges. The next day I stayed in our area with Elder Hensley and we taught another new investigator--Todd  (his wife Tiffiney is an inactive member). Miracles keep happening! Beth  is still on track. She will be interviewed this week and baptized next Saturday the 11th after the worldwide leadership broadcast. She set a huge goal during finals testing week to read from 2nd Nephi 3-29, and she accomplished it! Her mother Jackie and little brother Logan came to church this week (neither have been to church in C-Bad) and the ward did a great job at fellowshipping them.
Also, Joanne and Chris  both came to church today. Chris hasn't been to even a portion of sacrament meeting since October. He has decided to start working to become a priest before he goes to college. His dad Al recieved notice to enter his 4-month rehab this morning down in San Diego. I don't know if I even told y'all about that. He has been addicted to lots of drugs for decades. Now he is going to try to get rid of the last ones once and for all. It's been a huge struggle for the Phillips family, but hopefully this will take that away. He has promised us he will read the Book of Mormon while he is there (when Al makes commitments, he keeps them). I will be out of Carlsbad before we see him again, so hopefully I will have some news about that in a few months. Meanwhile, Joanne and Chris are going to be working on their relationship and work on getting active in the church again.
Tony  finally came to church this week and had a really good time. He came to all 3 hours and the priests quorum and Bishop Ferrell did a great job in putting their arm around him. I hope he goes consistently now. He knows he needs to be there.
We can't get a hold of Tatsiana again. She's been slipping away recently and we're trying really hard to help her. Members are trying to get a hold of her but so far not a lot has worked.
That's about it for now as far as our teaching pool goes. This morning we got to go to the temple again. It still never gets old going there and seeing the beauty in and out of it. It was Elder Graham's first time going there. It feels so great to be in there and feel the Spirit so strong. I wish I would have done baptisms for the dead more frequently when I was home. I plan to attend the temple regularly when I come back. It's a wonderful place.
Yesterday Elder Graham and Elder Soderberg managed to clog the toilet again and made a mess! I came back after exchanges and the place smelled like bleach! I soon learned they had bleached almost everything within 10 feet of the toilet to clean it up, but it was still backed up. I had the privilege of unstopping the toilet. Not sure why I told y'all that!
We have zone conference tomorrow again in Cardiff (or some of you may know it as Cardiff-by-the-Sea). Yesterday the zone leaders called and asked if our district could sing a musical number and me play the piano. I hope we do okay! It's a little known fact that I don't actually play the piano well. I feel like a fraud! Looks like I get to fake my way through another song!