Tuesday, June 12, 2012

12 June 2012

Hello family!
I just realized that the days are passing by quicker than I can keep track of them.  I was trying to remember if it was June 8 or 9 today for my subject line, but it is in fact June 12.
We've had a good week, despite me having been sick most of the week.  I think I've had a cold, but who's to say.  Over the course of my mission, I've humbled myself and taken medicine when I'm sick, instead of thinking I'm too cool for it and will just take being sick.  Lo and behold, I feel better!  Who woulda thunk it?
We had interviews with President Cook on Friday, and this one was different than the usual "well how are things going?" "good." "how's your companion?" "he's doing well." "anything else you need?" "nope.'' "alright, let's bring in the next missionary!".  This time he said "Elder La Follette, in about 8 weeks we'll have an interview that will be significantly longer than this one.  Between now and then, I want you to use a personal study and set goals for the next year, and make plans to accomplish those goals.  We'll talk about those goals in the exit interview."  I imagine that will be a very "trunky" study.  I told him in the interview that I'm grateful for the assignment I have that keeps me busy enough to not think about going home hardly at all.  He laughed and said that's wonderful.  After that, he called in both me and Elder Mason to talk about the zone, it is was back to work as usual!
On Sunday the organist in the singles ward was late to the meeting so Bishop Beckstead asked me and Elder Mason if either of us could play prelude music on the piano.  Elder Mason of course volunteered me quickly, so I went up to play.  A few minutes later the first counselor Bro McAffee asked if I could play for sacrament meeting because the organist wasn't going to show up at all.  So, I got to play organ in sacrament meeting for the first time!  Luckily I had learned one of the sacrament hymns the day before, so I didn't do a terrible job.  The only wrinkle was that we needed to leave the meeting to go to ward council for the family ward, so Elder Mason ran up to the stand and said Dirk was my companion, then rushed off to ward council!  The first song was really slow because I didn't anticipate such a sound delay from the ward (even though transfer meeting was like that too), but the others were great.  Bishop decided I was good enough to play next week as well, so I just got volunteered to play next week in church too!
What else... I had an exchange this week with Elder Eames, one of the assistants, up here in Mission V.  On the exchange he helped me remember that as a leader in a more administrative position, sometimes I need to be more direct and blunt with people.  I've focused so much on ministering and working personally with people and getting down on their level and helping them, I had almost left out completely the part of my assignment that requires a directivity and things along those lines.  It was a good reminder.  We taught Thomas again and had a great lesson about the Priesthood.  We focused mostly on the Great Apostasy (which is one of my favorite subjects because it's so important), which helped him understand clearly the need to find an answer.  We asked him what it means to him and he said "well it means if it's true, then I better be Mormon!"  He forsees his family getting very upset and likely won't support him in college if he converts, and largely disowning him.  It would mean he would have to change colleges from his Christian ministry college he's planning on attending, to something else, and other things.  But he said despite all that, if he finds out it's true and decides it's true, then he will join the church anyway, and is considering serving a mission.  On Saturday he didn't feel he had an answer yet, and we decided to teach him about the Premortal Life, the Creation (which is actually an eye-opening to a lot of Christians.  They think God the Father created the earth by himself, but Christ created it under His direction.  it's in the Book of Mormon and the Bible.) Adam and Eve and the Fall.  We read a lot of 2nd Nephi 2 and talked about it pretty in depth, to his understanding.  He came away feeling what we talked about could be true, but was very different than what he had learned.  Between Saturday and last night, he read 2 Nephi 2 three more times with Mason Ming (his friend) and then finally it all clicked with him.  He also read as many verses in the Bible he could find on baptism, and then prayed for about 30 minutes about whether this was true and right.  He promised Heavenly Father if he got an answer he would join the Church despite all opposition.  He then said he had an undeniable warm feeling come over him, and even felt shaking, and knew he felt the Spirit.  He is very wary of going solely off feeling (as many born-agains are) but that was a very significant event for him and for us.  Last night we had a lesson about the Holy Ghost and how it works and why it is significant.  He is coming a long way.  I imagine he will be baptized within the month of July.
On exchanges on Friday in an adjacent ward with Elder Daniel, we taught a lady named Crystal, who has been investigating for about a year, and has had a hard time accepting baptism.  She is 34 and not married, and comes from a VERY Catholic family.  The members that were at the lesson helped a ton and really took over the lesson in a good way.  The wife, Sister Robertson, had an almost identical situation, and helped Crystal work through it.  Crystal also had a worry she wouldn't fit in a family-oriented church with her situation, but the Robertsons helped her out of that.  She has a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and the Church is true.  She's scared out of her mind to tell her family she wants to join the church.  She's been wanting to put it off for a long time.  Elder Daniel suggested she pick a date for her baptism to help her tell her mom sooner.  She picked July 28.  It was a miracle that everything worked out how it did.  I love exchanges!  Miracles always happen on exchanges.
What else.. this is already a very long email.  We got a hold of Anthony on Sunday during our 3rd hour ward rescue effort in the YSA ward.  Bishop Beckstead sent us to see Anthony, our only assignment.  We got a hold of him, and he came back to Church with his girlfriend, and then to FHE last night.  The reason he didn't come was because he couldn't afford gas the rest of the week after paying his traffic ticket.  We offered him rides, and he'll be able to go.  Last night he told me he had a really intense prayer asking for forgiveness in being less valiant than he should.  After 15 min of prayer, he got in bed and received a text he'd been waiting for for weeks, telling him he got some money in his account he desperately needed!  He laughed at that and said he knows he needs to do better!
Well I'm out of time and the MV district wants their mail.  I hope y'all have a great week!
Elder La Follette

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