|Baby Isaac (Elder Vernon's cousin) on his blessing day.|
Elder Saltmarsh and I are excited about the letter exchange and are stoked to read the letters. I am glad you were able to meet Elder Saltmarsh's sister.
Well, this week has been a crazy week, and I'm lacking on time, but I hope I can cover everything I want to in my time alotted. First off, let's cover some logistical things and then we'll get to all the craziness, miracles, and whatever else interesting happened this week.
Elder Saltmarsh and I want to go to Adam's ties today to buy some ties for some of my friends and I just figured there isn't a much better gift than a 9 dollar tie, right? right. Also, I haven't bought my Poland Jersey and scarf yet, but hopefully I'm still ok to do that for my birthday as well. Mom, there is a really cool pottery store here in Warsaw called Kim's. Now, it's expensive, but I can buy you some cool pottery and they will send it home for me there. Would you like me to? Or wait until later in the mission? I'll try to get a better estimate on prices so you know whether it's worth doing or not. It would be a great b-day present for you :). Just give me a heads up and know I'm not going berserk with money and just spending it all like crazy. I really am grateful for everything you do for me and try to ok all my purchases by you before I do anything, so hopefully everything is good.
Also, for my birthday package, the only request I would have is maybe including a couple of pictures of me and my friends from before my mission. I love getting pictures of all of you and please keep it up, but it would be great to have some of before my mission to show my companions, members, and such. So, if you could do that, that would be great. Oh, I just remembered, I am running out of superfloss, so a new box of that would be quite helpful. Or some floss threaders, whichever is easier for you.
Heath, I would suggest taking ap Lang rather than 12 honors, but that's just me. Take your pick. Good luck with calc b-c!
Ok, now down to business.
This week has been incredible! A truly miracle filled week. First off, I finished my first missionary journal this week, already. It feels really weird to be writing in a second one already. Where is all of this time going? It's insane.
The biggest miracle this week was being let in tracting. That was the first time that has happened on my whole mission! We tracted into a group of 3 young people--P, A, and J--and they were more than willing to let us teach them about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. It was an incredible experience. They all started off somewhat closed and didn't seem too interested, except for P. By the end of the lesson, the Spirit was very strong and we committed all of them to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and to be in church next week. The atmosphere in the whole room had completely changed. It is incredible to me the effect the Spirit can have in softening hearts and helping to realize what we have is true. I'm also very grateful for a Father in Heaven who leads His missionaries to those that are prepared for His gospel.
Elder Saltmarsh and I also taught a great lesson to the young couple who were a referral a few weeks ago, G and B. It was one of the best lessons about the Plan of Salvation I have had on my mission. They were asking all the right questions, have been reading the Book of Mormon, and are progressing wonderfully. We are excited to see how they will progress. They have also committed to come to church on the 17th of Feb. Neither of them could come before that date due to work and being out of town. We, unfortunately, lost track of time during the lesson and didn't realize how late it was. Well, we were supposed to be home at 9:30, but didn't quite make it. Anyway, knowing we were supposed to be home and trying to be as obedient as possible, we decided to have a footrace home for about 3/4 of a mile. This isn't no ordinary footrace either. This is a dead on sprint by two missionaries committed to be obedient. Well, I must say, I'm sure the people of Poland think that those 19 year old boys sprinting down the street at 9:30 at night are all sorts of crazy--not to mention we're in full suits, coats, and backpacks. We had a good laugh about the whole ordeal and decided that we would try to avoid footraces in the foreseeable future, unless of course we are dressed for one ;). We've since named the aforementioned ordeal "The Sprint" and refer to it in the third person.
I don't know if I had mentioned this before, but we had a senior couple serving here in Warsaw named the Jensen's. They actually live across the street from Uncle Rick and Aunt Helen in Alpine and are going home in about a week and a half. Yesterday was actually their last Sunday in Warsaw, so I gave them your address and phone number hoping that they will get in contact with you. They know Rick and Helen very well, since Rick was their hometeacher for a few years. What a blessing it's been to see two senior couples on their way out during my mission, and hopefully having both of them be in contact with you guys!
I realized something this week that may seem quite obvious, but it really hit me hard. This work really is the Lord's work. What I mean by that is this: What kind of person in their right mind is going to listen to a 19-year old kid, who doesn't speak great Polish, talk to them about God. Then, he's going to give them a book, translated by a young man with little to no education, and teach them everything to get back to heaven in a language he's barely started learning. I mean, it just doesn't make sense. God's hand is in this work. I see it daily. It has to be, or nothing would every happen. The thing is too, God works through the meek and humble of the earth. He doesn't want some brilliant scholar who is absolutely fluent but won't listen to the Spirit or teach as God would have him. He wants someone who realizes their weaknesses but relies on God to do what he must. That's why he worked through Joseph Smith. That's why Jesus was born in a manger. That's why Moses had a stutter. Our imperfections, weaknesses, and insecurities aren't meant for us to make us feel worthless. They're meant to turn us to God, to trust in His arm, and to do all that we can do to gain His trust. That's really what we're shooting for here as missionaries, to develop into somebody who God trusts.
Well, that's all for my week. I hope you guys can meet up with the whole Saltmarsh family sometime! That'll be fun for all of you. I'm loving the Book of Mormon. Elder Saltmarsh and I diagrammed the whole thing out this morning for comp study on our windows. It was a process. We'll perfect it then send a picture home. Dad, I'm glad you had a good time in Singapore. Usually, when we meet people on the street, we tell them we are missionaries and then share a bold statement of truth e.g. "We're sharing a message that we have a living prophet today. what type of meaning would that have to you?" We switch up our statements and have a good time with it.
Mom, you're the bomb. Keep on keeping on and thanks so much for all the packages. Lemme know about the pottery for your b-day, k?
Hannah bear, it's cold, but we survive ;) don't be sick, ok?
Emms, don't worry, we'll go skiing. Be ready to lose!
Heath, good luck with everything with school, friends, and keep those boys in line, k? I'm excited for Kiera's letter.
Well, I love you all very much. I'm doing the Lord's work and growing under His guidance daily. Have a great week and keep the faith!