Howdy howdy, Happy Easter!
Wow what a week. Elder Carter, our Zone Leader was with us from Tuesday to Friday morning. That was interesting, but alright I guess. On tuesday, we followed up with Gene, our investigator that came to church last week. Turns out he said he couldnt here most of it -___- Boooooo. But he said it reminded him of the Lutheran church. However, he had some questions about Joseph Smith that I was able to answer and we challenged him to read the Book of Mormon. We later found out this week that he needs a larger print of the Book of Mormon because he was having to use a magnifying glass to read it and it put a strain on his eyes. Either way, he said he would maybe come again to church. We invited him to come to yesterday's Easter program but he didn't :( So that's Gene, for this week!
After we visited him we were walking and someone shouted at us from his door. His name is James Fouler, an ex-communicated, semi-practicing Jehovah Witness. He told us his whole story and we barely got a word in. He eventually let us in and we told him a little about the church. He said he likes to read, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he'd have it read in 3 days. On our follow up visit on Friday, he said he didn't get around to it (which was kind of expected) but that he would for sure read it! We gave in the Restoration Discussion and asked if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ by eing baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God. His words were, "You know if I found out any church is true, I will join it." SWEET! The only disclaimer is that he does not know how to properly pray to Heavenly Father. J-Dubs pray to Jehovah and the Spirit is not available unless you are praying to the right person and sincerely want to know something. We're hoping to visit James this week and discuss tyhe Plan of Salvation! After that we went to the Relief Society Dinner. Soooooo much food. It was the birthday of the Relief Society and we were invited because all the women were at the party, so there was no one left to cook for us haha.
The next day we did a ton of service. We built a fence at a members house from about 10AM to 4PM. When we came home we tracted in the rain and found 3 new investigators to teach this week! Hallelujah! Praying that those go through. Thursday was awesome. Although we didn;t get to do any teaching, we did a lot more service. Sister Barnett is the 87 year old widow with the gnarled hands but is THE SWEETEST lady I have ever met in my life. However, she is very independent and will not accept from anyone if you ask her. SO, instead of asking, the three of us showed up at her house in work clothes and raked alllllll her leaves for her. SHe was so thankful and it was pretty fun! Then I installed ceiling for the first time in my life at Sister Talbots house. I'm learning how to do all kinds of work up here! For dinner we had pork chops...and I found out I don't like Sour Crout haha.
Easter has been the highlight of my mission so far. Such an amazing day. First of all, on Saturday we were invited to annual stake Easter hunt held by one of the ward members (the Dustins). They own a beautiful log house on a mountain overlooking a river and on several acres of land. Very nice people, a sweet family, and very generous. I love that family! They do a lot for Elder Villejo and I. Anyway, every Easter weekend, they hide about 3,000 EGGS across their several acres of land. Each egg is filled with at least one "Dustin Buck" that are later redeemed at an auction. All kinds of things are donated by members towards the auction that are bid on by the kids with their "Dustin Bucks." So much fun and so cool! There were lots of non-members and part-member families there as well, so lots of great opportunities.
That night E. Villejo and I were up late studying for our talks. We ran the Easter program. Elder Villejo spoke first on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then, we got special permission to play the guitar for a special musical number, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." The Spirit was so powerful and there were some sniffles. The Spirit was singing, not me haha. Then I gave a talk on the Resurrection, and went into detail about the last few days of Christ's life. I have never gone so in depth into those last few days as I have this time. I used Elder Holland's talk, "None Were With Him" and read quite a bit of Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. I wish you could be there family! Such an amazing meeting. We got many compliments. I shared Meg Wright's poem (my FHE mom from BYU) and that got a lot of recognition! Thanks Meg (if you read this haha)! The Stockets had us over for Easter Dinner. A roasted Turkey with mashed potatoes, carrots, and stuffing. Basically Thanksgiving but I wont complain! That family is so sweet. They have 7 kids and waited to do the Easter hunt till Elder Villejo and I were there. They hid each of us an Egg with candy in it :)
The neatest part was probably after all that. We felt like we should go visit a less active member (Brother Shammal) who lives nearby. His wife, Roxanne is not a member but has had the discussions before and enjoys having us over. We got there and they had their children and grand-kids over. We said hi and were about to leave when Roxanne happily invited us in for Strawberry shortcake with their family. Brother Shammal came out of his room with a guitar of his own. Elder Villejo tuned it. After a few casual songs we asked if we could share a song about Jesus Christ since it was Easter. They happily said, "Sure!" and we sang "I Know that my Redeemer Lives." It was so powerful. Brother Shammal has been highly inactive for years. While we played, he was looking at his daughter and started to tear up. He said that was the highlight of his Easter and walked us out the door. Such a great experience. Music has opened a lot of doors for us and I am convinced that there is no better way to introduce the spirit than by music.
Thanks for the Easter package mom! And the shoes! They both were desperately needed! And both of them came just in time. I enjoyed Grandpa's letter to Lacey, that was neat to hear. It looks like Elder Villejo and I are sticking together for another transfer (6 weeks)! Woot woot! I love Elder Villejo, we get a long extremely well and the Ward members trust us. That's essential in missionary work. I love this ward and area here, I feel like we can have a lot of success here.
Dad, sounds like the backyard is starting to look pretty snazzy! I won't even recognize it when I get home! How did Torie's audition go? Or is she just preparing for that? Sounds like Jesse has a pretty good idea for raising money! A house party for only $10! Heck, I would go! Tell him that I would be the Bouncer (body guard at the door, making sure the kids are on the RSVP list). Goodl luck with that bud! I thought he was going to work at Plato's? Hahaha.
That's exciting that Kari is home! Seems likes she's been gone along time. Is Clayton home yet? I know he got an extension but shouldn't he be back yet? Oh! something random I remembered that I did last P-day. We went with brother Cooper moose-sighting. We didn't see any moose but we saw a huge herd of Elk. Over a hundred all together, I thought that was awesome.
I hope everyone had an awesome Easter weekend! Thank you fo r the letters and packages! It really helps keep me going! Looks like I'll be in Sheridan another 6 weeks so just send stuff to the same address! I got Jesse's letter and loved it! I'll write back to him this week sometime (probably today). Love you all!
Thoughts for the week:
"We cannot love, what we do not know" - David M. McConkie
"It was not physical pain alone, nor mental anguish alone, that caused him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood and every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing." -Jesus the Christ (613)
"How can we bare any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement, if we've never known or felt anything of such an experience?"- Elder Holland
"On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary thought she saw a Gardner. Well, she did. The Gardner that cultivated Eden, and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardner that gave us the rose of Sherim, the lily of the valley. The cedars of Lebanon, and the tree of life. I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and shepherds of our souls, the bright and morning star." -Elder Holland
Happy Easter everyone and remember what the Savior did for you!