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Monday, January 27, 2014

Mi Semana!

Life is good. 
Robert got baptized. Pics soon. It was really special. I’m so grate so grateful to have been able to teach and work with him. He is such a prepared person.

MONDAY! Robert prayed and it was so touching and so powerful. He got on his knees and thanked God for the chance to learn about the gospel and be baptized. He was on the verge of tears as he expressed to God the changes he'd felt in himself. I was so blown away. It made me pretty emotional. That night the Mag's bore such powerful testimony of the law of tithing. It'd been a struggle for them and as they overcame it they'd seen the blessings poured out upon them.

TUESDAY! We visited a former and he like mocked us on his doorstep and wouldn’t listen to our explanations. What he said in essence was, "With all due respect, I think you're liars, so I don't respect you." He was contentious and mean. But it was comforting to know that all his questions and doubts had answers, he just wouldn't listen to them. He'd made up his mind before he even opened his mouth. I feel comfortable and confident with things that used to be issues for me, blessings of prayer and scripture study. We saw Stephanie that night for maybe the last time :(. She's moving. She also said after coming to church she's changed her mind about baptism. So the elders by her house should be happy!

WEDNESDAY! We had a long day of rejection. We had a few people let us in and we prayed with and talked with them. Nothing too super exciting. We taught a spiritual thought in mutual. It was dece. We taught Parole again. He's a great guy, but he might not have the willpower necessary right now to change his situation. I love the guy, but he's fighting a lot of demons. But he's committed. We talked to a lot of cool people on the street. We felt impressed to talk to these two young punk looking teenagers. We did, and as we were explaining the Book of Mormon, you could tell that they felt the Spirit because both of them became interested and wanted one and asked for the missionaries to come by and explain more about it! There's power in the Book of Mormon.

THURSRDAY! Interviews with President Neider. He's the man. I'm so grateful for his wisdom. We visited a lot of less active in FH to help the bishop. It's crazy to see how many less actives there are in the wards. Like out of 150 households only 40 are active. It's crazy! We stopped in at the church for a moment to talk with Sister Martinez and we got wrapped up in the Relief Society party. It's nice to feel loved. It makes me happy to feel how many people love us. I think I talk about this every week, but when you feel overwhelmed with love, it's hard not to talk about! We went and read Moroni 10 with Robert at the Mag's. I’m so grateful that we've developed such a close relationship with them. They've changed my life forever just by their good examples. 

FRIDAY! We did weekly planning. Had coordination. Had like 5 appointments flake out on us, but we don’t let it get to us! 

SATURDAY! Everything fell through as well, but Robert's interview went well, and we did service for Sis. Thibodeau and she gave us a lot of life counsel. We had dinner with the Donnelly's and ate avocado ice cream. I liked it.

SUNDAY! Church was good. I got a shout out from the pulpit in BV by name. A member bragged about me to the members of the ward and told them to give referrals to us. That made me feel better than I have in a long time. A little embarrassed, but who doesn't like extremely public and extremely nice compliments? We had lunch with the Mags and Roberts’ family. That was nice. Then the baptism.
Elder Smith, Elder Anderson, Robert, and Elder Slik
Robert's baptism
Elder Slik came :) I was super happy to see him. President and Sister Neider came too! So that was good. Robert was crying and that was special to see a intellectual grown man feel the Spirit and the importance of "his big day," as he called it, and cry. I love that man. Then we blessed a woman's home who felt the Spirit really strong and we set up a lesson for tomorrow! So we hope it goes through. She's looking for a church, and we don't have any solid investigators.... Let’s pray it's not too good to be true!
Life is wonderful. Missions are forever.
I love you all so much.
Sam

Monday, January 20, 2014

Would God that all the Lord's people were missionaries

It's always hard to know how to start.
Things are going great here in Fabulous Las Vegas.
I wish I had some deep insight or some great counsel to give all of you, but I don't.
So I'll just give you the rundown of the week.

MONDAY! It was a good P-day. We got some hard news though. We called the S family and we were talking to Jordan and he told us that he had prayed about the Book of Mormon and he felt warm but then Grandpa George got on the phone and said that they had talked about things as a family and he said, "Your organization is not for us." That was super hard to hear especially after the good lessons and Jordan telling us that he had received an answer to his prayer. It was tough! But it's alright. The Lord has been teaching me a lot recently. This is another line upon the many that everything happens on His timetable. "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me," never complacent though. Miracles, blessings, answers they all come. But it's not when I say so, and not always when I want them. Not even when I think that I deserve them or need them. He will give me what I need when He knows that I need it. My test is to respond properly to His timetable, to the agency of others etc., if that makes sense. So that was hard, but a learning experience. I've really come to see how many struggles arise because of a (normally false) sense of entitlement. But that evening we went to contact a referral named Barbara. I wrote about her before, I think. She has cancer and she is positive and happy and looking towards the future with faith and hope even with it being terminal.  We went to her home and spoke with her about trials, and faith and healing, and then we gave her a blessing. She said something that has stayed with me since then. She said, "I could feel the power of God." It almost caught me off guard. She told us how much that meant to her. It was special. People like her are nice to be around. They aren't sullen or sad. She is full of life and light. I want to be more like that. Where people can see my happiness and be uplifted by it. I told her that she should write a book to help inspire others. That night we met with Robert and we set things up for him to be baptized on the 26th (Sunday). So we're excited for that! He's a great guy, quite the prepared soul. 

TUESDAY! We had a good district meeting. We talked about how we can help others to help themselves to overcome addictions. It's something though that all us missionaries have to deal with; people who are tied down by these habits that consume their lives. It's sad. We talk to a lot of people who want to change and see the need but won’t because they don't think that they can overcome and they’re afraid of failing. We're there to encourage and invited and support. That's all we do bc when it comes down to it they have to commit and follow through. We had a good day with Rigdon. He's such a good kid. He's getting closer and closer to being done with his papers. I'm excited for him! We talked to a lot of people on the streets. We've been having a lot more time as of late to find new people. And we've been doing just that. Lots of new people are being placed into our path each day. We got dropped by the S family but we made contact with three new ones throughout the week. Balm of Gilead. We taught Parole and Keisha and watched a DVD with them. Then we invited them to be baptized. They both accepted. Parole wants to prepare himself and be ready to start a new life. He's excited to not be a hypocrite anymore. He told us how he hates when people say they love God but break His commandments. He says if you loved Him you wouldn't betray Him like that! It's back stabbing. As he says he hates hypocrites and he hates being one of them. He's an interesting guy. Smart, off the wall, and kinda crazy some days, but he has a good heart and he loves his family. 

WEDNESDAY! We had an appointment with a man from Romania in the morning. I might have mentioned him before because of his cool story. Nick is his name.  We felt prompted to knock on his door on Tuesday and he told us that his wife had just died and he had no idea why he was living. He said a bunch of times that there was no purpose and that he was lost. So Wednesday we went by to share the Plan of Salvation with him to try to help him understand the purpose of life. He was super sad and so it was hard to teach and discuss effectively. He definitely liked someone to listen to. We showed him a picture of the temple at one point in the lesson and talked about how inside we make promises to God and He promises that our families can be together forever. He lit up and said,"You mean this place is here?" He kept asking how to get there. It was difficult to explain because of the language barrier. But it was cool. At one emotional high point in the lesson he excused himself to go smoke but then came back inside after a few moments and said that he didn't feel like it anymore. That was interesting. That'd never happened before. I wish it worked like that for all investigators hahaahah but then we went to eat with Severina. Her daughter and son in law were jamming with their band in the garage and it was crazzzzy loud. I haven't heard Nirvana in a long, long time... We talked to one of the band members for a little while as we ate. He asked us questions about missions and missionaries. We went and saw Toni and we had a good visit with her. We talked about the trials she's had since her baptism. She asked a question that impacted me a lot. "Elder Anderson, I thought when I got baptized things would be easier. How come that's not how it is?" We talked a lot about it. And we watched some Mormon Messages. http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=2176618422001 and  http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=1839005837001. She liked them. I wonder if some converts fall away because they think life will be easier and it's not. It'd be hard to not have that as your expectations. The blessings of baptism and activity in the church are many, but being free of hardship is not one of them.  That night while we were walking we met a less active family who invited us over and we sat and talked with them and the mother shared with us how she has seen as her life has kinda spiraled out of control since she left the church and she hasn't responded to her struggles properly and now she's in a worse situation than before. She doesn’t want to come back to church because of all the negative things she's said about it and all the bridges she violently and intentionally burned. It was tough to hear and see. Good people. Things got tough and she did things that she now regrets. It almost is like the situation with Pontius Pilot. Because of his previous political actions he was forced to make decisions that he didn’t want to/ knew that were wrong; the same with this sister. She had bashed the church and such and then now she feels embarrassed and like she can’t come back. Tough stuff.

THURSDAY! We had a good DM. We taught a family in the evening and that was cool. I love teaching families. It just is the best experience. I like teaching a ton, but when there are a group of people who love each other and you are teaching them how to live together forever in peace--- priceless. Then we taught Parole again and helped them to set a goal to be prepared to be baptized in late February. It's going to be a fight but we're going to do all we can to help them. 

FRIDAY! We had a lot of appointments but they all fell though which was hard. We had a great visit with the bishop. Elder Smith and I had a good comp inventory. That night we started an exchange.

SATURDAY! I was on exchange in my area with Elder Janke. He's an amazing missionary. I had the best day of missionary work that I've had in a long time. We started the day off with a stake president's breakfast. That was good to get a vision from the stake and to hear President Jarvis' counsel. We had a great visit with a less active woman who wants to come back to church and that was cool. She said that bc she adopted two new babies since then she's felt a big responsibility from Heavenly Father. He's entrusted her with two of his children and she needs to make sure that they get the best they can. So she knows that they need to come to church. It was interesting to hear that. (She didn't come to church tho :( ) We helped a man move in. He had sooo much stuff. And a ton of Betty Boop stuff too.... We had dinner with Susana at Sister Kuhn's house! I was super happy to see her. She hasn't had a lesson with the sisters since the lesson that we were present for. She said she's kinda of been avoiding them. It was hard to hear that. It's a super complicated situation. But basically we passed her off and she felt like we abandoned her and then she didn’t like the sisters too much. So we might start teaching her again! Yay! But it was a good dinner. Then we did a blessing on a home. We were talking to the head of the household about what he would ask from Jesus Christ if he were sitting with us and he got a little flustered and then explained that he's never been religious in his life and doesn’t even know who Christ is! That was a first. So we prayed simply and humbly and the Spirit was there very strongly. Afterwards we later asked him what we could do to help and he asked us to come back and pray with his family another day. That was cool; a man with no religious background asking us to come back. :D. Then that night we taught Parole and he really connected with Brother Martinez. How could you not? But it was cool to see Parole really focus up and take counsel. The Martinez family is the bomb.
SUNDAY! Ward Conference. In BV ward we had 190 people. That’s like 70 more than normal. Not including the stake people. All five of our lessons fell through which was tough, but we had some other really good experiences. We were walking through a park and a little girl asked us a question about Jesus and so we told her about the Resurrection and gave her a card. Then children just flocked to us and we gave out more than 50 cards!!! Kids are cute. Then we had a good visit with Bishop Remer.

That's the week. Sorry that it was rushed there at the end.
Things are good. We're trying to find the elect. Life. is. good :)!
I love you all so much
Sam

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to the Jungle

Well. Missionary work is so fascinating. When a companion leaves, your whole life changes because you're with them 24/7. It almost seems like you're in a totally different place!
That I guess would be the best way to describe the week. It was the same area, but it was completely different. Good, rewarding, and awesome. But nothing like the last week. Life is good.
Elder Smith is from Pocatello, Idaho and is one of the funniest people that I know. He always has a smile on and is telling a joke or doing something to make others laugh. He was big into dirt biking and snowmobiling before the mission. He's really good with people and he's a great story teller. 

MONDAY! (Last full day with Elder Slik.) We were going to have a lesson at the Mag's house but that didn't work out. But we went there anyway for Chinese food: Elder Slik's favorite. Then we went to the Marx's and saw Vicki and Sister Marx and Chris and we talked with them, then to the Martinez family, and then to the Stephens - all families that I love and look up to a lot. It was touching how they all expected us to come back to visit. It was also weird because it felt like we both were leaving. Dream team made a big impact on the wards and I think for all of us it was hard to grasp that we would be splitting up. 

TUESDAY! What a crazy day. Saying goodbye to Elder Slik was suuuuper hard. I almost cried. I never understood when members would tell us stories about how they cried when they got transferred until that moment. It was so tough. I'm going to miss him/ I do miss him a lot. But it's good. I'm not depressed, or even sad. It's just different. But then I met up with Elder Smith and the fun began! It's going to be an adjustment to get used to his style of missionary work and life, but it's good. I've learned a lot from him already. We went out with Rigdon and had some pretty good experiences. We felt prompted to go see Parole, which was interesting. Idk if I've said much about him and his situation but that is for another email. But he said I was just thinking about us. He invited us in and sat us down and said he was just on his porch smoking a cigarette and thinking about his life and he really felt God tell him that he needed to change some things and start going to church and right when he thought that, we showed up! He was blown away. He said some words to describe the experience that I've never heard before. He was really committed to coming and everything which was new. We were kind of taken aback at how serious we was. Usually he's all jokes but he really is looking for a change in the family. That night we took out Chris Marx and visited Melissa and Bailey and we had a good experience with them. They gave us a referral and Bailey even walked over to the house to contact it with us. Then we had a blessing contact with a cool family of five. After the prayer the oldest son said, "I felt good!" So we set up another time to come by. It was a sweet experience with a family. Then we had a pass off lesson with Suzie. That was so, so hard. But it was a good experience. We taught about the Book of Mormon and talked about 1 Nephi 4. What used to be a doubt for me has now become a strength to my testimony. But anyway we taught a lesson with the YSA sisters present so that they could continue to teach her and she could get the support she needs from that ward. She's so special. Awesome young woman. We'll stay in touch with her though. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, does it not? 

WEDNESDAY! DM today was good. Lunch with Severina. She's incredible too; such a good example of love and service. She's spending all her free time preparing to go to the Philippines and teach her whole extended family about the church. She wants her grandsons to serve missions. It's humbling. She's also preparing to get her patriarchal blessing. Then we visited the Rossers. They love to serve us. We talked to a few people on the street. They tried to scare us by saying that they were followers of Illuminati. When I wasn't scared off they dropped it and actually listened to what we had to say. Then three of our appointments fell through. Its afternoons like that that make passing off solid referrals tough. People like Suzie don't flake. But I know that by being obedient (not to mention considerate of what is best for the investigator) the Lord will bless me and help it all to work out for the best for those that I serve. We had a cool experience that night though. Our lesson fell through and so we went to one of our backups. She was home and so, soo excited to see us. She invited us into her home and we prayed with her and set up a return appointment. It warmed my heart to see how happy she was to see us. There are so many wonderful people that we get to work with here in Vegas. Then we taught Parole and his fiancée Keisha. They really, really want unity in their relationship and peace in their home. Definitely a major motivator for them meeting with us and wanting to come to church. Righteous.

THURSDAY! This morning the boyfriend in a la/pmf [less-active/part-member family] called us and told us that he wanted to have a lesson that morning. So we went over and he invited us to teach him. He made us sing opening and closing hymns and asked a ton of questions. He wasn’t all there. He asked how soon he could be baptized and we explained the interview and the qualifications. Then he set up the next appt for 3 weeks away. Shrug. We had coordination which was good. I really love the Egans. They're such a nice couple, such strong testimonies and desires. They just want to help everyone. We taught Keisha a lesson and she was really excited to come to church and be a good example to her family and to Parole. Then we taught an awesome lesson to that family that we prayed with on Tuesday and they invited us back for the next day!!

FRIDAY! We did service in the morning of knocking nuts off a tree.  We visited some members including one member who beat cancer twice. Then we taught that family the Restoration.  They're called the S. family. They accepted the invitation to be baptized and to read the Book of Mormon. It’s almost too good to be true. Then we visited Stephanie. She said that she's going to start going to the Baptist church. :( :( </3 She's not nearly as happy as she was before. Then we moved a piano.

SATURDAY! Good DM.  Then we had to help some missionaries in the zone resolve some problems. We visited some members, some active, some less active. One is a woman who hasn't walked for like 6 months. It's pretty sad. She can hardly move and because it’s so hard she just lies in her bed all day :/ Life is tough without hope and without goals. The Cotners took us out to Olive Garden. Dang! That place is nice! I like it a lot. The Cotners are like the coolest people ever. I really like them. I want to be like them, not blowing tons of money on useless things but helping others and making them comfortable. Then that night we taught another lesson to Keisha. (Spoiler alert: She didn't end up coming to church! Parole was going to but he couldn't because he ended up having to babysit his brother's kids.) During the lesson, Parole's sister and her girlfriend got in a fight in the other room and I thought someone was going to get shot. It went from spiritual to just a mayhem in a moment; people swearing and crying and yelling and throwing things. @_@

SUNDAY! Robert came to church! He said that things have calmed down and he's ready to meet whenever we are. Yay! :) Bonanza View had 150 people at church which is like 50 more than usual so that was cool. We had a good visit with the clan and Brother Jewitt that night. O! and we had a cool experience with being prompted by the Spirit. We were going to visit this one potential investigator and right before we knocked we felt prompted to wait and knock the door below us. And we did and the family below, who we had never met, invited us in to bless their home! Then one of the family members who was visiting, referred us to her daughter and herself!!!! Then when we left, the guy whose door we were about to knock on, showed up and we had the chance to talk to him. He wouldn’t even have been at home if we'd have knocked then and we would have missed him and the chance to meet his downstairs neighbors. It's hard to explain over email but it was a powerful experience. I love feeling that guidance. The Spirit is real. He will guide us as we seek to listen. I know that.

Sorry for the rushed email!
I love you all so much! 
Sam

Monday, January 6, 2014

Waking up

Well. The Dream Team is coming to a close. We got the transfer information on Saturday and Elder Slik will be going off to the Green Valley stake to be with Elder Pauni. He is getting double transferred in. We were both pretty bummed when we found out. 
It's been an amazing 18 weeks with Elder Slik. I am so grateful that I've been able to serve with him and learn from him for so long. Except for 6 weeks, he's been my leader since February. I've learned so much from his example and his dedication and maturity. I could rant about how awesome Elder Slik is all day. I love him. He has had an eternal influence on my life. I owe much of my missionary success to his guidance and leadership. 
All the matching ties! How many matches can you spot?
But! A new era has begun!
My new companion will be ELDER drumrolllllllllllllllllllllll
JORDAN KENDALL SMITH!
The Elder Smith from Warm Springs :). He's getting transferred up here tomorrow to be with me in Bonanza View and Frenchmen Hills! I was sooo excited and happy. It was a bittersweet moment to find that I wouldn't be with Elder Slik but I would be with Elder Smith.
I love Elder Smith. We grew to be really close in WS and I look up to him a lot. He's funny, clever, kind and a well rounded missionary. I'm very excited for the miracles that await us.
So that was a balm of Gilead definitely. 
My emotions are all over the place. Happy and Sad. But I'm excited. Well, excited and scared. The last four and a half months have flown by. It seems like just yesterday that I was companions with Elder Ledezma in the holy land of desert bloom....
We had 12 lessons cancel this week and most of our investigators dropped us. It's been interesting.

MONDAY! We started an exchange with the assistants. I've really come to love assistant exchanges. They are always very clear about what I can do better and they are helpful as well. I get to watch and learn from their examples, ask questions and receive their counsel. They aren't perfect, but they are good at what they do. This time I was with Elder Fuller again (he's from Michigan) but in their ward. It's the first time I've been to one of my leader’s areas since I went on an exchange with Elder Slik in Los Feliz. Ages ago. So it was nice to see how another person's area operates and what things I can apply into my own mission and my areas. But anyway. Their area is quite the opposite of ours. Demo/econom/geographically. It is a much more upscale area and it is in the middle of the desert and it is a lot of old people and young couples. It is just like way different. But because of New Years Eve we started the exchange right at 6pm. So we had some time to work that night. We taught a lesson to this young family. It was very interesting. One of the girls was wanting to get baptized but she was really struggling with her faith. She had been praying and fasting that her mom would quit doing drugs but her addictions just keep getting worse and worse. It was interesting to talk to her and try to help her to stay strong and positive. While out here I've really been exposed to so many hard family situations like that. I just feel like no young teenager should have to pray that her mother stops doing drugs. This young girl is a freshman in high school and is practically raising her two younger brothers. Then later we met with a family where the husband and the son got baptized but the mother was waiting because she didn't feel worthy; another interesting life. The family was so cool. You could tell that they all loved each other a lot which was the most important. I really loved being able to teach families. It's hard to find them.

TUESDAY! It was a great day. Elder Fuller is so good at talking with everyone. He is a finding missionary. That's what he lives to do, find interested  people and new investigators. He plans his whole day around that as soon as he leaves the apartment he is on the lookout for anyone that he can bless. I was so impressed. And if any missionary 'labors in the spirit' it is Elder Fuller. He prays with such intensity. He just wants to invite others to Christ and he begs the Lord to place people in his path to be invited. I loved being with him. I want to be more like him. It was interesting. We get denied in Central a lot and people are rude to us but we dealt with a lot of mean, mean people. Who actively tried to bring us down. That hasn’t happened in a while. Some people on the street mocked us and stuff like that. But one guy invited us in and sat us down on his couch and gave us water and talked to us about our missions. Then he just started saying horrible things to destroy our faith. He served a mission long ago but is now an atheist and he tried to convince us that God doesn't exist and that the church is ruining people's lives. It was a trap. He was so nice and inviting at first and then he just got hostile. His phrase was, "That's your opinion. I used to believe that too." Every time we spoke he said that to us. It was pretty messed up. But good things happened too! We talked to a ton of people. We taught a lesson to a part member family. The mom was so, so happy to have the missionaries in her home. You could just tell that she wanted us to stay there with her family and teach them everything. It was nice to feel so wanted. We had a good day. I look up to Elder Fuller a lot. But when the day was done, I was happy to be with Elder Slik again. That night we talked a lot and both of us reflected on the past year. I set some goals and wrote down a few of the lessons I've learned since 2012. It was incredible to think about who I was a year ago and who I am now.

JANUARY 1st 2014! We were going to see Gloria in the morning but she cancelled. We helped some other missionaries with their bikes. We had lunch with Severina which was nice. We had a neat experience there. As we pulled up we saw a man outside the house talking to Severina's son in law. We got the distinct impression that he was a prepared soul. We said to each other that we were going to invite him to take the lessons. We walk up to the guy and start talking and the first thing he tells us is that he is preparing to be baptized! We were both taken back. He was stopping by just then to invite their family to the service. His name was Tony and he was an awesome guy. He was so happy to see Elder Slik and me. He talked to us for the whole lunch about us and our missions and everything. I love that fire of new converts and investigators who are progressing to a baptismal date. It's contagious. He was referred by his boss at work. His boss has been inviting him for six years to investigate. Each time he said that he wasn't ready. Until; this last time when he was! After that we walked around trying to find new people because our other lessons fell through.  We sent a lot of referrals to the Spanish sisters. We played basketball with some kids and then they invited us to come back and pray with their family. We went back that night and prayed with them and the Spirit was really strong. They were asking us questions and then they fed us Mexican food (even though we had just eaten) and invited us to come back the next day. We had to give the referral to the sisters but we talked them up a lot. It was a cool experience to touch the life of a whole family. There were like eight people there.

THURSDAY! We had MLC which was awesome. It was exactly what I needed. I received answers to my prayers and have a better idea of what I need to do to find more success here. We drove up with the Sunrise Zone leaders. It's interesting. I don't have a lot of zone leader friends. It’s very cliquey at MLC. There are like groups of missionaries that hang out together. It’s hard to explain. But basically its’ like the clique high school lunch room experience that I never had, very distinct groups and you know if you're not a part. But it’s okay because Elder Slik and I are tight and then we are close with the Sunrise ZLs too. It’s funny. I’ll be able to better explain it in two years. After we taught a lesson to a member’s boyfriend. It was an interesting lesson, all about the Plan of Salvation. Then we taught a random dude in the street. He kept telling us that God is love and that because he has love he is like God. It was interesting and we tried to set up a return appointment but he wanted us to teach him and pray with him right then. Then we got a flat tire. Our luck ran quite short hahaha And we had to do a baptismal interview in my old area. So we walked. The other missionaries couldn’t give us a ride for whatever reason. So we walked like two miles in the cold. I'm spoiled okay??? But it was a good one. The woman was very prepared and I was grateful for the opportunity to feel her spirit and talk with her about her conversion. I left her with an interesting promise. That if she read the Book of Mormon every day with her family they would get baptized and her sons would serve missions. I pray that she reads with them. 

FRIDAY! We spent a lot of time planning for our ZTM. We visited a ton of people trying our hardest to find new people but no one was home. We stopped in to see Melissa and the Egans were already there. So we taught a lesson with them which went really well. I like the Egans a lot. It's tough sharing a small, small ward, but they're awesome. We talked to an interesting man in the afternoon. We were walking through an apartment complex and this giant fat creature ran at me. It looked like an ROUS but white and spotted. It made the same sounds and had the same uneven gait. Ugly. And it’s coming towards me and I'm all petrified (Buttercup status) because I have no idea what is happening and then this really tall one armed black man walks out from behind a wall and starts yelling at the dog monster creature. It stopped and then ran away. I thanked the guy and noticed that he didn’t have an arm, nor a shoulder, from his neck down it was just straight. On his other hip he had this enormous (like comically big) matte black revolver. We started talking to him and he has a really gruff voice. We talk a little bit about the hard times and then he asks us where our church was and how he could pay his tithes. I was so surprised. Call me a Pharisee. I deserve it. But that was cool. A gentle rebuke of judging a book by its cover. We took out a priest named Spencer who is super cool. He is so prepared, like so solid and mature and well versed in the scriptures. We took out Brother Martinez who is awesome as well. So many members that I look up to so much. We met some new people.

SATURDAY! So to this point so many things had fallen through. But we were excited because we had like five appointments set up for Saturday. We started our ZTM which went really well. We talked about effective planning and preparing our investigators to have spiritual experiences at church. Then after we got out of the meeting everyone had cancelled their appointments. Sigh. That was tough. But it was okay because we got to talk to a lot of cool people that we wouldn't have been able to if we'd have been inside. We got the transfer doctrine and delivered it to the other missionaries. We visited some members. I love the members here. I wish I could just instantly adopt so many of the great qualities of the members here. I'd get translated in no time!

SUNDAY! It was a powerful Sunday in both wards. Elder Slik bore his testimony and so many members bore theirs after his thanking the both of us for all the work we've done. It feels like we're both leaving! It's odd. But it was sweet to hear and feel the love from so many great people. Our appointments on Sunday fell through too. So we ended the transfer with no one at church and no one with a baptismal date. It'll be ground zero for when Elder Smith gets here. But it'll be good. I'm excited to build up this area with him. We burned a shirt and pants with the Iverson’s. That was weird for so many reasons: one, because it was a shirt and pants (the symbols of 12 and 18 months) and because Elder Slik is leaving.
Some shirts and pants we burned at the Iverson's to remember our year and 18 month mark which we hit together.
I love that family and so many others so, so much. I'm grateful for people loving me and bringing me into their families. Then we visited the Banks. Then we had a great lesson with Suzie. She's so, so cool. We talked about the Sabbath day. We might have to pass her to the YSA [Young Single Adult] ward though so she can make more friends and be better fellowshipped. It's hard to get close because she a single girl, our age. Sister missionaries might have a better time helping her.

That's the spark notes of the week. It's been good, the grind, but good. I love life. 
Things will be very different without Elder Slik being here. I've grown to feel like we are a package deal. I hope the members will accept the dream team 2.0!!!!!! I know they will. Things can only go up from here.
I'm excited to tell you all about the new miracles of this coming week! 
I love you all so much.
Sam