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Monday, February 24, 2014

DELAWARE STRIKES AGAIN

Well, well, well.
It's been a good week. I love Elder Wendt. He's awesome. He's unlike any of my other companions that I've had. But I feel that he's a lot like me. And we're a lot different. Point is - he's a good guy. We've had a good first week together. Here's what I know about him: Elder Samuel Wendt is from Bear, Delaware. He's skinny and about my height. He has short brown hair. He likes to wear sunglasses and a coat. He ties his ties a little above the belt. He plays the piano and the saxophone. He likes the band We Came As Romans a lot. He's quiet but very, very observant. He's been out for about 17 months. His favorite things to say are  " 'mer'ca " (America) and "to each his own." He's 21 years old and is the 2nd of 5 children. When he grows up he sees himself designing Corvettes. His favorite food is spaghetti. He doesn’t like chocolate or ice cream.

That's about it.



MONDAY! Our appointments fell through but we saw Sister T. (the one from forever ago) walking on the street and she was super excited to see us. She said that she wanted to give me a hug. That was nice. We talked for like 10 minutes and she invited us over the next day for dinner! It was good to talk to her and it was nice that she remembered my name. It was cool. It was cool how we found her because we went a way we wouldn’t normally go but we felt like we needed to go that different way. It turned out pretty well for us. Then we went to the Mag's house for another one of Robert's new member lessons. It was awesome; no spectacular manifestations of the spirit, but it was a good family experience. We just sat in a circle and discussed the Plan of Salvation. Bishop Remer led the discussion. It felt really good. It was the new member in the home of the member fellowshippers with another recent convert there and then the bishop and his wife and the home teacher. Sitting there I really felt that that is how it is supposed to go. Too often the new member lessons don’t get taught and if they do it's because the missionaries do it themselves. Just participating in the process of Robert's conversion has really helped me to grow so much. It's raised my vision and my expectations.



TUESDAY! Transfers. It was a crazy day, but a good one. I got to meet Elder Wendt and then I went to the district leader training meeting. It was super good. I learned a lot and it helped remind me of what I'm supposed to do as a district leader, how to really help the missionaries progress. It was at the mission office so I got to see a few of the departing missionaries. Like Elder Ledezma and Elder Bishop. I love both those guys. It was nice to have one last talk with them before they go off to Mexico and Michigan. Our lessons in the afternoon fell through which was a good first impression of the area for EW. We had a crazy lesson with Deshon. He and his sister had tons of questions. Good ones, but ones that were difficult to answer. EW and I hadn’t had time to really prepare for the lesson so we just spent the time answering questions. It was good. The T. family cancelled because of church obligations.



WEDNESDAY! We had district meeting. I forgot how much work goes in to preparing a good district meeting. It's hard but exciting and fun all at the same time. I've got a sharp district, lots of potential. We visited a less active man in the ward in the afternoon. He's a good guy. He's pretty much less active as he says because his wife died. We taught a cool new family. It was a single mom and her two children. The family has been through a lot of hard times. They shared some of their stories with us and it was really sad. We talked about what blessings they want from the Savior and the mom and daughter started crying as they expressed their love for each other. It was a really touching experience. The daughter wanted her mom to not be sick and to be able to overcome her smoking problem. The mom wanted to quit smoking, to be a good example and to give her children a better life than she had. We talked about families and prayed with them. It was nice to hear. We gave a blessing to a less active guy. That was cool. Giving blessings is a super cool experience. Then we visited some members of the church to introduce Elder Wendt. That night I got to do a baptismal interview. It was awesome. I love, love, love that opportunity to talk with people about their conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It always strengthens me. 



THURSDAY! We visited some members in the morning. We went out with Brother Odulio and we talked to a lot of people. We went to the Marx's and talked with Vicki. She's awesome as well. I hope she gets a calling soon!  We then taught a mother and son about the Book of Mormon. It was cool. Both were interested but the son grasped the things really quickly. We would teach stuff and then he would explain the things to his mom. After hearing about the Apostasy and Restoration he said it was like the blueprint of the house. When the prophet is on the earth we can work off the blueprint, when there is no prophet we have to build without it. It was a pretty cool imagery. He's a smart kid and he said at the end of the lesson, "I think what you said is true. I’m glad there is a prophet." That was pretty neat. We then had a lesson with Suzie. She's great. But she's going through a hard time. She told her parents that she wanted to be baptized and they told her that she wasn’t allowed to while she was living in their home. She's 19. She asked why and they wouldn’t give her any reason. She came to the lesson really upset because apparently there has been tension all week about it. She said that she wants to get baptized soon but if not, as soon as she moves out she'll get baptized. Suzie is a really special girl. I'm sure I've said that many times, but whenever we talk to her or teach her I always think of John 10:4  "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." She just heard the voice of the Lord and she responded. I pray for her every day.



FRIDAY! We had a great weekly planning. We got things organized so that we can plan more effectively and more efficiently each night. It's cool. I'm proud of the organization that we have in the area. We set some companionship goals. We had a lesson with Deshon. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. He asked a ton of good questions and he committed to be baptized on 22 March. So we'll see where things go. Deshon is a really smart guy. He thinks a lot and he thinks deeply too. We had like 20 minutes between appointments so we decided to walk around the block and we felt that we should walk down a specific street. So we did and while there we talked to a part member family that had been looking to come back to church. They'd been feeling that they needed to get their kid into Primary. Then we showed up. She said they’d talked about the missionaries that morning. It was pretty cool. They invited us to come back the next day. It clicked right then why we work with part member families. So often I’ve talked to the families where the non member(s) weren't interested but the missionaries kept pushing and just made everyone mad. But in this family, the non-member was interested so we were welcomed. It seems stupid to type that out, but it was a big deal. It finally makes sense what we are supposed to look for when dealing with less actives and part member families. It's not our job to try to spend countless hours trying to convince people that they want to come back to church, we are to find those who are seeking the truth and ready to act. This new family definitely fit that category. I hope that doesn’t sound bad... We went top visit a referral we got... dang. It was a youth pastor who got super intimidated and started preaching to us. He like hardly stopped to breathe. His point was that the devil was real and that if you weren’t part of his church then you were following the devil. He was super excited and gung-ho about his church so it was interesting to hear him preach. We asked him what made his church different from all the others and he just got flustered and couldn't tell us. He just kept telling us that he knew the truth and that one-day we'd come and thank him for telling us. "One day you guys probably wont even be Mormons! You'll just come back to my church and thank me for telling you the truth and helping you find Jesus." We asked him repeatedly to tell us what "the truth" is. He couldn’t. It made me think about all the times I use the phrase "our message" or "the truth." Why talk about it when you could just explain what it is! I learned a lot by listening to him.



SATURDAY! I went to my 8th breakfast at President Jarvis' house. It was good. We saw Sister Thayer and her grandsons and we watched The Restoration with them. They're smart kids. We took Bishop Waite out with us to visit some people but no one was home. We had a good dinner with the Cotner’s. I'm grateful to have met people as generous as they are. They're a cute couple still. Then we visited some members. Then we visited that pmf [part member family] and taught them about the Restoration. It was super cute. The little daughter sat next to us and held the Book of Mormon and showed everyone the pictures. She also insisted that we play the telephone game when we were talking about the Apostasy. I had a pretty cool experience. We were teaching and it came to a point when I didn't know what to say. As I always do I said a little prayer in my heart and I had this unique feeling come over me that tons of people were praying for this family. His family is active and I think that her brother is a member. I'd never felt anything like that before but it was cool. My testimony of the gospel being about families and for families was strengthened. 



SUNDAY! We ordained Rigdon an Elder today. That was incredible. The Spirit was so strong. I think that everyone was crying. DESHON CAME TO CHURCH!!!! We haven’t had investigators to church in a long time and so that made me super happy. I went to a PEC in FH and I was blown away by how good Bishop Remer is. He just holds and directs effective councils focused on people and desired outcomes. I want to be a leader like him some day. We visited some members. 



It was a good week. It's always a different experience with a different companion. We'll see how things pan out this transfer. Whatever happens, I'm happy to be serving the Lord.

I love you all so much,

Sam

This is a picture of some members of the zone last transfer.


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