Well these next few days will certainly be exciting! If you haven't been watching TV, just Google "Frankenstorm" haha. Or here, how about just look at this:
Hahaha we're on total lockdown from 5 o'clock tonight until at least 5 o'clock tomorrow night.... maybe more depending on how things are looking. But, I have food and a bunch of blankets, just in case, haha. They are saying that in NYC and New Jersey, it could be the worst storm in 100 years!
Well now, let me think of exciting stories to tell you.
First, I suppose I should say that Justin's baptism was postponed until this week, because his daughter, Savannah, had a mandatory cheerleading practice last Friday. Cheer is insane out here. We went to watch her competition on Saturday, and I have never seen a gym so packed! Girls start cheerleading at about five years old out here! Haha it's pretty funny to watch, actually. Anyways, Savannah's group won, so that was exciting!
Wow... I'm really drawing a blank here...
Oh, how about this one! We went street contacting in Freedom.... and it WORKED! Hahaha normally street contacting in areas like this is laughable, but we were out of things to do at about 7:45 on Friday, and it was too dark to tract, so we just went on a walk, committing to talk to everyone we saw. In half an hour, we saw one person. That one person is now a progressing investigator! Haha I was blown away! So, here's the story:
We were coming out of the gas station (Yeah... halfway through our walk I decided I needed a Dr. Pepper...) and saw a guy walking across the parking lot. We went up to him, introduced ourselves, and he says, "MORMONS!?" Haha "Umm... Yep! Have you talked to us before?" "Nope, but I've heard about you." "Well, could we come and talk to you sometime?" "Hmm... sure. How about tomorrow at 11:00?" Hahaha and thus it began. We went over there Saturday at 11, and it was the craziest lesson I've ever taught. He had apparently gone to the seminary to become a pastor, but quit when the first book they handed him was about how to keep books... he didn't like that. After he told us this story, no joke, his next statement was, "You know, ever since the Apostles were rejected and killed off, Christ's church really fell apart. People just took bits and pieces as they pleased..." Hahahaha I was blown away. THEN, he starts talking about how he doesn't think there should be any books aside from the Bible. "Shoot...." I told myself, "Another of these..." Haha but then he finished what he was saying, "Except, John 10:16 does talk about other sheep. You know... Jesus talked about Gentiles plenty. If he meant the Gentiles there, he probably would have said Gentiles. He must have gone visiting other people. I guess the Book of Mormon would make some sense, then. Can I have one?" Hahaha THEN he said, "In the Old Testament, they always had a prophet. It seems that that was the only way to keep the church going the way Christ wanted it. We need a prophet, today. Do you guys have a prophet?" Hahaha I've never been so blown away. I kind of sheepishly handed over a Restoration pamphlet, not really knowing what to add onto what he'd already said.
We had a specialized training with President Christianson on Thursday, where we just learned about the House of Israel, its blessings, its scattering, and its future gathering. The big emphasis of it was why missionary work is so important. 3 Nephi 29 really emphasizes that when the Book of Mormon comes forth, it is a sign that the gathering of Israel is commencing. Israel's gathering is also one of the primary signs of the Second Coming. One of the main purposes of the Book of Mormon, actually, is to show that God always remembers and keeps his promises, and will never forget about any of His children. Then, in Doctrine and Covenants 88:73, the Lord says, "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." President bluntly said of President Monson's recent announcement, "This is the most exciting time for missionary work in the Earth's history." It's hard to explain exactly what all President said, but here is his blackboard, so I'm sure you'll get the point:
Crap, we really did have an eventful week, I don't know why nothing is coming to me.
Oh! I should say this! Yesterday was definitely a good day for "enduring to the end"! Three recent converts all made huge strides! Freddy Alexander received the Aaronic Priesthood. Kelly Myers got her Patriarchal Blessing. Terry Alexander got everything set up so that he can be sustained for the Melchizedek Priesthood next week at stake conference. It was especially cool to be there when Freddy was ordained since I have seen him grow from the very start. I was stoked!
We've been doing a lot of less active work now, and spent about three hours mapping out every member's house in our entire area last week. Now, we'll just go spend whole days jumping from one house to another. I was pretty excited about one family we found in Bliss, a little town of 255 people. It is the Van Ocker family, who I had never even heard of. As we met with them, we realized we hadn't heard about them, because they'd just moved from a different branch because the parents were going through a divorce. They'd been in Bliss for a few months, never realizing they were in a different branch's boundaries. They'd been avoiding going to church because her husband was still going to the Warsaw Branch. She seemed pretty happy about the idea of coming to Freedom. It reminded me a lot of Mosiah 7, where Ammon goes to the people of Limhi just to see how they are doing, not really expecting anything of it. All of the sudden, when the king of Limhi realizes who Ammon is, he starts celebrating that Ammon came to save his people, even comparing Ammon to Moses saving the Israelites from Egypt. All the while, Ammon has no idea what is going on or who he is even saving them from. Haha it really is kind of comical to read, but really stands out to me as the whole purpose of less active work, and even home and visiting teaching. We never really know when we are going to be perceived as "saving" people, but we always need to go and check up on them regularly, just in case.
Wow, I'm really just blabbering on today. I just realized that a big reason I don't have much to write about is because I spent about half of last week in the Cattaraugus area last week, then a whole day at that specialized training, then half of Saturday at a branch Halloween party, then yesterday all at church and then at a fireside of President's. Because of that, I didn't do a ton in my own area.... so I'll just say this is as good of a letter as you're going to get this week.
Sure hope that I survive the storm!
Love you, but I don't miss you!