I don't know if I'm just that much more spiritually in-tune or what, but General Conference on the mission is incredible!! My mind started fully blown with having a Tucson, AZ temple. That thing had better be up and running by the time I'm looking to be married! Then, the missionary announcement. THAT is going to have a HUGE impact out here. The New York Rochester Mission has about 90 missionaries (excluding senior couples), and almost exactly half of them are sister missionaries. In all reality, the change in the age of Elders I don't think will change too many things, but I think next year, there will be about four times as many Sisters coming out. We'll have the 21-year-olds who would have came anyways, plus the 20- and 19-year-olds who would have came in a few years, plus the 19- and 20-year-olds who say they would go on a mission but instead end up married or engulfed in college, plus a random hodge-podge of girls who never thought about a mission until President Monson made his announcement.
Anyways, Conference was incredible! One of the most powerful Priesthood Sessions I've ever seen. Then, we had five investigators show up to at least one session, and I swear, they all came to the session that would most benefit them. One of the most interesting for me was when the Zarkovitch's came. Bob Zarkovitch is a baptized member.... but we think (really, we don't fully know) that he might have been excommunicated a while back. Since then, he is a Born-Again Christian pastor. His son is this mega-scriptorian who put himself in as a referral just so he could have a Book of Mormon to study. He says he studies random scriptures and other religions about three to four hours a day, and as such has some really weird philosophies. Anyways, they are both very dedicated to their faith, and we have had a couple conversations (unproductive conversations, mostly) about if there can be any real scripture aside from the Bible, and we've had to convince them multiple times that yes, we do believe in the Bible. They did come to Conference, though, mostly I think out of curiosity on what a modern prophet and apostle would be like. I watched Ben (the son) the whole time, and he wrote down every single reference to the Bible that any of the speakers made, which was A LOT for the Saturday afternoon session.. As they left, Bob (the dad) told me, "That was awesome. Incredible speakers." Like I said, any time that we had an investigator there, they came to the session most applicable to them, which was just awesome to see.
Hmm.... I'm trying to think of our other goings-on this week.
One of the big ones, that I can clearly only say so much about on here is that one of our investigators (an eternigator, really) went to jail for four months last week. It will be very interesting to see what role the missionaries now take in the lives of his fiance and his kids. She's been talking to us more this past week than any other week, but it is definitely unfortunate the circumstances to lead to this... I'll keep you updated!
Oh, and Matt came home from China! Ha unfortunately... he wasn't too thrilled at how much Krissa was picking up on what we were teaching... What was awesome though was to see Krissa defending it! We asked her about how Matt was taking things, and she said he was a little upset about it all, but she told us (not even kidding), "He's always talked about what he believes, and now I finally believe in something...." She is getting a freaking testimony!!!! So stoked! Haha we had given a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to Marcus, her son, to read, and she ended up reading it as well, and told us, "I wish I'd had something like that as a kid! It's just so clear: this is good, this is bad." Haha she's currently reading 1 Nephi 14 for the second time (she reads each chapter twice to make sure she understands it), and I am just sooooo excited to see her keep progressing!!
Oh, dumb me. I just made it sound like Matt is furious at us. I don't want to go and alter that whole paragraph around, though, so I'm just going to explain what happened here. So, he came back from China last Monday, and we went to go see him on Wednesday. He was very friendly, but as soon as we would ask Krissa about anything to do with church, he would just book it. We then talked to her a little about it on Saturday afternoon, and she explained the situation a little bit (pretty much what I explained last paragraph). He came down a little after we talked though, and out of curiosity, I invited him to Priesthood Session, which he bluntly turned down and said that things that he has seen as an EMT and as a member of the Coast Guard made him question just about everything he believed. This is where Krissa came in and bore her testimony again and said, "You know, Matt, I was questioning a lot of things too, but I haven't felt as good as I have since talking to them for a long time." Anyways, I was super stressed out that he was going to start obstructing her from continued progression in her testimony and relationship with Christ. I prayed sooooo hard about that; I didn't necessarily need Matt to leap into the discussions, but I couldn't bear seeing Krissa be pushed away from learning. The next day, she texted me to say they wouldn't be at conference, but that she had had a real sit-down talk with him after we'd left that was "good and productive." Then last night, he calls us to invite us to dinner! He doesn't hate us! Then, we start talking about Krissa's reading, and he stays there the whole time!! I'm on splits with Elder Munnerlyn right now, who asked Matt if we'd taught him at all, and he still said "No, I'm the one they come and play ball with and talk about hunting, I'm good." But he stayed there! I made sure to include him in as much of the conversation as I could be constantly referencing the Bible stories that he knows (he is baptized and confirmed Lutheran), and it was just fantastic that he still not only wanted us to come over, but was willing to be there even while we were talking about church!
Haha well, that was pretty much my week. Oh yeah, and I helped build a house. That was fun.
Oh, and we went to Letchworth State Park! I would upload some of my pictures, but I don't have my camera on me. Look it up, though, super pretty!
I'm super bummed I missed the presidential debate. It's articles like these that make me happy, though: http://andrewsullivan.
Welllll.... I can't think of much else to write, except a thought I've been having a lot lately. When I came out on my mission, I was set on being the hard-working missionary. I emphasized having all of our schedule filled up and making sure we were doing good, productive activities all day long until we came back to the apartment right on time at 9:00. This isn't exactly the worst attitude to have, but looking back, I realize it was flawed. Quickly, the people I was with became the means to the end of being hardworking. My whole purpose was off! These past few weeks, I'm really starting to love a lot of the people and families in Freedom. Where before, there were times that I could not come up with anything to do with my time, now I can't find the time I wish I could spend with my investigators or the members of the branch. It's crazy!
I love you, but I don't miss you,