So, transfer calls came this morning.... and I'm still in Freedom hahahaha. I am thinking that I might just see about having my call officially changed to the New York Freedom Mission. Brother Owens suggested that I just transfer my records to this branch by now.
We really didn't expect it, though. As late as last night, President Christianson was planning on splitting our area. He told us on Wednesday that if he did that, he would keep both of us there. I figured, though, that if he didn't split the area, I'd be a goner. Instead.... they didn't split the area, and Elder Jones is headed to Fairport in the morning. As far as I can tell by looking at the records, I will now be tied for staying the second longest in Freedom, but I will have had the most companions (this will be number four!).
I'm way stoked about being here, though! I've gotten so close with so many people and seen people progress so much both as individuals and as a whole branch and even aspects of the community in some ways. It's awesome! Plus, I get to keep working with all of our progressing investigators who I have been working with the whole time. I'm ecstatic! Elder Jones is a little bummed to be moving.... but what can you do?
Yesterday, we taught Debbie the Plan of Salvation in the most undoubtedly smooth-flowing Plan of Salvation lesson I've taught yet. It's kind of a hard one, because there's sooooo much information that is hardly connected until the end. It's like "We lived with God, there were a couple plans, some chose the right plan, some chose the wrong one, we came to Earth but Adam and Eve came first, they messed up but it wasn't REALLLLLLY a mess up, it needed to happen so that Satan didn't win, but Satan still wants to win and is working against us, but if we don't mess up, we can return to Heavenly Father, but even before we go to Heavenly Father, people get another chance after they die, but then we're judged after we are resurrected so we can figure out which level of heaven we go to. Oh yeah, and we'll be with our families the whole time. Get it?" But, we made it work, and it was awesome! She had a lot of questions because of a long history of family things, but the idea of the spirit world, children being alive in Christ, and the Atonement's enabling power all hit her really hard. It was just swell!
Oh, shoot. It's been a long week. I almost forgot to tell you about Wednesday! WE HAD A ZONE CONFERENCE IN THE HILL CUMORAH!!! Who does that? As President pointed out... no one but us! We learned all about the Book of Mormon and the condemnation that we are under as a result of not using the Book of Mormon to the potential it has. 3 Nephi 26:2-11 talks about how Christ told the Nephites EVERYTHING from the creation to the end of the world, and we don't even have 1% of what He said anymore. Why? Because God wants us to act in faith with what we do have. But since we don't even use what we have to its full potential, we don't get the rest. Want the real kicker? 3 Nephi 26:11 - "Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people." HE WAS GOING TO TELL US EVERYTHING AND GOD SAID NO!!! Haha President Christianson openly said that was his least favorite scripture in all the scriptures.
But really, a zone conference in the Hill Cumorah? Literally in it, since we were in the basement of the visitor's center for a lot of it. How cool is that?
Oh, way cool story. On Saturday, we went out to Bliss... where there really isn't anything. Randomly as we were driving, I felt that we should go tracting. So, we got out, and in the midst of a 15 degree snow storm, we walked a mile.... and knocked on all four houses along the way! Totally ridiculous, eh? Yeah, pretty much. Elder Jones was way mad at me for it, and was trying to get us to go back. But, up ahead about 300-400 yards away was a pink house that had cars parked in front of it and there were lights on, so I convinced him to go to that one last house. We knocked on the door.... and a girl who had actually came to church with her friends three weeks earlier came to the door! We ended up kind of teaching her whole family there! It was only kind of teaching, because it was very informal, but we set up a follow up appointment, and had a really good conversation with Kristen (the girl who had come to church). It was such a cool happening!
I have spent all day today reading 3 Nephi with Mariah Owens today so that she can get her Personal Progress by March 1. I was thinking a lot about how much emphasis Jesus puts on the Gathering of Israel there, especially compared to what He teaches in Jerusalem. I've always wondered why, but I think I get it now. Can you imagine how nice it must have been as a Nephite for the Holy One of Israel to come and let them know that they haven't been forgotten? That God doesn't just see them as Israel-in-name-only, but that all of the covenants with Israel are remembered? When Christs talks about "other sheep" in John 10:16, he isn't talking about everyone, because Gentiles weren't considered His sheep. But in the Old Testament, it was promised that the Messiah would come to Israel. ALL OF ISRAEL, whether they had been scattered or not. The way I see it, it was a lot like how missionary work is today. When we can show an investigator his or her divine potential as a child of God, they progress rapidly. When they really see who they can become, it's awesome. In Mormon 5, Mormon writes as he discusses the destruction of the Nephites: "10 And now behold, this I speak unto their seed, and also to the Gentiles who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come. 11 For I know that such will sorrow for the calamity of the house of Israel; yea, they will sorrow for the destruction of this people; they will sorrow that this people had not repented that they might have been clasped in the arms of Jesus." THAT'S US! WE CARE!!! We know all that the Nephites could accomplish if they hadn't lost sight of their potential. Haha, I know I'm probably just rambling, but it sent me on a big spiritual adrenaline rush.
Wellll, that's about all I have got for you this week. Oh, check out my new blog post about one of Joseph SMith's first accounts of the First Vision, and what it teaches us about how much God cares about our own individual worries. http://brackenallen-thinkonthesethings.blogspot.com/2013/02/no-concern-is-too-small-learning-from.html
I love you, but I don't miss you!