Well, let's get the exciting news out of the way first: Debbie is baptized!! Ha it was very cool! She wanted to keep the service small without a lot of people there, but it was still one of the coolest baptismal services that I've experienced yet! I don't know if you remember, but what really got her willing to read the Book of Mormon was the stake president, President Pace, talking to her at one of President Christianson's firesides. She lost her dad when she was 8 years old, which really shook her faith that God intervenes on our behalf. President Pace had her read 1 Nephi to get a good understanding of Nephi's relationship with Lehi, and really emphasized 2 Nephi 4, when Lehi passes away, and Nephi's response to his dad's death. That's really what got everything rolling at the start. The whole purpose of me recapping this, though, is because President Pace actually gave one of the talks at the service. It was way awesome! Pretty much the rest of the program was done by the Ciszaks, who are the new member family that Debbie lives with who kept taking her to church even before we ever started teaching her. It was way cool!
Last Monday, like usual, we went to the Owens' for family home evening. What was different this time, though, was Bob was there. Bob is the husband of one of the members of the branch here, who at one point was almost baptized until he got mad at the missionaries for pushing him too hard. Since then (about 8 years ago or so), he has had nothing to with the church, and hardly anything to do with members of the church, aside from his wife and the Owens. Well, Sister Kaiser (his wife) said just recently "some things have lined up" (we don't know what) that are making her hopeful. Well, on Monday, both Brother and Sister Kaiser came to FHE. Brother Owens was giving a lesson on the Atonement that is going to take at least two or three weeks to finish, but what was WAY exciting about it was how much Bob remembered! We split into two groups, and each had to act out a scene from the Plan of Salvation. I was with Bob and a couple others, and we were acting out the War in Heaven. He remembered EVERYTHING and he PARTICIPATED fully!! It was so awesome! He's coming back tonight, so hopefully we can get something rolling here!
We've also had some exciting continued progress with the Regnets. It's funny, because we dedicate a lot more time to Roger Senior, but I feel like even that time almost benefits Roger Junior and Josette more than Senior. We always start talking to Senior, who is slowly progressing, but it ends up being the introduction for our conversation with his son and daughter-in-law. It's also good, because I think Elder Thueson have established a pretty good friendship based on missionary work. In the past, missionaries have played video games or watched movies or gone shooting or boating or who knows what else. When that wasn't happening, missionaries would be hard-nosed, talking about nothing but the church, which turned Roger off. I think we've found a pretty good balance now of being friends, but having our friendship fully based on our calling. Hopefully that goes somewhere soon. It's a little frustrating, though, because what he said is he wants to make sure he's needed in whatever church he belongs to. Normally we would promise a calling... but the branch's record of that isn't too great right now. I think only one of the converts since I've been here have a calling, and that was made in the past two weeks. Ugh... but hey, we'll see what we can do!
Krissa is really at a standstill lately, which is quite a bummer. She knows she has a testimony, and won't deny that. We flat out asked Matt for permission for her to be baptized, which he gave. As Elder Thueson told her, it's almost like she already considers herself a Mormon. She just won't get baptized, and it irritates the heck out of me! We don't even know what we can tell her now that she doesn't already know. So frustrating!
Member retention is really frustrating to me, too. People who are completely ready for baptism get brought into the church on a spiritual high, and then get all but ignored for a few months until they just don't come anymore. Maybe I shouldn't say it's always because they get ignored... But that's a part of it a lot of times! Callings and home teachers are so important but beyond our control. That's the downside of being in one area so long; I see people fall away, too.
I feel like we're almost so busy that I can never remember any good stories to tell. Haha here's a good one from a while back, though! So Amanda's 4-year-old daughter, Kaylee, is the funniest, but most hyper child ever made. A few weeks ago, she told us that she didn't want to go to heaven. Why? "There aren't any potties there." Haha I've heard it said that the veil is still thin for most kids... so that has me worried too! Haha nah, but it was the funniest thing I've ever heard haha.
Well, that's bout all I got. You're all great, though! Keep in touch or something!
Oh, one kinda interesting fact: I'm more than a third of the way through with my mission! Crazy....
Well, love you all, but don't miss you!
P.s., Elder Thueson got an email from his uncle, who's fairly high up in the church. Over half of the missionaries in the MTC now are sisters. What the... that's crazy.