Hello from Warsaw!
I think I was in Freedom too long and became accustomed to the demographics there. On Saturday, there were a bunch of Easter egg hunts, and as we were sitting in a restaurant eating and watching nice, happy families walk by with both parents, four kids, and smiles, I said, "Wow, people are pretty normal here." Then at church, I made a comment along the lines of, "This branch is pretty Mormony..." Elder Kelly looked at me shocked both times haha.
But, I'm starting to settle in here. On my first day here, actually, we went over to the Petranec Family for dinner, and I ended up getting claimed by Lily, their three year old daughter. She went around telling everyone, "This is my elder." Haha she's awesome! Here's a couple pictures with her!
Now for my favorite couple to teach! Their names are Gila and Josef, and they are Messianic Jews!! How sick is that!? Well, they have been meeting with the missionaries a long time by now, a little over a year, I think, but are pretty set in their Jewish ways. Well, we went over there this week and gave the coolest lesson about the gathering of Israel! First we showed them Ezekiel 37:16-17 and talked about what the two sticks might be. Then we talked about John 10:16, and how Christ wouldn't have yet referred to the Gentiles as "his sheep," but it had to be referring to the lost tribes of Israel. Perfect set up for what came from there! We talked about how Lehi and Ishmael were from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, and how much of the Book of Mormon referenced promises made to Israel. Eventually we got to 3 Nephi, where Christ says that the Nephites are some of the other sheep of which he spoke. Then we showed where he told them the promises of Israel still definitely apply to them, because the Lord doesn't forget his covenants. Finally, we showed them where it says that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign that the Gathering of Israel has already commenced. Well, after meeting with the missionaries for over a year, they finally committed to reading from the Book of Mormon, starting with 3 Nephi 15 on until the end of 3 Nephi!
Hmm... we spent a lot of our week tracting, which is always fun haha. I haven't done that in nearly three months, so I was a little rusty at first, but it came around! Over the course of the week, we got six new investigators and eight referrals to contact!
Hmm... I guess I'll just share the cool story right now, because I don't know when else to share it! So we were walking down the street, kind of tracting here and there, and we saw this guy outside cleaning off his Thunderbird. We started walking up to him, and he said, "Sorry boys, I'm Catholic!" with his hand up, waving us away. "Oh, that's okay," Elder Kelly responded, and we kept walking towards him. We ended up talking with him for about fifteen minutes about his car, then transitioned to his family. We then transitioned from his family to the family's role in the Plan of Salvation! After talking for probably 45 minutes, we set up a follow up visit for Saturday. When the visit came, we got in a semi-decent Restoration lesson with him, although he kept getting side tracked. But, the highlight was he committed to coming to church with us the next day, since it was Easter Sunday. Well, he not only stayed the full three hours with us (side note, he is the first investigator I've ever brought to church who was wearing a suit), but then came to a member's house for Easter dinner. He followed us back home, and as we were saying goodbye, he asked, "So, what do you think? Should I join this church." "Well.... yeah!" was our kind of awkward reply. "What do I have to do?" Hahaha long story short, the same guy who four days earlier didn't want to talk with us because he was Catholic is planning on getting baptized on April 26th!
Speaking of baptisms, Saturday was an interesting experience. One of my investigators from Freedom got baptized. It was kind of a bummer to not be there for it, but it was a cool realization about how happy I was for him regardless of if I was there or not. I figured that is a good sign haha.
Oh, Elder Kelly showed me a way cool scripture that he found in studies a few days back. It's in Doctrine and Covenants 133:58-59:
"To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord's errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight. And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of the Spirit."
How cool is that! Weak things? That's me!!! I can thrash! I especially love the phrase, "two shall put their tens of thousands to flight." Hmm... what aspect of the Lord's errand involves two of something? Missionaries!! I thought it was pretty neat.
Then we also found this gem in our companionship study, when we were deeply studying Habakkuk for an hour. It's chapter 2, verse 15:
"Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness."
So, remember that. The Lord has the weak go about doing his work, and he is right there with us. And we shouldn't get people drunk just so we can see their nakedness.
Haha but Elder Kelly and I are getting along great so far. I'm finishing up his training, right now. His last companion was about to go home, so didn't do a ton with him, but he's a stud and pretty much did everything himself anyways. He set all the goals, did all the training program, and even read his three pages of the missionary handbook each day haha. It's hard, in a way, because the members are now used to dinner meaning we go over at six and stay there the rest of the evening, and I don't like being the mean spoil sport who says we have to leave.... but we're working on easing out of that habit. Well... that's about what I've got! Things are moving along out here!
I love you, but I don't miss you!