I was really tempted to just write, "Well, I'm as alive today as I was yesterday, and not much has changed since..." But then I decided I would write a little more for those of you who didn't talk to me on the phone yesterday haha.
Well.... Let's see what I could talk about.
We didn't end up going to Palmyra with Gila and Josef, unfortunately. The weather here turned to crap and it just wouldn't have been a good day for us to walk around in the woods. So, we went back over on "Shabbat" and instead read 2 Nephi 2 and the first half of Joseph Smith History with her. It's crazy at how much she understands as she reads. I really don't know who teaches who more when we go over there. She was also super excited, because last week we gave her a triple combination, and so she was just stoked beyond belief at the idea of a Book of Moses and a Book of Abraham. Oh, and I told the family about this, but I think it's cool enough to retell on here, a couple weeks ago, we were looking over the Articles of Faith, and she noticed the tenth one, that says "Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built on the American continent." When she asked about it, I sunk a bit, because I didn't have anything to really back it up with, aside from the fall back, "It was written by a prophet of God, so I will trust it." I was then able to find stuff about it in Ether by looking in the Index, but still. But never fear! Gila knows the gospel I am teaching better than I do! She said that in Hebrew, the suffix "iem" is for words that are plural, but connected, like "scissors" or "pants." You'll never have just one scissor, so it gets the suffix iem. Well, apparently, when Jerusalem is talked about after the Second Coming, it often is said "Jerusaliem," meaning two Jerusalems, inseparably connected. Haha she was just so relieved to finally have a book (the Book of Mormon) to explain that phenomenon haha. I freaking love going over there!
Oh, also, I forgot to say, but Elder Kelly got transferred. It was a bizarre transfer, for sure. Even President Christianson said it was his craziest transfer of his whole mission. As of afternoon, President said everything was set, except two missionaries who were going to come here while waiting for their visas had their visas, so he just had to figure out which two areas to not have trios. (Wow, that was the worst rambling sentence ever... my bad.) When he said that, both Elder Kelly and I were going to stay in Warsaw, one of the APs was going to be released, and it was going to be a pretty tame transfer. Well, apparently all that changed, and the calls didn't even come that evening like normal. Instead, , EVERYTHING was shaken up, including Elder Kelly being bumped over to Spencerport. So, now I am with Elder Westwood, from a town of almost 150 people called Antimony, UT. He actually came out from the MTC with Elder Kelly, so has only been on a mission for just over 3 months. He's a farm boy, so Warsaw is a good place for him. So far, so good haha.
We had an interesting lesson with the Zieglers . He had said he had a whole bunch of questions, so we said we could have a lesson where pretty much all we do is answer his questions. Well, he really didn't have any questions about what we'd taught him. Instead, he had questions about blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, polyandry, and on and on. We keep telling him he should put at least as much time into reading the Book of Mormon than reading things online about the Book of Mormon. We were able to answer just about all of his questions, and I think he really liked our candidness about things like blacks and the priesthood, where essentially we said, "There's a whole lot of different theories out there, but in the end, a lot of it comes down to the fact that even in a perfect gospel, people aren't perfect, including leaders." Tina asked specifically about why women couldn't have the Priesthood, and I think she really liked when I summarized this quote by Elder Matthew Cowley: "You sisters... belong to the great sorority of Saviorhood... men have to have somethings given to them to make them saviors of men, not mothers, not women. You are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls. You are the co-creators with God of his children. Therefore, it is expected of you by a right divine that you be the saviors and the regenerating force in the lives of God's children here upon the earth." After we had talked about all their different random questions, I read them this quote by Ezra Taft Benson: "All objections, whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc., basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation... The only problem the objector has to resolve for himself is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation. Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must take his stand." Hopefully they got the point.
Oh, we've been meeting with Dolly a bunch lately. I think we went over there three times this week, actually. We talked a ton about the Plan of Salvation with her the first time, which came natural because of her health. We talked all about what she'd learned in life so far, and how our learning and growth is the whole reason we are here. At the end, we just straight-up asked her if we could make a habit of talking about what we (Elder Westwood and I) believed in, which she said would be fine. So, we've talked a lot about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon with her, and she committed to praying about it. It was a pretty soft commitment, though, so we'll likely have to keep on reinviting her haha. But she's seemed to be pretty attentive during it all, so far. Hahahahaha!! Oh man, though, she's hilarious. , she was all excited to see us there, and scurried off to her kitchen. She came out with a container of some weird, shrivelly something. "Here, now you can tell your girlfriends that you had a date with an old lady this week!" Hahaha, she'd literally bought a container of dates just so she could say that joke. I freaking love that lady hahaha.
I'm now working with a kid who has been coming to church for a few months now, upon request of his girlfriend, who lives up closer to Palmyra who is a member. He had been hesitant to give out his phone number or anything to the Woodworths (the senior missionary couple in Warsaw), but has been actively participating in Young Men and everything. Well, he asked Elder Woodworth last week about what it takes to get the Boy Scout religious award through the LDS Church. I was there, so started talking to him about it. Now we're planning on working through it with him! It goes over all sorts of stuff about gaining a testimony of the scriptures, following the standards in For the Strength of Youth, and becoming a Melchezidek Priesthood holder. Pretty much, it is the best undercover missionary tool of all time!
Shoot, I forgot how long it has been since I talked. If you didn't know Elder Kelly was leaving, you wouldn't know what we did our last night here. We went over to the Boccichio family, where we played some games with them most the evening, had a spiritual thought, had a closing prayer with them, then had treats. Really quickly, we realized that we'd just had Family Home Evening with them without realizing it! We decided that we are going to teach them a little about FHE and ask if we could just make a habit of it! But it'll have to wait til , because tonight we're planning on doing a service project around Dolly's house. We also have started what hopefully becomes a tradition there. When he left, the family gave him a pack of Rosary beads, so he decided he should give them something in return. So, he wrote out his testimony in a Book of Mormon and dropped it off before he headed northward. Our plan is to keep doing that with any missionary who leaves the area, so that eventually they have dozens of testimony-filled copies of the Book of Mormon!
And we also met with Jimmy and had probably the best Restoration lesson that I've had on my whole mission with him. Jimmy is the most baptism-ready person I've ever met, but is waiting for approval from Salt Lake to be baptized while he's still on probation. Hopefully that comes through... because there's really not much reason to keep him waiting by now. But, who knows. He was actually taught by the Woodworths but now they are having us go back over the lessons since we have to spend time doing something anyways haha. It's very cool, though! He flat out said he is going to get baptized here, and just asks some of the best questions ever!
Welllll.... I've probably rambled on enough. Oh! If you want to be spiritually enlightened by me, then you should go here! http://brackenallen-
thinkonthesethings.blogspot. com/2013/05/patience-unto- perfection.html If you don't want to be spiritually enlightened, you're probably doing something wrong in your life, and should go there anyways! haha
I love you, but I don't miss you! (It was good to talk to you family members yesterday, though!)