Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 19 Letter


Well, Zach didn't get baptized yesterday... His mom had clinicals that they didn't realize were coming up, so we postponed it until next week. He's all interviewed and ready to go, though!

On the bright side, this opened up the opportunity for me to go to Warsaw for Jimmy's baptism!! It was seriously the most spiritual baptismal service I've ever attended. His two kids were there, which he didn't think was going to be possible since his ex-wife had them. But, they came!! And his parents were there, which he didn't think would happen because they have been very distant from his involvement in the Church. Supportive, but definitely kept their distance. Then a huge chunk of the branch stayed after, so there were some 40-50 people there. And, possibly the best, his girlfriend came up to the missionaries afterwards asking if she could get baptized in a few weeks!

I spoke on baptism, then found out literally 30 seconds before the ordinance that I was also confirming him. It was interesting, because normally - even though we try not to - you can't help but think through what you might say in a blessing or in a prayer. But, when it is sprung on you, you really can't. It was quite an experience, that is for sure!

It was also great to see everyone in Warsaw again! Obviously Jimmy was the priority. But I got to see the Woodworths, Grant (my two year old friend haha), Lily (my four year old friend...), AJ (my eight year old friend.....), and even a few adults! Really though, it was wonderful!

We also had a great week in Buffalo. NINE NEW INVESTIGATORS! I am pretty sure that is a new record for me! Some of them are way legit, too.

One family, in particular, we helped move from their house to another house about a block away. They were referred to us by a member in Lockport Ward, who works with him. Demitri (the dad, who has his wife Dani and their two boys) and Xi (the referrer) both work with the Fish and Game here as wildlife biologists. They go out to Lake Ontario and catch lake sturgeon, poke around a little bit, tag them, then toss them back. In Demitri's words, they are "fishermen with PhDs." Haha but what's really cool is that he is still very involved in the Russian Orthodox church. Out here, it's hard to find highly educated people, who haven't "out-educated" God. After we moved all of his stuff, we talked a little about our beliefs and emphasis on families. We're planning on dinner at Xi's house and a discussion afterwards sooner than later!

We also met Colin, although I don't think that's his real name. He and his family moved here from Sri Lanka a few years ago. Evidently, the Buddhists there actively persecute the Hindus and Christians. Colin's family are all Catholic, so they came to the States for safety. He is now a welder building bridges here in Buffalo. We were trying to figure out how to communicate with him - although, considering he says he literally started learning English 6 years ago, he is incredibly good at it - so we pulled out a Restoration pamphlet. We showed him a picture of Jesus ordaining Peter, and talked about Christ setting up a Church on the Earth. Then we turned a few pages to the First Vision. "Whoa..." was the first thing out of his mouth. I asked him if he knew who was in the air, and he answered in an awed "Jesus." We talked about the importance of the Restoration and are going back this Saturday!

We finally had a real lesson with Isabelita, too! We went through the whole Restoration, but when we asked her to pray about Joseph Smith, she just said, "No." It kind of caught us off guard. But, we figured out she just doesn't want to pray if she doesn't know his teachings. So, we got her a Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, and she committed to reading it! Haha that might be even better, in all reality!

Then at church yesterday, even though I wasn't there since I was at Warsaw, we had both Kevin and Zach at church, as well as a few less active members who haven't been in a LONG time! It was very exciting!

Well, I'm headed to the zoo!

Love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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