Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 16 Letter


This whole two areas thing makes stuff pretty cool! We now have a baptism scheduled forSunday! Iliana committed to be baptized and should be good to go. We are pretty excited for her!

Really, his whole week has been eventful. On Wednesday, the ward did a "strawberry social," which is essentially just a potluck dinner with ice cream and strawberries afterwards. The point is, the ward did an activity! It is the first one since I have been here. Really, it's the first of anything out on by the ward that wasn't the usual meetings on Sunday or mutual on Wednesday. So, we missionaries jumped on it, and had five or six investigators there! The most exciting of these were Mallard and Diane, who have developed a good friendship with the Moons, but haven't met anyone else or came to anything. But they were there and seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Then yesterday, Dan came to church!! That probably made my whole week. So, he's been in the hospital for about 12 days with a ruptured hernia. Since he has a bad liver and a tumor on his pituitary gland, surgery was really risky. So they were trying to find alternatives. Pretty much every day was spent crossing one more alternative off the list. The Moons went and visited him a couple of times, and actually last Monday I spent half my pday going to visit him with the Moons. (I'll tell you more about that pday in a second haha.) Well, on Friday he was finally released from the hospital, and on Saturday we went with him to rearrange his antique/refinishing store. While there, he mentioned that he had officially resigned his position as pastor (Well... kinda. The church apparently rejected his resignation haha. So instead he is on "indefinite leave." But, they've hired an interim pastor, and Dan says he has no intention of going back haha.), and was excited to be able to go around and visit other churches now. "Wait a minute," he then said, "What time is your service at?" So we told him, and the next day he was there! It was a kind of goofy sacrament meeting, being Father's Day and all, but overall I think he quite enjoyed it. The goofiness might have even helped, because it included two youth speakers (he has always loved that we have non-clergy speak regularly, and I imagine youth only make that better for him) and the primary sang (and we have a HUGE primary). Regardless, I was stoked to seem him there!

Trevor also came to church, which was great to see. He lives in what used to be Nunda's area. And for a while was doing remarkably well. He was at church weekly, was reading the scriptures a ton, and was getting more and more vocal in Sunday school. It was great! But then he went to drug rehab, which naturally did wonders for his word of wisdom issues but also really slowed down his progression. We made it over there for the first time in quite a few weeks, and I think it was beneficial that I was there because even though I had never been the missionary teaching him, neither of the other two missionaries had been here when he was at the top of his game. So, we had a good conversation about doing the little things that bring in the spirit, and while it went fairly well, I was unconvinced that he was convinced. But, when we texted him Saturday, we learned that he'd already contacted a ward member and had his ride all arranged!

Oh, and Jim! He didn't come to church, but that's ok. We met Jim a little over a week ago when we were walking home. He's a retired teacher, who spent 42 years at Geneseo High School teaching government and economics. He's a super nice Catholic guy, but is going through a fairly rough time by being in his third year with lung cancer while his wife is also battling cancer of her own. Anyways, when we first met him, after talking about economics for a while and about football a little while after that and his dog a little while after that, we finally got into talking about the Book of Mormon. We asked him if he'd read any of it, and after he said no, he explained that it was mostly because he's never had one to read. Well, we changed that real quick! Then this week, we went back. We started talking a little with him, and eventually he apologized for not reading a whole bunch... He'd "only" read all of 1 Nephi. Haha we were blown away! And not only had he read the whole first book, he remembered the story and was able to draw his own applications out of it. It was phenomenal. So, after sharing the Restoration with him, we encouraged him to just keep reading from where he was at so we could come back over (hopefully today) and talk about the Plan of Salvation. Hopefully he has read, because 2 Nephi 2, 4, and 9 are all awesome Plan of Salvation introductions! 

And I think the last good story about visiting people is Michael. He is in prison out here for the next year or so. His mom is an active member down in Virginia, and contacted Bishop to see if anyone could go visit him. Elder Russon has actually been twice already, but this was my first time. Michael'd been inactive for quite some time, but has been working on changing things around while in prison. He reads the Book of Mormon every day and has read The Miracle of Forgiveness a handful of times, too. Right now he is in the Alma war chapters, so we talked about two different stories that apply to him pretty well. The first is when the Nephites take the city of Mulek by luring the Lamanites out with their small army, only to have Moroni then lead a big army into the now undefended city. We talked about how easy it is for us to be like the Lamanites and get caught up in small distractions while missing the big army about to take over our safeplaces. However, if we just stay in our strongholds--he said his stronghold is his mom--then we will be perfectly safe. The second story we went to is earlier on, when the Lamanites try to attack the cities of Noah and Lehi, because those had always been the weakest cities of the Nephites. This time, though, when they got there, they found out Moroni had built up a big fortification around each one. We talked with Michael about how he needs to pinpoint where he is weakest so that he can fortify it now, before he goes back into the real world again. Overall, it was a neat lesson and he's a very cool guy!

Buuuuut, that's all I can really think of to talk about. So, I'll leave it at that!

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

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