Hey Everyone! Happy Pioneer Day! I've loved getting emails of support from you and hope to be able to hear from some more of you soon! It's been a crazy week! Here's the run down:
Monday, July 17:
P-Day so I spent most of the day cleaning and shopping and emailing. But P-day ends at 6 pm so for the last part of the day, so Elder Belliston and I went out track-ting and got doors slammed in our faces a few times but its all good!
Tuesday, July 18:
Today was my first district meeting. It was in Marianna, Alabama. I absolutely love my district! We have a senior couple, a set of Sisters, and a set of Elders. After the meeting we drove to Dothan, Alabama for my first exchange. We exchanged with our zone leaders. Elder Browning and Elder Birmingham. I was with Elder Birmingham and he was able to teach me so many new techniques to get conversations started with people. We also spent some time doing service for a local Habitat for Humanity. That night we stayed in Dothan...only one couch and two beds at their apartment so natural the greenie gets the floor.
Wednesday, July 19:
We continued our exchanges this morning and it went ok. Elder Birmingham and i got into one house for a few minutes but couldn't get into any others. Afterwards Elder Belliston and I went back to Bainbridge and had a meeting with a lady named Brenda who was nice not but interested.
Thursday, July 20:
Today was a hard working day! We first met with Zach (member), Faith (investigator) and their two kids ages 7 and 1. Faith has committed to being baptized but can't be until she and Zach get married. We later finally met with an investigator the Sisters left for us named. She is so going to be baptized one day she just needs help to be able to see her potential and to feel of God's love for her. We contacted a few less active members of the church and set up times to met with some of them later in the week. We also went street contacting and met two ladies who are both interested in the church and are actually friends with a lady who was baptized a month ago. So we set up times to meet them this upcoming week.
Friday, July 20:
We were able to meet with Coby (member) and Lisa (investigator) for a lesson in the morning at the church. We were able to open the baptismal font and explain to her what her baptism will be like. We spent more time visiting less actives and inviting them to come back to church. After a dinner with a member couple Elder Belliston and I walked around downtown Bainbridge talking to people. We were able to talk to one couple for about an hour out on their front porch almost solely on family history. They seemed to be interested on that and not as much on the gospel so I left them our cell number and card with the family history info. I am so thankful that my calling for the last four years was being a family history consultant because it has helped me and will continue to help me on my mission. Later as we were talking to people we were able to met a man named Courtney who was very interested in our Church once he realized we were not Jehovah's Witness. We set a return appointment for him next Saturday.
Saturday, July 21:
Today was the busiest day of my entire life of my whole life!!! We first met with a less active member named Reggie who wants to start coming back to church because he knows that his kids need to be baptized. They are 9, 7, and 2 weeks old. He has always had a strong testimony but hasn't been active for a few years because he had made a few minor mistakes that made him fell unworthy to come to church. He promised to bring his family to church the next day. After that we drove to a town called Colquitt with the branch Elders quorum president named Brother Tennant. Once there, we met with another less active named member Rod. Rod has had a hard time coming to church for a few years because his friend since childhood passed away and he has no one else to talk with at church. After meeting with Rod we went to the house of Lamarius and his son Ricky but neither were home so we walked around the trailer park to chat with other people. all of which were very nice not but not interested in the gospel. Once done with that we drove to a town called Donalsonville and were planning on meeting with a man named Jean Douglas. We knocked on the door and his son, named JD, answered the door and invited us in. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon and taught him the first discussion. He was very interested so we invited him to church for the next day. After that wonderful experience it was about 4 pm (such a busy day) and we had been invited to go to a birthday party for a little girls first birthday who was the daughter of two less active parents. We were able to meet lots of other people and got to know the town way better. We then returned to Bainbridge where we decided to go street contacting on our bikes. We thought it would be a good idea to go to the other side of town...long story short we not treated nicely but we were able give some pass along cards away.
Sunday, July 22:
I forgot to mention, but on Wednesday Elder Belliston and I were asked to give talks in church on whatever topic we felt we should talk on. I spent a lot of time preparing a talk focused on the importance of charity in our lives. It was a wonderfully prepared talk but I did not end up giving it. I woke up on this Sunday morning to the prompting, from the Holy Spirit, that I needed to change my topic. So I said a prayer and received a the topic I was to speak on and spent about 30 minutes preparing what was to be a 15-20 minute talk. I got ready for the day got to the church and then realized the only things I written down on sticky-note were: Four scriptures to share, a few stories I could share, and a hymn. I have no idea what I was thinking...but slowly the realization came to me that I wasn't the one teaching but that the Holy Spirit was. All my job was was to stand there and look pretty. I ended up giving the talk and it went absolutely amazing! I was crying and half the congregation was crying and I know that God used me to be able to deliverer the message needed. After church we went to other less active members homes with a Brother in the ward named Brother Belisle. We also had a few people who had requested Bibles online through the church website so we dropped those off and meet a few new people in Seminole county (area around Brother Belisle's Home).
Scripture and Quote:
1 Corinthians 2:13
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that's what courage is."-Norman Schwarzkopf
Remember that we are all afraid at one point or another but we need to go ahead and do our job. I have been called and set apart as a missionary. My job is to teach not by my wisdom but with the power of the Holy Spirit. This job, however, will not end in two years when I take my name tag off for the last time, nor did it begin when I opened my mission call just two short months ago. This job is one of every Latter-Day Saint. So my invitation to everyone of you is to open your mouth and "Let the Holy Spirit guide; Let him teach us what is true." because "He will testify of Christ...". Friends and family I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon after being commanded of God to do so. I know that Prophets and Apostles are on the earth today and I sustain and support everyone of them. I love my Savior and His Atonement. I am thankful for all of your support back home and my support from missionary friends and family around the world. I miss you all so much. My testimony I leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.