It's been so cool to read about the west coast trail adventure and having memories surfacing that I hadn't thought of in a long while. I'm so glad that the weather was dry, that just makes life on the trail so much better. Those pictures are amazing.
Provided that everything goes as planned, our last lesson with Cynthia and Herman will be on Wednesday, their interview is on Thursday and they'll be baptized Friday evening. I have a sliver of anxiety about that, but it's what we're going with. We had a lesson with them last Thursday and brought Lou and Bev Merrill with us. Those two are truly outstanding people with powerful testimonies. They're like the grandparents of the ward. We were initially planning to talk about the priesthood and temples, but it soon turned into a really cool discussion about faith. Bev shared her conversion story, which I think was exactly what Cynthia needed to hear. The spirit was incredibly strong and I felt lighter than air by the time we left. On Sunday Cynthia told us that before that she was uncertain, but after hearing the Merrills' testimony she decided for sure that she wanted to be baptized... which was a relief given that they announced it in sacrament meeting. Sister Tingey thinks that Cynthia might still have some reservation or anxiety about it, so we'll have to try and see if it's anything we can help her with beforehand, but it might just be general discomfort with being the center of attention. Herman is rock solid.
We had zone conference for the Indy West and Indy North zones last Wednesday. I got to meet two of Elder Roundy's previous greenies and had some great instruction from President Carlson and the APs. The main themes was on improving personal study by applying the ideas in Preach My Gospel and making sure to talk to everyone. After that we went on splits again, this time Elder Pond came with me to Eagle Creek. We initially set this exchange up because at some point that was the day that the Adams were going to be interviewed, but instead it was a pretty normal day. In the evening we shared apostle stories, and he told me about a guy he knew who struck up a conversation about church with a stranger on a chairlift who just so happened to be Elder Bednar.
There was a little bit of excitement surrounding transfers when we realized that there was a small possibility of Elder Roundy getting sent away just a couple days before the baptism. He would have been pretty ticked off, but it turns out we're both staying as expected. Elders Pond, Brunson, and McMurdie are all leaving and Elder Adams is going to be the new district leader, and he's going to be training. Elder Moulton (Roundy and Ravsten's trainer) is going home on Tuesday.
Kim and her granddaughter Kelli accepted a baptismal invitation on Tuesday and have a date set for September 1st. Kelli made it super easy. When we taught them what baptism is, she just straight up said she wanted to be baptized without us prompting her or anything. It turns out that Kim has never been baptized before either, so she was open to being baptized too.
Jeff also accepted a baptismal invitation on Friday. He has a soft date for the 8th. His mom still doesn't seem to care that we're teaching him, and he still seems golden.
Other than that, we've picked up some new investigators and dropped some others, and most of them are still in that awkward limbo where we can't seem to get another appointment. It's been interesting to see how for the first half of the transfer we were mostly tracting, and now, we spend most of our time teaching and tracking down people we already know.
Spiritual thought for the day comes from 1 Samuel 16:7. I was thinking about what it means to see people with 'heaven's eyes' and how it applies to my perspective on myself and our investigators, and I was reminded of the rich young man in Mark 10:21. He asked the Savior what more was required of him beyond the 10 commandments, and he was told to sell all that he had, and give to the poor. I find it interesting that he is referred to in the scriptures only as the 'rich young man', and I think that sometimes we also define ourselves and others by attributes that we don't have a lot of control over, rather than by the choices we make. Perhaps that's part of why the rich young man was told to, essentially, stop being just 'the rich young man' and devote his agency to something greater, so that in doing so, he could find himself. Maybe that's part of why we're told to serve missions.
Life is good, and the perspective the gospel brings makes it great. I hope everything continues to go well for all of you, and I can't wait to read more of your letters.