It's been a really cool and instructive week. One thing in particular that I've noticed is the direct connection between how much time we spend tracting and the number of lessons we teach. This has been a sad lesson to learn because tracting is awkward. While we were on bikes we placed a greater emphasis on trying to track down people we already knew or had on file, which seems like it should be more effective, but the result was that our numbers took a nose dive. We've set a goal for a minimum number of hours to spend knocking on doors each week, and we can already see that we're going to be way more busy this upcoming week.
Thanks for forwarding that story about great-grandpa Paxman. It's really cool to know that his testimony is in the Maori book of Mormon.
Going to the zoo last Monday was a ton of fun. It feels like ages since I've been to one, and the Indianapolis zoo was pretty quiet on an overcast Monday afternoon. Highlights were the red panda, the flamingos, the giraffes, the dolphin show and the penguins. Elder Roundy bought a red panda stuffy and named it Riplakish. That evening we had another lesson with Marcell at McDonalds. (We're trying to have our next lesson at the church but we haven't been able to contact him since)
We also played some basketball with Jeff and had a heart-to-heart about prayer and our Heavenly Father's love for him. He started praying once a day after that so I guess something clicked for him. On Tuesday we brought him to Brother Read's house and had a plan of salvation lesson with him there, where his little sisters couldn't run around screaming. It went really well, and at the end of the lesson he was able to put together the paper cutout plan of salvation map/puzzle thing that Sister Read uses for seminary. Out of all the teaching skills listed in Preach My Gospel, the one I have the hardest time with and see the greatest application for is being able to come up with lots of engaging questions. I can tell that that's important, especially for teaching teenagers, and we did alright on Tuesday, but that's definately something I've got to put more thought and preparation into. Jeff hasn't been reading from the Book of Mormon, but we got a bunch of 'book of mormon stories' books from the APs this week and gave one of them to him. Having the APs in our district is super convenient.
On Wednesday we went on exchanges. Elder Roundy and Elder Adams basically switched greenies for a day. The Avon apartment is really nice, with big windows, a big shower and a typewriter of all things. We taught the plan of salvation twice on Wednesday, once to a guy who invited us in on the spot and had enough good questions to make not getting side-tracked difficult, and once to an 8-year old who wants to get baptised and her less-active mother who wants to start coming back to church. It was a really enjoyable and we were able to provide the big overview for the daughter and clarification to specific misunderstandings for the mom.
On Thursday morning we had a lesson with William. He's about our age and has survived Leukemia, and getting shot in the head and neck at close range without noticeable lasting ill effects. He knows the bible well and has strong faith. He has lots of time to research, and has an open mind, so although our first few lessons spent too much time on divine nature and the issue of racism in the early church we've gotten to the point where he accepts that the bible teaches that we are the children of God (Psalms 82:3 threw him through a loop) and he says that meeting with us has cleared up his preconceptions about the mormons, and that he really appreciates that. Elder Ashworth showed him the prophesy in Ezekiel 37 about the Book of Mormon on Wednesday so we've been using that to try to help him understand how closely the two books of scripture are connected. I like teaching William because he always has good questions and is actually investigating the church, rather than just meeting with us...
...which is a segue into Teshaun. He hasn't really put forward any effort to come to church and he hasn't read from the Book of Mormon in a while. I think he understands what he's supposed to do and why he's supposed to do it, but we're not sure how much this matters to him. There's some disconnect here, but I'm not sure what. Plus, he's YSA age so we're probably going to have to pass him off to the APs if he does start coming to church.
Similarly, Nandini came to church for the second time and is probably going to keep coming for the foreseeable future, but two lessons in I've come to the conclusion that Hinduism is just the non-denominational outlook taken to the extreme. She's made it clear that she doesn't want to switch religions but she likes learning about stories from the scriptures and enjoys the social aspect of church.
I got the box of cookies on Saturday! Thanks! My eyes went wide when I realized just how much was in there. Elder Roundy isn't going to be a big help with them, so I'll have to bring them to district council or mcm before I let myself eat them all.
Nyla Adams came to church as well, and Cynthia and Herman each got callings, so they're doing good.
...Wow this letter is getting long. We've had a lot of awesome lessons this week, and although I think there's a lot I need to learn about being a good teacher, I'm hugely grateful to be getting practice.