This week was a mixture of miracles and craziness. We had some drama early last week and it has settled down quite a bit since then. This should be a really good email with a bunch of experiences so bear with me and I promise there is some good stuff in here.
Monday night we went to the Knotwells. She is a recent convert and now she wants all her kids to take the lessons in preparation for baptism. Those four kids, ages 8-12, are LEGIT! My favorite so far is the 11 year old, Olivia. Before we started the lesson, I asked, "Do you guys have any questions?" And she asked, "Are you from Pittsburgh?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" And she pulls out her PITTSBURGH STEELERS backpack. For some odd reason she isn't a Broncos fan but a fan of a real football team, the Steelers!!! She then shows her Steelers jacket and I told her we were going to be best friends. The Restoration went well with them and we will work with them on a baptismal date soon. Great family :)
I went on exchanges with Elder Klain, who is being trained by Elder Blackburn, who was essentially trained by me because I taught the kid everything he knows. In a roundabout way. I might as well have trained Elder Klain too! Just kidding :) We did service at this artistry place where we paint soup bowls for a charity auction. I painted a boot that had flames, lightning, feathers, and a rising sun. It was nice looking, no lie. We saw these girls who looked like they were a basketball team so we stopped at the restaurant they were at to see who they were. They were the Utah State women's team and they were tall! Klain saw this tall blonde girl lose her shoe in the mud so he runs out like a boss and grabs her shoe, Book of Mormon in hand. He goes on to introduce the Book of Mormon to her and she tells him she is atheist :( She and her other ballin' friend were from France so we talked for a minute before saying bye to the girls a foot taller than us! We had tacos for dinner that night and after eating two I was full. Klain bet me I couldn't eat two more so we had an eating competition that resulted in four tacos and four cookies each. The next morning, we got up at 5:30 to go ball. We played 3 games of 1 V 1 and he beat me the first two but I won the final game to 21, 28-26 :) Look how athletic this dude is! Legit! Unlike Elder Blackburn! http://scontent-a.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xpa1/t50.2886-16/10564213_1454852991444219_1634343610_n.mp4
We taught a less active (well now she is basically active because she has come to church 3 weeks in a row!!!) named LaRae. She loves coming to church now and reading her scriptures. It's been fun seeing the change in her.
I went on exchanges with Elder Sharp (exchanges was a BIG theme this week...) and we played bingo with the nursing home ladies. Afterwards, we shared a message with them and usually Elder Clavel plays the piano. Since he wasn't there, I got to step up and use the talent I've grown on my mission, that is playing piano! I played some Battle Hymn of the Republic and Be Still My Soul. They liked that. By the way, it's weird to have delusional 80 year old women flirt with you, but I have been out a year... JK!!! We went into this less active's house and he literally had 1,000 empty beer cans in his living room. We chatted for 10 minutes before his brother came in. As soon as he did, the Spirit was like "leave now" and I listened. We got out of there like a minute after the brother walked in. When we got to the car, we were like wow that was crazy because we both felt that same strong impression.
I went on exchanges for two days with our former AP of 7.5 months and going home on the 17th, Elder Marble. The guy is a beast. He asked this one girl in the YSA ward if she could come to a lesson with one of their investigators and she misunderstood and thought he asked her to bring an investigator to the lesson. She brings her roommate who at first was closed off, but by the end of the lesson she said, "ya know, I couldn't see myself as becoming a Mormon when I first came here but now I'm really thinking about it." Apparently Jessica and Addison talked for 4 hours when they got home about the church. She read the Restoration pamphlet four times and watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration twice. They set her with a baptismal date yesterday. All that in three days! We invited a former investigator to the institute activity so that we could stay. Meg showed up and we won the food relay. You had to crab walk down then eat what was in the bag and run back. I got a sandwich roll with peanut butter in the middle, a Capri Sun, and a banana. Our team won and we rejoiced. We then taught a lesson to Meg and a girl Elder Marble baptized on Monday and it went super well. She went to church yesterday! We had the fun experience of changing our flat tire before calling it a day. The next day, we went through a list of referrals and came across this guy, Omar. We called him up and he said, "Yes, do come over! We will have tea and sweets. Oh wait, you can't drink tea. We will just have sweets." We were like okay and just went over. Basically as soon as we get in he starts questioning our beliefs. He is from Saudi Arabia and Muslim (of course). We didn't get Bible bashed, we got Qur'an bashed!!! Omar and Abdul gave us a copy of the Qur'an and we gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon. Fun stuff :) We ate Froyo with the Bishop before making the 100 mile drive back to Saratoga. I learned a ton from Elder Marble.
We went out with our Elders Quorum President Ricks Saturday to try and contact some of the people Clavel and Greer tracted out. We had no luck, so we tried the Nicaraguans that Pres. Ricks knows. They let us right in and the two of them taught Wilson and Cornielio the Restoration. I understood most of it and I just thought it was awesome the Spirit was there for me even though I didn't fully understand. Wilson's eyes were lit up and focused on every word spoken. We will see them again next week.
So one of the coolest things happened yesterday at Church. I see this kid my age who I don't know so I go up to him and introduce myself. He tells me his name is Eli and that he is waiting to meet with the Bishop. I ask him if he is a member of our church and he says no, but that he is in an Anthropology class and that his assignment is to immerse himself in a culture or religion for a few months then write a report on it. PERFECT! We sat with him in sacrament meeting and I forewarned him it was testimony meeting as well. He enjoyed it and we spent the second hour with the Bishop answering his interview-like questions. He has a really good understanding of the Bible. He was raised really well. His last question was, "Why are you a Mormon? and, Why should I become one?" I thought you'd never ask ;) He went to Priesthood meeting with us and then bounced halfway through because he had to go work. "See you later this week" he said on the way out. Our ward mission leader set up an appointment to teach him the gospel cuz I mean he wants to learn all about it, right? I texted him this morning and told him that watching The Restoration and Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration would really help him learn more. How cool is that?
This email is super long, sorry. We went back to Dave's house, someone we contacted a few weeks ago. He let us in and we asked him about his religious background. We asked him how much he knew the Book of Mormon and he said that he would read it before we even said anything else. We then popped in the Restoration DVD and his eyes were watery at the end. He promised to read the Book of Mormon and just like that, we found another legit investigator. That makes 16 for the week of new people we found to teach.
It was a roller coaster of a week, but at this point I would expect nothing less. The Church is true and the Gospel will make people happy. I'm at the point where all I want to do is work hard and help others. That's all I want to do. Things are looking up and I'm sure excited. Thanks for reading my super long email. I'd read yours too :)