Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 8, 2014

Mom and Dad,
Haha, no worries. Hope the computer gets fixed soon. So first I will answer all the questions. I haven't gotten my teeth cleaned yet, but we just stopped by the dentist and got the card to schedule appointments. I'll double check with the insurance, and if we are covered, I will schedule an appointment. We have only had one snowstorm, but it has all melted. It's been in the 30's and 40's here, but we are supposed to get a storm this week. Also, President Wirthlin has asked that we let everyone know that packages must be sent in by tomorrow to get them in for Christmas time. Don't worry about that though. It sounds like things are going crazy back home, so if it comes a little late, no worries. Well this week was honestly one of the rougher ones of the mission. Lot's of cancelled appointments, we determined we would have to stop teaching a few people, and such. But the great thing about missions is that as long as you keep going and have a positive attitude, the Lord provides miracles. This week Elder Ricks and I got to try a new tracting approach. Elder Jepsen (last companion) had a book his mom sent him called the highly effective missionary. In that book is an "8 step door approach." I copied that onto paper and brought it with me to this area. Elder Jepsen and I wanted to try it, but we never got to it because the work was going so well there we didn't have time to tract. So Elder Ricks and I gave it a shot this week. And it seemed to work. I got more people who would say we could come back tracting that street than I have ever had in my mission. Elder Ricks said the same, and we both agreed we had more success tracting that day than ever before in our missions. While tracting, we also saw a hawk fly in the bush right next to the door and catch a small songbird to eat. It was sick!! I never thought I would see anything like that in my life. While we stopped teaching a few people, we found quite a bit of new people to teach this week. We are now teaching this part-member family, the Besemers. They are sweet. Brother Besemer isn't a member, and according to the ward members, Sister Besemer has been inactive for years. We taught them the restoration, and it was so sweet. Sister Besemer says she believes in our church because it's how she was raised. We had Sister Besemer pray at the end of the lesson, and they both acknowledged that they felt the spirit. I then invited brother besemer to be baptized. He started to respond saying he was  already baptized Episcopalian, but then he stopped and thought about it, and said he doesn't know at this moment. It was really cool to see how initially he was going to say no, but as he started to, he thought more about it and the spirit he felt, and didn't immediately reject the invitation to be baptized. I am very excited to see how things turn out with them. We also picked up Evonne and Brad as two new investigators. Evonne is an older lady, probably in her 70's, and her son Brad in probably in her 30's. What is very cool is that Evonne has only one biological child, and adopted around 4 children, including Brad. As we taught them the restoration, Brad at first wasn't too open to meeting with us. Elder Ricks, myself, Evonne, and Brother Story were sitting in a circle, with Brad at the table behind us. I was determined to have him involved in the lesson. My chair was in front of the table, so my back was to Brad. I moved my chair over making him part of the circle. What truly was amazing was at the end of the lesson when we invited them to be baptized, it was Evonne who said no due to already being baptized in another church, but Brad said he would if he knew it was true. He also said not to listen to Evonne, because she apparently says she won't do something and then ends up doing it. Haha. So they are doing great. We also had a cool experience with Glenda. We went over to teach Glenda, and she isn't prepared at all.  The lesson went well until we got to the great apostasy. She thinks that the "holy spirit was never taken from the earth, that we don't need a prophet anymore today, and that Jesus was black." That actually isn't the first time I've heard that on my mission, and it probably won't be the last. Her friend Shirley who was visiting and we had no idea would be there, however, said she enjoyed the lesson. She actually looked through the pamphlet completely before we finished it with Glenda. (Glenda slowed us down a bit with her points of view). We are going to go back there to give Shirley a book of mormon before she goes back home after the holidays to ontario and try to pick her up as an investigator. How often is someone who is seeking for the truth come in contact with the missionaries through unexpected meetings and experiences. The lord truly does have his hand in this work. I'm loving this holiday season. Talking about Christmas with people is an easy way to start gospel conversations and find those seeking for the truth. We got transfer calls last saturday!! Elder Ricks and I will be staying together. Sister Stimpson, Sister John, and Elder Wilson are all going home. Sister Collette will join sister Hopkinson in Owego. Elder Wing (who came out with me so that's sweet) will be Elder Lin's new companion, and Sister Gilstrap will Train. So the new district is Elder Ricks and me in Owego, Sister Collette and Sister Hopkinson in Owego, Sister Gilstrap and whoever she trains in Vestal, and Elder Lin and Wing in Endicott. Love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Richins

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