I'm still doing great, and enjoying the respite from the cold and rain - today it is sunny and in the sixties I think. I wrote a letter yesterday and sent it today so sorry if I am repetitive and boring. Sorry I haven't taken many pictures, but I will send home the SD card sometime soon. I hope you enjoyed the deer hunt and taking a nap. Those both sound delightful.
Regional conference sounds like it was great. How big is a region? We had stake conference yesterday and it was really good. President and Sister Sorensen spoke, as well as the stake presidency and the president and matron of the Columbus, Ohio temple. Last month was the tenth anniversary of the Columbus temple's dedication, so our stake had a temple trip. The temple president said in his talk that another stake decided they wanted to 'create' a stake on the other side of the veil. I guess the magic number for a stake is something like three thousand members, so that stake wanted to do the work for three thousand people. The temple president said they had done the work for three thousand people and more, and they were at about fifteen hundred names submitted and still working on it. I thought that was a pretty cool project. It is such a strange thought that they have to commute for hours to get to a temple. I remember at general conference everyone was holding their breath and crossing their fingers as President Monson announced the new temples, hoping that we would get one in Cleveland. If a stake from Cleveland can do that much work at a small temple like Columbus, imagine how much more responsibility we have and how much work we can do if we live very close to lots of large temples where you don't even need an appointment! It is cool that you are going to the temple weekly - have you already been able to recognize the blessings that are coming from that?
I will ask Sister Gibbs or Sister Moore, I can't remember which of them does mail (they are both senior sister missionaries) why some letters are being returned. What dates were they sent?
I haven't received dad's email yet, but I will check again before I leave. The library we email from is not very close to our house. We meet the Strongsville elders - Elder Brown and Elder Allan - in the morning on P-days and do everything together. We alternate weeks - one week we will take the rapid to the Brookpark Road station and they will drive there and pick us up, and the next week we will take a combination of buses to a stop right up the street from their house. It is easier for us to take the rapid and it takes less time, but they have to drive farther to pick us up, so every other week we take the bus, which takes longer and is less convenient, but saves them miles. (Every car area is allotted a certain amount of miles per month.) Then we email, shop, etc. and eventually we usually meet the rest of our district at the church or wherever we are doing our district P-day activity which we usually do. This week, though, it is just going to be the Strongsville elders coming to our apartment to play euchre because the sisters have something else they are doing and the Elder Carter has to go to the Cleveland Clinic to talk about getting some huge moles looked at or something along those lines. I am excited to learn how to play euchre.
Okay, update of who we are working with:
Pauly: Sadly, she dropped off the face of the earth for about a week, and her boyfriend said that she was just having a meltdown like she does every few months and that she would be back eventually. We found out that she has several mental illnesses and we are probably going to stop teaching her. That made me really sad, since she seems to have a testimony. We are going to continue trying to get back in contact with her, but whenever we are over she always seems to be too sick to talk to us. It looks like we will probably end up dropping her, though.
Reba: New investigator we got as a referral from the APs this week. We taught her once and committed her to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and the restoration pamphlet and pray about it. When we called back, she had read the pamphlet and introduction, and the first five chapters of 1 Nephi. That was exciting. We have another appointment with her tonight.
Orosz (Oh-rhosse) Family: They have been less active for a couple years, but they came to church last week. We were going to do service for them Saturday but their kids were sick. We have been stopping by and talking to the mom on the porch once or twice a week and we finally got an appointment where the whole family would be there last week. It is difficult because of the dad's work schedule and that we can't go in without a man there. Luckily, Brother Davis (a convert of about 5 years who is now the second counselor in the bishopric and the Orosz's home teacher) is really good about coming teaching with us a lot so we are going to start bringing him with us so that we will be able to teach them even if their dad isn't there. It definitely helps that he is their home teacher also, and has built up a good relationship with them. We are hoping to set a baptismal date with their 9-yr old daughter, Heather, pretty soon, provided the family keeps coming to church.
Jim Fritz: Less active guy who we do service for occasionally. He has some health concerns that are challenges for him, as well as word of wisdom concerns. He definitely still has a testimony of the gospel - we talk about it with him a lot - but he doesn't seem to be doing much about the word of wisdom concerns. Elder Marini and I both keep feeling like we need to keep going back and trying to get him to come to church, though.
Brenda: Referral we got from Sis. Reef, who used to be her neighbor. I think I wrote about her before but I'm not sure. We've taught her once and she seemed pretty interested. We had an appointment Friday but she had to reschedule.
Sis. Kilroy: She is a less active member in her seventies but tries to come to church every now and then. She had a stroke last week so we visited her and gave her a blessing. It sounds like the stroke was pretty small and not too serious. We do service for her occasionally like yard work and such.
Still looking for Mike. We'll find him.
That is just about it for our investigators and less active members who we are working with that are closest to being 'solid'. It seems like everyone is getting sick these last two weeks. It must be flu season or something. I would appreciate if you could remember Jim, the Orosz's, and Sis. Kilroy in your prayers that they will all be able to get better, and that Reba will know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true.
Thank you for your prayers and putting my name on the temple rolls, that is much appreciated. There is a whole lot of faith backing up me and every other missionary! Who can possibly stand against us?
No, I haven't taken a picture of the apartment building I live in yet, but I will and will mail you the SD card. Again, sorry I am not very diligent at taking pictures. You could probably look it up on google maps streetview. It is at 1210 West Blvd. You might even see Elder Marini and I walking up the street, since a google maps van with cameras all over it drove past us once. We would be on the West side of West Blvd. right around Clifton rd. (which is right next to our apartment).
What was I doing Saturday at noon, you ask? That would be around 2:00 pm my time I think, so let me check my planner...We were tracting W. 91st street, which is the street on which I got to teach a lesson in Spanish. (details in the letter I mailed today)
I look forward to receiving the thermals, that will be a welcome relief. I can't say I really NEED anything else, but I wouldn't say no to some licorice.
Delaney, how did your friendboy do at football? Was he playing in the game that Riverton got beat 35-7 by Bingham? Sorry for teasing you, but I am your big brother so it's what I do. Being on a mission just means I have to do it from a distance. Hopefully Cody is taking up the slack.
Again thank you everyone for your prayers, letters, and support. They are dearly appreciated. I love you all and I pray for you every day.