Thanks everyone for the torrent of letters!!
Sorry your week was uneventful. It sounds like the kids got quite the deal with the Cafe Rio meal, though. $1 per minute = $60 per hour. Divided among 3 kids that makes $20 per hour. Not bad at all - they're regular tycoons.
I received Grandma's letter and package. Please tell her thanks for me, and that I enjoyed the cookies and candy. I'll write back as well - I'm getting smart and typing letters on P-day now, it's much faster than writing.
Wow, Delaney is applying for scholarships? That's pretty cool. To quote a man in our ward (talking about his wife) "She's so grown up!". I wish I thought about scholarships when I was a sophomore. I'm so excited for her to get her patriarchal blessing, too.
It's really cool to see recent converts and recently activated members in our ward doing the same things as people are doing back home - going to the temple, getting patriarchal blessings, reading the scriptures, etc. By the way, how are the family scripture study and prayers going? We've been teaching a less-active family and been trying SOOO HARD to get them to have family prayers because we know what a blessing it would be for them, but they struggle a lot. It makes me sad. I realize a lot more as a missionary how important the "small and simple things" are. Are you still going to the temple often?
OK-update on investigators - it's been a great week -
Tasha - is who I am most excited about. She doesn't smoke, which is a novel thing in this area. We committed her to be baptized on February 27th, and she not only accepted, but is really excited about it. She came to church on Sunday with her daughter and her niece. Plus, she has a friend who goes to the singles ward on the East Side who has been doing an amazing job of fellowshipping her. I think Tasha is what you call a "Golden Investigator" - She has kept every commitment we have given her to read the Book of Mormon, and has read more on the side. She came to church and she and her daughter loved it. She is excited to get baptized. She understands everything we teach, asks insightful questions, writes down questions for us between visits, and feels the Spirit. We basically couldn't ask for more. It's just too bad we can't get married on our missions. (just kidding)
Tim - hasn't smoked for 4 days straight now! We've been visiting or calling him briefly every day and that has helped a lot, I think. Even more helpful has been Brother Branch, who is great friends with Tim and really loves him and wants the best for him. Elder Pickett and his greenie will have to push his baptism date back, but as long as he keeps not smoking he will be able to get baptized soon.
Brenda - has said that she's seen a lot more answers to her prayers since she started reading the Book of Mormon and she feels like it's true when she prays about it! The next step for her is to quit smoking, but she doesn't feel like she can do it, so we've been talking about prayer and how the Lord can help us through our trials. I know that she can, and I know that God knows that she can - now we have to help her realize that she knows she can.
So guess what? We found Mike! Finally, the very week that I leave Cleveland, we found him! An appointment had fallen through so we decided to tract nearby. We prayed about where we should tract and felt prompted to move a couple streets over, so we did. We knocked on Mike's door and he was open to learning about the Book of Mormon. We set up a return appointment and he was there a couple days later as well (which doesn't happen that often). He said he will read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.
In summary, this area is on fire now, when it used to be dead. I am pretty sure that Elder Pickett and his companion will see baptisms this month, so I am really excited for them! He and I have seen amazing blessings these past few weeks and it has really been a testimony builder for me to see so many tender mercies poured out upon us. It is also interesting to take an introspective look at myself and realize how much I care for the people we are teaching - how excited I am when they progress and how disappointed I am when they don't do things that I know will bring them blessings.
Thanks for everyone who has been praying for me, Elder Pickett, and our investigators. Obviously it's working, so keep it up!
Unfortunately, I found out yesterday that I am being transferred and Elder Pickett is training a new missionary here. So I will miss the baptisms, but I am still excited to find out where and with whom I will be serving.
Yeah, I agree that these six months have gone by way fast.
Per your questions, I have not emailed any friends on missions - a review of the white handbook said we should only email immediate family. I did send snail mail letters to a few, though. Transfers are tomorrow. We are getting fed very well. There's nothing I really need or want that I don't already have. Actually yes there is - could you send more garments please? You know the kind I like.
Tell Fred & Louise thanks again for me as well, please.
I love you!