Counting down by weeks and weeks-and-a-half, huh? I hope YOU're not getting trunky! President Sorensen shared with me once that a certain missionary stopped reading his parents' letters when it was almost time for him to go home because "my family is just trunked out of their minds!". Don't worry - I think I'll keep reading your letters. (Note from Merrill: This paragraph was in response to the end of our email to him, in which we wrote: "Keep working hard and having faith to move mountains, or help Bro. Hall with the word of wisdom challenges, or find investigators, or help less active members return! Make these last 3 1/2 weeks the best of all!")
Good job on your swim meet, Cody - how did you like it?
We've made some good progress with investigators this week. Bro. Hall was unable to come to church, but we did have another investigator there - Bro. Horne. He is a member referral - his sister is in the ward. He is pretty cool and he accepted a baptismal date for July 30th. He definitely seemed at home at the church - I guess it helps that his sister is in the ward. It was his first time coming, though. He was making friends just fine and he even volunteered in Elders' Quorum to help a member of the ward paint their house, and to come to the ward service project in a few weeks! He seems like he will probably get baptized on the 30th, unless he has any Word of Wisdom issues; we didn't smell or see anything, but we haven't talked about it with him yet. That's the next lesson. Bro. Hall is doing well enough, too - he had some health hiccups relating to his diabetes this week and was pretty swamped with red tape since he and his wife are trying to become foster parents, and he's going to school online at the same time - all of which, put together, precluded him from meeting with us this week. He has been reading the Book of Mormon, though.
We found a couple other new investigators from tracting this week that are in the very beginning stages of investigation. We were really excited for yesterday to meet a member's neighbor who the member had set up an appointment for us with, but they no-showed. Too bad - Bro. Jones moved up a stake high council meeting, shortened a high priests group meeting, and pushed back high council Ward Mission Process visits with the Medina ward in order to make himself available to introduce us to his neighbor that he invited to meet with us.
I interviewed a girl yesterday for baptism that the Wadsworth elders (a neighboring area) have been teaching, and it was pretty ridiculous how prepared she was. Not only did this 12-yr-old have all the textbook (but still heartfelt) answers to the baptismal interview questions, but as we read Mosiah 18:8-10 together, she recognized the phrase "stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places" as part of the Young Womens' Values! I'm not exactly sure why she wasn't baptized yet, since her family seemed to be pretty solid and active, and it was pretty obvious that she'd been through the whole primary program. Interestingly, we talked a couple weeks ago with a recently returned missionary from the Utah Ogden Mission, who was in town visiting a relative - he said that they would go through lists of unbaptized 9-yr olds given to them by the bishops of the wards in which they served and see if they could baptize them, which usually involved reactivating families - he said that he once visited a family with his companion for one of these situations and found that the family was entirely active (even in leadership positions in the ward) and had simply forgotten to baptize their child! I guess they were on an extended vacation right around her 8th birthday and never got around to it. Thanks for remembering to have me baptized.
Well, I need to go while I still have a little computer time so I can look up some information on LDS.org for my talk in church this Sunday on the Gathering of Israel.
LoveYMNB, Elder Matthew Smith