Yes I am safe. No hurricane damage here, and actually, we had a "cold front" that made the weather yesterday and today super nice! It's rained some, but it's in the 70's today and it's amazing outside. When we went running this morning, my ears actually got kind of cold. I think eventually I'm going to need a head band and a long sleeve t-shirt so we can continue to work out in the mornings. I've set a goal to be able to run for a full 30 minutes with my companion. Slowly but surely I'm working my way up to it. Right now, I run and walk while she runs a ways and then turns around and comes back and runs behind me and comes back and then I run with her some more. Hopefully by the end of the transfer (three more weeks) I can run with her the whole time!
The work is going good. I felt like we worked super super hard last week and yet we only taught 10 lessons. Funny how it works out like that. At the same time we did a lot of service and we had Zone Training Meeting so I guess that eats up some time. Please pray for the W Family - D and M, and D's twin daughters R and H. R and H are 10 year old twins who are our investigators, D is inactive, and hopefully after our lesson Friday night M will be an investigator too! We want to get this whole family back in the church, and D seems pretty excited that we are coming to teach her daughters. Those girls don't know anything about God, and so we are starting from scratch. It's interesting to teach someone without a Christian background - thank you for teaching me the ways of the gospel.
K, I'm going to copy and paste some of my letter to President Wall, because it contains a lot of the cool stuff I've been feeling and learning. I'm hope that y'all share emails and letters when I send them because I kind of write different stuff to each person. It's kind of long because he asks us to answer certain questions each week and I always have lots to say.
Is your testimony growing and are you becoming converted to the Lord? Yes, I think so. my testimony was definitely strengthened during conference. As I was listening, I was thinking a lot about conversion and how I can become more converted. I've noticed that I'm not as inclined to be negative as I used to be, that I have high hopes and expectations for others, and I am taking correction more humbly. Also, I feel like I get more joy, peace, and healing from service. I used to walk away from service just feeling good, no big deal. But yesterday we did service and today we did service, and both times I have walked away feeling refreshed, renewed, and kind of bursting with joy. I think this is because service for me has become a way to access the healing power of the atonement. These are just a few subtle changes that I've noticed in myself that are different since I've been on the mission. Pretty cool, huh?
Are you striving to be obedient? Yes, every day, I think about what I can do to be more obedient. At ZTM, we talked about how exact obedience was more of an attitude than an actual accomplishment. As long as you are striving every day to be as obedient as you possibly can and not justify ANYTHING, you can see yourself as becoming exactly obedient, and that is definitely true of me and Sister Alvine. Also pretty cool.
Report on Companion Unity & District Unity - Our district is struggling. Us and the South Elders are really unified, we are friends and coworkers in the Gospel, and we can rely on them to work hard and help us out, and I think they feel the same about us. The North Elders aren't unified in their companionship, and so it's hard for them to be unified with the district, it's really interesting. Unity really does start in the companionship. I've been thinking a lot about what we can do to help the North elders and to help our district as a whole. It's tricky, because planning for district meeting is not my job, and yet I feel like if we could have a stellar district meeting that created a bond between us and got us all pumped up to work harder than we've ever worked before, that maybe things would work themselves out. It's outside of my stewardship to boss Elder A around, even though I really really want to haha. Sorry, it's a weakness of mine that involves pride and I'm working on not having the attitude that I could do things so much better. It's really unChristlike and I'm working on it. But yeah, I think we are just going to try to set a good example, be positive and uplifting and encouraging, and have charity for Elder A no matter what choices he makes. I hope that's the right path to take.
Are you teaching shorter lessons? - We didn't teach as much as we wanted to last week, even though we worked our tails off. Our lessons were shorter and we tried to leave people wanting more. As usual, we can still continue to improve in this area. :)
Are you studying and using the pamphlets? - I love using the pamphlets in order to help me simply the doctrine. Getting away from the pamphlets leads to me over complicating things, and those who we teach need us to keep it nice and simple, and pamphlets are a great tool to help us teach in that manner.
Are you effectively using the Book of Mormon in your teaching? - I know that we are using the Book of Mormon in our teaching. Are we using it effectively? Maybe...? What does it mean to use the Book of Mormon effectively in our teaching? I think I need to review Chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel to find some answers to that question.
Are your investigators reading the Book of Mormon/If needed are you reading it with them? - We don't have many investigators right now, but the two that we do have we are going to introduce them to the Book of Mormon this Friday. We are really excited, and we are hoping that as we teach on Friday, the girls' step dad will become an investigator too. Friday night is a big night for us. I'm excited! We encourage everyone that we see - less active member or active member, to read the Book of Mormon every day, individually and as families. It's been cool to feel the SPirit continually urge us to get everyone in the Book of Mormon. There is real power in that book, I've felt it and I'll be forever grateful for it.
Your job is to invite others to come unto Christ, to bring them hope. You can do this in so very many ways, to so very many people. You all have the Spirit and it shines from you. So please tell me, what you are doing to give other people hope, every day. - Every day I try to smile, I try to say hi, and I have set a goal to give along a pass along card every day. My favorite one is the one for the "Finding Faith in Christ" dvd, because the picture of Christ is so beautiful. Even if they don't call the number, they at least have a beautiful picture of the Savior, and I hope that this gives them hope. We give hope by serving at lot. Service is one of the best ways to give hope I think. We share verses that give hope and comfort to those in need. And my companion and I try to give each other hope by complimenting each other and loving each other no matter what. It is really great.
I sent some other parts to mom. Hopefully they give you a glimpse into my life as a missionary. I have a year left, can you believe it? I can't believe I've been at this for 6 months. I know I can do this because I am not alone.
I love you forever and always!