It seems like I do this every week but I'm reeally short on time. Again. So this'll have to be fast. Which is really too bad, because we had an awesome week this week. I'll stick to the highlights though.
On Tuesday we had a lesson with an inactive member named Sis White. Her home/visiting teachers, the Dunns, asked us to come. We were basically just there though, we didn't do much. The Dunns were awesome. They've been visiting her faithfully for 30 years!! We helped brother Dunn give her a priesthood blessing and it was a really powerful experience for her. She knows it's all true, it's just hard for her to be at church because it's so family oriented and her family situation is not so ideal. But she said she'll be back as soon as she's ready. And she implied she thinks that will be soon.
On Wednesday we had three lessons in one day! And all three of them were with investigators! That's awesome for this area. Days that good have been rare since I've been here. The Lord is working with us and the work is definitely picking up. One was with a crazy old lady who talked to us in McDonalds one time a month or so ago. We decided to drop by and ended up teaching her about the Book of Mormon and giving her a copy. She actually seems pretty open and interested, when she's not telling us all about her grandkids and her rutabaga and her chihuahuas. Oh - also - her Cherokee name is "Dancing Mouse." She even has a cheesy vanity plate with it on it. It's hilarious. Especially because she's probably not got a drop of Native American blood in her.
One lesson was with Fred again, the former investigator we met last week. We taught him about the apostasy and the restoration and about priesthood authority, and also about personal apostasy. It was a good lesson. He's doing better about drinking, he's still sober, so that's good.
The third lesson that day was with David and Kristen. We finally got to teach them the full restoration. David struggled to focus a little but seemed to remember a lot of what he had once known, and Kristen kept asking why other people don't believe this. It was great.
On Sunday one of the priests gave his missionary farewell talk. He leaves for the Arizona Tempe mission this week. He talked about the purpose of adversity and did an excellent job. And his dad spoke too, and gave an absolutely excellent talk that I wish I had time to tell you about. He talked about a story from his mission in the Canary Islands... Well, I really don't have time, so I'll refrain, but it was awesome.
That evening, we had a lesson with our less active named Brother Roberts, the one I mentioned last week that I was griping about that he wasn't going anywhere, but then told us he felt prompted to come back to church. Well, he came to church, and not only that, but he brought his non member girlfriend too. We were able to see them that evening and taught her the Restoration and it was awesome. He had already taught her a lot and she'd had a lot of positive exposure to the church from him and his family and some of her family too. Like Kristen, she kept asking why on earth other Christians don't believe this. Why they wouldn't want there to be more of God's word was just beyond her, and me too for that matter. She said when she finds out this is true for herself she would definitely like to be baptized. Which is awesome. And, once again, humbling for me.
The Lord is definitely helping this area to pick up. Some of what Brother Youngblood (the father of the departing missionary) talked about was not working too hard and not "trying to force the Spirit." Letting the Lord do His job, doing our best and following Him with faith and using our agency but not trying to force things. That seems to be true of this area. And I think it's true of our lives too. We need to seek His guidance and direction and humbly and submissively seek to do things His way, accepting and trusting in His will and faithfully bearing the adversity He sees fit to give us.
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)
I'm working on submitting to the Lord right now and becoming more as a child. I challenge you guys to examine your own lives and do the same. :)
Well, somehow this email has become super long, as it always seems to do even though I truly am trying to make it brief. Maybe it's because I'm not taking time to condense my thoughts... Sorry you had to read this novel. I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
1) Elder Baird is "dying" (going home) next week. We took pictures of the funeral services we held after district meeting.
2) We decided it would be best to bury him with some doughnuts in case he gets hungry. It's what he would have wanted. (*sniffle*)
3) Mourning poses.
4) Last district pic!
1) Man, this guy really likes giving all his redneck stuff to Sal.
2) Twinnerrrrs! (This was our best white girl pose. Also, only the ties were planned. Everything else just happened that way haha. We even had matching shoes. And then we wonder why people always ask us if we're brothers...)
3) The Dancing Mouse vanity plate
4) The RM life