We had a pretty decent week here in Bristol. The highlight was definitely our zone conference. President Griffin gave an excellent training on the four pillars of missionary work - obedience, attitude, work, and gospel knowledge. He talked about how we can do more than we think we can do. It was great. I wish you could've been there. Although he did institute a new rule - no meal appointments with members unless there is an investigator, less active, or recent convert present. Not sure entirely how I feel about it... It will definitely decrease the number of our meal appointments. But I think it will also bring a lot of good opportunities and work. So we'll see. And after zone conference I went on an exchange with Elder Dyment, our district leader. He's awesome. Marion, VA (his area) has completely changed for the better since he's been there. And it was a good exchange too.
We saw Grover again and it was much better than last week. We just talked about our life here on earth and the purpose of our struggles. He had some good insights and seemed glad to see us. He seems like he just needs to learn everything from the beginning, he doesn't seem to remember much from when he was taught. We saw Brenda too, and talked about pretty much the same thing. We gave her a larger print Book of Mormon and she promised to start reading again.
Anna is doing well. Stubborn as ever. We talked about her identity as a daughter of God and gave her Elder Hallstrom's talk to read. We saw a crazy less active couple, Ed and Sandy, and talked with them about the importance of scripture study. We saw Joyce and Fred at a member's house again, which was wonderful! Joyce is great. She's progressing nicely towards baptism on June 11th. We taught her the word of wisdom and her only concern was coffee, but she's willing to give it up.
On Sunday, David and Kristen came to church. We finally talked them into staying for all three hours and they really enjoyed it. They're still struggling with some personal issues, they could really use your prayers (and while you're at it, Dusty and Amber could too!). And after church, we got a new investigator! His name is James. We found him tracting a couple weeks ago. We were finally able to meet with him this week, and when we taught him about the Book of Mormon, he asked us where he could buy one. Haha that was awesome, we never get that reaction. We gave him a copy and got a return appointment.
So yeah. All in all, a pretty great week. My message this week is short. It's a quote from the late President Boyd K. Packer:
"It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal. Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life."
I know this principle is true. I've seen it even just these past few weeks and transfers. As I have pressed on anyway through the hard days and weeks and even months, things have always straightened out and I've always come through better for it. We can't always see the purpose of our trials when we are in the midst of them, or the hope, or the silver lining, or how this could possibly help us to grow. But we learn from Nephi that "[God] doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him." I know that, as Elder Packer said, there is great purpose in our struggles. Be diligent, move forward with faith, and I promise things will get better and you will be better for it.
I love you all!
Elder Alex Swindler
1) Classy car at a classy venue (yes, the Min Dynasty Buffet is actually open for business. I was surprised)
2) Bonus pic of the baptism a couple weeks ago because I don't have any more pics to send you