Surprise! Haha I'm short on time, again. Suffice it to say we had a really good week. Things keep getting better here in Bristol and the work is slowly but surely picking up. When I first got here we were teaching maybe 4-6 lessons per week, and now we're teaching probably 10-12 and we have some pretty awesome people. Joyce is still progressing well, she's going to be baptized a week from this Saturday! We did a bunch of finding (mostly tracting) this week too, and we found two new investigators. One of them, JoAnn, is especially cool. She invited us in and we sat on her back porch and talked for like 2 hours. I know I say this about a lot of the older ladies here but she's super spunky. Also she's had a really hard life but has become such a great and optimistic person because of it. And we saw a less active, Pat, who we've been trying to soften up for awhile. When we first went by she was really closed off but now she's slowly starting to open up and warm up to us. It's exciting. She's great and I like her a lot. :)
But yeah. I'm out of time and I've gotta run. I'm loving it here in Bristol. This is probably my last full week here in the good old birthplace of country music, and I'm sure gonna miss it when I leave. Please keep Fred, Kristen and David in your prayers, they're all really struggling to overcome addictions and they could use your prayers.
I've only got time for a quick message. In his October 2014 address, Elder Lynn G. Robbins asked the question, "Which way do you face?" Meaning, in other words, are we trying to please others before pleasing God, or are we trying to please God before pleasing others? Oftentimes fear of man holds us back from doing the right thing or causes us to make poor decisions. One observation he made that I really like: "Courage is not just one of the cardinal virtues, but as C. S. Lewis observed: 'Courage is … the form of every virtue at the testing point.'" A big part of courage is being righteous even when it is unpopular or hurts our pride or ego or even if it's just plain scary. Join me this week - let's take some time to examine ourselves and see where we are facing. In whatever ways we are facing the wrong way, let's choose to turn around and face God. We are His children, and He will support us in all things we do as we strive to serve Him and become like Him. (And for bonus points, you can even study the talk!)
Well, I've gotta run. I love you all! God lives, the Atonement heals, and the Gospel's true. :) Make yourselves a great week!
Elder Alex Swindler
Yes, I did take pictures this week:
2) Sister Crawford, Elder Bateman, me, Sister Johnson, Elder Lambert, and Elder Collins sitting on/against an old jail thing in Meadowview, VA where they used to put the town drunks for a day for public humiliation. :)
3) Me and Elder Bateman at the Abingdon VA ward mission leader's farm (we spent Memorial Day there today, it was tons of fun)
4-5) View of the hills from the Abingdon WML's farm