This week was absolutely awesome. I wish I had time to do it justice. I'll do my best with the time I've got.
First on Tuesday we found a super interested guy named Cory! It had been a pretty long day with not much success and we were both feeling kind of discouraged, when Elder Urry suggested we try just two more houses at the end of the road we were on before giving up for the night. So we did, and it turned out to be one of those Ensign-article finding situations that doesn't actually happen in real life. Like I said, his name is Cory, and he's going through a pretty rough patch right now with his family. He could really use your prayers, actually, if you wouldn't mind. We started talking about his dogs and somehow ended up teaching about the Restoration with him being suuuper interested. He really wants to know about living prophets, and he asked us a bunch of random questions that are all perfectly answered by the Plan of Salvation, and we showed him Ether 12:27 and it like blew his mind and he started crying and told us about a lot of what he was going through. He told us he knows we were sent there from God. We came not 2 hours after some major life events and he knows he needs to listen to us. It was so cool!!!
I will skip to the other major events to save time because this is already long. On Friday we taught Alan Chappell again and he is doing well! He had to have his toe amputated a month ago and so he has had to spend some time recovering but he is doing much, much better now and asked us if we could find him a ride to church next week. Which is awesome because his lack of church attendance is our biggest worry for him. He is still pretty motivated to be baptized on March 17. We are glad to see him make progress. He could use prayers too!
Saturday we taught Mitch and Brianna, the part member family that we helped move to Lebanon two or three weeks ago. It went pretty well! We just talked about the Atonement and how the Savior not only enables us to be free from our sins, but also helps us to "bear up our burdens with ease." They have been struggling a lot lately under their burdens and I know that if they will turn to the Savior He will make their burdens lighter. We invited them to start coming to church again to make the Savior the center of their lives. They want us to come back and teach them more and we are excited. After that we went to cracker barrel for dinner to celebrate New Year's Eve and in the middle of our meal a member who worked there came our and talked to us and then bought our food! It was awesome.
Sunday we had a beautiful fast and testimony meeting. So many people bore simple and humble testimony of the Savior and of His power to bless and heal us and our families. After church we met with Tony, a guy we found tracting. He is a father of 7 kids and he and his wife are struggling a lot right now in their marriage. He is having a bit of a crisis of faith because of it and it seems like he may be hoping that we can help him find his faith again. We are pretty excited to work with him.
And then tonight, we found one of the most golden Investigators I have ever seen! His name is James. We found him tracting a few weeks ago and he seemed like he just wanted to argue, so we weren't sure about coming back, but a few days ago we saw him again and promised him we would come back tonight. We knocked 4 times and he didn't answer, and just after I'd given up and had even written him a note with our number on it to leave in the door, Elder Urry decided to knock just one more time, and this time he answered and invited us right in! And we had probably the greatest first lesson I have ever had on my entire mission. I wish I could describe every bit of it to you. He is so sincere and was literally sitting on the edge of his seat by the end. He's pretty much perfect as far as investigators go. He already believes so much of what we believe. And it all made so much sense to him. When we asked him if he would be baptized if he finds out for himself that this message is true, he told us "well, of course!!" and looked at us like we were crazy for even thinking the question was worth asking. It was AMAZING, I tell you. I do not have words to describe it. It was literally the most perfect first lesson I can remember ever being in, ever.
Well, I wish I had time to say more, but I don't. The restored gospel is true. I know the Lord is preparing people to receive it and I am grateful He had patiently led us to a couple of them. I know that if we as members of the Church will pray for and seek to find those people whom He has prepared, and look for opportunities to share the gospel with them, and if we will fear not and persevere, the Lord will lead us to them or He will lead them to us.
I love you guys!
Elder Alex Swindler