It was great hearing from you all! It was tough going a week without emailing. Dang holidays are always on mondays. I love hearing from you all and getting a chance to send some experiences home. Isn't technology nice?
Transfers were last week, and I dodged the bullet!! I'm staying in Belfast!! I'm stoked. Elder Brown is staying with me. The entire district stayed the same actually. We're really excited. We all get along really well. Probably too well at times...district meetings and exchanges gets pretty crazy sometimes...But it's a lot of fun. Elder Brown and I have been focusing a lot on setting specific goals for ourselves. We're really trying hard to change and become not just better missionaries, but better people. The results have been a closer relationship between the two of us, which means better teaching and studying, which is leading to greater success in the area, as well as changes in ourselves for the better. So yeah. This week has been probably one of the most enjoyable weeks thus far on my mission because of the change of attitude and renewal of enthusiasm (despite the lack of mail...the mailbox was empty every day this week for both of us. It makes the walk back from the mailbox quite sad and lonely...ok. There's my shameless guilt trip for more mail).
We experienced a serious miracle this week. It was incredible. On Wednesday, we were making contacts in a little town called Knox, which is a half hour from our apartment. We suddenly get two messages- one from the Zone Leaders, the other from the Branch President's wife. We listened to them and learned we had a tornado warning in our area and we were advised to stay close to our apartment for the night. Pretty epic, eh? So, we drop what we're doing and head back. We had plans to meet with an investigator, Matt, that night, so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal. We returned to our apartment and were trying to decide what to do for the night, when Matt called to cancel the lesson that night. Apparently, he didn't want to ride his motorcycle through a tornado. Weird. So, since the storm wasn't there yet, we decided to go try a potential investigator, Malachi, we found street contacting about two months ago. He has never been home every time we tried, so we figured we'd give it one more shot. On our way, we found a guy building a porch in his front yard. We walked over and offered to help since a storm was coming. He accepted, and we build a porch with him for a while. Good skill to have, porch building. We soon ran out of wood and took off to see the Malachi. As we approached his apartment, we heard voices on the other side of the door. We had him. We knocked and he answered. He was enthused to see us. Apparently, he had been in jail the past month and had gotten back just that morning. He rushed us in, and we talked with him and his girlfriend for a while. He told us that while he was in jail, he did lots of thinking and praying, and received revelation that he needed to turn his life around and make God a bigger part in his life. He said he kept thinking back to the time we stopped him on the streets and about the message we briefly shared he said "I don't think it's a coincidence you are here right now, the same day I got back from prison. I think this is a sign that you have something I need to hear." His girlfriend (Molly) agreed and said she wanted to change her life as well. We gave them copies of the Book of Mormon, and made a return appointment for the next day.
The next night, we taught the Restoration. The Spirit was really strong and they ate it all up. Then it came time for the First Vision. As I related the words of Joseph Smith's experience in that grove of trees, tears filled my eyes and my voice started to shake. I looked Molly in the eyes the entire time, and tears began to fill her eyes as well. After the lesson, they accepted a baptismal date for next month and committed to come to church and meet tomorrow. It was so awesome! The Lord led us to someone ready to receive the Gospel, and he guided our words and thoughts by the Spirit, and I really feel we have the message that will change their lives. I seriously love missionary work so much because of these experiences. I've really started realizing that the role of a missionary is more than to teach or to convert- it's to help others feel the peace that comes through Jesus Christ. And that's something worth giving up two years of your life to do.
That's about all I got for now. This week has been incredible, and we're fired up for this next week. We set some really high goals and standards for ourselves. it's going to be exhausting getting it all done, but we know the Lord will help us. Love you all, hope all is well back home, and I'm excited to hear from you next week!