Thursday, June 23, 2011

 I've really wished  I could go fishing. Dad, close your jaw. Everybody here talks about fishing all the time. I'm glad I've had the experiences fishing, hunting, and camping. It's lead to a lot of conversations with members and tracting. Earlier in the week, we saw two gentlemen fishing off a bridge going over the bay. I talked to him about fishing for about 10 minutes and segued into a gospel lesson. It was pretty sweet. Good memories to have!

From the sounds of your emails and the letters from friends, STG is getting really hot. It's been super nice over here. I really don't mind the humidity. It makes me sweat a lot more, but the heat is much more bearable. It was in the 70's this week. Gorgeous weather. I've been eating it up.

I had lots of really cool experiences this week. Missionary work was adequate, but I had lots of unique experiences that lead to great personal insight. For example, I realized the value of home teaching this week. We've been working with a less active a lot the last few weeks. Recently, he lost his job and stopped coming to church. We went teaching with his home teacher to see him. We were planning on teaching a lesson on Patience, which we felt was good for his situation. But his home teacher went off on tithing, which was the lesson assigned for home teaching. At first, I got really anxious- that wasn't what he needed! But, as his home teacher continued, the things he shared really buoyed his spirits. He offered him a blessing and a ride to church, and left promptly. The less active had a huge smile by the time we left. It showed me just how important home teaching is in the strengthening of Christ's church.

Another really cool experience- we met a foreign exchange student in the soup kitchen from Azerbaijan. He wanted to hang out, so we went over a few nights ago. He wanted to share with us more about the Islam religion. He showed us a video and shared his beliefs. We then showed him the Restoration DVD and shared with him the BOM and our beliefs. To end, we said a Christian prayer and he said an Islam prayer. They pray by pointing both hands towards heaven, as if they are begging. They then pray for whatever they wish. It was really cool seeing the similarities between Mormonism and Islam- there is actually quite a bit in common! But I'm realizing more and more what other religions believe and how similiar we all really are.

One last thing- as we were coming home one night, Elder Brown had a prompting to stop by a member who just moved in. As we talked, we learned that his wife wasn't a member and he had been recently excommunicated. We got to know eachother and we offered to teach a lesson. As we asked what he's like to hear a lesson on, he said "obviously you aren't prepared. Let me see your scriptures." He then whipped out a scripture in Ether and shared about the importance of faith. He then turned on us as missionaries. In essence, he said "You guys are representatives of Christ. You have the power to raise valleys and level mountains. You can perform miracles and have a commission to bring people unto Christ. You bear his name. You better not take it lightly or mess it up." Me and my companion hadn't had the best day, and as we went home, we felt thoroughly rebuked. But, I know Elder Brown received the inspiration to see him for a reason. I needed to hear those words, and I've taken that message to heart to improve myself as a missionary. But I want to add the fact that everything he said is true for all of us. We all have taken Christ's name upon ourselves. Hopefully we take it seriously and don't mess it up.

I'm getting kicked off the computer. I better run. I love you all! Take care, and I'll talk to you next week!

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