Thanks for the email. I'm so glad that things are going well. I had to laugh when mom said that she loved Clark and I "warts and all." We are pretty similar, but I think you'd be surprised at how social I'm becoming. Talking with everyone is part of being a missionary and it's started to come more naturally for me. In fact, Sister Warner pointed out that she would like to get better at initiating conversations with people even though it's easier to just let me do it. It was exciting for me to realize that I've progressed from that stage of letting my companion talk to being the one to talk without even knowing it.
In Sunday School our lesson was on the priesthood and I learned some interesting things. Also, President Kunz gave a great description of how the Aaronic Priesthood prepares young men for the Melchizedek Priesthood. He said "the Aaronic Priesthood prepares a young man or an adult convert to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood focuses on the temporal aspects of the gospel and includes the ministering of angels and the gospel of repentance while the Melchizedek Priesthood is primarily focused upon the spiritual aspects of the gospel including church administration and spiritual blessings. The Aaronic Priesthood is referred to as the preparatory priesthood." I think it is so wise of Heavenly Father to have young men prepare, bless and pass the sacrament. This responsibility really does prepare them to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. And then, when they go on missions, they have so many opportunities to exercise that priesthood by giving blessings all the time. Heavenly Father definitely knows what He is doing.
Wow, we've had an amazing week! I think it all started with training on Wednesday. Both Sister Warner and I came away with renewed excitement to concerate ourselves to the Lord and His work. We were encouraged to have a 40 day fast from anything that keeps us from having the spirit with us. Some things on my list to give up were: long showers, reading mail on days other than p-day, icecream, naps, and being even a minute late for personal study. I go over my list with Heavenly Father every morning and night. As I was praying that first night, the spirit reminded me of a scripture that describes what we are doing. Helaman 3:35 says "Nevertheless, they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sactification of their hearts, which sactification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." I love it! That is what I want: clean hands and a pure heart! And I get that by being humble and faithful, by praying and fasting, by giving up what I want for what He wants, by yielding my heart to Him. As a result of this repentance, we have been guided by the spirit and miracles have occurred.
We have 7 people with a baptismal date! In the second ward we have 5. Jerome (11/6) came to church again and loved it again. Deb (11/13) has been faithfully reading the Book of Mormon and just needs a ride to church (she's in a wheelchair at a nursing home so it's a little tricky). Angel (11/20) enjoyed the goofy little coloring sheet I made to help her and her younger sisters understand the plan of salvation. Ezra (11/20) came to church and loved being part of the primary program. And James (11/27), an old man that we tracted into, said he believed the Book of Mormon was true before we even gave it to him. In the first ward we have 2 people with baptismal dates. Tabu (11/6) is hard to get a hold of and needs to come to church. And Frank (11/27) is a bubbly middle-aged man that grew up Catholic but hasn't gone to church for years. We taught him a brief restoration lesson and he said he felt good about what we shared and would prepare to be baptized.
If that isn't enough miracles, we also had 7 investigators come to church! Jerome, Ezra, Christina and a Sudanese family that we taught for the first time on Saturday night! We met Kori, the dad, at Thomson's house when he answered the door and immediately invited us over to teach his family. He invited us before we could even ask him. It was amazing! He wasn't there for our appointment, but we found them all at home Saturday night and were able to teach him, his wife, and his two boys (11 and 8, he also has two younger girls that were sleeping) the restoration. They said they would pray, read the pamphlet we left, and come to church and they did! It was so exciting to see Kori ... and then Missa ... and then Marigan ... and then Magda ... and the Mabarak ... and then Nama walk into sacrament. They were a little late but I went to sit by them and explain things. They really enjoyed the primary program but the kids were too tired to stay for sunday school and primary. I have never had so many people come to sacrament meeting!
Okay, I think I have time to tell one last miracle. Bro. Cunningham took his girlfriend to the Trail Center on Saturday where Sister Minert gave them a tour and invited her to be baptized. Sandy said she would if she felt it was true. She came to the first ward on Sunday and we had a lesson with her after church. Bro. Cunningham had already shown her the restoration DVD but we reviewed it anyway. She feels like this is where she is supposed to be and described the spirit as the comfortable pressure on her back. She said she would think about getting baptized on November 27th. So we are excited for her as well.
I am just so amazed at how much Heavenly Father blesses His children. I know that He loves us. I know that we will be happiest as we follow the example of our Savior and keep His commandments. I am so excited to be serving as a missionary and help people take those steps closer to our Heavenly Father. It truly is miraculous!