Where to start? We'll start with Lamont.
Last week after Lamont was interviewed we told him he would be
able to baptize Shekera, he was so excited. Never seen him happier
(til his baptism day.) His comment- "So what do I do, just push her
under the water?" Hahaha. Because the district leader was there, who
happened to be in a trio, we had them share their experience as
missionaries and why they decided to serve. When Elder Klima asked if
he was planning on serving, he said yes, and both Shana and Tiara said
they are thinking about serving. Shana said she "wants to change lives
too." Moral of the story, the Hoys are awesome
Lamont was baptized on Saturday! It was such an awesome day. And
not everyday you get to see your investigators football game and get
baptized the same day. He had a game that morning, and we went and
watched for a bit while the font was filling at the church which
happened to be close to the school. Funny story with the font... So
little did I know the font takes four hours to fill.. Rookie mistake.
So we got there two hours til he baptism and the font was only half
working. So the bishop had to run over mid haircut to get it working.
By some miracle it filled in less than an hour! The church is true.
Anyway Lamont showed up to the church five til in full football
gear. Granted his uniform was all white. Haha. He was baptized by a
member his age in the ward- Anthony Hook. After, two of his sisters
Shana and Tiara were supposed to speak but backed out so I ended up
speaking on the spot. They also didn't want to sing anymore, so sister
welch and I did a duet to when I am baptized. Lamont's parents did not
show up, that was kind of disappointing. And the service could have
been smoother, but all that matters is Lamont was baptized, and he was
so happy, he was just beaming all day! The very same day he was
interviewed to receive a temple recommend and the aaronic
priesthood... Which leads to our exciting news...
Last week President Johnson called after reading my weekly email
to him.. Of course whenever PJ- President Johnson pops up on the phone
you know it's serious haha. He called to thank me for my email and
hear more about our week and..... To approve us to go to the Columbus
Ohio temple with the Hoys on Saturday! The rule is you have to be
within three hours to go. We are almost four hours away, but he is
allowing us to go because of the situation with the Hoys! Many
missionaries here never make it to the temple on their missions, so we
are so lucky!
Saturday night after Lamont's baptism the Freeport ward mission
leader threw a "party" for us at his house. This guy is nuts. His
house is like a museum. I won't try to describe it, just look at the
After that our district did insanity together. (The workout) So I
was dead all week after so much service and crazy stuff.
Anyway, yesterday he was confirmed as a member of the church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in sacrament meeting. Guess who
showed up to surprise us at church?? President Johnson and Sister
Johnson! President Johnson even got to stand in Lamont's circle.Yeah
that was a surprise. So it couldn't have been on a more perfect day
for him to show up. Two of the stake presidents in the area were also
there by coincidence, and each of them directed their talks to Lamont.
My favorite was one which he explained to Lamont that joining the
church is like learning to dance- sometimes you have to watch others
to learn the steps first. Our little bench was quite crowded this week
with all the Hoys- even Shekera, us, and four other investigators. Not
a bad day to have five investigators show up for church, haha.
So then Sister Welch ended up teaching gospel principles class
on the spot because the teacher didn't show up for the third week in a
row. WITH Pres and Sister Johnson in the class AND Nefdali, the
Guatamalan, so I was teaching half Spanish half English. No pressure
huh? There's this recent convert guy- the one I mentioned last week
that tries to cause a ruckus in class every week. He asks sneaky
questions and tries to slip up the teacher. It was handled well this
Nefdali is solid. I sat by him through church and translated for
him. Whenever Sister Welch and I teach him I translate for her.
Interesting lessons. He knows a little bit because he knew about the
church back home. He liked the idea that the church is the same
anywhere in the world- because he said he's always been confused why
even within the same "religions," they all have different names and
teach different things.
Ivan fed us again this week, he feeds us more than any of the
members in the ward do. Haha, he's seriously the best. I have gotten
to use my Spanish so much this week and I'm loving it!
This week a member in the ward preparing for a mission came out
on splits with us- the one who baptized Lamont. We were teaching
Jonathon, and mid lesson- Tim interrupted us and told us he wanted to
come back to church, the guy I told you about last week that used to
be a member. Anyway, that was cool.
After Jonathons lesson we had some more time so we hit the
pavement- and met a couple- April and Jonathan. When we told them we
were missionaries she was like "so are we," and I was like "great."
They don't belong to any church- and they really wanted to argue. An
hour passed by and they were still trying to argue. But by the end she
decided she did want to read the Book of Mormon after we talked about
our beliefs on families. As we were leaving they tried to give us
money to buy drinks, but we told the, we are not allowed to accept
money. They started getting super upset and angry, and literally
commanded us in the name of Jesus Christ to buy ourselves drinks.. So
Anthony took the money and we did. Hahah
We ended up going back to help them clear a rental property they
own the next day. That was an experience. Every square inch of the
floor was covered in feces, cigarettes, garbage, and drug
paraphernalia. We found stashes of heroine and all sorts of goodies.
We didn't touch anything, we scooped it all up in shovelfuls into the
garbage. Pretty cool- sister welch found a bullet shell that got
turned into the police that may have been from the suspect that was
responsible for the shooting a few weeks ago! I think the person who
lived there- who up and left that house was the suspect. Anyway, we
got to throw furniture off the third floor, so that was fun. Just
another day as a missionary in Butler.
April and Jonathan were super frustrating. They would subtly but
obviously ask us questions, then roundaboutly tell us we had been
brainwashed and deceived our whole lives and everything we were
teaching wasn't true. I'm like uhhhh a "thank you" would suffice. They
just wanted to argue. They believe in weird healing stuff. April
noticed my hands were shaking and rushed over and said made sure I
knew I didn't have to live this way and that I could heal myself.
Interesting people. But they said they would read the Book of Mormon
and possibly come to our movie night Friday.
Our movie night should have a really good turn out. We've been
inviting everyone. Every Tuesday night we play ward volleyball, and
the Butler high school team comes. (Sister Welch and I whooped them
this week.) we earned their respect, so we invited the team to the
movie night, all nonmembers. We're really hoping for a good turnout.
We got to help Sister Wolfe paint a room for her granddaughter
Jasmine. She's so excited to finally have visitation rights. If you
remember, her daughter is currently in prison, so her three year old
granddaughter lives with the father. Anyway, we got it all pretty and
painted and ready for her.(: A less active member in the ward, Sister
Blakely was there to help as well. We've been spending time with her
as well- she recently relapsed and has been in a pretty bad place, but
she's got an amazing story of how she became clean and joined the
church years ago. Her boyfriend is investigating the church currently.
Joshua, our minister, is almost done with the Book of Mormon! He
doesn't have much to say about it yet.
We met the craziest guy on Friday night. He seemed somewhat
"normal" (for Butler) at first, then it went downhill real fast. He
started talking about how aliens are taking over America, and they're
going to start with Christian churches. He pulled up all these
pictures of "aliens," and told us about them and their names. He keeps
texting and calling we need to come see the evidence (he got
permission from the government to show us) so we can tell the bishop
immediately. Apparently "all of Christianity is depending on us." ️Oh
We got the greatest referral from the bishop this week. He called
and told us this guy had been trying to contact the church for months
now, he just moved here from California. He finally got ahold of the
bishop, who called us. We went to see him yesterday- his name is
Perry. He was so cool- been studying for two years- he knew
everything, basically he said he knows he has to give up coffee and
that will be hard but asked when he could be baptized. Sorry, gotta
wait three weeks. Haha.
Talk about "prepared," he has the gospel library app and has been
studying the Book of Mormon and conferences, he knew all about the
prophet. It's almost too good to be true... Haha.
Ross is doing great, coming to church every week still. The only
problem is he downs know if he wants to quit smoking yet. He says it's
all he has. I guess we just assumed that everyone would at least want
to quit. He told us this week he will try, that he knows the church is
true, and that we were sent to him from God and what a blessings we
are in his life. So hopefully he decides to give it a shot. We always
drive by him in different places around town, and many times he has
happened to be sitting there reading the Book of Mormon.
So yes, we are very busy here. Those are but a few of the people
we are teaching. Some days we are literally running from one appt to
another. Everyone in our district hates us for it, in many areas here
they struggle to teach a single lesson a week.
I really feel so lucky to be trusted with the work here. We are
clearly being entrusted with many people and many opportunities. The
harder we work the more the blessings seem to keep coming. This week I
was reading in 2 Nephi and I came across a scripture that reminded me
of the responsibility I feel over all the people here.
2 Nephi 33:3 "But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and
I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I
pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by
night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know
that he will hear my cry."
"The responsibility I carry frightens me… I pray each day for
strength and wisdom and inspiration… Sometimes I could weep with
concern. But there comes the assurance that the Lord put me here for
his purpose, and if I will be humble and seek the direction of the
Holy Spirit, he will use me according to his will to accomplish his
purposes. " -Gordon B Hinkley