Hey Mom and Dad,
Thanks for all your e-mails!
We have been finding investigators like crazy for the two months that we have been here, and we have been teaching plenty. But none of our investigators were going anywhere. It was starting to get really discouraging too! We have been inviting people to be baptized like crazy but it wasn't getting anywhere. I really am hoping to get a baptism here in this area because 1) It would bless someone’s life, and 2) our mission has a goal of 365 baptisms this year (that is a lot) and we are behind right now, and I would love to contribute to the goal at the end of the year, and 3) I am training a new missionary and it would be great for him to see a baptism in his first twelve weeks. But with the lack of commitment on so many of our investigators (some of whom don't seem to be investigating at all), it seemed like it was getting too late. Friday was a very discouraging day, especially for my companion. So during our weekly planning session we talked and prayed about each of our investigators. We talked about how the pressure of reaching 365 is really kicking in and causing stress. So we decided and set a goal to not get down, discouraged, or stressed. To stop looking at our investigators as a baptismal statistic and to just love them. If we can really start to love these people, I'm confident that we will see a baptism.
Saturday was great. I've been talking to Elder Marshall, the AP, for a long while about coming and doing exchanges with me because we became great friends when we were Zone Leaders. They finally made it out here so I spent Saturday working with him. We talked about a lot of stuff. We went to an appointment we had with Lisa, our former wicken investigator, and her husband Jerry. We have been talking with Jerry for a few weeks and he finally wanted to sit down and have a lesson. We told them straight up at the beginning of the lesson that our purpose, and everything we do and teach, leads to baptism into Christ's church. We taught them about the Restoration. MAN I wish Elder Norton could have been there! Jerry was basically overwhelmed with the spirit. He didn't really know what it was or what to do. You know the story about when Peter and the others are having a feast on the day of Pentecost? When the spirit swooped in as a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting? I'm pretty sure if Jerry could only speak Chinese, we too would have been blessed with the gift of tongues to teach him in Chinese, that's how strong it was, haha. And then later they were pricked in their hearts, and like Jerry, they didn't really know what to do? Well yeah, that's pretty much what happened. And then, like Peter, we basically said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!” And they agreed. We set baptism dates with both of them for December 15, and they both came to church yesterday and stayed all three hours. Every time, just as I am about to throw in the towel, we are blessed with a miracle. Woohoo!
Later that night we were on a team-up in Salem, IL and we finished late. It’s about a 30 min drive back to Centralia, and so I was speeding home. Going 55 in a 45, tailgating a car, and then in an effort to pass him I cut off an undercover cop and got pulled over. Bummer! At least I turned on my blinker, right? For the first time in my life, I got a warning! He said, "Most people from out of town don't know this road is only 45, so I'll let you go..."
But anyway, everyone and their dog in Salem knows the Bishop because he is a big-time farmer, and knowing we were missionaries in his ward the Officer would never dare give missionaries a ticket. Bishop told me on Sunday that if I would of got a ticket, he would have taken care of it for me with the Salem Police. Haha! But yes, I learned my lesson. First time getting pulled over on my mission, which is pretty good for me!
Earlier that day, Elder Norton and the other APs were in a small town of Oakville, IL and the cops kicked them out for tracting, which we are going to get ahold of the church attorney for that, through President Clark. As soon as he collects himself. I think he is still recovering from the election news....
And that's life. I love you and hope you have a good week!