I always feel a little repetitive saying that "this week has been pretty good," but it's been just that again. Mom and dad, I'm sorry but I sent the wrong memory card home. That was the one I just started on my new camera with only a few pictures, instead of the 300+ on the one I wanted to send home. Could you send that back to me as soon as you can? Thanks, that'd be great. Pardon the goof up on my part.
Glad to hear things are going well back home. Sis, I bet your room looks pretty awesome, mom and dad tell me how much you love it and your new bookshelves. Mom, you had told me that Robbie Talbot's going on a mission? Where to? It's fun hearing about friends of mine going on missions!
Well let's see about this week...we had two solid lessons with Phyllis and with Stephanie. Stephanie is still doing great. She and Jared are set for baptism on the 12th, and they're pretty excited. They even have a car now, and they came to church on their own yesterday! Johnathon's pretty much not interested at all anymore, which breaks my heart. We taught them the commandments this week. When we got to Word of Wisdom, Stephanie was pretty happy because she knows she's kicked smoking and drinking. When we mentioned coffee, her eyes got pretty big and she said, "No coffee??" She paused for a moment and said, "Alrighty, let's do it!" You can tell that her testimony is growing every day and that's most certainly prepared. Our lesson with Phyllis went well, and she loves reading out of the Book of Mormon. She gave us a firm commitment that she'd be at church this week...and she didn't show up. I was pretty upset. She made a plan, her neighbor was going to give her a ride, and she still wasn't there. But hey, next week! I'm happy she's reading and praying though, a lot of people have trouble with that. Church will come.
We had two neat experiences in the same day with tracting (door to door contacts) back on Friday. We wanted to tract on 106th and Mariposa, in upper Villa de Paz. We parked, locked up our bikes, and walked all the way to the end of the street to tract back to the bikes. We had all afternoon to tract, and I knew we'd be out for a while. Anywho, we walked to the end of the street, past a few cul de sacs. We went into the last one, but instead of the first house on the corner, I kept walking and stopped at the second house. Not sure why. We knocked, and a woman answered the door. She wasn't all that interested, but as she started to shut the door her brother ran and opened it again. He introduced himself, Jeremy, as a member of the church. I felt like I'd met him before, but wasn't sure. He had moved from Mesa, but has since gone inactive. He kept asking why we were at his house at that time. I told him we were tracting. He kept asking "But why this house?" I simply told him that I had prayed where we should go, and I felt prompted to go to that street and that house. He invited us in and we chatted for a bit. Long story short, he doesn't feel like he can be forgiven of the things he's done since he was baptized. He kept telling me about his testimony of the Atonement and the Restoration, but he doesn't think he can. I'm so confused, because I know the Atonement is infinite and eternal. I kept inviting him to a new ward, with a new bishop, and to repent. He said he's not ready, but we're always welcome in his house. As we left, I instantly remembered where I had seen him before. A few months ago, he came up to me at Savers while I was buying a tie and he asked me to help him tie his own tie so he could start going to church again. We took his information to the bishop, and we'll see what we can do about bringing him back into the fold.
The other experience I had was about 15 minutes after we met Jeremy. We met a woman named Debbie, probably mid 50's, in her front yard with a little girl. We talked with Debbie for a bit and she said she had met with missionaries before. We asked how she felt, and she didn't say much. I felt like I should change the conversation to something else, and we switched gears and just made small talk. Come to find out Debbie is a foster mom! She has four foster children in her home, including the little girl who was playing in the grass, probably 5 years old. She brings in children who come from abusive homes and helps them feel loved. She told me about the little girl and the hard life she came from. It was hard to hold back the tears as she told me about this little girl's short but violent history. The little girl came over and introduced herself as Serena. She had the brightest blue eyes and curly blonde hair. She was so funny, and she kept telling jokes and running around. She was laughing and playing, but it still hurt me inside to think that anyone would ever hurt such an innocent child. I turned to Debbie and bore my testimony that Heavenly Father loves his children so much and that he wants them to be together forever. I told her about my own family and how Marlee was adopted. I told her how much I love my family and how much the Gospel has blessed our home, and how much I wanted her family to feel the same thing. We'll hopefully be going back this week, Debbie was very grateful for our visiting her home and wants to learn more.
I thought these experiences were pretty unique. I had no idea why I wanted to tract where we did. I know that as we pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, we will receive it. We were certainly led by the Spirit to these two families. I hope and pray that we will be able to meet with them again.
I love you all and hope everything's going well. I miss you all and love hearing your fun stories. Write back soon, take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner