It's been a really good week down in the APM! I hope this week's picture shows just how hard we've been working. A few of my shirts have been getting a little rip just on the side, not sure why or how. At first I could always hide the rip under my belt line if I just tucked in my shirt, or like when I'm in a meeting and I'm just wearing my jacket the whole time. As I've worn them more, the rips have grown. This was a bit much, two of my shirts have completely ripped across the back and up the side, as we can clearly see in the picture. No worries, my other shirts are ok, plus I found a box in the garage of some white shirts that a missionary had left that were too small for him...but just perfect for me! I picked out two of them to replace the ones I ripped. It all works out, I broke even!
I had the chance to conduct three baptismal interviews this week, all of which were very good experiences. My favorite was Gary. Gary showed no interest a few months ago, but over time has softened his heart to the church. As he read the scriptures and prayed in his family, he wanted that feeling more. His interview on Saturday was pretty incredible. He was so humble and so eager to continue to learn. I appreciated how he had a testimony that baptism wasn't the end, but the beginning to learning more. His interview was over an hour and a half, the longest I've ever conducted. His testimony was so strong. I'll admit that he clarified principles of the gospel I had been taught, but kind of took for granted. It was a humbling experience for me to be the one to interview him for baptism.
A good friend in one of our wards, Eric (rockin' name, eh?) just got his mission call. He's been waiting for a little while to put in his papers, and his call came this past week. He's going to the Philippines Angeles Mission, speaking Tagalog. He's pretty pumped! It was funny how he was called there, because of some stuff we had in our apartment. Before Elder Cava was transferred, he left a bunch of Tagalog study materials, including a Bible, leather-bound triple combination, Preach My Gospel, English-Tagalog dictionary and the MTC missionary lesson book...all in Tagalog! Elder Cava was given it in the MTC by accident, and he just carried it with him. The night we heard Eric got his call to the Philippines, we immediately wrapped up all of the materials and put them in a box to give to him. We were over at his house the next day talking to them about something, then we had to leave. We drove around the block, left the box on his porch, rang the doorbell and hid in the most obvious places possible. Elder Allred was "behind" a tree about as big around as my wrist and I crouched behind a rose bush not much taller than a foot or so. Eric came outside, saw the box, and looked around for a minute. He seriously couldn't see us! We poked our heads out and he made eye contact with us--he saw us, but played off like he couldn't. We giggled like goofballs, and Eric shouted, "THANK YOU TO WHOEVER DID THIS!" Aren't we silly?
The week was a little slow for, well, everything. We spent most of our time making contact with prospective elders and setting family mission plans. I've really been enjoying setting these family mission plans. Mom and Dad, I'll have to send one to you to tell me what you think. The bishops in our areas love them, and so do the families! It's safe to say that many families have a desire to share the gospel, but sometimes don't know how. And that's ok! That's where we come in and help. Our purpose isn't to guilt members of the ward into missionary work but with these family mission plans, we give them the opportunity to set their own goals and let us know how we can help them. We set probably four or five this past week, and we're looking to probably double that this next week.
Our finding approach is quickly changing to less-active and part-member work. Elder Duncan last week drew something out on the board. On the left side he drew a baptism, and on the right side a temple, with a line connecting the two. He carefully taught that within that time is when true conversion takes place. Some personal revelation hit me shortly thereafter. I thought of stories that people like to hear about from the mission. The stories that end in baptism are pretty cool, aren't they? It's the stories that end in conversion that brig more joy to the soul, stories after baptism. Stories like Victor wanting to serve a mission and not missing a Sunday since his baptism in May. Stories like Amber working in Primary now and Wes receiving the Priesthood. We're changing our work to helping more people in their own conversions.
Not a whole lot of exciting news from the front, but I thought you'd like to hear some of the fun stories about everyday missionary life. What else would everyone like to hear? Once we pick back up in our teaching pool, I'll be sure to let everyone know how that goes. We've been working hard and enjoying every minute of it. Until next week, take care and be good!
Elder Eric James Turner
|Apparently white dress shirts aren't designed to be worn EVERY day!|