What a week it's been. I want to first thank Sister Richardson's class for sending the puzzle pieces. I received it when President Taylor and Braden came to zone activity last week and brought all the mail with them. I spent a bit of time off to the side trying to put it together. Everyone thought it was cool that I got a puzzle. I thought I'd take a picture of it and let you know that I finally figured out how they fit together! Thank you so much! the other picture is of Elder Hall on his birthday, which was also the same day as my one year mark of being in Surprise. We baked brownies and sang to him after district meeting that day.
I'm just going to fast-forward to the best part of the week. We set a baptismal date with Chris! I talked about how great of an experience it was last week to have Bishop McLaws with us, and he wanted to be more involved with it. We had another lesson with Chris at the Crockett's this past Wednesday night. Bishop went with us, and it was amazing. We wanted to talk about some of the commandments, and help Chris understand the kinds of things he would be expected to live in preparation for his baptism. At first he said he had some questions. He said that his dad asked him about some of the things he had been learning, and Chris told him a little about the church and the prophet Joseph Smith. He told his dad that he wanted to be baptized, that he'd been praying about it and he felt it was what he needed to do. Chris' dad said he supported him in his decision, and that he had noticed over the past few weeks how his son has been a different person, but for the better...he just didn't know why. While Chris was saying all of this, both Elder Wood and I had the strongest feeling to just extend a date and move on, but it was just too great to hear him say these things! He also said that he wasn't sure if he could serve a mission, and we assured him that he wasn't required to serve a mission after he was baptized. In my opinion, I think he'd make a great missionary. He already talked to his dad about how he, simply put, gained a testimony. He bore his testimony!
As the lesson went on, Chris was asking about commandments. We said we wanted to talk about a few of them, so we knocked out the big three right there: Word of Wisdom, Tithing and Chastity. Chris is a big time triathlete, so the word of wisdom was easy for him. He said that he does drink green tea here and there. After we taught the principle, we asked him if he would live it. He said, "Yup." We asked if he would even give up drinking green tea. He said, "Sure, I don't drink it that often anyways so no problem!" Tithing, easy. Not an issue for him. Chastity? Piece of cake. He said that he works with a bunch of guys who always talk inappropriately about women, sex, things like that, and it makes him uncomfortable. So he just walks away. He said that his parents always taught him to respect women, so chastity made a lot of sense to him. We continued teaching, and he asked if there were any other commandments to know about. He said he likes commandments, because they're sort of a challenge to him. He's a pretty competitive-natured guy, hence his love for triathlons, and he said he wants to learn more about commandments. We were amazed at just how prepared he is. When we first started teaching him, we promised him that living the gospel would help him find greater happiness in his life. He said that he was already happy. Now he's starting to recognize why that is, it's because he's already living and keeping the commandments! We invited him to be baptized on April 14th, and he said yes.
On our way out the door, I told Chris that Satan was going to do what he could to keep him from being baptized. People might say things, or opportunities may arise where he may second-guess or question the feelings that he had been having. I invited him to continue praying daily, asking for help, and always remember what good he feels when he reads, prays and comes to church. The next day, we got a call from Chris. Elder Wood answered it, and laughed when he hung up to tell me what happened. Chris was driving, slowly turned the corner and accidentally bumped a woman he didn't see in the crosswalk. He didn't injure her, knock her over, or anything like that. She wasn't too upset, and Chris was very sincere in his apology. To be safe, they had a paramedic check her out, and she's just fine. The police even said that Chris shouldn't worry about it, it was an honest accident. Chris said he felt terrible. He had never been in an accident or even pulled over, and he just felt bad about it all. He started thinking to himself that he screwed up and couldn't be baptized...but then he remembered what we said the night before. He called to tell us the story and say that despite everything that happened, he still wanted to be baptized. Elder Wood finished the story, chuckled a little bit and said, "I love that guy!"
Yesterday at church, Chris came to Copper Canyon ward by himself. He technically lives in West Point, but they start at 9 and Chris didn't get off work until 6 am and wanted some sleep. Bishop said that wasn't a problem. He sat by us and Bro. Stringam. Chris leaned over to Bro. Stringam and said, "Did I tell you that I'm getting baptized on April 14th?" Bro. Stringam responded, "Shut up. No way. That's so exciting!" We had already told Bro. Stringam about the lesson that night, and he was such a good sport to let Chris tell him about everything that happened. A girl in the ward bore her testimony about missionary work, and said that she has a friend who lives coming to church. She finished by saying "I like missionary work and I know that it works!" Chris leaned over to us and said, "Yup, it does work!" The rest of the day he was telling others about his baptism. At the end of church, he said, "Man, I wish I could've attended Bishop McLaws' ward today." This Wednesday we'll be having dinner with Chris at Bishop McLaws' house. Chris is the man. He's so sincere and he's willing to try new things all the time. The baptism itself (Apr 14) will be after transfers (Apr 4), and I sure hope I'll be here to see it. Even if I am transferred, I won't be able to come back to see the baptism. Yes, that would be hard. Although I can't be too upset, because I'm just so grateful that I've had the chance to work with him and see him progress in the Gospel.
So there you have it, folks! Chris is preparing to be baptized on April 14th. Elder Wood and I left the lesson that night high-fiving and happy. Isn't missionary work the best? In Chris' words, it works! I'm thankful for all of your support, everyone! I feel your prayers and I wouldn't be able to enjoy this work as much without them. Next week is the dreaded T-word...transfers. Emails won't come out until Tuesday, and by then we'll know if I am blessed with another six weeks in the promised land of Surprise, Arizona. I love this place. Until next week, take care and be good.
Elder Eric James Turner
|Notes from the primary kids back home in Richland|
|Elder Hall's Birthday|