Saturday was T-Text day and we found out that both Elder Batts and I will be staying in Waterford! There was actually a lot of transfers and changes made within the mission, but we are staying put. We are both pretty pumped to be staying here, especially after the week we had this past week! Things seemed to be going our way around here finally, we are feeling really blessed. We had three more of our investigators (Zach, Michael, and Vickie) this week commit to baptismal dates. Two weeks ago Sabrina and Savong agreed to be baptized, so now we have five baptismal dates coming up! Pretty sweet stuff!
Zach is an investigator I have told you all a little bit about in the past. He was adopted by his grandpa that is an inactive. Zach has lived a pretty rough life and was abused as a child growing up. He is a senior in high school now and has met with the missionaries in the past, but the timing wasn't right. He wants to do whatever God wants of him, and we have been trying to help him see that being baptized is something God wants of him. His date is quite a while away as we try and work through some issues still, but we are hoping to be able to move it up as he progress more quickly.
Our boy Michael is a guy we have been meeting with for the past few weeks. He was contacted by the Spanish speaking Elders in our area as he was walking down the street one day. Michael is 33 and is from New York. He is living in a pretty rough situation as he is looking for a job and trying to get settled in Connecticut. He is a goofy guy and is always cracking us up in the middle of our lessons, but he has agreed to be baptized in early October. He basically had no religous beliefs before we met him and wasn't even sure if God existed, so we have made some good progress but there are still a lot of things left that we have to teach him. He is super pumped about getting baptized though, so hopefully he will continue to have that desire to learn.
Vickie is a woman that is a friend of a member of our ward, Morgan. Morgan and Vickie used to attend the same Methodist church a few years ago. Around a year ago Morgan joined the Mormon church and has been working on getting Vickie to look into the Mormon faith also. So for the past few weeks Vickie has been attending our church every week and also our Book of Mormon study class every Tuesday night. She had us over for dinner on Monday night and we were able to have a great visit with her. She has already came to the conclusion that this is the Church God wants her to join, and that she definitely wants to be baptized but she needs to develop a testimony of the whole Joseph Smith story and a few other things, so we set the date for the last week of September. She already even quit drinking coffee, so that is a good start! We will begin teaching the lessons this week and help her prepare for her baptismal date!
With all of our investigators and the people we meet, we see that they all are completely different people with completely different stories. Everyone comes from all walks of life. A lot of the people that I have associated with so far in my mission are the kind of people that I probably never would be around in my normal every day life. I may have thought they were too weird, too old, too different of beliefs etc. But on a mission you associate with everybody, no matter what they are like. It amazes me though that whoever it is that I associate with out here, I am able to love them no matter what! I have truly come to know and feel what charity, the pure love of Christ, is all about. It is pretty amazing to be able to meet some homeless guy on the street, teach him a lesson or two and instantly feel that love that Christ has for that person. Christ loves everybody, he asks all to come unto Him. We can all strive to develop the gift of charity, so that we can love everyone just as Christ does.
Some of the district at District Meeting
A random picture...There are like hundreds of these little lakes just scattered all across Connecticut. Everywhere we go we come around a bend and see a little lake surrounded by trees and a few houses. As you can see it is just GREEN everywhere. We are pretty excited for Fall, it should be pretty cool to see all of those leaves change colors!
Update on my main man from Cache Valley! We will call him Joe.
We have been going over to Joe's house every Saturday to help him out around his house. He lives out in the middle of the woods in a little cottage, it is a pretty cool little place. But he has a herniated disk in his back and has some heart issues so he can't do everything around the house on his own. Every Saturday we have gone over and have been helping him out getting his wood pile ready for the winter to heat his house. So we have been chopping up some trees and splitting the wood and stacking it under a cover (Stanley would be proud of the pile that we have built up). Each Saturday after we are done working we have sat around and talked for a while, and each time Joe would open up a little bit more to us, but we would never try and push him into coming back to church or meeting with us or anything like that. We would just go and do some service, talk and then leave.
Last Saturday we were there and we didn't have too much work to do so that left us quite a bit of time to talk. Joe mentioned how each Saturday we just show up to serve him, and don't ask for anything in return. We never told him he had to come to Church in return for our service or anything like that, and he really appreciated the fact that we were just showing up to help out one of our brothers that had fallen away. So Saturday was a pretty big turning point. In our talk Joe told us that it was finally time, that after being away for so many years it was time to get his life back on track. He said "It is time to come home, both spiritually and physically." So he is straight up committed to getting his life back on track, and when he commits to something, he is gonna do it. His game plan is to get himself back on track. He wants to get where he himself needs to be spiritually. Going to Church, partaking of the Sacrament, being temple worthy and all that. Then once he gets himself back where he needs to be, he is going to head home back to his kids and his ex wife and is going to do everything he possible can to repair the damages that he caused. He knows its not going to be easy, and knows that he probably won't be able to fix everything that he screwed up. But he is at least going to try.
So needless to say our boy Joe showed up to church on Sunday, stayed for all three hours and then met with Bishop Hanson for about 2-3 hours after church telling him everything and figuring out what it was going to take to get things squared away. Joe is an amazing guy, I wish everyone could sit down and talk with him and hear his story. It will rip your heart out, but his testimony is stronger than it ever has been before, and he is ready to fix what he screwed up. Pretty sweet right!?