Hello everybody! Sorry it's been so long since I wrote an email!!
Since I last wrote I've been transferred from Berea! I'm serving again in my first area, Newcastle!! In the mission, we refer to a missionary's first area as his "birth area" and his last as his "dying area". I was born and I'm dying in Newcastle!! My new companion is Elder Mathamsanqa Moyo from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and he's a superstar! He's been on mission for 6 months and he's an incredible missionary! I love that he cares so much about the work and that he really desires to be obedient! We get along great!
It was hard to leave Berea, but it's been wonderful serving in Newcastle again!! I learned so much in Berea. Elder Jones and I were released from our assignment and he is training a new missionary! I'm so grateful for the experiences I had in Berea! I know that the Lord built me up and molded me by His Spirit into the man that He wants me to be!
When I told the bishopric that I was leaving, Bishop Reabow said "WHAT! I can't sustain that. I need to talk to your mission president!" hahaha I have loved working with him so much, I can proudly say that I did the finest member missionary work of my whole mission in Berea. We saw so much growth in the members and in the ward as a whole, I pray that they might stay changed and stay missionary work focused!
Going from Berea to Newcastle was quite the jump. I went from 200 sacrament attendance to 65 hahaha. It's good to be back in a branch. I feel like I've come home, the members have received us so well! I'm surprised that everybody remembered my name! Throughout my mission I always wished that I had been better at working with members when I served here, and now I get the chance to come back and do it! We've spent lots of time tracting and teaching members and less actives this week, all in search of the Lord's elect (Doctrine and Covenants 29:7)! We've seen miracles as we have!!
a few examples:
We planned to go tracting in an area called Fairleigh the other day, but as we were driving there, we didn't feel right about it. So we pulled over and prayed for guidance, we felt impressed to go tract another area and we found several potential investigators, including two father led families!!
This weekend we taught a counselor in the branch presidency and his family and we asked for referrals, he gave us the information for his less active brothers and sisters. Yesterday we had an hour an felt that we should go visit one of them. We only had time to visit one, so choosing the right person was imperative. Elder Moyo prompted revelation when he asked "Who do you feel we should go to?". When he did I sought for the Spirit and felt strongly that we ought to call one of his sisters. So we did! And they let us come over. During our visit we were blessed with three things:
1. We met her sister and brother in law who are expecting their second son. Her sister is a genius when it comes to the Bible. We shared with her the Book of Mormon and invited her to learn more of the restored gospel!
2. We found that she and her husband have not been to the temple and that they desire to go!
3. She told us that her kids have been begging to go back to church and to be baptized!! She said that they've been praying to go back. We made a return appointment to teach them and prepare them for baptism!
(4. They invited us over for lunch so they can make us authentic indian food)
Throughout the visit I felt so strongly that this family was prepared to come back to Church at this time! I know that we were directed by the Lord as an answer to prayers! I'm SO excited to see them progress!
I'm writing this long email and I hope it makes up for the lack of others.
The Lord is anxious to see His work go forward, and when we counsel with him and put ourselves in place to do something, the windows of Heaven open and we receive His direction.
Last week we spent a day with all the new missionaries coming into the mission (14 of them!) and I did my best to teach them that "this is the Lord's work and we do it His way." I know that this is true and I know that miracles have not ceased! The Restoration of the gospel is rolling forth and ours is the responsibility to make it known unto all the inhabitants of the Earth! How great is our calling!
I love you all and I pray that the Spirit may guide you to those who are in need of your testimony.
Before transfers, we woke up early and watched the sunrise at the beach with a senior couple!