Dear Family and Friendses,
We've been bringing sisters to our area for exchanges this transfer, and it's been CRAZY because we plan two days in one, but it's awesome because we get to teach so many people and the other sisters learn a lot. It's been so great reviewing the exchanges with the sisters and really seeing how much they learn from just watching the work get done.
Sis. Bowen left us this week :( We were with her in a trio covering both IU Campus and Clear Creek, but she got a new companion so she's gone. I'm usually ok with changes that occur in the mission, but this one was tough! She really brought a great spirit to our companionship, and she is so fun to be with. But her new companion Sis. Tolman is a great sister and we're excited for her to be here in Bloomington.
Sis. Clark and I have found a lot of success in evaluating lessons immediately after we teach someone, and we talk about what their next needs are, what commitment we want to leave next, and what doctrine to teach to meet their needs. We write down a lesson plan right then, and when weekly planning and nightly planning comes around we don't have to spend a long time deciding what to teach them next. Our planning becomes more of a summary of lesson plans rather than a companionship study of what we should teach next! It helps us pay more attention to detail and know how to discern needs better and teach doctrine to meet those needs.
On one exchange this week we met with an investigator in the Clear Creek area--he used to be a minister and he preached against Mormons, and now he is praying about being baptized. He eagerly accepted the challenge of one of the members to finish the Book of Mormon by Christmas. When we went for a lesson, he came out and said he had a few concerns he needed to get off his mind. He brought up the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that talk about the skin of blackness, and he was really afraid that we are racist and he got really upset when he read that. We explained to him that the curse wasn't the skin of blackness but the fact that they were separated from God because of their iniquity. We cleared up a few things, and he was satisfied. We then taught him the Word of Wisdom and committed him to live it...he laughed because initially he had come out to give us the book back and say he was done...but by the end he was accepting a commitment to stop drinking and eat healthier! While we were teaching about good things he should eat, his sister came out and said, "That's exactly what I've been telling you all along!" She basically gave a second witness of everything we were teaching, it was awesome. Before we left he said, "If this really is the one true church, please don't stop preaching the word. Don't ever give up, because people need this." Talk about a change of heart in less than an hour!
If you haven't seen it already, there's an article posted on the mission facebook page (www.facebook.com/indymission) that was written by a girl at IU who we are teaching. We met with her this last week and she's really been liking church and how it's set up. She knows she's on this "cycle" of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). Sis. Clark asked, "So, are you ready to take the next step on the cycle?" The girl laughed, but we were serious. We invited her to be baptized on November 30...she looked in her calendar and said, "Ha, I'm going to be out of town that day!" She said she wanted to stick with December 14, which is what we originally planned. So she officially has a date to be baptized! The initial reason she decided to write an article on Mormon missionaries is because she has a friend on a mission and he's coming home in just a couple weeks. She told us that she is going to ask him to baptize her...he doesn't even know she's been investigating the church. That will be an incredibly pleasant surprise for him :) Ah, God truly works miracles!
J got baptized on November 2! There was a great turnout, and the spirit was so strong. He bore a powerful testimony, and his mom and sister were there to hear it. He was confirmed in church yesterday, and the branch is welcoming him right in!
I love this work. I'm learning so much. I love God a lot, and I'm grateful He understands me perfectly and has a perfect plan for all of us. I'm so humbled every day as a missionary, and I am striving to be as obedient as I can so I can perhaps help just one person feel the spirit and come one step closer to God.
Thank you all a million times over for all your support and love. Go out of your comfort zone today and talk to someone about the gospel!! Make it a part of who you are!!
Pictures: J's baptism!!!