It's wonderful to hear from all of you and I appreciate your love and support. Way to go Ste on the soccer goals and announcements - you're boss student council man now. Thanks for the attached pictures, I love getting those! From Ithaca: who are those children you are camping with? Tell Maren congrats that's way sweet! And ROFL at Ben. From Orlando: Are you kidding me? Jackson is so grown up! He looks so good, holy cow! Awesome! On that note Happy Birthday Rachel! Hope you have a great day and an enjoyable panhandle adventure! I got the package I think Thursday! Thank you so much and let me simply say there was some inspired stuff in there! Ha it was all seriously so perfect (for example - the perhaps most random thing dishtowels were sweet; the day before I cleaned the kitchen and stuff with an old scarf I found in the apartment and was going to buy some towels. HA!) It's all great though and I appreciate it all so much! Thanks. Oh yeah, I didn't get the letter Mom sent yet (perhaps sending them Wednesday doesn't give them enough time to get here before the weekend). I'm glad you liked the pictures and such; I love those people and it's crazy I'm here in Saratoga away from all that already. You can send some of those pictures but you don't need to send a ton. That's awesome about the calls in the ward too! But other than that that's about it with regards to those things.
This transfer is certainly different than those prior for more reasons than one; it's great though. We found 7 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week! That's a jokee! I don't know why we're being so blessed but our teaching pool is really solid now; we have our feet under us and the work is moving right along! It was pretty cool last Monday after Pday Elder DB and I were walking down the street and there were two Guatemalan men we came across (there are quite a bit of Hispanic foreigners here working with the race tracks and such). We approached them like normal because the majority speak English but these guys not so much. So I talked to them in Spanish for at least 5 minutes. Dang, my Spanish is bad. But it was seriously so cool that I was essentially able to get the message across to these two that I wanted. I've seen them around a couple times since and we're friends ha. On Tuesday Elder DB turned 20 so we had a great ol' time celebrating as a missionary. I sang him primary birthday songs all morning. Then for dinner a 17 year old kid (convert of like 2 years) who we are way tight with who we're getting to come out with us at a set time weekly (with a car, yesss) had us over and we had Wings over Saratoga. So good; E. DB had ribs, classic. (They have the same thing Wings over Ithaca I believe; I'm sure the Ithaca people have heard of it/been there). Then later we went to the Phelans (the family we found last week) because they insisted on having us over for cake for his birthday, ha. I think they feel bad for us out here with the "little contact" we have with family, etc. haha. Anyway, Wednesday was an interesting day. It was perhaps the most stressful, tedious morning and start of the day I've had out here. In short, we decided to stay in an extra hour to more effectively plan the day and get our feet under us. This turned out to be such a blessing and good choice. We ended up busing down to a place I'd never been and we planned on doing some finding there. To put it plainly, we knocked on maybe 5-8 doors, two of which invited us right in and were cool. The second was a woman named Kira we are really excited about teaching. She's way into horses and is probably late 40's. Super solid and it ended up being a very successful trip down there. We also taught Tyrone again who is still as awesome as ever. Truly searching for happiness and truth; is willing to disregard his rough past and move on. Awesome. Speaking of awesome we found another guy as an investigator this week named Jeff. We are basically the same person, sorta. He's 33; way into golf, way into skiing, speaks like me, etc etc. But he was recently divorced and is wondering what the deal about this thing called life is. He said he had his dream: wife, money, etc but didn't feel fully fulfilled. And now with his divorce he wants to know even more so. Brother Badger (the Mtn. View guy) is going to be perfect for him too so we're really excited to keep teaching and getting him involved this week. We DID get the bikes fixed (thanks Bro Badger, ha) and rode down to Ballston Spa on Saturday. We taught 2 drop-by lessons there, picked up 3 investigators, and set a baptismal date! The date is with a woman named Bella who is really solid. She will have to overcome some things to be baptized but we'll keep faithful! We've been really really blessed; I'm familiarizing myself with the area now and it's coming together. There is so much to do but it's great.
I love you all so much and appreciate all the things you're doing for me. I'm definitely learning a lot out here. A lot about the gospel. A lot about myself. Without going into too much detail I had a humbling experience this week as I was reading the Book of Mormon then felt inspired to read Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride". Read this talk. Wow, it cuts you deep. Simply, this is something I am focusing on and working on. It's been helping things out quite a bit but certainly is a process. Elder DB and I had a good conversation last night talking openly with each other. I won't say too much but he has been in a tough point in his mission, and now I know where he is coming from better and it should be good.
I love it here and I love this work. I am far from where I need to be but I'm doing my best which is all I can do! There is so much joy experienced out here...and much difficulty, trial, and sorrow. But simply, the joy outweighs any of that by much more. I love it and look forward to a week of hard work, growth, and learning! General Conference will be amazing! Let's all open our hearts and be willing to change and be receptive to the Spirit of conference! (crazy how much has changed since last conference!)
Thanks for all you do and please continue to show your love and support; it means so much!