Hey hey. How is everybody doing? It's great to hear from you all! Things are quite peachy here in Albany. It's been a great week. Thanks so much for the Hump Day package and pictures - that was quite clever and cool. It reminded me of "Flat Stanley" from elementary school, very funny. I didn't do any burning or weird/clever thing to celebrate. Some missionaries out here burn a shirt but I forwent that experience; the day wasn't spent without style, though. Happy Birthday Drue!!! I can't believe that you are 16! I hope that you have a great, great year! Sounded like you had a really cool surprise party, too! That's really nice of Elder Zwick (the 70) and Sister Zwick (the niece) to say those things. I appreciate you relaying that, Nana. I'm very impressed with Ste's athletic stories as of late. The baseball games sound really exciting - it's crazy for me to think that I was watching his regular season games last year; and winning the soda isn't bad either. The heart attacking cracks me up! Thinking back, though, those kinds of things were definitely going on when I was that age. Ha. Who did it? Rachel and Tyler, that's cool that you guys are getting Elders in your ward, and that you're having them over for dinner! I've heard those missions are very successful. Congratulations on running the 10K, Paige and Ben!
This week has gone quite quickly and it's been filled with blessings as well. Picking up from where I left off last email (Tuesday)... I went and taught Bro. Morris, our sweet investigator with a member who has been his consistent fellowship. It was so awesome; I haven't seen someone so excited about the Book of Mormon in a long time. He had read through 1 Nephi 13 in 2 days but more significant was his "perma-smile" as he was talking about it and saying how much it is helping him! So exciting. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. He's still preparing for July 23 to be baptized! Wednesday we went to the District Meeting in the Albany West district to give the training there. Afterward we went on an exchange with the Schenectady elders. I came back to Albany and was with a brand new missionary who had at that point only been out 1 week, his name is E. Pextan. And of course there is some relation of connection, just like I have with so many others out here, he is cousins with the Wilardson's. Ha, I thought that was really funny and especially because I saw Taylor up at BYU. We taught the Donovan's that night, a less-active family whose 10 year old daughter is preparing to be baptized on July 2. Thursday, the big Hump Day. It was actually a pretty bizarre feeling that I had when I woke up on Thursday, realizing that I have been out a year already. I wasn't really thinking too much about it beforehand but when the day came my mind kept thinking back and realizing how crazy it really is. It was a good day as, most notably, we taught Namukolo, the African investigator who called us last week. She is amazing and doing so well! We have a couple lined up to fellowship her and they came and taught her with us. She's also preparing to be baptized on July 2 and she's so excited! Later that night we taught a less-active Bro. Frank, who we taught the first time the previous week. He's really sincere and on the path, it's so awesome. Friday it was a treat to go back to the same auto body shop that I've been to many times for 3 different van incidents. Ha, the guys there are really cool and hilarious so it really wasn't bad but it was tedious nonetheless. We taught a recent convert couple later that day, the wife who is battling cancer right now, and it went really well. We have dinner with them tonight, yea! It's so cool to see and interact with people who have recently grabbed hold of the Gospel and can't get enough! Saturday we taught Namukolo again, so awesome. We took the Bishop's son who is home from a year of BYU and has his papers in. It was fun going with him and relating where he is now to myself when I was there. And the coolest thing is when he got home from the lesson his mission call had arrived and he's going to Riverside California English. He couldn't be more excited and he wants to keep coming out with us as he's preparing to go. Sunday was a nice day we had 3 investigators at church which wasn't bad although 6 or 7 were committed to come. Perhaps this week. We had several less-actives come who we are teaching which was really exciting. One of which we taught after church and it was a very Spirit-filled experience. Ha, a really funny experience yesterday was talking to these 4 Jamaican guys (1 of which was a member, inactive, who we were trying to contact). Without sharing too many of the explicit details they weren't up to much good but in the end two of them were debating about some doctrine of Adam and Eve, it was pretty hilarious. There are so many funny things that we experience on a daily basis, I wish I could share them all. This morning E. Lyman and I got our teeth cleaned downstairs by Bro./Dr. Alexander. It's very nice. To briefly give you updates on other investigators I have yet to mention...Yolanda and Tino, the Spanish speakers, are doing well. We weren't able to see them this week nor were they able to come to church but they are still awesome and my Spanish is really improving, ha. They both still have a date to be baptized on August 27 that they're working toward. Bro. Westphal is great, we blessed his baby in Sacrament yesterday. We weren't able to see him but we will this week. Likewise with many others, they're at the same point as last mentioned but maybe we were unable to teach them this week. But we have 5 people with dates now and 13 people we are teaching, most of whom are incredibly solid. It's quite amazing.
I love you all so much and hope that your lives are filled with joy and happiness - most importantly, the eternal and pure joy and happiness that is to be had by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful week!