Goodbye Elder Lyman
It's great to hear from you all. I'm glad that the long trip ended well and that everyone enjoyed themselves. That is crazy about the bizarre dust storm; sounds like the weather is out of control all over the place. Hmm... Mom I got your letter that you sent while in the car, thanks a bunch. I didn't get the letter that you sent last week until Tuesday; so I didn't respond to anything from it in my email last week. I appreciate all of your letters so much. I can picture the Mesaonians at Sonic in Page like you said. Things have been great here. I'm here with Elder Checketts and Elder Bergman now. E. Bergman will likely be here until August. Sister Gifford is serving in Syracuse I believe. Have you heard how she is liking it and such? I'm far away and don't know anything about it. It is crazy to think that E. Lyman is home and doing 'normal' things. I was actually really impressed with how focused he was. I've really enjoyed all my companions. As far as hanging out with them afterward I could see myself getting together with some occasionally. Being roommates with any? I'm not sure. Only E. Miller went/goes to BYU who I've served with. Namukolo was confirmed by a member in the ward who he and his wife have been our consistent fellow shipper for her. The First Presidency just sent out a letter about not sending "sensitive information" in emails home but in short she is trying to get her visitors visa extended to stay here longer. Jackson looks really big. I like his teeth! Sorry to hear that he had that virus and such. Ste, thanks for filling me in that I'm not on the "loser side" anymore on the program at church. Haha, I appreciate that. Glad to hear things in SLC are going well; so great to hear from you. And of course I hope Paige gets home safe and she and Ben are finally reunited. This week has flown by and has been filled with so many incredible experiences. Honestly I can't think of another time when the work has been going better than it is right now. It's amazing and feels so good. Right now we have 4 people with baptismal dates and many other incredible people we are teaching. On Tuesday we taught an investigator, Gretchen, the word of wisdom and she's already living it. She asked to go over all of the requirements for baptism, ha. We had a good-bye lesson on temples with Namukolo for E. Lyman's last lesson. It went really well. It was cool talking with E. Lyman before he left to see his thoughts on the future and reflect back on his mission experience (he's probably going to be reading this at some point, ha I just realized that. How crazy.). Wednesday, transfer day, I worked in Downtown Albany with E. Schrader. This was amazing; we had a lesson with a recent convert in the morning. The recent convert is an elderly man and he had a home nurse there with him when we arrived. Long story short the nurse asked if she could join our lesson, has met with missionaries before and wants to be baptized! The best part is: she lives in our area, and the fact I just 'happened' to be there was amazing. It was so divinely orchestrated it's undeniable. She came to church yesterday and has so many great questions. We'll teach her this week and hopefully start preparing her for a date to be baptized! Later that day my new companions arrived. We had a good night teaching more lessons. Thursday morning was amazing, too. We taught the Flanders, the part-member, older couple we are teaching who came to church last week. We planned to teach about baptism and the Book of Mormon going in and her/their questions perfectly led right into it. We invited her to be baptized Aug 6 and she accepted and is really excited. Her (member) husband was crying; it was really really sweet. They came to church again yesterday and loved it. It's amazing. We taught and moved the 10 year old Donovoan girl's baptism to Jul 30 so she and the family can come to church more and hopefully deepen their conversion rather than just get her baptized and leave again. Friday, E. Checketts and I went to ZLC in Utica. It was really fun. Every companionship is given a portable DVD player to use in helping us study/prepare for lessons and missionary skills. The church is giving them all over the US and Canada, and probably other places soon, too. Saturday we continued to teach and teach and teach. We're working with a few really neat less-active families/individuals and seeing progress there as well as other investigators I haven't mentioned. On Sunday, yesterday, we had 5 investigators as church; it felt so good. Afterward we taught 3 lessons. Seriously, it's pretty incredible all of the things that are happening here. It's been really cool to be here this long to build relationships with so many people. The ward is like my family and all of these people we are teaching are close friends. Now more so than ever I feel that it is absolutely true that the Lord imparts his love for others upon those he calls to serve in his behalf. Having charity for the people I'm serving wasn't something that naturally came for me. In fact, I don't know how much I had it at all at first. And of course I know I have leaps and bounds where I can improve but I really have a sense of love and concern for these people that I know is beyond me. It's amazing.
Perhaps it's about time I send a memory card home. I'll work on that. Also, I'm thrown off when to expect my next package but assuming it's like 5-6 weeks from now I may ask to have my white nike running shoes sent to me at that time. Don't let me forget, or ask me about it when you're preparing to send it. My other nikes are getting a little beat. I'll see if I think they can make it to the end.I hope you all have a great week. Thanks so much for all that you do for me and for sending your love my way. I love you all.