Michael with the Dutchers
Hello, how's it going? It's great to hear from you all. I'm glad you all seem to be plugging away and doing well. Things here are great. It's been another great (and ridiculously fast) week. I can't believe Sis. Porter visited you in Mesa. I really don't know her well at all; the most I've interacted with her was a 20 minute dinner at their branch building after I did the Spanish speaker's baptismal interview. That's when we found out how close the houses are in Mesa but I never thought she would go there, nor did I think to tell her to. Ha, that's a great surprise. Elder Checketts knows her/them very well as he served in the Branch earlier this year. That is quite the story about Ste's ankle. Glad that it is not broken. It seems like I had that happen, never broke it but sprained it. Your tough, you can handle it. That's exciting about Mrs. Muehling as well. She was really nice and teaches very well. I remember her saying things like "Wa-r-shington" with an accent, great times. She'll be great for Ste. Wonder if she'll know/remember the relation? Jackson sounds so grown up I'm so excited to see him. Ending prayers and saying "Jees" when he sees pictures of Jesus, how cool. Elder Checketts is quasi-related, distant, to Dave Checketts. I'm glad Dad and Paige's birthdays were a good time. The testimony meetings here are usually pretty good. Yesterday was very good. Investigators are usually good with them, or at least to the point where they don't typically comment poorly about them to us, ha. Hitting range balls last week was really fun. I basically just hit a Ping 6-iron, but it wasn't too shabby. Today I think we are playing some basketball with the Downtown Elders, E. Israelsen and E. Schrader.
Like I said before this week has gone by so fast! Sister Flander's baptism on Saturday and Confirmation yesterday were definitely the highlights. She asked me to do the baptism so I had the privilege of doing that. She was so prepared and so ready. Ironically, today is their 52nd wedding anniversary...who knows, maybe in a year they can be sealed together on this day! It's going to be great. They're integrating into the ward so well - everyone is reaching out to them and they're quite good at reaching out to others, too. Monday night Elder Checketts and I stayed the night in Greenwich with the Elders there and worked with them for only a couple hours before doing some training for others coming in before their District Meeting. It was amazing and very nostalgic to be back in Schoharie Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. I was able to see/eat with a family that I know very well. They were reactivated just prior to my getting to Schoharie; and the couple was sealed together and to their 4 little girls when I was there and since has been called as the Elder's Quorum President. It was really nice to see them. I was told that the Dutcher's were vacationing when I was going to be in Schoharie, so like I mentioned last week I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see them. When I was there I felt like just giving them a call to see how they're doing and touch base on this rare occasion. They were in fact out of town but circumstances arose that they would be returning home that night! We organized it and they insisted that they feed us brunch Thursday morning and we have a lesson! What a blessing. It was so fun to see them and catch up. Bro. Dutcher is passing the sacrament each week and doing so well. We taught about eternal families and the temple. It was a very spiritual experience and I know they will get there some day! I was very surprised and humbled to hear Bro. Dutcher say for the first time and thank me that I was the missionary who got him/them back to church. I feel so blessed I was able to see them. It really is quite unique and special that I've been in this stake/zone my entire mission. Everyone I know and who I'm so close to are all near by. Who knows what this transfer will bring; it sounds like most of you think I'm leaving Albany. That's probable, we'll see on Saturday. Some other amazing things have been happening here, too. Something I have to mention is an investigator, part-member family, coming to church yesterday! Of the 5 investigators there, I was definitely most excited seeing him walk through the doors. We've been teaching this family since Elder Lyman got here. When we started teaching he said how he doesn't go to church, nor does he plan on it because he doesn't need to go to a church to communicate with God. Plus he was forced to go to church and had bad experiences there growing up. But thanks to the Spirit we were able to break down these barriers and see him come. The wife, a member, was reactivated and has been doing great and coming with her two kids, 11 and 7, each week. The last 2 lessons we had with the couple were on the 10 Commandments with the most emphasis on Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Last Sunday the husband, and nonmember, rested from his labors (ie. working around the house/big yard, gardens) which was a big deal. Then this Sunday he came to church. It was so cool. And, we got the whole family to come to Sister Flander's baptism! That was amazing, too! We will continue to teach them help him progress toward baptism, now. I love them so much. We have one investigator with a baptismal date now, Laurie. She's doing great still. In fact, we taught her the Word of Wisdom and she had the faith to quit smoking and drinking coffee right then and there! It was very powerful and she came to church and is progressing nicely. We get to work with the Assistants here Wednesday; should be a great time we already have 2 solid days planned for both sets of missionaries going out. All in all things are amazing and I love it here so much. Seriously, I can't say enough how much the relationships with the people here mean to me. Whatever the future holds I'm willing to do because I know the Lord always and only has our best interest in mind.
I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all of your love and support.
Michael at the driving range