Michael and Pres. Bulloch at the Susquehanna River
Michael's 21st Birthday Cake
More Birthday Celebrations
This has been the week of weeks! Wow, it's been incredible. It's so great to hear from you! Happy Birthday to Kelly! That's awesome Paige and Ben drove through/by Cobleskill. It's great to see the pictures of Abbie and Jackson. Congrats to Ste on baseball and how cool he got to go to California! It sounds like things are going great for everyone.
As I think about this past week it's hard to decide where to even begin! Tuesday was AMAZING. We had our Zone Conference for the Owego Stake that day, which fell on May 15. If you'll recall, that's the anniversary of the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, which took place in Harmony, PA! We held the Zone Conference in Binghamton, rather than Elmira, because this Zone Conference was going to be different from all the others we've been doing. (I've known we were going to do this for some time now but it was a surprise to all the missionaries in that zone so we had to keep it all on the down low). After the morning portion of abbreviated training, all the missionaries there in that zone went down to the site in Harmony! This was such an amazing day! We saw a great deal of Church History: the place where Joseph and Emma lived in Harmony (where a great deal of the translation of the Book of Mormon took place), the Susquehanna River where Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were baptized, the grave sites of Alvin (Joseph and Emma's infant son) and the Hales (Emma's parents), and we saw the home site of the Hales. Amazing, there is such a powerful Spirit there. Then, we traveled to some other sites: the Joseph Knight's Home (location of what was once the Colesville Branch, first branch of the church), Josiah Stoal's home (see JSH 1:55-56; Joseph and Emma's honeymoon spot), and finally the wedding place of Joseph and Emma. What incredible experiences these were! Thursday we had Zone Conference up in the North and we worked with those elders there (Elder Stratton is up there, it was fun working with him). Saturday we helped the ward out with what I may consider the funnest service project I've ever been a part of. We were clearing out an old cemetery that had been totally neglected and was essentially a forest, where all the graves were. I'm amazed at how fun it can be and how great I feel when I serve. We were chopping trees down and clearing it all up - the bishop and another member had chainsaws and were going to town, so cool. Ann's baptismal interview went great on Saturday and she is all ready to go for her baptism on the 26, this Saturday. She asked that I do the baptizing, so that will be fun. I had a great birthday yesterday! Thanks to all those who sent their love. My talk in sacrament meeting went well - I ended up not having as much time as I figured but I was able to condense it nicely. Afterward, we had lunch with the sweetest lady, Daisy, an older member. She makes the best fried chicken ever. She's a black Southerner with an awesome accent; we brought a member of the bishopric with us, brother Bloss (she calls him "Pastor Bloss"), haha. Later we had dinner with a really nice member who makes money decorating cakes. She made me a great cake, although it was very low-key in her mind, fully loaded with candles and singing me happy birthday. Then last night we taught Anne, she is excited as ever for her baptism. All in all, this week has been out of this world. I'm looking forward to the week ahead, too! This morning we had a little birthday party for me and the Sr. couple missionary here in the office (it's his birthday today, 75). I requested cinnamon rolls, so good. Tomorrow, I'm going on exchange to blessed Albany. Then Friday we have Return and Report with the new missionaries. Saturday is the baptism. I feel the Lord's hand in my life daily; it's so comforting to me to know he is there and cares about me as much as he does. I feel great and I'm incredibly happy and at peace.
Thanks for all that you do for me.