Alec has been home from his mission for about 4 months now! He has been studying at BYU this past semester. It has been amazing to see the man he has become! I can't express enough how proud of him I am and his choices! It is wonderful to have him just a text away!
I shed tears of joy as he came down the escalator at the airport! I guess I missed him WAY more than I had realized!!!
I am giving him his blog now...
So when it falls 4 months behind, bug him about it! :)
He is all grown up and taking on the world one textbook at a time!
YOUR FAMIREE LOVES YOU!!!
This last week was a little rough. We had many appointments fall through which left us with plenty of time to go tracting! We did find several new investigators, though.
We had a really good lesson with D. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon an hour a day before he goes to work. He said that he had some questions about it, but he was satisfied with the answers that his non-member mother-in-law gave him. It is nice to have someone else help him resolve his concerns before we even get to him! He did have some unanswered questions regarding Joseph Smith and the Restoration so we watched "The Restoration" DVD. It answered all of his questions. We set up an appointment to meet with both him and his wife, A, tomorrow evening. We plan to invite them to be baptized.
We tracted into a family that had been taught several times by previous missionaries this last summer. The parents' names are J and A. They are actively attending a local church, but are very open to learning about other religions. They have read some from the Book of Mormon and we invited them to start reading again to prepare for our next appointment.
Our heater has been broken as well. We just wrap up in what we call our "raccoons" made of blankets, haha. I think "raccoon" morphed from "cocoon" sometime during the transfer....
We had another really good lesson with the two friends we’re teaching this last week. They had not read from the Book of Mormon since our last visit so we read Alma 32 with them. We are trying to help them develop the faith to make changes in their lives that will bring them in closer harmony with the Savior and His teachings. They are so humble that it is almost difficult at times for them to understand the implications of our message. We are hoping that as we teach by the Spirit in their home they will also learn by the Spirit.
We had a great lesson with another lady. She is the niece of an in-active member and lives next door to him. We tracted into her as well as the in-active member. During our return appointment with her, her cousin came in. She is the daughter of the in-active member and has spoken with him a great deal about the Church and has even read from the Book of Mormon. They were both very receptive and accepted the invitation to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray to come to know that it is true. Unfortunately, the first sister had to cancel our next appointment so she could take her kids to a doctor's appointment she had forgotten about.
We taught P again this week. He had read the reading assignment we left him in Alma 32 as well as the Restoration pamphlet. He had several concerns which we were able to help him resolve. During the lesson he told us that he had already committed to God that he was going to attend Church with us. He said he will be there this Sunday. We left him another reading assignment in the Book of Mormon and look forward to meeting with him again.
We had a cool experience on Thursday while we were tracting. As we were walking up the hill, a car pulled up next to us and the window rolled down. A gentleman told us that he was a member of the Church but had not been in years. He said that it was a relief to see us as he had been praying for the opportunity to change his life. He has recently had some experiences that have made him think about the path he was on and he has desired to get back on the strait and narrow. He cleaned himself up physically and left some of his less-than-obedient habits behind in an effort to do so, but was unsure how to continue. We had a very powerful lesson with him focused on the Restoration and Joseph's search for truth and guidance from God. He said that he would come back to Church. Unfortunately, he did not come yesterday. We are unsure why he did not make but hope that he will have the faith to come next week.
Last Sunday, one of the recently returned-missionaries in the ward brought a friend of his to Church. She had a good experience and accepted the invitation to take the missionary lessons. We taught her the Restoration last night at the Church building and then watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional with her and the RM. It went very well.
We are still having a very difficult time with our investigators not attending sacrament meeting. We are focusing on helping them develop the faith to act in a manner that will show their commitment to live the Gospel by attending Church. Hopefully we will see some results soon!
Everything is going pretty good here! The weather is as crazy as ever. We had sleet sticking to our jackets four days ago and today it's 65 degrees!
We had a great lesson with T this last week. We had not set a specific return appointment with her during this last week and we felt prompted to stop by and see her one evening. We found her and her husband, who we met for the first time, at home. We had a short, but effective, lesson with them regarding the importance of reading from the Book of Mormon and attending Church. In the past she has expressed some concern with attending any church because of several negative experiences she has had with other churches. After teaching her and her husband this week she was less reluctant to attend. We invited her family to come and she said that they might be able to come. Her husband promptly said "We'll probably come." He was very receptive and actively participated in the lesson. We were very excited for them to come to Church yesterday. Unfortunately, they did not make it. We have not had a chance to contact them to find out why they did not come, but we hope they will come next week. We also invited them to read the Book of Mormon together as a means of finding peace during an often hectic holiday season which they committed to do.
We had a really good lesson with a new investigator. We tracted into him last week and briefly testified of the Restoration of the Gospel and set up a return appointment. He was not only there, but prepared for our visit with questions! We focused mainly on the pattern of apostasy and restoration throughout Biblical history and testified of the important role of prophets. He hesitantly asked us if we believed there were prophets today to which we responded, "Of course!" He really liked that answer. After the lesson he offered a great prayer in which he told the Lord that he is really interested in our message and wants to know if it is true. We look forward to our appointment with him tomorrow evening.
We also had a great lesson with another new investigator. Her friend was also there for our return appointment. They were very receptive to the Spirit as we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They had a lot of really good questions and we really felt like we helped them gain a greater faith in Jesus Christ as a result of the lesson. We left them with a copy of the Book of Mormon which they committed to read together. We have an appointment with them this evening to follow-up on how their reading has gone.
In my Gospel study I have been studying portions from Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon that I feel would be helpful in preparing to teach our investigators. Having finished reading through the General Conference Edition of the Ensign, I have been reading "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder Ballard. I have found many successful approaches to teaching in his book and I have had many opportunities to apply them to my teaching, which I have tried to take advantage of.
For a while I thought it was finally cooling down here...it's back up to 65 degrees today.... The weather here is nuts.
This week was significantly better than last week! We were able to teach nearly all of our investigators.
The ten-year-old son in one of our Rescue families, accepted the invitation to be baptized on this Friday. Unfortunately, they did not come to Church yesterday so his date will be moved back a couple weeks. We have an appointment to meet with them tomorrow to help him get back on track to be baptized.
We had a great lesson with T. We tracted into her several weeks ago and answered a lot of her questions regarding the over-abundance of churches and different versions of the Bible. This last lesson with her we focused on applying the teachings of the Book of Mormon in addition to praying to know if it is true. She invited her friend, E, to sit in on the lesson. After some encouragement from T, E was reading from the Book of Mormon in no time. T asked if she could invite her mother to sit in on the next lesson as well. We invited T to come to Church but she still feels uneasy about coming due to some negative experiences with organized religion in the past. We promised her that her desire to attend Church will grow as she continues to read from the Book of Mormon. Our next appointment with her is tomorrow.
We have still been having a difficult time setting up a lesson with the other T, however, we have been able to talk to both her husband, D, and her roughly 20-year-old son, R. D said that he is not quite ready to change his life yet but will let us know when he is.... R was pretty interested and said that he would sit in on our next lesson with his mom. He usually stays in the back of the house or outside working on the cars with D.
We also got back in contact with T.J. We tracted into him a couple weeks back and have had a couple of appointments with him which he was unable to keep. We invited him to come to Church yesterday and he committed to come with his ten-year-old daughter. He did not come. His daughter apparently loves going to Church. We hope that she will be a motivator for him.
I went on exchange with Elder P in South Knox this last week. It went very well. I learned a lot about the importance of using the "How to Begin Teaching" section of Preach My Gospel not only at the beginning of a lesson, but also throughout our teaching. We found several new investigators and invited one of their investigators, J, to be baptized. He accepted the invitation to be baptized 26 November.
In my Gospel study I have continued to study from the Book of Mormon. I have also tried to do a better job of preparing to teach our investigators by reading sections from Preach My Gospel that apply to their current needs. During mealtimes I have been reading the General Conference Edition of the Ensign. I am inspired as I read the words of our leaders and pray that I will be able to apply the things that I am taught by the Spirit as I read.
That's crazy that Elder Raymond the Younger was in an earthquake!!! It's good to hear everyone is doing well. I was sure surprised when I read that you're retiring next year, Dad! Good luck finding a new job! What kind of work do you want to do now?
I love you all mucho much!!! (That's Spanish for much much!!! (Just in case you didn't know...))
"Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;" Alma 18:34
Mike, Alec, & Dave "Pre-Missions"
Elder M. Watson, Elder Raymond, Elder D. Watson in the MTC!