Monday, December 21, 2015

Dec. 14, 2015 in Catawba, South Carolina with a new companion, Elder P___


R___'s baptismal interview was perfect! She is getting super excited, she told us more about an experience she had where she was driving to work and thinking about the church and the Christmas devotional and how much she likes how it all runs. She said the thought just came in her mind: "It's because it's true." She got the warm feelings of the spirit, and realized what happened. She said she spent the rest of the day thinking about it. We went by last night and set up all the arrangements for the baptism. She asked me to baptize her, and lots of other members to do the other parts. It is so exciting! :D Just pray that she will be protected through this last week and then into her new convert stage! :)

To answer your questions about Christmas, we get the packages on the 22nd at a Mission Christmas party thing they are doing. I am in charge of putting together a musical number for our zone for the party too, so that will be fun. There is a specific version of the song "I heard the Bells" that our ward choir has done a couple times that I'm thinking we will try. If you could maybe find a copy of that online or something, and email it to me, that would be amazing! Thanks. Speaking of Musical numbers, this week we had our stake nativity festival and all the missionaries in the zone sang on the closing night. Lo and behold, I got made the conductor, and fortunately I was inspired I guess to make some copies of the music. It worked out, otherwise I would have nothing to go off of! As it turned out, my inspiration wasn't all the way perfect, as I only brought 2 out of the 4 songs, so I ended up conducting 2 of the songs with no music! It was very very intense, but once again the
spirit had helped by having Elder B___ and I practice the songs on the piano with me singing while he was still here, because we had thought that he was going to be the pianist. Once he got transferred, a member in one of the wards took over the piano, but the practices we had done stayed in my head well enough for me to conduct the whole thing, including the breaks in the music, the timing, and everything. Twas super exciting! We are sure there were angels singing with us missionaries, cause it sounded way too good for it to have just been us. ("us" meaning 20 or so missionaries with very little musical practice and only 20 minutes of total practice before.)

So besides the musical number and R___ being fantastic, our week also consisted of District meeting, interviews with President Alexander, transfers, 17 lessons, me trying to figure out how to train someone, the ward Christmas party and miracles! I will expound on a couple of these.

District Meeting:
I gave a training on helping investigators make and keep commitments. My favorite part was a story I heard from Elder B___. At the end of my training I brought out a little bucket of rocks I had picked up and cleaned, and handed it around, letting everyone pick one. I then told a story about how when Elder B___ was in the MTC, they were in a class and their teacher told them about how we invite people to be baptized at the first lesson. All the missionaries were like "That's too soon!" "That would scare them!" etc. etc. The teacher looked at them, and then said "Elders and Sisters, follow me." She took them outside and told them to find a rock. They all found rocks and brought them back. Then their teacher said "Elder and Sisters, look at these rocks you found. I invite you to be a "little boulder"! ("little bolder"). Haha, so I shared that story and they all laughed. So yeah, district meeting was fun. I love the district we have right now, it is such a fun group!

Elder P___ is from Twin Falls, Idaho, but has also lived in Utah, Colorado, and Wisconsin. He likes all the trees out here lots :) He liked to wrestle back home, as well as mountain bike, camp, and fish. He has 6 siblings, including an older brother who is almost done with his mission, and a twin who is putting in his papers soon. He has a great attitude towards the work, and is always excited to go out and work. Bad news though - he got hit on his bike on our way to go play laser tag. Fortunately they just hit the bike and not enough to damage it. He didn't even fall off (There's where the mountain bike skills come in). But he is okay, and we still had a super fun and intense laser tag battle) ((Elder P___ beat me, but it was close!)) but yeah, what a good first p-day for Elder P___!

Probably one of the best interviews I've had! It was like 2 days after transfers, and I was kinda feeling overwhelmed with how I am apparently supposed to be perfect so I don't mess up my trainees mission and life. President was super positive and encouraging, and it was super good to know that he trusts me. Like I told him, it hasn't been me, the Lord has just been blessing us with so much good stuff right now! He added, "Keep remembering that, but also remember that you are placing yourself in positions to receive his help. Keep doing that, and you are going to be one of the Elders to help lift our mission." So yeah, hooray for good interviews! :)

The C___'s are asking questions and looking for more answers again! So pray for her to feel confidence and to find answers to her questions. Other miracle, we met a man named B___ this last week who has an incredible story! I won't go into too many details, he has told us pretty wild stuff, but essentially about 8 months ago he was in prison. He read the bible, changed his ways, and has been a youth minister for the last few months. He was just switching churches when we met him, and showed him A Savior is Born. We got to go back a couple days later, teach the Restoration, answer some questions, and we are going back by to read the beginning of the Book of Mormon with him today.

So that about sums up my week. Once again, crazy, but super good. Thank heavens for that! I am sorry that y'all are so busy and trials, it's almost like my blessings have stole yours, but I pray things will work out for all y'alls good too!

Happy P-daay! From Elder Branch

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