This week was a very tough week for me emotionally, but I have to say that I have grown so much this week because of the trials I've faced. It has made me look back on the past Seven months. I have asked myself, "Am I giving all of myself to the Lord?" My Mom sent me a letter and attached one of my friends letters to it. Reading his letter really inspired me. From this point on I am changing the way I am going to do missionary work. I am losing myself in this work.
I realize that in my letters I need to give more information about what is actually going on out here. So I'll start and tell you about the ward. This ward was really struggling at first with the missionary - member realationship. This ward is mighty in its potential. I have met the most amazing people in this ward. When I first got into this ward I wondered why the missionary - member relationship was struggling. When I got into this ward I made it a goal of mine to have a relationship with every member of this ward. I have to say that my comanion and I have succeeded in doing this. As we strengthened the relationship with the ward we realized why the relationship was struggling in the first place. The past missionaries never took the time to get to know the members. We'd visit members and they'd say, "This is the first time the missionaries have stopped by. I really appreciate you guys thinking about me."
This ward has completely turned around. I have made lifetime friends in this ward that I will never lose. The Aspers are like my second parents. Brother Asper is my Georgian father. We have grown so close. He has taught us so much about life and the Gospel. He has been an inspiration in my life and I truly feel that I was supposed to meet him. I truly feel he has changed the course of my future just from meeting him and getting to know him. I will never forget the Aspers. I will never forget the people of this ward. There are so many amazing families.
I will tell you about about one more family. The Wombles. Brother Womble used to be a baptist preacher. I have to say, he is the most amazing team up out there. This man knows his stuff about all the Churches around the Atlanta area, because he had one of them. When he speaks he speaks with power. He has no fear. His example to Elder Armenta and I has changed the way we think, and truly made us better missionaries.
The members of this ward have grown to love the missionaries, and we have grown to love them. I still look back when I first came into this area and thinking, "I am going to be so depressed here, not even the members care about us." Dunwoody was truly the area that no missionary wanted to go to. I'd have to say that it is now one of the stongest area's in the Atlanta East zone. The members are excited about missionary work, they want to give us refferals, and they trust the missionaries. I am very proud of the work that my companion and I have done in this area (as you can tell haha).
Elizabeth has talked to her husband and it sounds like that things are becoming less tense between them and the Church. We are hopefully going to have dinner with her, her husband, and the Aspers this Wednesday night. If it happens it is going to be fantastic. She is ready to be baptized, we just need to make sure that her husband is okay with it.
We had one of our new investigators come to Church this Sunday. His name is John. He is a really nice guy, but a little rough around the edges. Those are my favorite kind of people though, because you can truly see the Atonement work miracles in their life. John is a Veteran, but very young. He was injured a little while back and is now just going to school and looking for work. I am so excited to watch him progress and watch his life change. I hope that he continues to meet with us, and continues to come to Church.
Tony and Kim haven't talked to us for awhile. They were progressing so smoothly but now we can't seem to get ahold of them. I am fairly possitive that they got antied by one of their friends... Hopefully we will be able to get in contact with them somehow. We have knocked and called and knocked. No answer. Pray for them.
We have not been able to contact the Roldan Family since Christmas. It is the same story with them. We have tried everything. We have tried calling, knocking, leaving notes on the door, trying to communicate through the children. Nothing. I know that they still love us. I know that they still have a testimony of the Church. I know that the reason that they are being like this is because they are just so extremely busy during this tax season with their job. I just hope that things work out in the end.
That is all the news that I really have from this past week. I know that my mission is making me grow. I don't feel like it is turning me into a different person, but a better person. There is a difference. Brand New and Thrice are still going to be my favorite bands when I get home. I am still going to want to go to rock concerts and wear band t-shirts and buy band posters. I still love snowboarding. I am still going to love the outdoors and math haha. Those things have not change, in fact I love those things more. Everything that I have had a love for has just grown in these past seven months. But I have developed new loves. I love the scriptures. I love learning about the characteristics of God and Jesus Christ. I love the 12 apostles (of the N.T. and modern day) and their attitudes and teachings. I love serving my neighbor. I love sitting down with people and hearing their story. I love old people. Haha that sounds really weird I know, but retirement homes used to be my least favorite place to go. Going there and seeing home bound people is quite honestly one of my favorite things to do now. The people that I have grown closest with out here on the mission have been the old people. Haha. I love God. I truly love God with all of my heart. Every breath I take has been given to me by him, and I love him for that. My new loves have not replaced my old ones. They have not made me into a different person, but a better person.
I hope that this letter makes up for my past depressing informationless letters. I will try to make them better.
I love you all so much. I love hearing from you all and I hope that everyone is doing well.
Gaki at Stake Conference...she never smiles for pictures, must be an African thing