Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Families

This was an incredible week. We've found two amazing new families, had the Trunk or Treat, and had to opportunity to hear from Elder Oaks! So many other great things happened this week. I will start with telling you about my experience this Saturday with Elder Oaks.
      We've known about Elder Oaks coming to the mission for about two months now. I don't know why I haven't mentioned that he was coming before in an email... Oh well. Well he came and it was amazing! It was my first time meeting an apostle. And I have to say, it was one of the most powerful spiritual experiences I have had. First I have to express my fear in meeting an apostle. I have heard so many stories about missionaries shaking hands with apostles and the apostles just staring into their eyes and knowing everything about them. I was very nervous to shake Elder Oaks' hand, not because I have anything to hide, just because I am not too comfortable with people peering into my soul. Haha. The mission took Elder Oaks coming to our mission extremely seriously, as we should, but it really made everyone quite scared. "Hair cut, shoes shined, suits pressed, teeth brushed, clean shaved, no talking, reading scriptures." We must've got that reminder 20 times before Elder Oaks'  arrival. The tension in the room was palpable. When Elder Oaks walked into the room and down the isle the feeling of the room litter ally changed. Elder Parker and I were sitting next to eachother and he turned to me and I turned to him and he said, "Did you feel that?" The room went from being tension filled to complete peace. When Elder Oaks was sitting up on the stand you could just tell that he was full of happiness and joy. He was just smiling and laughing and having such a good time. He was so human. He was not a robot. All the fear that I had of shaking his hand immediately went away once I saw him. Shaking his hand was great! I still haven't washed my right hand since Saturday.
      Elder Oaks has been one of my favorite (if not my favorite) apostle even before this meeting. I have always admired Elder Oaks. He is such an intellectual, so organized and straight forward. People like that are just my type of people. In his conference talk you can tell that he always follows an organized pattern. Of course this is because of his background, but I really admire his organization. He's given some of my all time favorite talks. Particularly his talk on Timing. From this talk you learn so much about Elder Oaks. You learn about his personal life and about his sense of humor. It is a really really amazing talk.
     In our meeting with Elder Oaks he didn't really follow any pre-thought-out outline when he spoke. He really just followed the spirit. I felt that that things that he said, I really really needed to hear. He spoke about the sacrament, and other missionary related things. As he spoke I just felt so full inside. I could not stop smiling. It was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I loved hearing him and his wife speak. His wife has got an amazing testimony and she is such a wonderful speaking. Our mission was so privileged in having the opportunity to hear from them.
     That same Saturday we had the trunk or treat. It is my favorite church activity of the year, because Halloween is my all time favorite Holiday. A member of the ward, Sister Embry, crocheted me and Elder Anderson beard beenies. So that was our costume! It was awesome. The best part about the night was that all of the people that we invited to come came! We had a totally of 17 none member souls there! We had Daniel, David and his little brother Anthony, the Style Family, and the Cowert Family! Everyone had such a great time. It was one of the best nights of my mission. I am so excited about the Style Family and the Cowert Family. We found all of these people through our own efforts, and they are all very interested in the Gospel. The Style family is a great family. There are four girls in the family. Shanell, Shadaysha, Stephanie, and Kristin. The mother's name is April, and she is so nice! We haven't had the opportunity to meet the Dad yet, but we are excited to meet him. Every member of this family is just so kind. Shanell and Stephanie came to church the next morning and loved it! Sister Kelly took them under her wing and they will be coming to mutual this friday. Their Mother is very supportive of them. The rest of the family wasn't able to make church because they had other things going on at that same time, but we hope to see them next week! Rex and Trina are another family that we tracted into. Rex and I really get along. Rex is a biblical scholar and through his studies he's recognized an apostasy, and now understands the need for a restoration. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and is gaining a testimony. He was so impressed by everything inside the Church, and how it is all organized. Because he knows that this is the same organization you'll find in the New Testament. His wife Trina is so loving and awesome. We got along really well. I am so excited about these two amazing families. The ward is really excited about all the people that we've been finding and have been coming to church. They are really getting excited about missionary work.
     The best part of the week was a lesson that we had last night with David and his Mother, Carmen. David's Mother hasn't really sat in on any of the lessons, but has been nearby as we've been teaching David. She seemed kind of aloof during the lessons and we didn't really know if she was interested or not. Carmen was actually the first person that we talked to when we tracted into the house. She didn't seem too interested so we just tried to focus on her son. Carmen has seen an incredible change in David, as have we. After seeing this change she told David that the next time we come over she want's us to teach her, and of course we were excited about this. This lesson was amazing. David was practically a missionary, helping us teach his mother, and testifying of the feelings that he has felt as he has prayed. I just wanted to see inside Carmen's head and see what she was thinking as her former agnostic son taught her about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. It was clear she was touched by the love and time that we've given her family. At the end of the lesson David gave the closing prayer, perhaps the first time his mother has ever heard him pray. The spirit was so strong and David's words were so sincere. After the prayer Carmen just looked up at me and Elder Anderson just gleaming with joy. She says that she wants to hear everything that we have to say. We are ecstatic about David and his family.
     Things are going really well in this area. I could not ask for better people to teach. We are so blessed, God's hand his truly been in every second of the time I've spent here in Dallas. I love it here. I love the members with all of my heart, and I love the investigators we are teaching. Brother Crew is my favorite, The Bush Families are my favorite, the Kelly family is my favorite, the Seawell family is my favorite, the Crisp family is my favorite, the Conyers family is my favorite. I just love this ward. I am so excited to have had the opportunity to serve here and to have gotten to know all of these incredible people. I truly feel like I am making friends that will last the rest of my life here. Wards that start with the letter "D" are just the best. I wish that y'all could meet these families. I wish you could meet George Bush and his father Miles Bush. They are hillarious. Happiest guys on earth and they just crack me up. George and I get along really well because we have very common interests. He loves cameras as do I and he's been very impressed with my camera knowledge. His father Miles is just the coolest guy ever. He's got a radio announcer voice (and he used to be one). He just has a great sense of humor. I love Dallas.
     Well I have got to get going. I love you all so much.
 Brother Alderman
 Brother Crisp
 Brother George Bush
Elder Anderson and Elder Romero

The Styles family

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