So, this last week has been pretty awesome. Elder Ochsenbein and I were able to find seven new investigators this week. Three of them have committed to baptism and are on date to be baptized. Now, we just have to see if they keep their commitments. All of those new investigators we have only taught one lesson to. So I am really eager to do and do follow up lessons and see if they are keeping commitments.
So I will try to give as much detail as possible on the last few days.
Monday-18th: It was our p-day. We pretty much did p-day things. We went and bought food. My companion likes that I like to cook. I like it too. :D We taught a lesson to a man named Jimmy. He is about 83 and he listened to our lesson and accepted a BofM. We committed him to read, and I am looking forward to seeing if he reads.
Tuesday-19th: It seems like this day was so long ago. We went out and worked. We Taught a couple named James and Ivy. They are like Jimmy. They accepted a BofM and agreed to read it and to pray about it. When we invited them to be baptized, they said they already had.... Everyone has already been baptized, so I am learning how to help people understand that we ask them to be baptized again so they can make convents with God. Those covenants are what make baptism important.
Wednesday-20th: We had district meeting this day. We went up to Lynchburg and went to lunch at a place called "Cook-Out." It was pretty good. Then we went back to the church and had our meeting. It was fun and spiritual. It was nice to see missionaries. Gretna is a country town. Not a ton of people, and everything is really spread out. Going to Lynchburg was strange because it was an actual city. Random fact, Lynchburg has a college called Liberty University. It was started by a Major Baptist Preacher down here years ago. At this college they have a requirement that you to take 3 hours of Anti-Mormon classes. So, Lynchburg is an area that takes a lot of faith and hard work. But I am down in Gretna. We also taught some less-active members and we invited them to come back to church. They did come on Sunday, so that was great. We also had a non-member there, and she sat in on the lesson. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted. It is fantastic!
Thursday-21st: This day we did a good amount of tracting. It was FREEZING that day. The humidity here makes it so that almost no matter how many layers you have on, you are still cold. Its great to be working and freezing and knowing that your serving God. I love it.
Friday-22nd: We had a branch social. It was a lot of fun. Not many people came, but the food was great. We played games after, one of which was "see how many marshmallows you can put in your mouth." Hehe, that was was a lot of fun. I was able to put fifteen regular sized mallows into my mouth. it was hard though, cuz I would laugh and they would all almost come out. It was a lot of fun. The members here are great.
Saturday-23rd: Another day of work. We did tracting and teaching. We visited with a man, a member, that hasn't been to church because of his health. He has a sad but incredible story. He was in a accident down in Florida years back, and it really messed up his health. He cant do much now as far as work so they are living on their savings. They are having a hard time because of a lot of people taking advantage of them. One of which was this guys brother. It's sad, but he was telling us that the way he has gotten though it all was his knowledge and application of the Atonement. He prays everyday to ask God to help him forgive those that have wronged him. He is a great man with a great heart. There was another guy we met that day that we sat down and talked with. He is a non-member, but he also has a good heart. Although, in our speaking with him, he told us how he had grown 300lbs of tobacco back in 98' and is still using it to make his own cigarettes. But he told us his relationship with Christ and how he tries to be a good man. He once overheard at a restaurant, the waitress that was serving him, how her family was struggling a lot financially. So he left her a $500 dollar tip, with her name on it, so it was hers. He said he waited a few weeks to go back, and when he did, she saw him, ran up to him, gave him a hug, and told him that her parents were able to buy a much needed washer for Christmas. He has a really good heart but he is not interested in the Gospel.... Yet....
Sunday-24th: On Sunday, Elder Ochsenbein and I spoke in Sacrament meeting. I spoke on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. It was a 20 minute talk. It was an alright talk, I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be, but the great thing about the spirit is that it can teach you when people are boring or aren't sharing a good lesson. The spirit is the real teacher. (John 14:26) Also, it started to snow a little here (the people here freak out at snow, probably because they don't know how to drive in it) and so the rest of the meetings were canceled on Sunday.
Some random facts about the mission. Our mission has the largest fleet of cars out of any mission, and we are getting more. The roads here are kind of crazy. None of them are straight, and there is little or no shoulder.
So something that I am learning this week: I am starting to realize one of the great blessing of a mission. That is love for my family. I liked that quote you shared with me mom about a missionary is someone who leaves their family for 2 years so that others can be with theirs for eternity. I have been praying a lot for you back home. I am realizing the love I have for all of you, for you Mom, and Dad, Daniel and Rachel. Also my love for my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Don't get me wrong, I loved you all before, but you start to realize just how important family is while you are on the mission. My love for all of you has grown a lot.
Well, with this I will close my epistle, I know that God lives. I know He loves us. He is watching out for each of us every second of every day. He is aware of our situations and is willing and eager to help us. Living the Gospel of Christ is how we can access His help. I know that to be true.
I love you all, and I hope you are all doing well. Keep going strong!
Elder Joshua R. Spencer
SLAWDOG! This was really good!
Our Front Room/Study Room
The Kitchen with Elder O