I'm so sorry I missed camping, but I will get to see you next month! I'm really sorry to hear about the Maxfield's, I'm trying not to let it frustrate me, I hope everything will still be okay at home, I'll be praying. What a tender mercy, though, to get to meet Elder Nelson! HE is so wonderful, I was just thinking about him the other day, I'm most excited that Lydia got that opportunity, what a great experience for a budding testimony! So, fun fact, guess who taught the seminary class on Jeremiah 16:16 in the Carondalet Ward's seminary? That's right, ME! Did you know that I am a fisher and a hunter? I sure didn't, I've never been particularly good at OR fond of either (or so I thought)! While tornado season is approaching, being that I am in the city, close to the help and safety that the mission would provide in the case of disaster, I would rather you save the shipping costs for the time being, especially in lieu of recent goings on. I sincerely apologize about the lack of pictures, I still can't find my camera charger and the Elders in my last area are horrific about answering the phone(REALLY aggravating). I will let you know if I don't find a solution by next week.
The coolest experience this week was on Saturday, when I got to spend a big chunk of it with PResident Clark! He came out to teach our three investigators with baptismal dates, Akouvi, Vanessa, and Mensura. He really uplifted and encouraged Akouvi, who we reviewed the Gospel of Jesus Christ with and went over keeping the Law of Chastity, President wasn't expecting us to throw that last part on his shoulders, haha! He also REALLY enjoyed our venture into the Bosnian's house to teach Vanessa, her mom Gracima(no date, yet), and Mensura, he was laughing half the time, he thought it was so much fun! We read Jacob 4 together and talked about the importance of scriptures and reading them, we also set Vanessa(16) up with a date to the Mormon Prom that night, it was great! Mensura, we found out, is only 16 as well, and is expecting her first son with her 18 year old husband Valentino(Vanessa's older brother) very interesting culture, but they're living the Law of Chastity! Valentino is as great guy, too, and we hope to baptize him as well, maybe even at the same time as Mensura, because she didn't make it to church yesterday, so we will have to push her date back., but she still REALLY wants to get baptized!
Did I tell you I was moving an investigator and tore my pants right up the back when trying to set down a million pound solid wood dresser? Well, I did, I bought a new pair on supersale for $15 (Kenneth Cole, super sweet) but still have holes in two other pairs of pants as well, so I'm hoping to find a member who is a seamstress(or, seamster?) soon!
I love teaching the gospel, it really helps me understand it better. There are few things I love more than sitting in a lesson, focused on an investigator, and to have the Spirit give me something to say that has never occurred to me before, or never been so clear. They are things that seem simple, yet are so profound when truly learned and applied. I told an investigator last night about the importnace of prayer, not the sub-conscious in-your-heart kind of prayer, but REALLY praying. I told him that parents know that ski-doos and brand new cars will make their children happy, they're not dumb, but what happens to parents who give that kind of stuff to their kids without the kids needing it or asking for it? They get spoiled rotten! They don't understand what's important, they don't know how to make decisions, and they expect to always be given things for nothing. But if we, as God's children, will ask for things we need, it becomes a teaching opportunity. We ask for a Sea-doo, and then we can be taught that it would be better if we take the money for a sea-doo and put it in a college fund for now, or if we ask for money for gas to get to school, we can be taught that education is important enough to make that kind of sacrifice for. Heavenly Father wants us to learn and grow, but that can't happen unless we come to Him and let Him teach us what will make us happy and why, and how to get it. We can ask for guidance, and when we recieve it, our faith in Him will be that much stronger, we will carry those distinctive answers with us forever. Last night an investigator told us she prayed for comfort when she visited her grandmother's grave to know that she was still with her, and when she placed flowers on her grave, she turned around, and there was a single bright red Cardinal sitting on the stone in front of her, her grandmothers favorite bird and (especially) sports team. A very small answer, but it struck her to the very center, and she will never forget that small token of love from her Father in Heaven. "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." May we take the Savior's counsel more to heart and "pour out [our] whole souls" unto our Father in prayer. I love this Gospel and I love sharing it with those I love. I hope all is well!
Elder James Marshall