Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi Mom! Elder Johnson and I are doing fantastic! Obviously you saw the picture from the baptism, which must have been a surprise for you.  Well, believe it or not, it was a surprise for us as well. For a long time, we'd been discussing with Lupita when her date for baptism would be. At first she resisted a firm date, but kept saying she really wanted to be baptized. Then when Elder Johnson first came to Bloomington, we set her on date for the 13th. She reluctantly accepted the date, but was still really nervous. We invited her to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if the 13th was the right day for her to be baptized. She never got back to us about the date, so we assumed that she was not going to be baptized on the 13th. But, on Thursday she texted us during a missionary meeting in Peoria, and said that she wanted to be baptized on Saturday. That's officially when we entered nervous mode. Immediately we started planning it. Every day practically, leading up to her baptism, was spent either teaching her or planning the baptismal service. Then, Saturday night, I entered a personal purgatory. She was out with her family for dinner, celebrating her niece's graduation from ISU. Some members who are really close to her were invited. She accidentally ordered iced tea. A member noticed, and texted her dad, who happens to be the bishop of our Ward. He texted us about it. Oh crap, we went. Then he texted the zone leaders, who then promptly texted us, and pretty much made us call her up and talk to her about it. The conversation went fine, we talked about the word of wisdom and how iced tea is a part of it, and she took it pretty well, but asked where she could learn more about it. Right as we hung up the phone with her, we saw that both the bishop and her main fellowshipper President Clay, who happens to be the first counselor in the stake presidency, had called us and told us not to call her because it wasn't that big of a deal. Then we found out that she texted President Clay that she felt like she didn't know enough about the church, and didn't think she could be baptized. Enter panic mode. She didn't show up to church. She wouldn't answer her phone. Enter freak out mode. We had a private conversation with all who were involved, and tried to see what happened and how we could best approach the situation. We concluded with prayer, and the bishop had the great idea to bring baptismal clothes over to her so she could try them on. It turns out that she wasn't mad or offended or anything that we thought she was. She has really bad arthritis, and somehow her knees were so inflamed that she couldn't come to church. And she fell asleep, so that's why she didn't answer her phone. It was all a big misunderstanding and the baptism happened as planned. Lupita doesn't have great mobility because of her arthritis, so both of us were with her during the baptism.  Elder Johnson said the words and President Clay confirmed her. It was so awesome to see her get over her concerns and choose baptism into this true and living church. I'll let you know when I get the packages. I love you, Mom. Thank you for your righteous example to me.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


This post is a combination of a couple of recent letters:

Dear Mom, Well, transfer calls came. Elder Olsen is leaving to finish training a missionary in Bourbonnais. I'm staying here, and I'm going to be co-senior companion with Elder Johnson. He's been serving in the Peoria stake as well, in a little town named Princeton. I really enjoyed serving with Elder Olsen. We learned a lot from each other. I had to step things up as a companion to him. When he was scared to talk to people, I talked to every person we saw until he finally chimed in. I had to lead out with planning at points because what was supposed to be accomplished was not materializing. Even though he was the "senior companion," I tried to help him rise to the occasion. I could have tried to do everything on my own, but I knew that if we weren't equally yoked, the Spirit could not accompany us. We finally resolved to be unity in the cause of truth, in declaring the gospel to all who we encounter, and in the faith that there are hundreds and even thousands of people in our area who are waiting to hear the message of the restored gospel. Once we made that decision, the miracles have come rushing forth. We're still helping one woman continue to progress toward baptism, but where we've found much of our success is in bus contacting. With the winter months beginning, we need ways to find new investigators different than tracting. The bus is one of our better options.  And I did receive the package with the wool socks (Grandma/Grandpa). Thank you for watching out for me. It's a blessing I could never thank you enough for.  

Turkey say was pretty enjoyable. Two families combined for Thanksgiving because both of their families live far away. One of the families was from Louisiana so we had a mix of Southern style and traditional American thanksgiving foods. Really spicy turkey. And then two others families combined and we went over there for dessert. All in all a pretty good Thanksgiving. Nothing like Thanksgiving at home, but good all the same. I can't wait to go to Wyoming when I come home. Hope everyone knows that I love them. Tell Jack that we have at least five people who want to be baptized! Tell Isabelle that I haven't received a response from her! But, I still love her.
Well my new companion is Elder Johnson from Las Vegas. He's only been out five months, but we're got to see a lot of success together. We put someone on date to be baptized on the 13th, so we've got to make sure that she keeps progressing. But she's so ready. She just needs to take a leap of faith, and realize that she probably won't receive answers to all of her questions. Our Ward just split in September, so now there are three wards meeting in this building: Bloomington 1, Bloomington 2, and Normal. As you know, the bishop is awesome. He bought all of our groceries on Tuesday, again.  Other than that, same old amazing missionary work stuff. Just being continually converted to the gospel through prayer and the Book of Mormon and prayer. It's the only worthwhile way to live life! Love Ya!