Hello Again, Everyone!
This last week has been so great. :) The title of this email is a quote from David Langdon. He is an investigator we're teaching, by the way. We've been working really hard, and things have just been falling into place for us this week. We've definitely seen a lot of blessings come. We're trying to work more diligently and also be more obedient, and I know that's making a difference. The branch here is also participating in something called "40 Days of Fasting" where different families or couples in the branch are taking a turn to fast once or twice in the next 40 days. So there is always someone fasting each day. Missionary work has really taken off these last few days! We've had a lot of success with finding and teaching people. When Elder Poulsen started here at the beginning of last transfer, about 2 and a half months ago, there was almost nothing going on in this area. But this week, we taught 19 lessons, which was one short of the "Michigan Lansing Mission Standards of Excellence" (20 lessons per week), which, if we reach it, it means that we're doing really well :) . Numbers aren't at all measures of success, but they do help to indicate it. Generally, if we're working hard and doing everything we're supposed to do here, the Lord will bless us and help us to be able to get the work he needs done. So this week was totally successful :) . But I'm really hoping to reach that goal of 20 next week.
Tursday was a great day, we had a district meeting with the 8 missionaries in our district. Those we have every week, and they're always really good. Especially since all of us really like each other; we have a really good disctrict this transfer with good, hardworking, fun missionaries. Elder Poulsen is a stud, he's great. He's 6 months ahead of me, and he's going to come to my homecoming when I get home (he better) . He's a really fun guy, and he's helped me with a lot of things. He's one of the best teachers that I've ever heard, he explains things really well and he knows the doctrines and lessons. I really hope that I get to serve another transfer here with him. I know that he cares about me and is glad that I'm his companion, and we work and teach really well together.
But anyway, Thursday after our district meeting, President Jones actually came up to the West Branch building were the meeting was held, and we all got to have an interview with him. That was definitly one of the coolest experiences I've had so far on my mission. Mission Presidents are really in tune with the Spirit, and just talking to him, you know that President Jones is an authorized servant of the Lord. I felt like I was having an interview with a general authority. Actually, that isn't too far off the truth. But this was going to be his first real interview with me and also his last, as he will be leaving in June and the personal interviews are only held once every three months. But he gave me some really good advice, and then I asked him about something that had been bothering me that I really wanted to improve on. It was actually about recognizing the Spirit, and we talked about that for a bit and he helped me a lot with that as well. Thats something I've really wondered about for a long time. But I'm working on it, and I have faith that my Heavenly Father will help me to be able to improve on that. But we talked for a little while longer, and then President Jones gave the closing prayer. It was really amazing what he said, I wish I could remember more of it. But what he said was actually a good portion of my patriarchial blessing, it was amazing how closely related they were. I felt so blessed to be able to have that interview with him and have him pray for me like that. I truly am blessed to be out here. But that was a very special experience. I really hope that I am able to see or talk to President Jones again after my mission. After he goes home, maybe I'll still email him occasionally?
Today was actually a pretty crazy day too. Normally Saturday is P-day, but today was a special occasion. We're actually teaching the Allred family, and they're great. There is the Mom and Dad, and then a 14 year-old girl and a 10 year-old boy. They are so awesome! I love that family! We went over yesterday and taught them a really good lesson. We've been thinking about them a lot lately because they've been so close to baptism, which is the whole point of missionary work because of 2 Nephi 31:17. So we've been wondering how we can help to get them there, because they are doing all the things they need to be doing like going to church and reading and praying and they're so close! Elder Poulsen actually talked about them to President Jones in his interview, and he got a lot of good advice for how to help them. So yesterday the lesson went really well, but instead of trying to set a date for baptism then (which is what they need to progress), Elder Poulsen remembered that there was a baptism in a nearby area today, and he felt prompted to invite the Allred family to come to watch that. So we rearranged our whole day so that we could go with them. We came over early in the morning and helped them repair something on their garage, and then we hung out with them for a while. We slipped away for a little bit to teach a quick lesson to a nearby recent convert, and then we headed up to meet the Allreds at the church building in the other area to watch the baptism. The baptism was a little different than a normal one, but it went really well in the end. After it was over, we pulled the Allreds aside to a different room and taught them a lesson for a little bit. That was the most spiritual lesson that I've been part of so far on my mission! We were both nervous, but we did everything we could to invite the Spirit and we followed everything that we were prompted to do. The Spirit was so strong in there! We talked about baptism for a bit and then invited them to be baptized on the 14th of May. At first the wife was a little reluctant, she didn't feel like she was quite ready yet. But then we talked a bit more and promised them that the Lord would bless them for them showing the faith to set a baptisimal date. We pushed a little bit more, as the Spirit directed us to and what he told us to say, and they agreed! Elder Poulsen and I were so happy afterwards, we were hugging and celebrating with a Blizzard at Dairy Queen! We're so excited for them! That is such a cool step for them, and we know that that's what the Lord wanted for them too. Missionary work is so rewarding. We're blessed so much for it. The windows of Heaven really are opened up to us, and also to the Allreds.
I have to go, but I hope that you enjoyed hearing a bit about some of these experiences I've had. It's been such a great week, and I look forward to making next week even better. I love you all, talk to you later!
Elder Trevor Casper