Hello Again Everyone,
This is going to be a kind of short letter, I think. I got permission to send an email today, but I don't have a ton of time to type out a longer one. But I just wanted to let everyone know how things were going, and also try to answer some of the questions that people are asking me. This last week has been a pretty good week though. However, it's been HOT! The temperatures were up in the high nineties for much of the week, and along with that we had humidity up somewhere in the 80's for a lot of the time as well. It wasn't the best week not to have a car. Luckily, we were able to get the car back on Wednesday, which helped quite a bit. Before then, though, we just had to deal with it, but things turned out ok. We gave the bikes that we had before to nearby PawPaw, so now we're on two slightly older and smaller bikes. We managed to get around pretty well though. Unfortunately, these bikes have no suspension. Suspension is pretty nice if you're riding off-road... or in Michigan's case, on-road, haha. Still, we've been having a lot of success lately, which is very encouraging.
We were able to meet with a man named Louie for the first time on Tuesday. He's a very nice old man in his 80's. He actually fought in WWII, and he's told us about some of his stories about that, and how he felt like God was looking out for him during that time. He is very open to the gospel and enjoys meeting with us. He read the pamplet that we have that talks about the Restoration, and he wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said that he really feels like Jospeh Smith was a prophet. We talked about the Restoration a bit on Tuesday, and then we also met with him again on Thursday and watched the Restoration DVD with him, which is about 20 minutes long. You can find the same movie at http://mormon.org/videos/ by clicking on Restoration of the Gospel, going to the second page of videos, and clicking on the 20 minute one. We watched it with him and then asked him how he felt about it. He told us that it was very powerful, and he wondered if the people who made it knew how powerful an effect it would have on the people who watched it. He said that it was very soul-searching, and also told us that everyone needed to see that. We testified to him about how we know that it is true, and that Jospeh Smith is a prophet called by God. We also testified that we know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that he could come to know that it is true for himself by reading and praying about it, through the Holy Ghost. After we finished, he told us, "Well, I guess I had better get reading". The Spirit was so strong throughout the time we were there. We love Louie. He is such a nice man, and it is such a joy to see him exercising the faith to find out if these things are true. We're meeting with him again later this week, and we're excited to get to talk to him and to see how far he has made it into the Book of Mormon by then.
We also were able to teach the Reed family for the second time, which went really well. They have been to many churches but felt like something was wrong or missing from all of them. They are very nice as well, and we enjoy going over there. The mom and dad have four sons, ages 10, 11, 13, and 14. They are definately prepared to hear the message of the restoration of the gospel. They've been trying to make it to church the last couple weeks, but something keeps coming up. So we were really excited when they finally were able to make it yesterday! They really enjoyed it as well, and we're excited to continue to teach them. We also met another new investigator. Her name is Lori. She's a very kind lady, but she's had a lot of really rough things happen lately and she is having a hard time. One of her friends is a member, and she asked us to stop by Lori and drop something off for her, and also to share a comforting message about God's love for us with her. We did that, and we had a nice conversation with Lori. She felt the Spirit, and she seemed to feel happier after we left. It's such a blessing to be able to serve the Lord as a missionary.
One last thing before I go, we also had a fun Branch event on Saturday for Pioneer Day. Many people dressed up in Pioneer clothes, and there were different activities and games as well. There was a pretty good turnout, and lots and lots of food. We were also excited that our investigator Chiquita was able to make it as well. Everyone seemed to have a good time there, and we are so happy to see Chiquita developing relationships and friendships with the members of the branch here. She is someone else who has really been prepared to hear and accept this message. We have a baptismal date set with her, but we're going to have to move it back a bit because we still have a bit more that we need to teach her first (Lesson 3 in Preach My Gospel, the Commandments). But she really understands everything as we teach her, and she's continuing to gain a testimony for herself from the Holy Ghost. There are a lot of people that we're starting to find here. The week before last week was kind of a rough week, but I knew that the Lord had much in store still, and that as we continued to work hard, He would bless us and things would start working out. We have definately seen that this last week, and so far this week is going great as well. Often, it seems like things get hardest right before something good happens. The Lord truly guides his work here, and I know that as we continue to work hard we will be able to be tools in the Lord's hands to bless and bring the gospel to many people. I really feel like the difficult weeks that we went through refined us, and strengthened us individually and as a companionship. We are working together better now than ever before. I know that this is the work of the Lord, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His kingdom on the earth, that Jospeh Smith was his prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I've found so much strength, and so many answers in that book. I know that it is true, and that the message it contains about Jesus Christ is true as well.
I'm out of time, and I've typed out a much longer email than I meant to anyways. Have a great week everyone! I'll try to answer questions next week if I can. In the meantime, pray for the Reed family, for Louis, for Chiquita, and for a man named Darwin that we met today that has met with missionaries before and is really interested in learning more (I'll talk about him next week). Bye everyone!
Elder Trevor Casper