Tuesday, January 3, 2012

01.03.2012 "First Week in January- Turning 20!"

Dear Everyone,

Well, I think I have a few minutes tonight to tell you a little about how things have been going lately. They've been pretty crazy with the holidays, and we've been pretty busy lately too as things have been picking up a bit here, so that's good news. Christmas was great, getting to call home and talk to everyone. On both Christmas and New Year's we were able to visit several different families, which was nice.

The weather has been strange. It'll snow a little bit one day, and then two days later it'll warm up to 35 or 38 and it'll all melt. Then we'll have slush and ice for the next couple days, and then it'll we'll get a little dusting again, and so on. It just goes back and forth. I'm not very impressed so far with the snow here so far this winter (other than that one 8 inch snowfall at the beginning of December). I guess this is a blessing though, because it allows us to still use our bikes to get around town. We're on a "one week on, one week off" car rotation, and on the weeks when we don't have a car we still do a fair bit of biking. Even when it's 20 degrees outside and there's an ice breeze, I've found that with gloves and earmuffs and my coat I can still stay pretty comfortable as we ride around town. Everyone thinks that we're crazy. 

I wanted to tell you a little more about some of the people we've been teaching, so here are a couple paragraphs from my email to President Hess this week where I described some people we've seen recently:

Brother Beckwith is a less-active member we hadn't seen in a while. We saw him again last week the day Elder Jones was with us. We learned a lot more about him in that visit, and I feel like I really understand much better than before where he is coming from. I really want to help him, and I hope that he'll accept that help. He has no desire to attend church right now, although he says that that doesn't mean he won't in the future. He seems to feel right now that God is angry at him for some reason, which reason he didn't tell us at the time. One thing we talked about a lot is how God still loves him and wants to help him, which he does know deep down. We really feel like we need to help him to pray and to listen to the scriptures. I also feel like we should help teach him the doctrine in the missionary lessons so he can understand why we do certain things and why it is important to make and keep commitments. He was baptized about ten years ago but never got into the scriptures. He hates all forms of reading and has a type of dyslexia that makes it difficult. I feel like if he had found a way to study the scriptures back when he was baptized, he probably would have gained a testimony of his own. He told us that when he was baptized it was because his wife wanted him to. He's a very nice guy and I really hope that he will let us help him.  

Another family that we hope we can help is the Boyntons. We went over to their house for dinner Monday night They are a part-member family in a unique situation. Only the mother is a member, but she brings her three kids to church when they can make it. The older son is 17 and is planning on serving a mission. Unfortunately, the whole family is very busy all they time, and we only get to come over for a little while every few weeks or so. And when we do, Sister Boynton has asked us not to feel like we need to share a spiritual thought or teach a lesson unless we specifically feel prompted to, because every time we try to do something formal, the dad leaves the room, and she would rather that he be there. With the busy environment in the home, it would be difficult to teach a lesson anyway. We're seeking advice from the Branch leadership about how we might be able to help their family, but in the meantime we're planning on occasionally inviting the older son to come out with us. He's busy too, so hopefully we'll catch him at a good time sometime. 

These are just a couple people from the many that we see each week. We have a few investigators, including a new one from a couple weeks ago named Jack Lynch. He's a really nice guy with three daughters age eight and under. He works all over Michigan and he and his family have been gone most of the time over the past couple weeks, but he wants to meet with us again soon so we can talk more. We talked about the Restoration the last time we were with him and he accepted a Book of Mormon and said he would read from it and pray about it. We're looking forward to meeting with him again soon. 

I don't think I've said much about Elder Ballard. He's a nice guy. He's 19 and he's from Riverton, Utah. This is his fourth transfer, so he's been out almost six months now. It's good getting to serve with him. He really wants to work hard and be a good missionary.

I am so that that I am out here. I know I'm going to miss being a missionary and a full-time servant of the Lord so much when I get home. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ that has been restored to the earth. I know that the priesthood is real. I have felt it's power so many times, especially in giving and receiving blessings. I love the Book of Mormon and all the scriptures, and I'm so grateful for that gift from our Heavenly Father to us.

Well, I'm out of time. I hope everyone has a great week! My birthday is Friday, which is weird! I can't believe I'm going to be 20. Oh well. Talk to you all later!

Elder Trevor Casper

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