This last week has been pretty fun, although really busy. My birthday was fun too, and I'll have to tell you more about it next week. We had interviews with the Mission President this week, which were really good. [Since I am out of time,] I'll include excrpts from my letter to President Hess this week about how things have been going here in the St. Johns area:
"Things here in St. Johns have been going fairly well. We didn't have the car for most of the week, but we were still able to get around to everywhere we needed to be. One thing that we've been trying to work on since leadership training is working more effectively with Brother Moore and the Branch Council. In our last two correlations with Brother Moore we've started having our branch missionary, Brother McKay, attend as well. We were able to go out Brother McKay this last week and visit some less-active members, which was very helpful. We look forward to working with him more in the future. We also are going to try to keep Brother Moore updated on everything that's going on several times a week.
"We're still working on coming to Branch Council each week. I think that President Draut is probably just fine with it, but it seems like Brother Moore still doesn't really see the point in him coming to council if we are there. We're having dinner with President Draut tonight, so we'll probably ask him about what the best thing to do would be. Other than that, Brother Moore is very helpful with everything else. He really wants to be a good Branch Mission Leader and is trying to find out what more he can do. I told him that we would study it more and get back to him about how we can work together to do more. I am thinking about possibly bringing the DVD for The District 1 over to his house the next time we correlate so we can watch the segments about working with the Branch Council and Mission Leader. I think that will help both of us to be able to see what things we can improve on and what new ideas we can try.
"We attended Branch Council this last Sunday and that went great. We had copies of the Progress Record for everyone and we went down the list and talked about each of the people. President Draut and the Branch Council really want to be involved and to meet the people we are working with. We discussed having members of the branch come visit our investigators periodically, which I think would be really helpful if the investigators are receptive to it. We also talked about how we could help several less-active members. President Draut suggested that we (and their home teachers) offer to teach some of them the lessons again, or possibly ask them if we could practice teaching the lessons to them. We were also asked to visit one of the families that several branch members are working with to prepare to be taught. We'll probably stop by once a week or two to check in on them and be friendly. Overall, the St. Johns branch seems to be well engaged in missionary work, which is exciting.
"We also found a new investigator this week. His name is Mark, and he's someone we met when we were out visiting former investigators. He actually lives in downtown Dewitt, above the salon right next to Sweetie-licious. He's in his early 50's and seems to not have family nearby. He told us that he has had many missionaries in his house before over the years, but there is no teaching record for him in the area book. He's a very interesting guy, and I'm not quite sure what to make of him just yet. He seems a little crazy, but at the same time very smart. It's almost like he talks in riddles, in a way. I'll have to let you know more about him when we understand him better. But he seems very willing to meet with us. We should be able to see him again this Wednesday.
"While we were out with our Branch Missionary Brother McKay, we stopped by a less-active lady living in Bath named Sister Reich. She told us that her husband was Pentecostal and very against the church, and that she had gone to another church several times, but that right now she felt lost and was looking for direction from God about what He wants her to do. We only got to talk to her for a few minutes, but we talked about the Book of Mormon and the power it has in our lives, and then we gave her a copy (She told us her husband had found her old copy). We're going to try to work with her home teachers and visiting teacher to see what we can do to help her.
"I really appreciated the things that you said, and after the interview I took a few minutes to write down the things we had talked about so I could remember them later. One thing that's been pressing on my mind often since then was what you said about being doers of the word, and not hearers only. I liked the examples of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, and Jesus Christ that you mentioned as we talked. I feel like as I have prayed for guidance and understanding the Lord has shown me a lot of things that I can do and work on. Now I need to act on them, and hesitate or delay doing them for some reason. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father was able to help me so much throughout our interview. I know that this is His work and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. I've come to appreciate it a lot more as I've come to understand better what it means to be a servant of the Lord and what our place as missionaries is in this great work of the latter days. Thanks for all the help you gave me. I'm thankful to be lead by a priesthood leader inspired by God."
Elder Trevor Casper