Hopefully January is going well for everyone back out West. I don't know if you have any more snow yet. Every time we get snow here, it lasts for a few days and then either warms up and melts or it rains and melts. The result is perpetual slush, all the time. I'd rather have just the snow. We have a couple inches of snow on the ground now, but it's supposed to rain tomorrow and today, so it probably won't last much longer. Oh well.
This last week was a busy week, but a decent one. We were able to teach 17 lessons to people and families this last week, which is pretty good. I only have a few minutes, so I thought I would talk about a couple of our investigators.
Gale is one investigator that we've been teaching for a few months. She's was a librarian for 30 or so years, and has some kind of a Masters degree in Library Science, or something related, so she's pretty smart. This last week we met with her, and she had a lot of questions about Baptism for the Dead, so we taught her about the subject as best we could and read the middle part of D&C 128 with her to help. She seems to want to start reading the Doctrine and Covenants along with the Book of Mormon. We think that would be great, as long as it doesn't distract her from reading the Book of Mormon as well. We showed her the LDS online distribution store and she's going to order a regular paperback triple combination. We'll be seeing her again this week and probably answering more of her questions. She wanted to know more about what the Doctrine and Covenants were, so we're thinking of reading the Explanatory Introduction at the beginning and also Section 1. Also, last time we saw her we left her Elder Bednar's talk from last conference called "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn" to watch online. Hopefully that helps answer her questions as well.
I've never taught anyone quite like her. She is very nice, and we always look forward to going over to see her. I definitely want to keep in contact with her whenever I leave the area. She might be leaving soon too, and moving to Detroit for a while to help a friend of hers who is going through some health struggles right now. If she does, we'll get her in contact with the missionaries down there, and also the ward there to help move her in. I'll let everyone know what ends up happening with Gale.
We were able to teach a new investigator this week named Bob Fifield. He is 67, and is the nephew of an 80-year old less-active member of the branch, Brother Penix. He has moved in with his uncle for the time being. He came to church last Sunday as well as yesterday, and likes it there and want to keep coming. We're going to try to meet with him this week and start teaching him the lessons. He seems like he's pretty normal and understands things we teach fairly well if we teach simply, but he has a speech impediment that makes it difficult to understand what he says. It'll be good to start working with him though. He's a nice guy. His wife passed away a few years ago and he's kind of been wandering around since then. He needs the hope and understanding that comes from the restored gospel and the plan of salvation.
Here's something I've been thinking about lately:
From time to time I feel as though I am being stretched to my limits mentally. I suppose that it could be "growing pains" related to the strenuous spiritual growth and exertion that serving a mission entails. I think of President Eyring's talk from the Priesthood Session of last General Conference when he said:
"[The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood] is a covenant we make with God to keep all His commandments and give service as He would give it if He were personally present. Living up to that standard as best we can builds the strength we will need to endure to the end.
"Great priesthood trainers have shown me how to build that strength: it is to form a habit of pushing on through the fatigue and fear that might make you think of quitting. The Lord’s great mentors have shown me that spiritual staying power comes from working past the point when others would have taken a rest."
Though I do feel strained and stressed sometimes, I cannot deny that I do see the Lord's hand behind all of this. From time to time I catch glimpses of it, and that reassures and strengthens me. I just need to make sure that I am not allowing discouragement to creep in and weaken my faith. I know the danger of that, and I know the source of it.
Still, I'll keep going and working. I am sure that the Lord has a reason for what he does. Perhaps the experience I gain will help me later in my mission or later in life.
I know that the our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ live. They love us, and are aware of our situations. Father in Heaven hears our prayers. Even though it's easy to be impatient sometimes with them and their timing for things, I have faith that everything that He does do is because He loves us and He knows what is best for us.
Time's up, but I hope you all have a great week. It's weird to think that I've been out here a year now. Luckily, I still have another year, and that's a long time. Still, I know it'll pass quickly. I'm going to use it as wisely as I can! Love you all, and I hope things go well for you as we start the new month!
Elder Trevor Casper