Things are going pretty well here in Harrison. This last week without the car has been a little rough to get some places, but it's still been fun. It should be good serving here with Elder Porter for another 6 weeks.
We went fishing last Monday, even though it was windy and rainy and cold. We still managed to catch a few sunfish though, which was nice. We're going to give fishing another shot again today, so that should be fun. I don't think I mentioned that our fishing licenses expired at the end of March, did I? Well the Winters family has been very kind to us. Brother Winters actually renewed our fishing licenses for us. Not only that, but they also gave us a couch that they were going to put out on the curb (they got a new one and had no place to put the old one). And if that weren't enough, a few weeks ago they actually gave us an almost brand new bike because one of ours wasn't working at all (Brother Winters had bought the bike, rode it once, and then let it sit in his shed for the last four years). And Sister Winters is getting baptized this Saturday, and Elder Poulsen is coming down from Traverse City to perform that baptism! That should be pretty fun.
For the sake of time, I'm going to quote some parts of my letter to President Hess this week.
We're continuing to work here with a number of recent converts, which is nice. We're still working on getting with their home teachers to teach them the new member lessons, but they're doing well. We also have a few investigators that we're teaching that are doing pretty well. The Andrews family is the family that lives in the half of the house above the Cassidy family, who are recent converts (except Bro. Cassidy, he has been a member for years). We've been seeing them for the last couple months, and they have said that they would like to be baptized. We're going to keep working with them on that and try to set a date with them. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of colds going through those two families lately and they've been sick the last two weeks and haven't been able to make it to church. We should be able to teach them again this week though.
We spent a lot of time this last week doing service. On Friday we helped a group of members prepare a camp called Camp Neyati for a branch activity that was taking place on Saturday. They work ended up being a lot more than they had thought, and all in all by the time we got home it had taken up most of the day. The work was fun, however, and we were able to help out a lot. The event on Saturday went pretty well, too. There were a few less-active members there, as well as the Cassidy family, which was fun. We're hoping to start teaching their daughter Shyla, who is the only one living in the home who hasn't been baptized yet. She's opening up more and coming to more events though, so we're hopeful to start teaching her soon.
As for the investigators we've been teaching that have a date, Sister Winters is going to be baptized this Saturday at 7:00 pm, which we're excited about. There shouldn't be anything that comes up now that will change that. We're also planning on David Broniman being baptized on May 5, the following Saturday. We're going to keep working with him on that and hopefully he'll be able to make that date.
We also met with a less-active member this last week named Clifton Farnsworth. He was referred to us by the Elder's Quorum President, and he has been living in our area under the radar for years until recently when the branch received his records. He is a friendly guy, and lives in a senior apartment. We decided to teach him the missionary lessons, since he doesn't know much about the church. He has been inactive in church for most of his life. We found out that his father is a very active member out in Nevada, and it sounds like he has set a good example for his son that has made his son interested in being active in the church again. We're getting him a large-print Book of Mormon and we're trying to work with the branch to find a way to help him come to church, since he has no legs and gets around on a very heavy motorized scooter. We're looking forward to continuing to work with him.
Yesterday Elder Porter and I watched the movies "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" and "Legacy" with some recent converts, the Lanes. I really enjoyed watching them, more than I have before I think. It wasn't so easy for Joseph Smith and the Saints to do everything that they did. I can see parallels between those events that happened and the experiences I've had in my own life and my mission. I wrote in my journal:
I was just talking to a missionary serving in another area (It was Elder Griffiths, the one I served in Allegan with after Elder Ralphs) and I told him a story about something that happened in the North Muskeegon area my first transfer in the mission. I don't know if I mentioned this story or not. I thought it was funny so I wanted to mention that here too."They traveled from place to place, worked hard to obey the Lord (and were blessed for it), and endured many trials, hardships, and what seemed to be setbacks. Yet the whole time, the Lord was teaching them, refining them, and moving them forward. Though at times it would have been easy for them to have been frustrated and discouraged, when it seemed as if the Lord had not kept the promises that He had made, or when it seemed as if the Lord's work itself was being frustrated, they exercised great faith in pressing forward. The Lord did not leave them comfortless. He did not forsake them. He strengthened them, and taught them and endowed them with power from on high. For the work of God cannot be frustrated by men, and as I exercise faith in Him, He will fulfill the promises that He has made unto me."
"It was when Elder Holt and Elder Carr were serving there together. Elder Carr went on a trade-off with Elder Merrill in Holland, and I spent the day with Elder Holt. Everything went pretty well until that night. While we were sleeping, we heard an alarm go off. Elder Holt looked at the clock and turned the alarm off. We both groaned and got up. Morning always comes way too early on a mission (especially since it was my first transfer). It was still dark, and we both got up and started stumbling around and getting ready. Elder Holt went to the bathroom, and I walked into the kitchen. I looked up, blinked a few times, and read the time on the microwave- 3:30. "What?? This is stupid!" I went back to bed.
In the meantime, Elder Holt took a shower, got dressed, and ate breakfast. He looked in the bedroom a few times to see if I was up yet, but I slept right through it all. I guess he thought I wasn't the most obedient missionary and that I was just going to sleep in. It wasn't until he was all done with everything that he looked at the clock and saw that it was... only 5:30. He was ticked, but tired enough that he didn't really care. So he went and curled up on a recliner in the corner of the living room and went to sleep.
An hour later, my alarm went off, and I got up. I looked over at the bed next to me and it was empty. I blinked and looked around. The apartment was dark. The bathroom was empty, the kitchen was empty, the study room was empty, I didn't see Elder Holt anywhere. "Oh great", I thought. I was still half asleep, but I thought hard about what to do next. I had never expected to have my companion completely ditch me. I was just on my way out the door to go look outside the building for him when I glanced over and saw Elder Holt, fully dressed in shoes and a white shirt and tie, sleeping on the recliner. It was a really weird morning.
It turned out that Elder Carr had decided to mess with us on the trade-off (he was always pranking Elder Holt anyway). He just set the alarm as a casual thing. At best he thought that it would just wake us up in the night and annoy us a bit. He had no idea it would turn out like it did. He got a pretty good kick out of it. We all had a good laugh when we traded back the next day."
Have a great week everyone!
Elder Trevor Casper