1. Elder and Sister Bird's wonderful Thanksgiving meal for the missionaries. (Elder and Sister Bird are a senior couple who work in the Church Employment Center at the Madison Stake Center).
So Elder Moeller is now enjoying the comforts of home, and my new companion is Elder Hansen. He has been out one transfer less then I have (so 4.5 months) so that makes me the senior companion at 6 months. It's been really fun to get to know Elder Hansen. He is from Nyssa, Oregon which is basically an hour west of Boise, Idaho. He's a singer, too, so we may play some musical numbers in the near future.
Before Elder Moeller returned home he shared some parting advice to the entire mission. It was sad to see all the departing missionaries go.
2. The departing missionaries. Elder Moeller is the tall Elder on the far
left next to Sister Andersen.
3. Elder Moeller's parting advice
4. Elder Golightly (Elder Leavitt’s other trainee) and me
5. Elder Alarcon's parting advice
Pretty much out of the starting gate, Elder Hansen and I tore it up in Hendersonville. By the end of the week we had seen and taught 21 people which is a new record for the area in about 4 months. We were so happy because all we need is another week like this and then we can become Facebook missionaries. That will not only improve the area, but will also allow us to teach our non-member (and in some cases) member friends.
So on Wednesday I learned the difference between being bold and being overbearing. There is certainly a fine line, but I think I may have grasped it for the most part. We have an investigator who has his own theories of the scriptures. He gets into books such as the Book of Judas and the Book of Thomas (both of which are not in our scriptural canon) and LOVES the book of Daniel. I felt so much love for this guy and I knew that getting carried away and sidetracked would not lead him to the salvation of the gospel of Jesus Christ….so I was bold and up front with him. The spirit was very strong. I laid out everything he needed to do to truly be converted. He must've felt something cause he bought us lunch a few days later.
On Thursday we were tracting, and came across these teenagers had set up this tight rope course. It was very complex and legit so Elder Hansen gave it a go. He tried the one that was about two stories up and had he not been wearing a harness, he would've died. The teenagers were having a blast saying, "The Lord saved you man!" "JW's on the top line!" And more. We ended up teaching one of them and he actually was interested so that's awesome. By the end of the week we were exhausted but it's all worth it.
6. My new companion Elder Hansen taking literal leaps of faith walking a tightrope!
I wanted to give you an update on my in-depth study of the New Testament. I am reading the Book of Revelation. It's a very rough process, but I am currently working on chapter 15. I should finish by the end of the week. I outline it, and then list the symbolism and possible explanations combined with what the church has stated. I know that scholars probably have a lot better idea on this stuff than I do, but through the spirit I understand a lot of it now, which is awesome.
7. Here are my notes on the Book of Revelation
Finally, I would like to share with you one of my new favorite scriptures that is also a favorite of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. (He is one of the apostles in our church). It's from Hebrews 10:35-39.
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
I love these scriptures because they teach me the importance of maintaining my personal faith and confidence in the Lord especially when a trial or some doubting person wants me to adjust what I believe. It is challenging for all of us to maintain a testimony and a desire when there are so many things that fight against us.
I'm very grateful for this gospel and I'm also very grateful for people like you all who read this stuff and write to me.
Thank you very much for reading my email and have a happy thanksgiving.