Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Notes from Sam - 21 May 2008

With Elder Adams in Manchester

Dear family,

Thank you for the camera! I love it already. And the card reader is going to allow me to send pictures to you from just about any computer, so I can hopefully send some almost every week! Yay!

This week has been huge - it felt like at least two. We got to meet a lot of our investigators, got set up with a service activity (working at the local British Heart Foundation), figured out bus passes and bus routes, went to church, went to zone conference, and went to a family home evening with a big group of members and investigators. The Manchester South Ward is great! All the ways President Jacobsen and the assistants have been encouraging us (in zone conferences, interviews, etc.) to involve the ward in our work are happening here, probably in part because the assistants have been assigned to this ward for a long time. The bishopric and ward mission team have decided that before members can get excited about missionary work, they need to have their faith in Christ and basic habits of scripture study strengthened, and so they've worked out a series of lessons for us to teach to the members and are helping us set up appointments and teach the lessons. Having the priesthood leadership behind us is going to make it so much easier to help members do missionary work.

Elder Adams is a great missionary. Even though he's brand-new, he's already really good at recognizing the guidance of the Spirit and at feeling charity for the people that we meet and talk to. Yesterday morning we were GQing in town center and I set up an appointment to meet someone at 3:30 PM back in town center and teach him (on a bench or something). We came back at 3:30 PM but he wasn't there, so we sat down on a bench to wait for him. After a couple of minutes an older lady came and sat down next to us, and we chatted a bit with her. It was getting to be about 3:40, and it was pretty clear that the man we were supposed to teach wasn't coming, so I whispered to Elder Adams and suggested that we get going. He whispered back, "I think we're here for a reason." So we stayed there and kept on talking to the lady. She told us about how a lot of the people she loved had passed away, and it appeared that she was pretty lonely and sad. She wasn't interested in learning about the gospel, but we were able to share a few gospel principles in our conversation (about God's love for us, etc.) and the Spirit was there. When we finally left awhile later, we both felt like we'd planted some important seeds. It's a good thing Elder Adams was there and listening to the Spirit, because I probably would have just left and missed a good opportunity to uplift someone else.

Our teaching pool is decent-sized, and I don't have time to tell you about everyone right now (besides, I haven't met them all yet). But we had a really amazing lesson last night with one of the most wonderful families that I've ever gotten to teach on my mission. They have six kids (ages 12, 11,9, 3, and 1-year-old twins), and they got referred to the missionaries by a friend they met on the Internet who is a member of the Church from California and whom they apparently asked some question about the Plan of Salvation. Elder Davies (our district leader, who covered our area last transfer) taught them one time and went over the Plan of Salvation, and he set up last night's appointment for us. The three littlest kids were in bed when we came, so it was just the parents and the three oldest kids. They are great people, and they started asking us all sorts of questions about America, and then about the church. The questions they asked all led directly into the message of the Restoration, and we were able to teach it in a really clear and powerful way. When we taught about the Spirit, I read Galatians 5:22-23 and asked if they'd ever had feelings of peace like that, and they started describing all these times and ways that they'd felt the Spirit: "your heart feels warm," "you know that someone is watching over you," etc. It was amazing! Then when we taught about the Apostasy and Restoration, you could see that they all understood it so well - it was like watching light bulbs go on over their heads. We're so excited about teaching them!

I have so much more to say but am out of time again.

Elder Pimentel

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