Saturday, May 17, 2008

Notes from Sam - 23 April 2008

Dear family,

We're teaching a great family who I think I've mentioned earlier. Elder Smith and Elder Colton (whom I replaced in this area) tracted into them last December. The parents are named Mitch and Natalie, and they have two little kids, a seven(?)-year-old and a two(?)-year-old. They have a born-again Christian background and really love to study and discuss the gospel. It's been interesting for me to teach them. Mitch is very talkative and dominates our lessons a little bit. Natalie is a quiet person and doesn't talk very much, but she loves to study and had started keeping a study journal even before she met the missionaries - she's read most of the Book of Mormon and highlighted verses that are meaningful to her and has now plowed through much of the Doctrine and Covenants too. Elder Webb and I weren't entirely sure about the strength of her testimony though, since she doesn't say very much when we teach, so last week we left them a set of written questions to answer in writing before our next visit. Some of the questions were "Do you believe Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God? Why?" and "What does it mean to you that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth?" When we taught them last night, Natalie shared her answers with us and we could tell that she had a really strong testimony of the truth of the gospel. It was wonderful to hear someone we've been teaching explain how she knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the missionaries were sent to her family from God. Yay! Mitch still has a concern about baptism by priesthood authority and how it can be necessary for salvation when so few people have access to it - he keeps on saying that Mormons won't be the only ones to be saved in the celestial kingdom (which, of course, is true). So next time we're planning on teaching them about baptism for the dead and how God has provided a way for everyone to receive priesthood ordinances the right way. I'm really excited about it.

Ian seems to have disappeared. We haven't been able to get in contact with him for over a week now, I think. We're guessing that he's moved out of Blackpool suddenly without telling anyone (something he told me and Elder Smith he might do due to some difficult personal circumstances). : ( But at least he knows the Church is true, has quit drinking, and has the Book of Mormon and Gospel Principles manual. I just hope that he makes contact with the missionaries wherever he lives now so he can get baptized.

Elder Webb and I now work for a couple of hours a week at the British Heart Foundation charity shop in the swanky resort town of Lytham which is at the southern edge of our area. At the end of last transfer President Jacobsen gave us a call and told us that the shop manager there had called the mission office and asked for some missionaries to come and help her out! Usually we have to solicit community service opportunities, so it was great to have one handed to us like that. I like working at this shop much better than I liked working at the one in Runcorn. This one seems busier and more organized, and we've gotten to do a wider range of things around the shop: last week we were up in the attic boxing up a bunch of tacky Christmas ornaments, but this week we were on the shop floor rotating stock. I mentioned before I came out on my mission that I felt like I'd missed out on the American cultural experience of working retail - now, as a missionary in England, I'm getting it!

I went on exchange with Elder Turner this week, since he's now my zone leader. Our day together turned out kind of badly, since all our appointments ended up falling through, but I really enjoyed working with Elder Turner again, just like I did back in Barrow. He goes home in four months - within a few months of then, about 60% of the mission will have turned over (since several huge MTC groups will be going home, including Elder Turner's), and I'll be one of the "old" missionaries. Kind of crazy to think about.

I'm over my cold now, so I don't sound like a frog anymore. : ) After weekly planning last Thursday, Elder Webb and I were both feeling lousy so we both took a long nap. That seemed to turn things around pretty well and help us work better, and we've been in fine shape this week.

The toffee doughnuts were good, but not as good as Elder Prows talked them up to be. Our next project is to get the man at the chippy (fish-and-chips-shop) across the street to deep-fry Mars bars for us. : )

Elder Pimentel

P.S. I hope Ruth has a great trip to Stanford. I'm a fan of that place. And I guess I hope she enjoys Harvard too. : )

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