Elders Johnson, Powrie, Pimentel & Kyambadde
Yvonne is doing great. We taught her in the home of one of the members of the bishopric this week. I was away on exchange, but Elder Durkin told me about the lesson. We'd planned to teach the principle of obedience and then the commandment of tithing (which we hadn't discussed at all yet). After teaching obedience, they read Malachi 3:8 and Elder Durkin asked Yvonne what she thought it meant. Apparently, she said, "It means that when I get any money, I need to give ten percent of it to the church because that's what God commands us to do." I guess she used to pay tithing in the church she attended before! It feels really wonderful to teach someone who understands everything so well.
We were supposed to teach Ryan tithing as well this week, but he got grounded and couldn't come over to the members' home to be taught. : ( The unique challenges of teaching a 15-year-old investigator, I guess. Luckily he was still able to come to church, and I think he's un-grounded now, so we shouldn't have any problems getting him ready for his baptism next Saturday.
I had a great bus contacting experience this week. I've been struggling to bus contact lately, but yesterday I was trying really hard, and I started talking to a teenager at the back of the bus on the way home. I asked him a few questions and he told me that his best friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident only a few months ago. He had a lot of questions about why his friend had died and what had happened to him, and I felt the Spirit with us a lot as I answered his questions. He was willing to meet with missionaries, later and I got his phone number. It was a perfect contacting experience, exactly what I needed to help me get excited about bus contacting.
I spent a lot of time in meetings this week. Last Thursday was zone conference, and on Tuesday there was a special district leaders' council at the mission home for all 20 district leaders in the mission. Apparently it's the first time something like that has been done in our mission for several years - usually district leaders' councils are conducted by zone leaders and held for a single zone (which reduces travel time and expense a great deal). President Bullock started the meeting by explaining that he had convened the meeting in part to "get the water to the end of the trough," and asked if there were any farmers among us who could tell us what that meant. Elder Pylant from Tennessee raised his hand and explained (in a thick Southern drawl) "Well, it pretty much means what it says - get the water to the end of the trough so the cows kin get some!" : ) President then drew a comparison to our job as district leaders - getting his vision for the mission to each of the individual missionaries. The meeting helped me really get a vision of what district leaders are supposed to do, which I think will be very helpful.
I went on exchange with Elder Johnson in Chorley on Monday and Tuesday. Elder Johnson is from Colorado (about an hour outside of Denver) and came into the mission at the same time as Elder Adams. He's a really dynamic person, very positive and excited about missionary work. He's also a talented drummer and sound engineer, and before his mission he worked the soundboard for a theater in Denver that had major touring shows pass through almost daily. I enjoyed working with him and getting to know him better. I also met a couple of Chorley's investigators, both husbands in part-member families.
Blackburn Cathedral is right next to the bus station where we tend to spend a lot of time. The original building is quite old, I believe, but in recent years some modern touches have been added - a tall metal spire, a big disc-shaped metal sculpture attached to one of the walls, etc. I'm not sure I really like the effect, but it is distinctive. The other day we were walking by the cathedral and I read an interpretive panel next to the disc-shaped sculpture. Turns out it was designed by Mark Jalland, our old art teacher from ISH! Kind of a crazy coincidence. Elder Durkin is not too impressed with the sculpture.
I love you all!