We taught Sharon the law of chastity this week, and she struggled a lot to accept it. Because she'd been looking forward to her baptismal date so much, it upset her to realize that she'd have to live this commandment. This concern was a challenge and a surprise for us - I realized as we taught just how different Sharon's background is from mine and how blessed I am to have been taught the law of chastity from an early age. Despite the setback, though, she still really wants to be baptized. On Sunday morning she didn't arrive for sacrament meeting and I was really worried that she'd decided to stop investigating, but at the end of the meeting when I looked at the back row she and Richard were there! They'd just arrived late. Not only did they attend sacrament meeting but they stayed for gospel principles, something they haven't done for the past couple of weeks. The lesson was on baptism, and Sister Kala, one of the senior sister missionaries serving in the ward, shared some great experiences about her conversion and baptism. She had married a less-active member, received a witness of the truth of the gospel during a visit to Temple Square, and come to church and asked the missionaries to teach her shortly after the birth of their first son. I was so grateful that Sharon, who is coming to the gospel from a similar kind of situation, decided to stay and be a part of that lesson.
This week I went on exchange with Elder Wheat, a great English missionary who is serving in Shrewsbury. I went on exchange in Wales with him back in January, as you might remember. We had a good time together in our area and worked really hard at finding new investigators. Right at the end of the exchange we had about twenty minutes before we had to eat tea and head back to Shrewsbury, so we prayed on the street that we would be guided to the right place to find someone who had been prepared. We felt guided to knock the doors on that street, and met a good man named Richard who we set up an appointment with! It was great to see a miracle like that.
This week in our conversations with our district leaders we've tried to focus more on the spiritual needs of our missionaries and helping them progress and less on numbers. In our conference call on Friday we talked about getting investigators to church, and I felt that we should focus on thinking about and praying for the individual people who would be coming. I had the district leaders each write down a list of the names of all the investigators who'd been solidly committed to come to church across the zone (29 of them). We talked about how each of these people has a soul and an eternal life ahead of them, and how attending sacrament meeting or not this week is an important step for each one of them. We agreed to challenge every companionship in the zone to pray by name for each of the 29 people on the list on Saturday to help them attend church. I felt the Spirit a lot during the conference call and it was a great experience to pray for each of those people. Many of them didn't end up coming and our sacrament attendance was actually very low this week, but I still felt quite good about what we as missionaries had done and very grateful for the experience of praying for those souls.
We have a pretty new investigator who I'm quite excited about. His name is Ashley (it's a male name in England). We found him last week when we were tracting and his housemate Nikki invited us into their house. We started teaching them a really good lesson, but partway through a third housemate, very friendly and talkative but not spiritually-minded at all, came into the lesson and dominated it. It was a bit frustrating for us, especially because when we set up the return appointment we only got the contact number for this third least-promising housemate. But when we came back for the appointment yesterday, only Ashley was in! We had a really good lesson with him, good mostly because his thoughts and feelings were all really relevant (concerns about how the Bible has been changed and mistranslated, thoughts about how God speaks to us not directly but through spiritual messengers, etc.). As we left, he thanked us and remarked that both times we'd come we'd left him in a really good mood. The Spirit is working on him! We're excited to go back and teach him again on Tuesday.
Dad, you mentioned that Phil Ngo [Ruth's boyfriend] attended Waterford High School. My Stanford friend and future housemate Cliff Crosland (on his mission in Paris right now) also attended Waterford. There's a good chance they know each other.
I'm way excited to talk to you all next Sunday!