I am exhausted, but I'm back! Elder Chicky and I left first thing this morning to bike to an apple orchard by 8 am so that we could do some service until noon! It was great, and they fed us lunch there, with the freshest apple juice my lips have ever tasted. And now it's back to proselyting time! Almost.
It sounds like summer has officially arrived for you guys! Sounds awesome! Enjoy it, especially the DRY Utah heat. Boy do I miss that. There's nothing like wearing suit pants and a white shirt and tie on a bike in 80 degrees with 85% humidity! The other day we biked a solid twenty minutes to get to a street display, and when I went to pull a pass-along card out of my pocket, it was damp. Yum, right? Mase, I don't know how humid it got in Bulgaria, or in Iowa for you, Dad, but Griff, I know you know for sure where I'm coming from!
Dad, I love the picture. I still remember visiting the Manhattan Temple perfectly! I remember going to look for it, and we were crossing a busy street in the middle of the city and you said "there it is!" and I thought, is he stupid? We're at an intersection! But then you pointed out "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" on the side of what looked like an apartment building, and my jaw dropped. Definitely one of my favorite looking temples, if I'm allowed to say that. Its location and everything just says so much, as opposed to having a whole plot of its own.
The American Yard Sports Night didn't go as well as planned, but still great! Everything went great, we just had way more people commit to coming than actually came. But those who were there loved it, and said we should do that every week. So as long as we get a small group pumped, more and more will come each time until three times as many are having a blast! That's the plan in my head, at least. :)
Mini Mission is going well! It's been a little quiet for a while, because we're still waiting for the individual stakes to have summer break from school so that we can pick out a mini mission week, but we're still having skype conferences each week, waiting until it's time! I have to give the Kaiserslautern Stake a call tonight and discuss some things with them. All we're getting is good feedback, so it seems to be making a hit in the different stakes! K-Town (Kaiserslautern) is the next up, followed by Heidelberg and then probably Nürnberg! Elder Chicky only has 2 weeks left, so we're trying to get as much down as a two man team before I'm on my own. We're definitely being kept plenty busy with all that's on our plates, and it will pay off big time in the end.
We found a new investigator this week! His name is Henryk. We found him as we were going by on some former investigators, and he started to chat with us as we were looking at the names on the mailboxes! He simply invited us right in to sit down and talk, something that has almost never happened to me on my mission. He's a great guy. he's 62, and runs a small business that takes care of senior citizens in nursing homes (plegeheim in German, I don't know if that's the word you'd use in English). When he was younger, he was a "full-out hippy" he says, and even started up a gang. But when things with the gang got too intense and sketchy, he tried to make a change and they chased him out. He has always been trying to find God, and has tried so many things to get there. Marijuana, Church, friends, meditation, scripture, everything, and he feels like at times he has gotten so close, but never had a break through, so he got frustrated and gave up on the active religious scene, but our dedication to the Lord is what sparked his interest back up again. He has strong faith in Christ, and he couldn't help but interrupt a few times and say "this is just unbelievable. Two 20 year old boys sitting here in my house, telling me about their faith and love for Christ. I didn't know that was even possible anymore these days!" or things like "look how normal you two's hair is! No crazy colors and styles and junk all over! Clean, neat, and nice. We need more young men like you. Your church and faith is what did this to you??" Honestly, I'd say a lot of what made me this way was Mom, but I guess the Church plays a big role in that too. :)
Anyway, we've met with him twice, and will be going by again this next week. He loves to write, so I asked him if he would write down all of the questions he has about God/life that he's never found an answer to, and that he would ask a living prophet if he had the chance. So we'll see what comes out of that! He would be an incredibly strong member and a great addition to this ward, so I keep that image of him in my head every time we go over, and hopefully can help that become a reality!
Aside from that, we found a bunch more potentials this week through street displays and contacting, and we hope they turn out to be progressing investigators! On Sunday I interviewed one of the Frankfurt Sisters' investigators for baptism, and she passed! So this Saturday there will be a baptism here, and we're gonna get so many people there the ward won't know what to do with themselves. So wish us luck! We haven't had a chance this past week to get a solid weekly planning session in, so we're doing that right after this. So for the rest of the week, I'm not entirely sure what's gonna be happening! But I hope my dang letter comes saying that my drivers license is ready this week. Because if Elder Chicky leaves before I can get that, my new comp and I are stuck to just bikes!
Well, I love you all. I'm super grateful for your examples and your commitment to following your Savior. In the Bible Dictionary it says that one's faith is sparked and grows when hearing the testimony of someone else's faith. You all strengthen my testimony every day, and I hope you all can feel the love I have for my Savior as well! The Church is true and grows and spreads every day as more and more people hear the message of the Restoration. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is the means through which we come closer to Him. Whether you're having a good day, bad day, stressed day, boring day, any kind of day, read in the scriptures and it will only get better. That I can promise you all, backed up with my testimony that Christ lives, loves us, and is waiting with outstretched arms for us to come to Him. But it's ultimately our decision. I pray for you all daily, and I know you all do and will do that which makes your Father in Heaven proud. :)
-- Elder McGinn