This week has been very nice, just warm and sunny. Sorry to hear about the variant weather that Oregon is prone to! I cannot imagine a day that is not 70-75 degrees with sunshine all day, what is it like?
I appreciated the update about the happenings of the Chandler clan; it sounds like a lot of the families here in Santa Margarita: Soccer, back-to-school night, driving, being busy, etc... everything except for "soggy"
Well enough about the weather. Last week we had a mission conference that I neglected to tell you about and this week we have zone training meeting, choir, follow-up trainer meeting, and next week a general authority is visiting for zone conferences and mission leadership council. Then the week after that is transfers. I really feel at home here and the work is going so well that I will probably get transferred. Ha.
Back to last week's mission conference. There are two parts of it that I remember. None of it was really about the conference itself. First, I really did not want to be at the conference and I had a bad attitude because three of thecompanionships in the zone had to miss some of church for it, and it just felt like an excuse to get out of working on a highly productive Sunday afternoon. I just felt like the missionaries were not there to apply anything that they were about to learn, but they were just having a party. So then Elder and Sister Richards (the visiting general authority and his wife) spoke and talked to us. Elder Richards made a comment that I kept with me. He said that President Orgill had asked him and his wife to come speak because President Orgill wanted the entire mission to have experiences together where they could feel the spirit and be edified and instructed together. That made all the difference for me. It was more about the unifying spirit that the actual doctrine being expounded. I started taking notes after that and learned a lot.
Elder Richards also related a story of a missionary who served when Elder Richards was a mission president in Texas. The missionary got whitewashed (When both companions are new to the area) into an area and there was no food except a box of old corn flakes. That week it was Christmas. The Elders did not get to go shopping until after Christmas, so they just had those old cornflakes for Christmas. Elder Richards said that if they had just asked to take 20 minutes of their lunch time to go shop then he would have gladly allowed them to go get some food! It just so happened that last Sunday our gas tank had only 7 miles left until empty (poor planning on our part), and it is about a 20-25 mile drive up to the mission office where the conference was. We were going to have to buy gas on our way home, but that story inspired us to ask God for help that we wouldn't have to purchase gas on Sunday. We made it home! And we had enough gas to get us to the gas station the next morning!
Another great experience this week was with Jaleh, who is our Iranian investigator. She loved the women's broadcast about covenants. She also invited her Jewish friend George to church and he came and believes that his search for the true Christian church has ended!
Jaleh has been attracted to the church because of her daughter Nissa. Nissa is 12 and Jaleh wants Nissa to have structure and morals in her life. Jaleh and Nissa are close friends with the ward mission leader and his family. At first Jaleh loved the programs of the institution called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". She strove to understand the concepts intellectually and saw how these activities and programs really benefited the people who participated. before my mission this is how I saw the church for a long time. I though that it was great because it really did help people become better people to put it simply. As I have seen real changes in people's lives it has strengthened my testimony that this church has great guidelines and great structure. As I have seen people change their hearts and let the peace and joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives then it has given me a testimony of the reality and divinity of the truthfulness of the restored gospel.
In the past few weeks Jaleh has experienced feeling the Spirit in her life. She has prayed and read the Book of Mormon (she reads the children's picture book :-) As she has done so the ideas and equations that she understood the gospel to be became real and brought joy to her heart. It was a classic example of how the spirit will speak to our minds AND our heart and the whisperings of the Spirit testify of truthfulness and they change our hearts. I think it talks about that is D&C 8 or something like that. So that is pretty neat, she is talking about who she wants to baptize her, so we are excited on that front as well.
The Journay's are busy with the end of tax extension season and the wife wants to invite her co-workers to her baptism, so we have reset the date for October 19 (Elder Shiu's birthday!!) We also found another investigator who has agreed to get baptized on October 19. So that is 4 people coming up. Yup, looks like it's time for me to get transferred.
I hope the rain is enjoyable and that it adds variety to your lives. I will admit that I am jealous of the excited process of precipitation that you get to witness. I am in a figurative drought of weather excitement. Anyways, I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you Mom! Elder Shiu and I are headed up to the office in a little bit to get mail and I am excited to see what is there! My leg is doing much better. I will show you pictures after my mission.... in about 13 months, right? I think I still have a long time left, so be patient.
The following photos are from the Coleman family who fed the Elders last night and were kind enough to send us these photos: