It really has been a great week! Things have been going awesomely.
We taught Christine a couple of times, and she seems to be progressing. She's still pretty stubborn about getting baptized, but I think (and really hope!) she'll get there. She always tells us she wants to move to Utah where her son lives (he's not a member), and that once she gets there she might consider getting baptized. I hope she does! She is fun to teach. She always has such good questions about simple doctrines, and usually ends up completely satisfied with our responses from the scriptures and personal knowledge.
I went back to my very first area on Wednesday, the Ken Caryl Ward. I spent the night in the very same apartment I lived in for the first three months of my mission. The smell brought back so many memories. I know that sounds weird, but you know what I mean? They say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, and I believed it, because that smell took me back... We had a good day there and I was back on a bike for the day. Let me tell you. They need the car way more than we do. Their area had SO many hills!! But I must be in better shape than I was at the beginning of my mission, because it wasn't much of a problem for me this time around. I saw a couple of members from the ward that day. I don't remember too many. One of them introduced herself to me and then paused and said, "Have I met you?..." So I'll count that as remembering me. I was only in Ken Caryl for half the amount of time I was in Coal Mine, so it's no wonder so many people remembered and greeted me at the Coal Mine Ward last week, and I can only remember a few people from Ken Caryl. In any case, it was a good day and I good chance to get back to the good ol' days!
While I was gone Elder Tavares and Elder Pulsipher taught Brandan, so I don't have any details about that visit. All I know is they taught him about fasting, and then we fasted with him on Sunday. It was his third time coming in a row! It was such a fantastic testimony meeting! Probably the best I've ever been to. One missionary had returned home that Thursday from Brazil, and he and his mom both gave great testimonies. (Fun fact: he entered the MTC three weeks AFTER me... ??) There is also a young man leaving on a mission to Taiwan tomorrow, and his mom gave us some tears over the pulpit. Elder Tavares and I also bore our testimonies, and one of the greatest of them all was BRANDAN! He asked, "Can I go up there?" Sure! So he went up and introduced himself to the ward and talked about all that's been going on in the past couple of years and the past couple of weeks, not in detail, but just explaining that the gospel has been a huge blessing in helping him deal with challenges. He especially bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. He is just so awesome. He also mentioned these "fine missionaries" knocking on his door, so hopefully that will help to build the members' confidence in us and we can start teaching some of their friends! His daughter, Amara, gets home from Austria today. She's so excited about everything related to church. But Brandan talked to her mom about it, and she flipped out. She said there's no way her daughter is going to be any part of the Mormon Church. But after talking to Brandan about it a little more, it sounds like she really just has a lot of misconceptions, and is very confused about the Church. So hopefully either she'll come to church and see, or we can talk to her about it and put her mind at ease.
On Thursday we had "Specialized Trainings." Those usually go hand in hand with interviews with the President, but they had special specialized training this time. The whole metro half of the mission was there! We got "little black boxes" in all of our cars. It's basically a back-seat driver on the windshield. It's actually really cool! You log in with a little card before you drive, and it records the aggressiveness or safety of your driving habits, then sends a report to the Mission President. We also had some good spiritually-uplifting trainings and a few on skills and procedures. It was really similar to a zone conference, actually...
Last week we got a text from a guy whose contact information was already in our phone. He texted and told us he wanted to get baptized. I talked to him on the phone last week and told him a few of the things that would entail, and then set up an appointment with him. His name is John. We had a great lesson with him on Friday afternoon with a member present at the chapel. He has many friends who are LDS and has a real desire to join the Church. He has a wife from China and a five-year-old daughter, who we haven't met, but who seem from what he says to be on board. He doesn't know too much of the doctrine of the Church, but he's attended several sacrament meetings. He says going to the LDS Church is the only thing that helps him cope with life's challenges without bringing more problems in its wake. We'll be meeting with him again this week, and then hopefully soon we can start teaching the whole family!
Man, this email is starting to get long! We taught a couple other lessons to some great people! things are going really well and we have quite a few lessons set up for the coming week already.
Let me just say that I know the Church is true, and I know the Gospel is real. The Atonement is real. I always have that testimony, but I really felt it in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I just HAD to get up and tell everyone. It is such a blessing to know these things. And a blessing to share them.