Thank you for your letters!! I actually have quite a bit to respond to today and even less time to do so because we are still mid-project ourselves back at our house here in Kekaha. Elder Luke and I decided that while the little bit of tidying up and shuffling clutter around the house that we do from day to day is good, that we really needed to do a DEEP clean.... but as always happens we started only to realize that we were taking on a much bigger project than we realized... so there is still a lot to do. But we were able to clean some windows, remove and organize large piles of cluttered papers, and throw out THREE trash bags worth of old food and misc. junk from the kitchen/living room area. So while it currently still looks like our house is in shambles, it is comforting to know that we have made a lot of progress in cleaning and de-cluttering and it just feels a lot better and healthier being inside. :) And speaking of which, both Elder Luke and I have been feeling a lot better and healthier ourselves this past week and that resulted thankfully in us NOT being inside very much because we were actually out seeing people and working! Which is always a HUGE blessing!! :)
So quick highlights from that work this past week. It started off with cramming four lessons worth of information into three different days with T and T and their family. It has been awesome teaching them! They are SO incredibly prepared and humble and faithful! In fact this last week we covered more information and they made more progress than some of our other investigators have made in the whole 3 1/2 months that I've been in this area! I think perhaps the most comforting part about their story however is that fact that already they have set goals (and are working towards them) not only for their baptism on December 12th, but for receiving the Priesthood and doing temple baptisms and eventually being sealed as a family in the Salt Lake Temple one year from their baptism date!!! One of the greatest fears and apprehensions we face as missionaries (and members) I think is retention. People getting baptized because they like this or that about the church or whatever and then going less-active because they don't have sight of things beyond their baptism and of those continuing ordinances and covenants and the unending blessings associated with them. That's why it is so cool to see T and T not only get baptized for the sake of being baptized but rather as a means to an end, so that they can be sealed in the temple and live together for time and all eternity in the Celestial kingdom!! ....so yeah, I think that answers your question mom about how they are doing? ;) haha!
Other than that, this week was a lot of catching up with others and a LOT of talking story! I think one of my favorite quotes from our Mission President is, "we live in the land of 'talk story' and sometimes you've just gotta talk story." and how true that is! haha! Especially the older local people here just know how to talk your ear off! But I love it! :) As you will probably recall talking a lot is never something I've struggled with. It is fun to hear all of the stories of plantation days, and hunting trips down Kalalau, and even softball tournaments on Maui. The range of things people can find to talk about here truly has no end! Unfortunately those tangents are often a much to frequent part of the conversation when we are attempting to talk about the gospel, but it is alright! We are getting good stuff done either way! :)
Other news, one of the members of the bishopric here just welcomed home their youngest son from his mission in Mexico and his spoke this last week at church. It was fun to hear the mix of Pidgin and Spanish as he adjusted back to his "local dialect". Oh, and on a quick side note, this last week "Pidgin" was declared as an 'official language' by the census bureau! So now we get choke plenty locals ova here who wen go from bein' called "unintelligent" to "bilingual". ...so yeah, that's pretty cool! :) Anyway, speaking of bilinguals, we are looking forward to going out now more often with Bro. W (the recently returned missionary) and at least one of the two priests in the ward. So that will be fun! :) It's kinda weird to be on this side of things when it feels like just last week I was going out with Elder Goates and Johnson to teach lessons in the YSA ward back in Tempe.
But yeah, so that is my not so fast fast update for this last week! I hope you all have a FANTASTIC week!! I know I'm looking forward to a lot of really exciting things this week for us here in Kekaha! I love you all and am praying for you always! Stay strong, carry on, and don't forget to be awesome!! :)
Aloha nui loa!
p.s. my "scripture for the week" that I am 'ponderizing' is actually a quote from "As a man Thinketh" by James Allen. It is simply. "Circumstance does not make a man; it merely reveals him to himself."
How true that has been for us here on the mission and I'd imagine for you back at home. But how grateful I am for a Savior who can help us to change ourselves for the better no matter what the "circumstances" may be. I guess a good correlating scripture would be Ether 12:27 :)