Thank you SO much for your e-mail this week! Even if it may have seemed uneventful and slow! But if there is one lesson I have learned out here, it is that often God will allow us to pass through suffering and trials or even just "slow weeks" right before he pours out upon us blessings without measure! And then when those blessings and high times in our lives finally do come (as they always will!) They will be that much greater because of the contrast with the suffering we had to pass through to get there! SO yeah, if these next few weeks seem long and hard, just remember that God must have something REALLY incredible and exciting in store to follow!! :) Anyway, I can definitely sympathize with you about having slow weeks. This past week has kind of been that way for some reason or another... which looking back at it now is kind of funny because this week has also been FULL of exciting events that kept us on our toes, but still it was a really long week! I guess I will explain what I mean.
So the week started out well enough. P-day, district meeting, and so forth. Nothing to really report on. We had a lot of empty spaces in our day that we tried to fill but found in those hours only empty doors or empty faces as we talked to people on the streets. But still we kept working and Wednesday we actually found some exciting success! So a couple of weeks ago we had our "finding fasting Friday" where we tracted all day long in different areas, and there was one lady that the Sister's had tracted into named C, who, coincidentally lives two doors down from our active member who is also named C! haha! (The conversation we've had with the two proved to be very confusing!) Anyway, so we followed up with her this past week on Wednesday and as we were talking with C (the investigator), C (the member) pulled up in her car and got out, saw us talking and walked over to join us! It was exciting! :) haha! Anyway, so long story short, while we didn't really have anything come from it right away, we did have a nice conversation about the gospel, got a return appointment, AND invited her to the Ward Independence Day Picnic on Saturday and SHE CAME!! :) Anyway, so yeah that was just extra exciting because we've been trying REALLY hard recently to find new people to teach and so far this is the first real success or lead we've had in well over a month on anyone new to teach!
She is definitely not however, the only new person we met over this past week! So the ward has REALLY stepped up their game this past week, which is saying something because this ward has ALWAYS been on their A-game when it comes to missionary work! But this last week we had two back to back activities which brought out two different crowds but both proved to be VERY successful and led us to talk to lots of new people! Which of course is always exciting as a missionary to do! :)
So first, we had on Friday our first "ward movie night!" (Of which we are planning to do MANY more in the future). Basically we just all got together and had popcorn and hot dogs and watched a movie. We couldn't actually stay for the whole movie (upon request from our new mission president) which was a little disappointing seeing as it was our idea in the first place to do a movie night and the ward council were the ones who later decided on the movie, but we did catch the first part as well as the tail end of it and more importantly, we were able to talk to and fellowship with TONS of our members (both active and less-active) as well as meet a few neighbors and cousins that different members brought with them for the movie! :) It was awesome!
So then the next day we had our annual Ward Independence Day Picnic out at Kualoa beach park which was a BLAST!!! We got there early to help with set up and ended up helping set up not only ours but another group's picnic they were having at the same park. So you know how Mormons are pretty use to setting up and taking down stuff and it all goes pretty fast and systematically (like when the men take down chairs after a session of Stake Conference and within ten minutes we have over a thousand chairs put away on racks, the floor swept and garbage bags emptied... yeah.) well this other group didn't seem to have that same experience or the same number of people to help set up that we would normally have and what made it MORE exciting was the ez-corner tent they were setting up was TWICE as big as a regular one AND that whole day proved to be one of the windiest days we've had in a long time and therefore the 20x60 foot tent they were trying to set up turning more into a 20x60 foot kite, literally lifting a few of the younger/smaller participants off the ground a few inches as they tried to hold it down! haha! It was kind of fun actually! :) Anyway, so yeah, long story short, we were able to all run over to the rescue and help them set up, and secure down their tent and in the process of course my companion and I were able to talk to quite a few of them about who we were and what we were doing and everything which is always a plus! ;) haha!
Anyway, so from set-up to break-down we were at the ward picnic from pretty much 6:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, the majority of which was spent out in the sun, playing volleyball or climbing trees and having light saber battles with some of the primary kids or, of course, eating a VERY large amount of food! haha! Now before you all start accusing me of being "on vacation" out here I want to remind you all that we still cannot and were not able to set a single foot in the water or even on the sand for that matter! AND our primary purpose for being there (which really took the majority of our time) was to talk to and meet new people and hopefully set up lessons or find service opportunities, which we did!! As mentioned before our new investigator C, came with her neighbor C, and they seemed to enjoy it a lot and she was able to meet and talk with MANY other members of the ward!
We also had one of our more recent converts here in the ward that we visit with regularly, F, bring one of his good fishing friends who happily volunteered to do almost all of the grilling for the whole barbecue!! Our bishop personally thanked him and asked to visit with him after church the following Sunday, so we are excited about that and sure more opportunities will arise with him in the future! :) We also had another member bring one of their co-workers and while we were talking and answering some of his questions our member offered to set up a time when we could all meet together in a more formal setting at his house and answer more questions and share a bit more about what we believe, so that was exciting too and we're looking forward to hear more from the member on that soon! :) Anyway, so needless to say a lot of fun was had, but more importantly a LOT of missionary work was done between those two days and two different activities.
I might also add as a passing note that the Barbecue on Friday helped me tremendously with showing my patriotism this weekend! I was looking this morning for anything Red, White, and Blue to wear as well as on Sunday, but could only find Blue and White shorts/shirts. Thankfully however, having spent just shy of 10 consecutive hours out in the sun on Saturday, my face, neck, arms, and even legs are SO red that it more than compensates for the lack of that color in the rest of my wardrobe! :) haha!
Well anywhere, there was definitely more of note that happened this week but I've probably gone on long enough and I don't want to use up what little energy to you may have left with trying to decipher my discordant stream of consciousness so I'll wrap this letter up. Thank you SO much for your continued letters and support through these final weeks of my mission! I think I mentioned this before, but I feel like the Lord is putting me through my "final exam" before returning home and testing me in every way shape and form to see if I will be true and faithful to the lessons I have learned over the last two years and so all of the prayers and good thoughts and love that you send my way is very needed and very appreciated and I am trying my best to put that combined faith and love which you have given me to good use and I serve the Lord out here in Hawaii. I hope that you all know, as always, that those prayers and that faith and love is returned from me right back to you and that I will continue to pray for all of you that heaven will shower out blessings upon you even after I return home! I love you and look forward to hearing from all of you again next week! Thank you for everything! Mahalo nui loa and ALOOHHHAAAA!!!
A hui hou aku,
p.s. I almost forgot to mention!!! So another HUGE highlight from this past week was getting to meet and visit briefly with our NEW Mission President! His name is President Bekker and he is from Salt Lake City, Utah! (Surprise surprise... haha!) Really though, he is SUPER cool and super excited to be here and I am sure that he and his wife will do AMAZING things for these wonderful islands that I love! The spirit has absolutely confirmed to me that he is the rightful successor to the Hawaii Honolulu Mission President calling and I am excited to get to know him and work with him more, even if it's just for a few weeks! :) haha! Still, nothing feels like it's really changed yet, because... well it hasn't really haha! So since he just barely got here he said that until he has more time to look over some of the rules and structures and everything (such as the list of approved music, and proselyting schedules/emphasis and so forth) that everything from President Warner still applies. I can't really imagine things changing much anyway seeing as President Bekker and Warner practically the same person, or at least have lived very similar lives. They both were born and raised and lived in SLC their whole lives, they both served missions in Japan, both married music majors, both worked in the medical industry, both served at stake presidents in SLC (at the same time in fact) and they even have the same number of kids I believe! haha! So anyway, things are really looking up for us here in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission and I hope to see the work continue to grow in miraculous ways! :)
p.p.s. Mom, when you mentioned how frustrating it is and can be to not be able to do all the things you want to be able to do, a quote popped into my head from Elder Robert D. Hales that I thought I would share with you. He counselled Elder David A. Bednar on one occasion saying, "When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most." I thought it was a very cool statement and one I think we could all apply, even though we might not all be limited by our age or ability, we are definitely all limited in what we can do by our time and heaven knows that time only seems to speed up on us so there's no sense in wasting any of it! :)