It's the best to hear news from home! Thank you!
Abby, I'm excited to read your email. That's awesome that you got to go to that YSA conference! I didn't think you would have time for things like that, being a Wash U grad student and all.
Mike, I'm so sad I'm missing this whole phase of your life as a senior, doing cross country, tennis, the whole bit. It sounds like you're having the time of your life, though. I pulled up that picture of you and Ashley before Homecoming, full screen, in the library. I laughed out loud - you're a goof, haha. The bowtie was super.
Danny, hope the year started out well! I heard all your friends got good offers as well - that's awesome. I'm so glad I at least get to see you finsih out law school, but I'll definitely miss going to all your competitions and reading all your papers through the year! Good luck in Law Review!
Mother dear, I'm counting on you walking with me in December 2013! No excuses! I'm confident you can do it. You have to allow yourself to make time for yourself though, you know? Good luck! Wish I could help edit papers or something, haha.
Dad, that's fantastic that you're working on that bike again! Mom says you're finding another one for you two to restore together. If I'm ever home long enough after my mission, that's on my bucket list as well, so keep something in mind. Send pictures if you can! Oh, also Dad, I love hearing about your priest group lessons. That's such a great idea to have them teaching the lessons. I really wish I had done more of that before. Something else that might be really great for them is to have them think about specific personal experiences they've had where they've gained testimonies of different principles, such as the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and commandments such as Word of Wisdom, Tithing, and even how they know God is really there and Jesus Christ is their Savior. Those are what are powerful, and it's difficult to conjure them up on the spot without thinking about them before. These boys need to know WHY they have testimonies, before they go out and tell people they have them. People will listen, but then they will ask, "How do you know?" I remember the first time I was contacting by myself out on the namesti towards the beginning of my greenie transfer, and I testified to a young woman that I knew God was there and that He loved me. She then came back very quickly, "How do you know that?" I was a little taken aback, and for the rest of that week I thought about how. How do I know that God loves me? I didn't fabricate that testimony out of nothing. How do I know?
Well, well, this week was absolutely amazing! A complete flip from last week. Not a soul would give us the time of day last week, but this week we had people OFFERING us their numbers, and ASKING to meet with us. I almost thought we had left the Czech Republic for a while! Our area is doing so well. We're working with so many incredible people, and it's such a joy to see people making progress and learning about this beautiful, restored gospel. I just love people. They're all so different, and all so special. Heavenly Father loves each one.
Well, I don't have much time today, but before I forget, I'll answer your questions, Mother. How many are in our branch? Well, at church on Sunday we had a pretty great turn out and there were about 26 people there, including 4 missionaries and 6 or so investigators. Not all of our members were there, however. Rarely is every there, though, so the number stays around 20, total every week. As for why we have a missionary as a branch president. Well, for this area, that's just what needed to happen. We need to find some more capable priesthood holders in order for this area to build. While it's not ideal for sustainability, I think it's going to be a very good thing for this branch, for the time being, to have Elder Blair serve. He's doing a great job, and he's a fantastic District Leader as well. This mission is full of the most impressive missionaries. I feel very blessed to serve around them all.
Yes, we walk everywhere, except when we take a bus out to a farther part of the city, which is about one bus ride every 2-3 days. It's great!
Sorry, kind of a scattered email! However, I'm LOVE, LOVE, LOVING it. Favorite moment of the week: We were walking home late one night, and we still had a bit of time to contact one or two more people, but there was no one in sight. When we rounded a corner, however, I saw a younger girl sitting at a bus stop. I told Sister White we needed to talk to her. So, we did. It turned out she wasn't really a believer, or she just didn't really know, and hadn't thought about it long enough. Sister White bore testimony that we can find out of God exists, just by asking him, through prayer. I backed her up with my testimony that God really is there. We told this young girl,that as missionaries, we help people do just that - find God. I love seeing people's faces change in a contact. That's when you know the Spirit is there. I asked her if she had any interest to learn or to meet with us, and that golden sentence came out of her mouth, "Yeah, I would really like that."