My first transfer came to a close this week and we started our second transfer. Elder Yeager got transferred over to Fort Belvoir, which is in Alexandria. We spent a lot of time on Tuesday and Wednesday driving around for him to say a lot of goodbyes to people that he's grown to love in his 6 months here.
My new companion is Elder Shelley! He was born and raised in Provo, Utah and is Japanese/Hawaiian/American. He's a great guy and I'm excited to get to work with him here in Centreville! Elder Shelley came to the mission the same time that Elder Yeager did, so they knew each other from the MTC. Along with transfers, we also no longer have a car in our area, so we will be on bike or foot. It was nice being able to use a car for most of last transfer, so it will be an adjustment no longer having a car. But we're ready and excited to experience missionary life in its typical fashion!
On Wednesday night last week, Amy went with us to the Somkey's home. Brother and Sister Somkey are family history consultants and they were able to help her prepare some names to be able to take to the temple. It was difficult to find information on FamilySearch.org because there aren't many records online from people in Africa and Sierra Leone, but she had enough information to be able to get about 6 of her more recent ancestors to be able to participate in baptisms for the dead. There are so many people on this earth that never have the opportunity, during their lifetime, to hear about Jesus Christ and his teachings. I love how God has provided a way for those people to learn about and accept his teachings after they leave from this life. It wouldn't be fair if the millions of people that never have a chance to learn about His gospel are forgotten. Amy is super excited to go on Wednesday to the temple to perform ordinances on behalf of her ancestors! We're going to be able to be there with her, so I'm excited to go to the DC temple for the first time! And we will take her over to the visitors center for a little bit afterwards! It is our stake temple day this Wednesday, so there will be a lot of ward members there with us supporting Amy!
Saturday morning, I got to go with Elder Shelley to his previous area to attend a baptism for someone that he and his previous companion have been teaching for a while. The man who was baptized is named Nuwan. He is a refugee, that was born in Sri Lanka and then lived in Thailand, that came to America about 5 months ago. His story is pretty miraculous. It was a beautiful service and I'm glad I was able to go to it!
Afterwards, Saturday was the first day that we went out on bikes. Our area is a decent size and it takes us about one and a half hours to ride from one end to the other, but it's all good, we're going to get in good shape!
Last night, we finished teaching Michelle about the Plan of Salvation at Bishop Duersch's home. It was an awesome lesson and we were able to address a few of her concerns and get her feeling more confident and comfortable with her decision to be baptized. We were praying that she would express a greater desire and level of excitement for baptism, and by the end of our lesson, she expressed that she "feels so much better about baptism" after the discussion was over because of the things she learned and the spirit she felt. I know that as we come to know and understand God's Plan of Salvation for us, we will have a greater desire to keep all of His commandments. As Michelle learned about where we came from, why we're here on the earth, and where we're going after this life, she was able to understand why baptism is an essential step to make on the path towards living with our Father in Heaven again someday. Her daughter, Kaylie, is a great example to her and it's awesome to see them grow closer together as Michelle continues to progress and learn more about the gospel.
Something that I liked in my studies this week came from 2 Nephi 4. This is Nephi speaking a few verses after his father, Lehi, died. Nephi catches himself complaining but then he remembers everything that he has been blessed with. He said:
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
I love when he tells himself "why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow." The Lord has shown him so many marvelous things and has blessed him and his family so much. Although they did go through many trials, Nephi was able to remember the experiences he's had and rely on those to get him through the tough times. His father passing away must've been really tough, but he puts his trust in the Lord and rejoices in Him instead of complaining and committing sin. I think this is an awesome example for us when we experience trials. We should all try to remember what the Lord has blessed us with and remember the experiences we've had. If we build upon and remember the positive, spiritual, and uplifting experiences that we've had in the past, it will be much easier for us to stay on the path that leads back to our Father in Heaven and make righteous decisions throughout our lives.
Hope you all have a great week! Love you all,
This is our friend Richard Knox! He's 76 years old, and we go over to his house every couple weeks to check up on him and see how things are going and usually spend an hour talking with him. He's such a nice man and loves talking with missionaries about a bunch of random stuff. He gives us a bunch of good advice! He shares stories from his life and lessons he's learned and it's always fun spending some time with him. He jokes around a lot and is a super funny guy! He's not really interested in the church, but he reads the Book of Mormon and has talked with missionaries for years. He thinks that missionary work is great and he loves asking us how our work is going and the people we are working with!
Sad saying bye to Elder Yeager!
But I had a great first transfer with him and I am excited for him to go to the Fort Belvoir area!
Here's my new companion Elder Shelley! I'm super excited to work with him!