Well it's finally here my last full week as a missionary is coming up! It's so crazy!! This week is going to fly by to because we are actually super busy now. We have a bunch of service opportunities and teaching opportunities this week so I'm pumped about that! This past week was super good though! We did not have a car this week because we have to share it with some other elders. Which is super lame but whatever! I never have to bike again as a missionary haha. Our area is super huge but there is a lot of bike trails that helped out. It also gave us a great opportunity to work more with Ward members. We managed to get 7 different joint teachers this week to help us get around. We had some great experiences! And some funny ones... I'll share the funny one first. So on Monday we were driving around with Brother keepman visiting people, not having to much luck. So we decided to visit this random less active guy named John. So we pull up to his house, knock on the door, and this guy answers the door with a huge bearded dragon on his hairy chest 😂 we were to say the least, surprised. But we started talking to him and he has definitely been inactive for a long long time... he was like, "I don't like a church that doesn't let you drink coffee or eat candy!" Lol. We talked to him about it and then he let us into his house! (Which I'm not sure if that was a good idea or not but missionaries don't really care as long as you get in the door 🚪👍) So he went on to explain how joining the church was the worst decision of his life and yadda yadda same old less active junk. It turns out he never read the Book of Mormon and doesn't know hardly a thing about what we actually believe. Who knows what the missionaries were doing when he got dunked! But he wasn't to interested anyways.
So that was the funny story now here is the crazy awesome story! A while back we met a 16 year old kid named Jaelen. Super cool kid from Chicago and very mature for his age. His dad was a local Chicago rap artist and he is trying to make it big himself! He is just a bright kid. So we had a couple lessons with him and he really wants to have a church family and people who will support him. He doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of some of his older friends and family members who have turned to drugs, gangs, and other unsavoury paths of life. He wants to be successful! So on Saturday we invited him to the church so we could give him a church tour. We got there and showed him around some of the class rooms and the gym. We got to the chapel and he said, "Wow Johnny was right! You can feel a difference in this building. You can feel the spirit." Jonny is a member who met him earlier. But right then elder beach and I were super pumped! This kid was totally feeling the spirit! We then went to the baptism font and opened it up for him. All three of us just stood there leaning on the glass and not saying much. I was feeling the spirit though super strong! And Jaelen says, "I think I want to do it. I want to get baptized. But I want to make sure it is the right thing!" Wow so cool! After that we taught him about prayer and how important it is to have a relationship with God. And it is through him whom you should seek your answers from! Unfortunately he didn't come to church the next day. His dad is kind of an obstacle right now.. but we're working on it! I'm super excited for this kid! Many lives could be changed if he were baptized and went on a mission. He invited us to his improv play this Thursday as well so we're excited to see that! Never been to one before.
Yesterday was super weird... my last Sunday at church as a missionary. The bishop made me bare my testimony in Ward council and in priesthood opening. Which is fine but it's still weird! This Wednesday we're doing a mutual thing with the young men about missionary prep. They figured an old missionary like me must have some good wisdom. It should be fun!
I am not sure how much I will write next week.. or how motivated I will be so I guess I will make this one a bit longer. My mission has changed my life forever. The things I have learned and the experiences I have had I will always remember. Our mission president has us write kind of an essay at the end of our missions. Here is a piece of it
Probably what has had the biggest impact on my mission are these; what I have learned from the example of local church leaders and members, how I have learned to study the scriptures and apply them, my relationships with other missionaries, and the people who I have taught who's lives have changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was so hard to pick just a few things but I think those four were the top ones! I also had to complete "My Plan" which is an online training course for a missionaries last transfer. It really made me pause and reflect on all of the many things that have changed me and made me who I am today. I know I still have a long way to go and many things to learn. But I feel confident that the principles I have learned will propel me on to the next stage of life with the Holy Spirit to guide me! Like Elder Holland has said, my mission means EVERYTHING to me. So much that there is no way I could express it in this one email. I may not know what the heck I'm doing when I get home. But that's ok! Life goes on and things will work out.
I love this gospel. The church is true. Jesus Christ is the very Son of God and it is through him we receive a remission of sins. It is the Savior who is with us when know one else is around who comfort us, mourns with us, and bears our burdens so they may be light. The Book of Mormon is true! It answers both spiritual and physical questions and invites the spirit into our lives. The priesthood authority has been restored to the earth so we can again enjoy the blessings of having ordinances which in turn allow us to make special covenants with our Heavenly Father. I love the my family and I am so grateful for them and all they do and who they are! I'm so excited to see them soon! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.