Monday, September 23, 2013

23 September 2013

Dear people,

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook saw me post about the experience in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That was an unexpected experience.

I guess all the good ones are.

We got a phone call from the sister missionaries asking us to give a blessing to someone they were teaching. They didn't warn us about anything (maybe that's the wrong word) so we headed over to the hospital, walked the 50 miles to find the room, and then realized we were in the NICU. 

A nurse brought us over to the incubator that the baby was in. She was born 2-3 months early, I'm not too sure. Tiny. The first thing I noticed was the nurse rubbing its arms, trying to get blood flow or something. As we got closer I realized it was even smaller than I initially thought. We had no idea how to give a blessing to a baby whose head is the size of a tennis ball. So we excused ourselves to make a few phone calls.

And naturally no one answered. We called the mission president, his wife, the counselors, their wives, the mission office...We stood in the hallway looking like a bunch of amateurs haha. Then a small miracle happened and a woman walked around the hallway, actually a nurse, and said, "you look lost!" We were. Turns out she was LDS and specialized in NICU care. Woo! So we talked to her, she went and looked at the baby, and then told us what we should do. Haha I felt like a child. So we each put a finger on the baby's head and gave it a blessing. 

It was a really powerful experience. There was a really sweet spirit in that hospital room. It was one of the more powerful experiences on my mission and one I hope I'll never forget.

The day before we had had the unique opportunity to counsel with President Toone on some mission topics. We had driven to the mission home for something and he had invited us in to talk. We sat down and talked about some of the needs of the zone and of the mission. For 1.5 hours we talked about refocusing and future trainings. It was really awesome to be able to talk about the whole robotic thing - which has been my focus for the past transfer. President said, "SLC doesn't want robotic missionaries, I don't want robotic missionaries, you don't want robotic missionaries, and the Lord doesn't want robotic missionaries." 

We realized what makes a robotic missionary:
1) the MTC
2) Nerves
3) Laziness 

So at President's request and approval we are going to be refocusing and doing a lot more exchanges and doing a lot more hands on activities to teach how to be...normal. 

For instance last night we had a really cool OYM. We walked up to them, three women outside, started laughing with them, asking about work, and the I asked, "What was the highlite of your past week?" "Work," one said, "school," said another, and the last said, "my husband coming home." We asked, "Oh yeah? Where was he?" "At a family funeral."

And BAM! A smooth transition into the doctrine of eternal families and the plan of salvation. We have a return appointment tonight.

I also was able to go on exchanges with someone in his first two weeks last week as well. He is an amazing missionary but was worried about OYMs. We talked for a while about really loving and really serving and really caring and how you can relate that to OYMs. Next I told him that in an OYM we need to be looking "for clues:" cars, posters, you name it. There's always something that can help you have a nice conversation with someone. We walked up to a man grilling some hotdogs and hit it off with him about hobbies and talents. His wife came outside next and started speaking in a pretty loud voice about how she had just been offended by two mormons. 

I was pretty sure she was going to start anti-ing us but we asked her more about where she was from and how she met them. She eventually started to cry as we learned these "two mormons" were their close friends and she was scared of losing them. She was stressed and tired. We bore testimony and I shared DC 24 with her about being patient in afflictions. Those Elders have a return appointment with her tomorrow.

It just works. There is so much of a difference between a rote approach and a genuine question. It just works!!! The next question is how to get that out to the mission...

We had the really great experience this past week to have a small lesson and take President and Sister Toone out with us. We have a woman on date to get baptized next weekend and she had some concerns we couldn't address. We took P and S Toone and told them the stage was theirs and by the end of it the woman was ready. She sent us a text message that night saying, 
"I did read and will continue. Thank you for the opportunity to be there tonight. My fears and doubts are all alleviated; a huge step for me. I am ready to be baptized. The meeting was outstanding. Thank you."

The six words, "I am ready to be baptized" were touching and inspiring to hear. President and Sister Toone are good missionaries! 

I fall asleep ridiculously fast. I can lay down, head on pillow as Elder Friley started his nightly personal prayers and be asleep before he finishes. His prayers aren't long. That's a blessing! 

We've been visiting some people in the zone this past week in the mornings at around 8am. We show up at their door, a surprise, with donuts in hand and take personal and companionship study with them. It has been fun to be with them as they've prepared for the day, learn from them, and offer them advice as well. We've been asked to let our area slow down a bit and focus on others' for a bit. 

Why? 71 missionaries are in their first 12 weeks. 71 of 191. 100 of those are in their first 18 weeks.

Yeah. The mission is insanely young right now.

This past week for personal study I have been rereading the last conference talks in preparation for the upcoming conference! What has stuck out to me is how almost all of the talks focused on 1) the family, 2) personal peace, and 3) being close to God. I'm really excited for this upcoming conference, for announcements, and for taking investigators. I'm sure this extra preparation will help more than just me. And the great thing is that because I'm taking the notes on the gospel library app they all sync up with my account so I'll have them forever! 

The lowlight of this past week was losing my camera and all the pictures I've taken for 15 months! I was stressed out of it and sat down and thought about every step I had taken in the past 4 days. That was a lot of steps. I worked out that it was in the house but I couldn't find it anywhere.

I found it yesterday morning! It was at the bottom of my backpack that I don't use anymore. Que milagro! 

We've been getting anti'd a lot over Facebook. That's the downside of the online aspect - people have access to false information and share things they shouldn't. 

Someone I'm teaching on Facebook was in the same building that the suicide attacks that happened yesterday in a Pakistani Christian church! How ridiculous is that? He has been messaging me and sending me pictures of it and it is absolutely insane. Pray for them!

We found a family this week through amazing circumstances. The Relief Society was given charge to hand out invitations to the General Relief Society broadcast this week to every sister. Well, for one reason or another they got it late and the presidency had to hand deliver everything. Most of them ended up taped on doors. The Presidency wasn't too excited about the prospect of delivering 200 invitations but did it regardless.

One of those invitations ended up on a families door who hadn't been to church in a while and whose father was investigating but moved and lost contact with the missionaries. They hadn't sent their records over and had no idea how the church knew their address. That touched them. And then the next night we ran into them and they took it as a sign! He's on date now for the 19th of October! We told the Relief Society President and she was visibly happy to see the fruits of her labors.

Yesterday I reached the highest point I've been to on my mission. The seventh floor of the hospital! Everything here is flat.

IT'S COLD...ish!!! Yesterday couldn';t have been over 85 degrees with a nice cool breeze all day! Today it's 81 and it feels like HEAVEN! I forgot what it felt like to not be melting.

Anyway, thanks for the letters Mark, Eric, Will, and Mom! 

Hope everyone has a great week this week!
Con amor,

(Sorry, I forgot my sunglasses were on in that picture)

Monday, September 16, 2013

16 September 2013

This week was the most amazing week until Sunday

We found 11 new investigators, more than we found all of last transfer combined, and 7 of them had accepted a baptismal date for Sep 28. But 5 of them fell off date for various reasons last night which was way unfortunate...more on that in a bit.

Last week I said goodbye to Elder Harder. I was sad to see him go but I'm excited for what's ahead of him.

This past week started off perfectly. I got bit by a pitbull. I was on exchanges with Elder Mack (since his companion went home as well) and we saw this guy that we decided we'd talk to. I should have taken more notice of how the dog's leash was tied around the man's waist. Anyway, we talked to him and I asked if I could pet his dog. "Make sure you're sure of yourself!" Whatever that meant I walked toward the dog and all the sudden in a thrash of teeth, blood, gore, and pain the pitbull was dragging me behind it to what I thought was my sure death.

Ok, maybe it didn't happen like that but it did jump up and grab my knee and bite my knee! I stepped backwards in shock and the guy said, "well, you should have been more sure!" and then walked away. KSJDFLAKJSDFAKSJDFKALSDFA. I could have gotten his dog taken away if I wasn't so nice! Oh well. 

We had an awesome experience finding a family to teach this week. We OYM'd into a woman outside an apartment complex and we talked with her a bit and had a nice conversation. We asked her if we could return the next day at a certain time and she accepted! When we went over we were surprised to see 7 people inside the house! We sat down and had an awesome conversation with them and they all accepted a baptismal invitation. They're doing really well and a wedding and a baptism are in the mix for the future. A really faithful, open, and genuine family. 

That has been my goal in OYMs. I want to leave every OYM having gained a new friend. I talked about that last week but people need to see us as people not just, "HEY WE'RE THE MISSIONARIES FROM THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR MORE?" And then if the answer is no, "OK, DO YOU KNOW ANYONE..." etc. There's so much more to these street contacts than that!

On Wednesday I picked up my new companion! His name is Elder Gaspar and he was in the Phoenix mission before! He's great and guess where he's from? Stafford, VA! Small world! I've had two companions in a row from the East Coast! His family is from Peru so he's 100% Peruvian blood and fluent in both english and spanish. Obviously I'm supposed to learn spanish or something since I've had three native speaker companions which I've never heard of happening before. And he plays violin too! AND HE HAS SEEN KUNG POW ENTERS THE FIST AS WELL! He's super humble and a powerful missionary so we're going to have a lot of fun together. 

Another small world story. For the Dewey family in Washington...Renee Taylor, your babysitter, is in the Arizona Tempe mission! I met her this past Wednesday. The one who babysat your kids? Craaazzzyyyy.

One of our recent converts is really struggling right now. I don't want to go into too many details but the state has picked her up to keep her safe from herself and they won't tell us where she is. no one knows where she is and they won't let us contact her. She needs the ward now more than ever and we can't do anything. Super frustrating.

We're really excited for a different investigator who has accepted a baptismal date for two weeks from now! She is so prepared but her health problems are going to present a challenge. She has had some amazing experiences getting her to where she is now and she is more ready than ever! 

It's hard to see people struggle. Whether it be spiritual, financial, physical, whatever. And it is even worse when people say, "they brought that on themselves, I'm not going to help." This past week we got to spend some time with an amazing person who is struggling with one of those three things. This person commented to us about all the judgement he has received and how it is really making him question things. Just be aware that little acts of kindness make a world of a difference. Do something good for someone today. Help someone in need. You never know who's hurting and you never will unless you try. 

Oh my goodness this last week I saw a Fisker Karma! If you don't know what it is then google it. It drove right through Mesa (of course) and on probably to Scottsdale but it was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. 

One of the stakes in our zone is tiny. Four square miles by four square miles. An entire stake! They're on the Gilbert side, quite a ways away, but we had an awesome meeting with the stake presidency the other day. It is always really humbling and inspiring to see these powerful men make time at 7am to meet with us and listen to the work we're doing. This particular stake president comes very prepared to these meetings, complete with an agenda and both his counselors. The missionaries in that stake are working very closely with their leadership and miracles are around the corner.

And that's something that we're working on - a smooth connection from the top down. Facebook is making that possible as more and more stake presidents, counselors, and bishops get on Facebook. It makes the connection and the correlation between all levels seamless and easy. 

We had our correlation meeting this week over Skype. Information was shared via email and text and video conferencing provided all other interaction needed. The wards and members are getting really reallly excited about this new technology as are we.

We just need to help the mission be effective. Our teaching opportunities almost trippled this past week because of an hour a day on Facebook. We just had a conference call with President Toone addressing some of his concerns and talking about some success we've had as a companionship over Facebook.

This past week I committed someone to baptism over Facebook. This person lives in Texas and I was able to teach her twice: once with my first companion Tanner Sawyer and the second time, yesterday, with Mark, my brother. She brought a lot of concerns up yesterday and kind of fell away from the commitment she had made to baptism but it was a special experience to be able to teach and testify with both of them, especially considering I haven't even seen Mark in three years and won't for one more. I'm in contact with the mission president where the person we're teaching over Facebook lives and he is super excited for this. Their mission isn't on Facebook until February. Apparently President Toone brought this experience up at the conference all the missionaries had in Texas this past weekend with Elder Neil L. Anderson! Wooo!

It was also really cool this morning to see Tracy Watson, the director of proselyting for the world (for the church) comment and testify on my status in response to a nonmembers comment. Everything is so connected! It's cool to have a connection to leadership of the church through Facebook since we're testing out this new stuff. Fun fun fun fun fun.

Thanks Eric, Will, Dallin (In France!), and Grandpa J for the letter this week!

Thank you all for your support, for liking and sharing posts on Facebook, for sharing your own testimonies on Facebook, for being great friends and for being great family!

Con amor,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9 September 2013


This morning we got the phone call that I'll be staying. And everyone else for that matter. Only two people in our zone of twenty are going to be moving. I wonder who my new companion will be - there's a good chance I could get Elder Myler, my MTC companion, again. We'll see.

It's RAINING! It has rained for two days. I don't even remember it raining for more than 2 hours in the past year. Arizona is crying that Elder Harder is leaving.

This past week we trained the zone on Tuesday about using the internet for proselyting. It's so exciting but President Toone is concerned that people are wasting time. Not surprising. It's hard to be proactive and effective on Facebook.

But once you figure it out and hold yourself accountable, miracles happen. I've seen some amazing things through Facebook that have made me so happy. The fear is that people will lose focus on their geographical area and focus too much on Facebook. President Toone is asking for a re-reinforcement of the rule of one hour per day.

I was so dead from that hike last week. After emailing and getting the groceries we all went home and died and slept until 5pm. Definitely didn't drink enough water. I guess two water bottles isn't enough for a 7 mile hike in Arizona. Lesson learned.

There was this really cool member that took me out to the best steak dinner I've ever had. It was at longhorn steak house and was the most delicious steak I've ever had. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. He worked in healthcare and went on about Obamacare and stuff so I asked him some questions just to get understanding because I don't understand anything about anything political anymore since I stopped paying attention. Well, he got stumped and changed the subject.

On that topic, it has been cool to see how far I've come in regards to that. I remember really struggling at the start of my mission to leave my interests behind. I'm proud of myself in that I've been able to do it and focus on the work.

This week we did one of the coolest things I've done on my mission. We got to teach a lesson over Skype and to none other than my good friend Scott! We had a great discussion and it was an enlightening experience to see how far my vocabulary and IQ has dropped.

One of the things that Elder Harder and i have focused a lot in this transfer is "culture." The mission president doesn't control the culture, rather the missionaries do. We have made it our best effort to do all we can to be missionaries 24/7, especially when shopping at Walmart or going out to lunch and really never forgetting we have a name tag on. I don't mean that in the maturity sense, or maybe a little, but rather the doing everything we can to talk to everyone we can way.

An example of that was going out to lunch with the Assistants. We went to Costa Vida. While ordering our food we struck up a conversation with the food person. Found out her cousin is on a mission. She is meeting with missionaries this week. Once we sat down at our seats two guys came up and sat near us. We struck up a conversation and things stalled and they stopped paying attention. I tried talking to them again and talked about what they were majoring in and one of them mentioned their father helping him get to school etc. Bing bing bing. I asked him what things he liked about his father/family, like what made them good. The conversation went from there and then he was hooked. He is also in contact with the missionaries this week and thanked us for making that moment the highlight of his day.

Just a really cool moment spurred from a really tame conversation about school.

Moments after he left two members in their 20s who go to ASU came up and said they were impressed with that and we had a really cool opportunity to invite them to take part in the work of salvation as well!

You never know who's looking and when you are who you're supposed to be, things just work.

Along the same topic, we were on our way home, late, with some other missionaries. They walked right past someone right by the door to our apartment and we stopped and talked. He said he wasn't interested before we said anything. So we started the conversation off about his job. He went on from there to tell us the trials he's going through right now but declined a visit. We taught prayer and had him say the closing prayer and then afterwards felt impressed to invite him to let us come over the next day at a certain time. He energetically accepted and we handed him off to the other missionaries. Cool.


That's something I've really learned this transfer - how to slow down and connect with people. It's easy to be robotic and start a conversation with, "Hey, we're the missionaries and we share a great message about Jesus Christ. Would you be interested in hearing more about that?" That invites a no. What we've been doing is going up to someone working on their car and saying, "What year is that?" And then from there we talk about cars for a bit and find a way to connect it to the gospel. It's a lot harder but a lot more rewarding. And it works.

We had a cool experience with teaching a part member family. We invited the nonmember to get baptized and he accepted. Haha. More background. The Bishop told us that missionaries have been going over for years (and then stopped for a while). It's cool to see how sometimes all someone needs is an invitation. Keep that in mind for anything.

Last night was Elder Harder's last night to proselyte. We had an amazing experience with someone we've been teaching for five weeks. I wrote about him praying for the first time last week. Last night we went over and spent the first while talking with him about his interests. We connected with him like we never have before. Before we left we shared a scripture and then he asked if he could share something with us. Of course. He told us that his daughter, a 7 year old, has been happy that he has been meeting with us. In fact, he told us that everyone who is important to him knows he is meeting with "the Elders." He said his daughter came for a weekend to stay with him and said, "Daddy you know that I love you, right? And you know that God loves you?" He said as soon as she said that he felt a really different feeling and had to sit down to digest it for a bit. He said in his closing prayer that that memory will never be forgotten. It was such a cool story to tell. Elder Harder said goodbye afterwards and the guy said, "You can tell all the people back home that you've touched someones life. You've touched mine." It was so powerful. I was so happy to see how far has come, it was a very rewarding and peaceful moment.

This morning Elder Burgess, one of our roommates, fell asleep for a second during personal study and we decided to play a prank on him. Elder Friley, his companion, took the phone and changed our contact name to "Mission Office." For transfer calls we get a phone call from the mission office saying if you're staying or leaving, leadership changes and whatever mas. So called and asked for Elder Burgess. He was nervous on the phone since he had just finished his first 6 weeks of his mission. On the phone we said, 'Hello, Elder Burgess, this is President Toone. I'm here with an assignment from the Lord. Will you serve as a trainer for a new missionary?" He accepted. Then we all started laughing and now he'll never fall asleep during personal study again! So funny.

2 September 2013

Crazy, crazy, crazy. To think I've been melting in Arizona for a year blows my mind.

We have some good news! We were the first companionship in the entire world to break an iPhone or iPad. We called them following up on the replacement and said, "maybe you can think about using better protectors?" The guy said, "Well, we haven't had any problems yet - you guys are the first one." Pioneers of the digital age of missionary work and pioneers of breaking iPhones! The replacement should arrive today.

This past week Facebook went mission-wide. We had a leadership meeting in Tempe and did a conference call with SLC. They introduced Facebook to the mission and we had a six or seven hour meeting on to do and not to do as well as hearing some success stories. One sister in Provo has had more than five baptisms in five different countries as a result of increased influence.

It hit me during that meeting how much missionary work has changed. And I mean more than just rules and materials. Who we are is also changing. Before, Mormon missionaries were all the same: dark pants, ties, white shirts, black tag, short hair. We were called "Elder X" and our first names weren't really shared. We were robots in a way, identity-wise at least.

Now, we are to use our first name on Facebook. We are to keep our likes and get rid of the non-mission appropriate ones. We are encouraged to connect with people through our likes and be more personal. It just seems to be like the church wants us to be human now and be able to be someones friend. I love the idea and I think it will have huge success in the coming weeks, months, and years. It's a totally new approach and completely inspired.

The excitement at the leadership meeting was intense. Everyone was going berserk. The energy was non-channeled though; they don't know what they're in for. It's not easy to use Facebook effectively and it is very easy to do nothing.

Tomorrow we'll be training on that topic, hopefully get some good ideas and answer some good questions. I'm excited.

We had an insane experience a couple of days ago. Maybe that's a bad choice of words, for reasons you'll shortly read. We were driving to visit someone and saw two people in front of the church. So naturally we pulled over and went to say hi. They split up and ran different directions. We followed one only like 30 feet to a small tree which she sat under. We went over and said hi and then she unfolded us the most intense conspiracy theory I've ever heard. She spoke quiet and we were by a road so it was hard to hear but the story included things like: lost husband, suing lock company, lawyer disappearing, children gone, telephone company stealing, etc. I tried to tell her I was sorry for what was going and she went off pretty explicitly on some pretty inappropriate things. Elder Harder got the next mouth full of words and bad comments so we stood up and left. She was clearly clinically insane. She had wristbands on and stuff and had been homeless for a year. So we left and she followed us, screaming obscenities. She would yell at people walking by and tell them not to speak with us. Eventually we looked at each other, kind of worried for the unknown, and turned to see her. I thought she was going to stab me! We talked to her, calmed her down, and left. Never saw her again and hope  we never do. The rest of the night was terrible and we could not feel the spirit.

The next day saved it though. We had an amazing experience with one of our investigators. He's gone through some of the hardest trials I've ever heard of and has a number of children with a number of different women. We have been teaching him for three weeks and he's a big tough man from LA. He always denies the invitation to pray and doesn't read. Last night we went over and taught a super bold lesson, addressing his concerns and letting him know God really does love him despite his past mistakes. He carries a lot of guilt on his shoulders and he says that us coming by always helps. He feels everyone has given up on him and he's a lost cause. We assured him otherwise. At the end of the lesson, the spirit was super powerful and we took a different approach to prayer. I testified to him of the importance, the power, and the potential of prayer and I told him, "now, ____, we're going to say a prayer before we leave. I'll say the first one, Elder Harder will say the second, and you'll say the last. We're going to kneel." And then he followed us down, I said the first prayer; a really short prayer praying for him, Elder Harder did the second with the same topic, and then we knelt in silence as the investigator said such a humble and sincere prayer. He asked God to be patient with him and thanked him for what he had. It was as if he was talking to God (which he was!) While still kneeling he looked up to us and thanked us many times.

We left spiritually edified and at peace.

That word, man. We've used the word "edified" everyday. We have had some amazing experiences together and it's crazy to think this is Elder Harder's last week. He has been a great missionary and is leaving behind a great legacy.

I realized this morning that while my mother is in Tanzania, Africa climbing Mt Kilamanjaro, I'm in Arizona hiking a mountain. We did a 7 mile hike this morning that no one was really prepared for. Not enough water, way longer than we expected, and pretty steep! Some highlights of the hike were a rattlesnake and two giant lizards. And we found out one of the Sister missionaries is a mountain goat!

It was a really cool hike and very much an Arizona hike. No colors, just cactus, rock, and hills and heat. The whole zone went, all twenty of us, and it was a really cool experience.

This week was a bit slower than previous weeks. We struggled with finding and teaching and everyone fell off their baptismal date.

But we did teach more than 10 lessons over Facebook so that was super cool!

Thanks Eric and Will and Mom for the letters this week!

And thanks to the rest of you for being great!

With love,
Elder Johnson

26 August 2013

Yesterday was an obscenely stressful day.

One of the people we're teaching told us a week ago that she would be kicked out of her home tomorrow. She is 150% genuine. I'm not going to go into too much but we put it on the ward to take care of it and it stalled and nothing came of it. We finally had had enough of it and did all the phone calls to make things move again and yesterday it got all figured out.

I think the combination of stress and work got me sick. I came home with a fever of 101 and had the worst night sleep I've had since the MTC. I got up this morning planning on doing studies and got all ready, sat down to study, studied for 15 minutes then realized I was still too sick so I went back to sleep.


I had the really cool opportunity to do a baptismal interview this last week for a baptist preacher that is getting baptized into our church this weekend. We sat down and I knew instantly that he was prepared. We went through the questions and I invited him to share his testimony. He did so very powerfully. We talked after for a bit about the spirit and he told me of his conversion story. He was a car window panel salesman and going door to door knocking and trying to sell. He knocked one door and a woman answered and said, "I want you to do my car, my husbands car, and both my children's cars. But, first I want you to come inside and listen to a message about Jesus Christ!" He did. He left with a Book of Mormon but threw it away soon after. He said he felt so guilty for that and his soul was "racked with guilt." A few weeks later the missionaries knocked his door, he opened up, read the Book of Mormon, decided it was true, and is getting baptized next weekend!

And all of that started with a member boldly testifying. Are we taking the opportunities, formal and informal, to testify of the restored gospel to those we come in contact with?

He told us of the opposition his family is giving him but he said, "when you know, you know." What a great example he is of humility and faith.

This past week were interviews with President Toone. These were his first rounds of interviews since he started and they were great. We did a training while missionaries went into the interview room. I trained on love and Elder Harder (for his very last interview training) trained on teaching people, not lessons. The spirit was really powerful that day and everyone was involved in one way or another.

My interview with President Toone was pretty intense. He told me of the new responsibilities I'm going to have next transfer and some other things that have been on my mind a lot since then. It was an awesome experience. I just wish we had more than 15 minutes per interview.

And how could I wait until this point to write about our baptisms?!

What a great spirit that was there. The turnout was a little low but when President and Sister Toone showed up you could feel the excitement that entered the room. They're so genuine. Anyway, watching the first person get baptized was a humbling experience. She came out of the water pure smiles and walked very thoughtfully to the stairs where she waited to see the next person get baptized. She was all smiles for him as well. The second was super special because his older brother got to baptize him, a newly ordained priest. Way way cool.

Walking to teach a lesson this past week we bumped into a couple of men working on a car. We started a conversation but it was clear that none of them were interested. A few minutes later one of their friends walked to us and started talking to us. He was sincere and wanting to know what we did. So we taught, testified and invited. He has a baptismal date for September 14th now.

I looked at Elder Harder and said, "pretty crazy that we just put someone on date for after you go home..." He's hanging in there really well. The wards wouldn't stop talking about it at church yesterday though haha. "ONLY TWO WEEKS LEFT?!"

I feel like this last transfer I've become the best missionary I've ever been. Everything has kind of just clicked and it's all going really well.

Thanks Mom, Scott, Grandpa J, and Mark for the letters! Normally since it's week 5 of the 6 week transfer I would say send the letters to the mission home but President Toone told me I'm staying here another transfer.

Love you all lots!