It was awesome to be able to see you on Christmas Day. It was kind of funny because afterwards the family who let us Skype at their house kept asking us if we were doing okay. They were so worried that our Skype home would make us sad afterwards. But I didn't feel sad at all, I was just glad to see everyone! J I realized afterwards that I should have asked you guys more questions...because I did a lot of talking. But, I guess I will keep that in mind for Mother's Day, ha-ha! Mom and Dad, I can't believe your Mission President had the whole mission read the whole Book of Mormon in one day! That is crazy!! But I guess that means you were able to accomplish one New Year's resolution in one day then! J
The last 10 days have been full of ups and downs and finally on Thursday I decided I needed to get a blessing. Everything just kind of caught up to me. I was getting a little down on myself because our teaching pool has been empty for quite a while and all we have been doing is tracting and in the course of 4 hours of tracting, we only have the opportunity to talk to maybe 4 or 5 people if we are lucky. So, on Thursday night I received a Priesthood blessing from our Elders. It was probably one of the coolest blessings I have ever received. It really helped me! The next morning I read through D&C 8 and 6, which later I realized were the sections dad told me to read when I was in the MTC. Section 6 is such an amazing section and is filled with so much good stuff! I'm so thankful for the power of the priesthood, the Holy Ghost and the scriptures. Through those three things I was definitely given more optimism and we worked really hard this weekend and we saw miracles. Our investigator, Scott is progressing. He read 1 Nephi 8 and he told us a lot of goals and aspirations he has for himself. We tried to help him see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can help him accomplish those goals. A big goal for him is to develop a greater relationship with his daughter. Also we were able to find a new investigator named Kayla. She is in her late 20's and has a few kids. We left her with the Book of Mormon which she said she would read and pray about. We are excited to see how she felt about it.
On Saturday night we attended Melanie's baptism, the Elder's investigator. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw President and Sister Keyes get out of their car. Sister Morris and I started freaking out because we were speaking at the baptism and our mission President was now in attendance as well. The only thing that went kind of wrong was that the Elders didn't fill the font full enough and so after two attempts at baptizing Melanie, they ended up doing the baptism on their knees. But her elbow or foot came up after another 3 attempts to baptize her, so finally on the sixth try it was good! Overall it went really well and President and Sister Keyes brought such a sweet spirit to that baptism. Melanie brought her mom and her friend. It was kind of funny because we had randomly ran into Melanie's friend caroling on Christmas, so it was awesome to see her at the baptism. She also ended up coming to church. We can't teach her though, because she is in Kearney 1st ward boundaries, so the 1st Ward Sisters are working with her.
Church was interesting. So, I had to speak on Sunday and I spoke on the character of Christ and mostly used the example of Satan tempting Christ while he was fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. I guess it went well. Then we missionaries sang silent night in Sacrament Meeting. I was supposed to do a descant, but my voice wouldn't let me, so I just sang it normal. Melanie's friend, Courtney came to church and it was so funny, because she asked if the guys and girls split up during Sunday School because she gets uncomfortable sometimes around boys. She said, "especially when we have to discuss awkward topics". I tried to help her overcome her concern by telling her that we wouldn't be talking about anything uncomfortable, and that Sunday School is awesome....Well, we went into the gospel principles class and guess what the topic was,….. that's right, THE LAW OF CHASTITY!!! Seriously, what are the chances that out of 52 Sundays in a year, the one Sunday we really didn't want it to come up, it came up! It was actually really funny!
Also, Relief Society and Priesthood were combined for the last half of the meeting. We had a really neat experience in which the Bishop involved all of the auxiliaries in coming up with some Ward goals for the upcoming year. He had each auxiliary come up with a reactivation and new member goal. After all the auxiliaries came up with a goal he had them come together and the total Ward goal came out to be 36 baptisms and 30 reactivations. It was so inspired and it made each member in the ward feel accountable to those numbers because they took part in their own auxiliary. I'm really excited to see how this will motivate the Ward to really be anxiously engaged in more member missionary work. Well, things are going well and I am trying to see the miracles every day, and they are there. I love you all and I hope the move keeps going well with Uncle Blaine. Kass and Scott enjoy your time with Mom, Dad and Jeremy. Elder Luening, keep up the great work in Germany and I'm glad you had a great Christmas! J
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!