Tell Jeffrey that I'm just a little jealous of his new job; it's the kind that I was hoping for when I first went looking for one. Also, I say hi back to everyone back, with a good luck to Guido. ;-)
As for my week, it seems to be a little faster paced then yours sounds. Actually, never mind---most of the week was death. Sunday, on the other hand, was amazing. We had three investigators at church, Lindsey, who I told you all about last week, a young man named Cody, who Lindsey actually invited to come and to take the lessons with her, but who decided to take them all on his own, and a girl named Shania, a foster daughter to the 2nd councilor in the Bishopric. Cody was the best news to me. He actually blew a tire on the way to church, something that would end the day of a totally active member a lot of the time. As for him, re ran all the way back home, grabbed his tire jack, ran back to his car, switched the tires, and still made it to church before Sacrament meeting was even half done. While we were waiting for Gospel Principles class to start, Cody told us that he had been wanting the past week to just fly by, so that he could come back to church again, because he felt so good last week.
Lindsey was just as amazing. She'd gone with her mother to the Catholic church last week, because of how her mom was feeling about just not knowing much truth about the LDS church, so we missed her then. This week, however, not only did she come, she told us that, during the High Councilman's talk, she got the intense feeling that everything he was speaking on, and the church itself, was true. Apparently her and Nick were both balling almost the whole Sacrament meeting because of how strong the Spirit was. As if that wasn't enough, were were able to have a discussion with her after church, and it hit the questions that she said she had been wondering for a very long time. You know the ones, "Where did I come from? Why am I here?" and next appointment will cover, "Where am I going?"
It's always so awesome to teach Lindsey, because you know that the Spirit is testifying to everything that you are saying, the entire lesson. She is so in tune and prepared that we are barely doing any teaching at all, just sharing what means most to us, and watching her soak it up. Time and time again we've gotten to see something that we say hit her hard, and see the light shine even brighter in her eyes. Elder Reichman was talking on the phone to our district leader last night for our weekly report, and he said something that really explains how these lessons feel to me, "This is why we pay $10,000 and two years of our lives to come out here!"
You'd think that would be all you could get in one day. Wrong. We still had a lesson with Cody to go to.
I've long said that Sundays are our longest days, and today really supported that statement, because we were at the church building from 8:00 in the morning, until 3:00 in the afternoon. Even the Bishop goes home before we do!!! The difference between most Sundays and today, however, I didn't feel tired by the time that we left. Our two appointments were just so awesome. Cody told us that he had felt so good after last week that he couldn't even sleep Saturday night, he was so anxious to come to church. During the week, though, he did have some family that threw the standard "anti-Mormon" lingo at him, which hit him pretty hard. The main one that he told us bothered him was when he had an aunt that told him that "Mormons aren't Christians." He said that it was really hard on him to have that kind of judgement from one of his family members, about something that he would never judge anyone else on. We were able to address the issue, reaffirm that we are indeed Christians, and that everything that we do surrounds the Atonement of Christ. Without that Atonement, there would be no repentance, no forgiveness of sins. We wouldn't be able to grow or learn, and we would be unable to live with our Father in Heaven, because no unclean thing can dwell with God. Because of that Atonement, we can repent, we can be forgiven of our sins. We can truly feel the peace that comes from being free from guilt or pain, and knowing that we are clean in God's eyes. We make the choice to walk through the doors of Baptism, other ordinances, and of keeping the commandments, but it was Christ who carved those doors out of the mountain that we're in in the first place. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He is the only reason life has any meaning, any hope at all.
We were able to share that with Cody, and be reminded that God has perfect timing, because all of the lessons in church were on Baptism and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Even the talks in Sacrament meeting were focused on the Grace of Christ and our need for him. By the end of the day, Cody said that he knew that we worshiped Jesus Christ, and that we are Christians. He accepted a Book of Mormon to read, and set up an appointment for the following week. Then he headed off to go be fellowshipped by the High Priest Group leader and his family, who happened to include one daughter that he works with every day, another daughter that he was a camp councilor for, a son who he already got along really well with, and another daughter who basically grabbed him and pulled him into the family. Yeah, Heavenly Father has it all figured out. Oh, and did I mention that the Elders Quorum President and one of his councilors each individually coached him in baseball growing up, and the first thing Cody did when he was told all of the things from his aunt was go to the Elders Quorum President while he was coaching, and ask him a bunch of questions?
Aaaaaand that was our Sunday.
On the subject of Howren Charles Hall, I have to start off by saying that we have an amazing Family History Director in John Day, who also happens to be our Land Lady. She did what I've been trying to get FHC consultants to do for the past year and a half, and actually show me what to do after I could get logged on to Family Search. She showed me how to use all of the indexed records that have been logged on to the database to attach sources to existing names in Family Tree, from all of the work that everyone has done before. She showed me how that solidifies the person, and gives more proof to when and where they lived, along with who is related to them. The funny thing is, with all of these new records being indexed, more info is available on different people, including children and parents that hadn't been able to be found before. Howren was one of those children, one that Sister Sintay (the Director) helped me to find on the first day she showed me to source people. 2 1/2 hours and 5 different census records attached later, we had all of the info that we needed to request his ordinances. This was after we traced the Stallings line for all of that time, working to just attach sources, and found Howren as a son of one of the daughters in the Stallings line, whose father was named Arthur Hall. More and more records later, we had all of Howren's names, and even found a wife and kids, though I haven't been able to find many records on them as of yet. Needless to say, I was pretty excited after all of that work. I gave his name to the youth group up here to take on their ward temple trip and do his Baptism and Confirmation, then I sent the card to you, Mom. It was cool, and it would be even cooler if I could take his name through for my returning temple trip up here. All in all, it's been pretty fun, and now I can actually be honest when I'm teaching about Family History to investigators and less actives.
I think that will be it for this letter. Thank you all for taking the time to read these novels that I send, and for all of your prayers for me and all of the missionaries. Trust me; we need them.
Love and Insanity,
Elder Nathanael Stuver