Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16th Letter

This week was great. Yesterday we had the confirmations of all of the Pate children. Never had 4 confirmations on one Sunday before, so that was pretty cool. President Durrant called us the other day asking us about all the work that is going on here. He asked if I thought that it would be beneficial for him to call another missionary companionship to serve in the Idabel Branch. I told him that if he did we could definitely find some work for them to do. So, President sent a senior couple that is currently serving in Marshall, Texas up to "survey" the branch to see whether or not another companionship was needed. It was so fun to have them up here. We got to go and introduce them to all of our investigators from the Marshall Islands and all the families that we are teaching. They loved it up here. I hope that they give a good report to President Durrant because there is plenty of work for two companionships.
I would have to say that the best day of the week was Saturday. Even though we had 4 confirmations on Sunday, Saturday was amazing. We had the baptismal interview for a lady that we are teaching. Her name is Edith. She is a rock. We had the zone leaders come up from Gilmer to do the interview. We all drove over to Edith's friend's house to have the interview out on the porch (because we can't be in a house with no male present). Well, we thought that it would be a big waste of time if Elder Whicker and I just sat there and watched the interview being conducted from the car. So, we left Elder Fisher there to watch his companion from the car while we tracted. We went to the house right next door to the interview first. We thought that it might be awkward and all with the interview happening directly to our left, but hey, we're missionaries. We embrace the awkward. So we go to knock on the door and find that there is a young man sitting on the porch. We start talking with him and getting to know him; he's a great kid. He's sixteen and goes to Idabel High School. Turns out that he knows a few of the kids in the Branch. So we start talking to him about how they act at school and stuff and he kind of shocked himself when he realized that they were the only kids at the school that didn't smoke or drink. I just kinda chuckled to myself on that one. We then asked him who some of his hero's were in his life; people he looked up to. He mentioned his uncle who was in the Army. That was all he had to say. I had just read about Helaman and the stripling warriors (funny because Idabel High School's mascot is the warrior). We asked him if he liked reading and hearing stories from his uncle. He said that he LOVED hearing his uncle's stories. We then asked if he'd like to read some military stories from a book that we had. He of course said that he would. So we gave him the Book of Mormon, not telling him what it was, and told him that he should read that chapter and that we would be back to talk about it the next day. By the time that we left Marcus (the sixteen year old kid) with a prayer, Edith was done with her interview. With tears rolling down her face and the biggest smile I have ever seen, she came running up to me, threw her arms around me, and gave me a BIG hug. There was no stopping this woman. Her fit of joy was too much to withstand. I was hopelessly destined to be hugged. She said, "I have never been so happy in all my life. I cannot wait to be baptized. This is the true church, I know it is." I then said, "I am so happy for you Edith. But I am sure that you and I will be much happier the day of your baptism." I then motioned towards our new friend Marcus and said, "Guess what Edith? Marcus is going to start meeting with us tomorrow." She paused for a moment to collect her thoughts. Then in a shaky voice said, "You have no idea how happy you are going to be. This has changed my life forever. I am so excited for you to feel the way that I do now." It was amazing, I tell you! AMAZING! As soon as we left the porch Marcus began reading the chapter. On top of this great event, we went back to talk with Marcus after church on Sunday. He was going to come to church but got called in to work at his friend's shop. He apologized for not being able to come, but proudly delared that he had finished the chapter and couldn't wait to continue reading. He said, " That was an awesome story! What is this book? Is is like a history book?" Ha ha ha. We said that it was a history of a people that used to live here. A people that knew and loved God. We assigned Alma 43 to introduce him to Moroni and gave him the Introduction as well. We are going back to visit with not only him but his whole family on Wednesday.
We are seeing great blessings in this area and they are only going to continue. I love it here. Can't wait to hear from y'all next week.
Elder Michael McNinch
ps- I'm alive and well. We had a tornado almost touch down in Gilmer when I was on exchange there, but no harm done. At least not to me.

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