(Elder Dean is the one not wearing glasses.... Elder Hogan is...)
California is beautiful. A little too hot, my skin gets itchy when it gets too hot. My skin is super dry too.
Our area is doing great. We got 27 lessons this week, 15 of which were non-members. We are finding a lot of good people who are interested in learning more. And a lot of good people, who while not being interested in our message thank us for our devotion to our Lord. We have been able to do Splits more and more often. President Watkins expressed to me as the driver that he wants us to be doing splits nightly if we can. Splits are when one of us goes with a member and then the four of us go out and try to see people. It is super fun, and it lets the members experience the life of one of their missionaries. We got to meet with a referral that we received, a man named Thad, we taught him about the Restoration, and then we walked with him down to his friends house, and then he asked her to come to Church with us (we had invited him to church in our lesson.) His friend accepted, and so we planned a ride for them. Sadly the following day, Sunday, we learned that they wouldn't be able to make it there, and our other investigator Paul couldn't make it either. But when a window closes the Lord opens a window. We got to meet with a man named Mark who asked a lot of great questions about the doctrines of the Church, and who we plan to meet again next week. Some times all you can do is work. "We all have work, let no one shirk, put your shoulder to the wheel." We are continuing the work.
My companions and I have been getting a long really well. We laugh and really enjoy teaching together. We teach really well, and we teach a lot of great people. We have been hoking about wether I will get transferred next week. They are coming up, and looking at my track record I might not stay put. But that is okay, we work hard together and live for the day, and for the good people that the Lord has put in our care.
I know that hard work will pay off, eventually. That referral Thad, we had tried to see him for almost three weeks before we finely caught him. I was reading about Joseph Smiths First Vision, and it occurred to me that when he called upon God to deliver him out of the grasp of the enemy of all righteousness, he wasn't freed right away. He was freed after he was ready to sink into despair, after his own efforts to free himself were exhausted. The Lord will let us go through hard things so that we can grow, and then when can do no more of our own power, he will give us more of His power then we had before. Brad Wilcox said that "Grace is not the finishing touch, but the Finishers touch. It is not a buster engine that kicks in after all we can do, but is with us every step of the way." It was by trusting in Gods grace that Joseph knew he could call upon God for answers and help, and by the love and grace of God that that help and answers were given. We all need grace and the Lords help in this our lives. I know that we have that grace, and that as we recognize our need for it we can learn better how to use it to change us into what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know we can become.
We shared a message this week to a family about Helaman 5:12 about building on the Savior and being able to weather the storms of life. Well the grandpa of the family said something I like. The verse talks about the rain and floods of life. The grandpa said "Don't worry about the Rain. Put on a rain coat." I like that. Put on your coat.
The only word on my visa is from Elder Stimpson, the only member of my MTC Zone to make it there. He said that Sister Cook says that they have stopped calling foreign missionaries to Zimbabwe and that they are still having problems getting new visas, but they are able to renew visas just fine. Prospects don't look that good for the visa coming very soon. But I will stay hopeful and work hard.