Sorry I'm just now getting back. Today was our temple day, so Monday was a regular work-day. I think next week's p-day will be on Thursday, the 4th. Not sure though.
This week was long. Literally. :p But it rained a lot. Like actual downpour, which is different than the normal drizzle and gray overcast. We saw Derek quite a few times. He really loves the changes he's seen in his life as a result of the gospel. He and his younger brother, Chase, attended the worldwide broadcast on Sunday and while Chase felt a special connection with Elder Packer, Derek spent most of the time half-listening and half-jotting away at some list in his lap. He showed it to me after the broadcast was over, and it turned out to be an 18-step self improvement plan. Some of the points on his list included: Talk with 2 people about the Book of Mormon every day, Read and understand 10 verses each day, Do something nice for 3 people daily, Kick 1 bad habit every day, and Get rid of all grudges.
A touching experience for me to witness: The broadcast was held at our home building, but the whole Marysville Stake was in attendance, not just the Shoultes ward. So there were a lot of people I didn't know. After the broadcast ended, a woman I've never seen approached Derek and hardly introduced herself before tenderly embracing him. Through her sobs, she managed, "I'm sorry, you just remind me so much of my brother. Thank you." I couldn't help but tear up. Derek is pretty well covered in tattoos and was dressed in 'gangstuh' clothes, but he has a great heart and greatly appreciate that those in attendance didn't look or scoff at him judgmentally.
We had an awesome lesson with a former investigator, Ellen (the lady with epilepsy) on the plan of salvation. In talking about the resurrection, I told her how she would one day have a perfect body and talked a little bit about mom and how I know that brings her hope. This was another moment in the week, when I couldn't help but tear up. :p After the lesson, I asked her how she felt and her response was, "I just feel like crying!" In a good way, of course. We'll see her and her fiance, Brian, again on Saturday.
Funny story: Brian kind of talks like Forrest Gump. And he even has similar physical features. We dropped by last week to see how they were doing, and he was telling us a story. I don't remember the details, but at one point he said something like, "I really wanted to go to church and do things for myself, so I did." (Imagine Forrest Gump voice, I just felt like running, so I did.) Elder Benedict pointed this out to me later and we had a good laugh. At our lesson on Saturday, I asked how Brian felt about the lesson and the plan of salvation in general, and he told us a lot about his testimony and upbringing in the Church. He concluded with, "And that's all I really have to say about that." I busted out laughing!! So great.
Our recent convert, Jordan Edwards, is struggling with a demanding work schedule, but we had a lesson with him yesterday that proved highly effective in building his comprehension of the Book of Mormon and its unfamiliar lingo. He had a blast! The study assignment we left him with should hopefully bolster his study skills and perpetuate the excitement he felt at the end of our appointment. I love teaching that guy!
On Tuesdays, we have a standing late evening appointment with a less-active family, the Hemmings. When we were picked up for dinner, we accidentally left our phone in the apartment and didn't receive the call from Brother Hemming saying that he and Sister Hemming would not be home for our post-dinner appointment. So after dinner, we went over there and found only the Paige and Zane the sophomore-aged twins and only children of the house. Zane is a stalwart priesthood holder (who just got over mono miraculously, right after Elder Benedict and I gave him a blessing) and Paige is, well, struggling. She doesn't attend church often and makes funky decisions. But instead of walking home in the pouring rain because the parents weren't home, we stayed out on the porch and talked with the twins, getting Paige to open up about her concerns. We made a lot of good progress and taught solid principles based on our own high school experiences. It was really cool.
Going to the temple this morning was a sweet, sweet gift. I am grateful for the opportunity to go and perform ordinances for the dead and to receive much-needed revelation. The spirit I feel in the house of the Lord is always a healing balm for my soul. I also spent a lot of time thinking about Seth in this rough patch of his life.
All for now. I love y'all and really, really appreciate all the support y'all give me!