July 19, 2010
Snail Mail address
Elder Mitch Brown
5310 Alder Close
Olds, AB T4H1L4
Anyways, hello from one of the happiest missionaries in the world! I set my first baptismal date!!! One of our investigators named Joseph Schluter decided to be baptized mid-august! He really was making no progress until last week when we talked about the priesthood and he was so excited and wanted the ability to give blessings to his loved ones very badly. The power of the priesthood is pretty freaking sweet! He was hesitant until we promised him the ability to exercise his priesthood whenever he was called on as long as he stays worthy. The coolest part is he really doesn't smoke, drink, or any real stumbling blocks to becoming fully converted. His wife is a member and very nearly cried when he agreed. I asked her if that would be something comforting in her life, to know that her husband was a strong priesthood holder. She could barely respond and just looked at her husband, Joseph, and smiled. It was a very very touching experience. They are from Carstairs which is just south of Olds, so it is kinda a pain going out there, but very worth it because our lessons are always way freaking sweet.
There was a lady who accepted a baptismal commitment the week before I came out here to Olds named Jackie Schaffer. Their family has been out of town for about a month and we finally got to meet her on Sunday! She saw us and told us she had been watching a movie someone had given her that was "all about the Mormons." Elder Andrasko and I were very worried because we thought it would be some lame Anti material. As she walked back to the door and showed us what it was, it turned out to be The Testaments and she loved it! She asked when we could come back and teach her more. We are going back Friday night to teach her the Plan of Salvation.
One of our investigators, Rufus Schellenburg, had to be dropped this week. It was very sad and felt as though we were giving up on his Eternal Salvation. He is an incredible man but felt as though the "oath" he made to his pastor in the United Church of Canada was stronger than any covenant he could make in the Mormon church. He also believes that Elder Andrasko and I don't have the priesthood and that we do not have the authority to baptize or perform blessings etc. He is very old and VERY set in his ways, so the decision to drop him had to be made. Our new mission president, President Campbell, asked us to use a new term rather than dropped. He asked us to start saying "parked" because every investigator that has had discussions will be contacted again multiple times. I know that if he doesn't pass away, he will continue to meet with missionaries and i KNOW that he will accept the gospel in this life or the next.
We had Zone conference this week up in Red Deer which was really fun. They have released a simplified curriculum of Preach My Gospel which really has turned even farther away from structured lessons and really bases the teachings on the needs of our investigators. Obviously, we still need to teach all the doctrine and it flows well as it is already in the manual....but we have done some really sweet stuff with the new curriculum. I have really learned to love teaching and have enjoyed resolving concerns of investigators and even people on the street. Polygamy is a HUGE issue. If you ever come in contact with someone that brings it up, make in absolutely clear it is not allowed as a member of the church. You wouldn't believe how many people still believe that it is practiced. Anyways, the new curriculum has been beneficial. I would encourage anyone who wants to, to read through and study Preach My Gospel as well as daily Book of Mormon studies. They really go hand in hand, and even though you might not have an opportunity every day to share the gospel, you will be so much more confident when you do have that chance. I know that this calling as a missionary and all the duties that go with it have brought me so much joy and made me a more confident and strong person.
We had interviews with President Campbell before zone conference and it was such a good interview. I love that he is a Utahn like me, and I think i will really grow to love him and admire him. He took our companionship and our Zone leaders out to eat after our interviews and we just had a good talk about everything. We talked a lot about my goals as a missionary in the interview. He promised me that he would give me all the help he could to assist me in accomplishing all my goals and more. He seems like he truly is on fire with the work and we even watched him give away a pass along card outside the hotel he was staying at. It was such a cool experience to see our president doing the work that we are. He is an awesome example and really has given me the courage to approach anyone and everyone. I look forward to meeting with him more frequently.
That pretty much wraps up the week. It was a good week and we are working on getting our 20 lessons a week in. This upcoming week looks like it will be super solid and we'll meet our goal for sure. I know that as we meet that goal, the work seems to go forward so much faster and easier. I had the strongest prompting to talk to a man the other day and he went inside so we have been walking past his house and knocking on his door as frequently as we can permit to try to talk to him, but his wife has told us to go away many times. I really hope that he will be in his backyard sometime so we can talk to him. These promptings are pretty incredible and i love being able to care what anyone thinks and just do EXACTLY what I am directed to do every time i had a prompting.
I love you all and miss you tons. I hope everything is going wonderfully back home and you're all happy and healthy. I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to know i have such a wonderful family to come home to when I have finished my mission. Until then, keep me and my investigators in your prayers. I know that you can provide the missionaries, especially your favorite one, with so much strength. I really appreciate it.
Love you so so much,