Monday, July 18, 2016

Hey Y'all!

This week I went on exchange with Elder Blanco!!!!! Super fun. We went down to their area in Matthews, which borders Providence which was pretty weird. While we were out finding, we found a guy named Stephen who was basically just waiting for missionaries to come. I guess he was baptized when he was 8 and hasn't been to church since then, but while we were teaching him he asked when he could be rebaptized. We explained the sacrament to him and he sounded like he was going to come to church. Hopefully he did. Elder Blanco is from Columbia and
doesn't have a license so I had to drive the assistant's Chevy Silverado. I've never driven a truck that big, and we had to go from Lexington down to Charlotte and back. I hate Charlotte traffic in general isn't my thing. While we were driving Elder Blanco and I talked a lot about the premortal life. I feel like there's so much we don't know about it. He brought up a theory a lot of people believe in that makes sense to me. If our actions in this life determine what quality of life we'll get in the next life, then perhaps our actions in the pre mortal life determined what quality of life we have on earth. Like maybe the reason people are born into the covenant is because they accepted it more fully in the pre earth life and the reason some people still need to be converted is because they didn't? Like for example, there wasn't a ton of agency in me being baptized when I was 8. Yeah, I made the decision to get baptized, but it wasn't until I was older that I fully understood what that meant so maybe the reason I was born into a family where the gospel was taught was because I already accepted it in the pre mortal life? Interesting things to think about.

Today we went golfing!!! It was super hot, but still pretty fun. I averaged a bogey on most holes, not too bad after not playing for an entire year. The course was pretty cheap but looked really nice. It was really open like the one in Madras, but there was thick forests in some parts. It looked like the course Harley makes on Lost. We played with the sister training leaders and one of them was super good and whooped us all.

So our investigator Shirley got the job and came to church Sunday!!!! I'm so excited for their family. The mom is doing really well with all the commandments, but the kids really like sweet tea. Everyone here likes sweat tea, but these kids especially. So today we got some gatorade stuff for them to drink instead of tea. Pray that works because it would be really great to see a whole family get baptized. Our other investigator getting close to baptism is Josh who has some bad nerve damage and can't let water go down his throat so he's scared to get baptized, but we're going to work with him and hopefully he'll be baptized in the next few weeks.

On Friday we were able to go do service for a recent convert named Colleen. She's in an electric wheelchair and can't keep her home up very well, so she let us come and sweep and vacuum and even do her dishes! It felt good to do something nice for someone else. We seem to do a lot of service here. There's been a few people baptized in the last few months that weren't really elect at first but as the elders did service their hearts were softened and they basically asked if they could be baptized. Has the Cline Falls Ward done much with Just Serve? They want us to do at least 7 hours a week of community service as missionaries so we go to a soup kitchen every week and make food for homeless people.

Oh yeah, I've been out a year now! Which is funny because I still feel super new... But I've learned a ton over the past 12 months. A lot about humility and pride. It's been so interesting to observe all these different people and their different lifestyles and the attributes that come along with how they live. It's made me really reflect what kind of lifestyle I want to live, which I suppose is a huge part of going on a mission. But now I'm really looking forward to what the next year has to offer for me. Hopefully many more baptisms and spiritual experiences.

Well I sure love you guys! Till next week,

Elder Earnest

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