12 October 2007
Dear Mom and Dad
It is just starting to get cold. We’ve had a little rain but mostly at night. I’m going to need winter boots, a sling shoulder backpack, and some more winter extras. We’ve been doing good. We have really increased our teaching pool from nothing when we got here. The bishop of the ward is from Simi. He moved out here about 10 years ago.
We have found two wonderful ladies who we have already set baptism dates. They are awesome. You asked about the trees turning colors. I really wouldn’t know. There aren’t many trees in the city where I’m at. We live right near the train system that they have here. It’s constantly going and sometimes will wake me at night. A couple morning ago, we had a little scare in our own apartment. We went out running and when we got back our ground level was full of smoke. We called the fire department. After a while of trying to figure out where it was coming from, they came and found that the heater, which we didn’t have on, had seized and was smoking. It could have easily caught if they didn’t got to it. So now its getting cold an we are waiting for a new heater. Elder Wolsey, my companion, is a pretty good guy. He has been out for 6 months and is from San Diego. We tract from 10 to 3 every day and hopefully get in a couple doors and out of the cold and the wind. We went on exchanges with the assistants last night and tonight also. I have learned a bunch from them. My MTC companions are spread out all over the mission. Elder Wankier is in my zone but in a richer part on the outskirts. Right now is Saturday morning.
14 Oct 2007
Last night went well. After resting all day because I had been sick, I felt good enough to go out. We went on splits again with the assistants. Our lessons went good. We found some more people to teach and hopefully we have people show up at church today. Slowly I’m becoming a better teacher which is good to see. The wards out here are small and very spread out. Very different from what I’m used to. Here, they have one building and one ward meets in that building. What’s crazy is 3 sets of missionaries cover that one ward where at home one set covers 2 or 3 wards. This makes it very difficult to get really acquainted with the ward. My area is pretty far from the Pennypack Ward so it is very difficult to get investigators to church. Usually we would be able to call the ward to help out with rides but 1) it’s difficult to find people in our area from the ward, 2) when you have 3 sets of missionaries all calling the same people sources become limited very fast. Out here, the transportation system is called SEPTA. Most people don’t have cars. And quickly SEPTA is becoming too expensive. For a couple to go to church and back on Sunday its over $6.00. So that has been one major difficulty to overcome. But its working out slowly. People who really desire to be at church can get there.
I think I told you, but we only eat 2 meals a day really. Breakfast around 7 and then linner or whatever between 3 and 5. I don’t know if that will keep us healthy for long especially on our budget. But its OK. We have a very small kitchen and no counter space. A stove that kinda works. A George Foreman grill and an oven. So we’re pretty set but not much variety comes with that. We are getting used to it and everything has become normal routine now. Its just hard to eat really good throughout the week when you buy everything on Monday. Lots of the things we like won’t stay that long especially fresh things. Fruits and vegetable are expensive but worth it for the first half of the week.
Alright, it’s Sunday night—so the week is over. As missionaries we learn some great lessons and one of the most important ones is about goals. And achieving those goals. President Monson said the reason we set goals for ourselves is because, “when performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” So as you can see, our goals are high but achievable.
Right now we are really working hard on preparing our people with dates for baptism. Everyone in Philly has big time problems with something. Usually Word of Wisdom or law of chastity. I was actually just walking down the block and felt like I needed to talk to this guy. He said he had some time and to come across the street to meet his family. He quickly opened up to me and told me that his past life is bad and I found out it was really bad, but he is turning his life around and had talked to missionaries before and felt good about what they shared. So he said he wanted us to help him. And he wants to start coming to church! He’s going to be tough though cause he’s a pretty rough guy and has a problem with every point on the list, but he has a desire to change and become better and that’s what really counts. I hope we can hold on the him. He’s running away from some things that he doesn’t want to catch up with him. So that’s what worries me. But we’ll see. I got asked today to baptize a lady named Michelle. She was our “fourth-watch” miracle. We found her at 9:05 p.m. when we should have already stopped knocking and headed back towards home. She was the last door I was going to knock on. When she opened the door I kinda used an unusual approach that I have now started using a lot more. I said “I have been sent here to share a scripture with you and say a prayer for you and your family.” To my surprise she said, “Come on in.” So I called to Elder Wolsey who was at the next door down and we went in. Shared a quick message with her and she has asked us to come back every single night since then. She has been solid and kept every appointment and commitment we have left with her. She’s awesome and tonight she asked if I would be the one to baptize her on 4 November! That made me so happy! But I told here I couldn’t promise that I wouldn’t cry. It will be a big special day for both of us! I’m excited!
The month as flown by, but one down! Let everyone at home know I said Hi. I love you.