What an exciting week! So much has happened that I don't know if I will be able to remember everything, let alone write it in the email. To start off, Elder Redston and I planned on having a zone development meeting on Friday, but half way through the week, we received a call from the assistants that we were going to have a zone leader council on Friday. With this news, we changed our ZDM from Friday to Thursday. I love giving trainings. For this meeting I told Elder Redston to give training on physical aspects of missionary work (policies and procedures, role plays and evaluations, filling out paper work, etc.) and I would give the spiritual training. I was not sure what I was really going to train on. I had two or three different ideas, but I wanted to rely on the promise in D&C where the Lord promises that if we are prepared spiritually, the words we need to say shall be given at the specific moment they are needed. I said a quiet prayer as I stood before everyone and then I began. My training ended up being on prayer, "more earnest prayers." It was great to be taught by the Spirit as I was standing before the Zone. I think I learned more as I was standing there than the Zone learned from me. It was a great experience.
After the ZDM, Elder Douglas and I went forward with our plans. We had tried to see John Perry. John was not home. I had not seen him at all this week and he didn't come to church on February 7th because the battery on his car died. Since he was not home, we started talking to some of the people in the neighborhood. As we went through our day, I noticed at 3:00 pm I had an appointment written down for a Jeff on 211 Georgia St. I could not remember who this person was. I asked Elder Douglas if he remembered who this "Jeff" was but he did not have the appointment written down. We had joked about it, saying that the Lord must have written the appointment into my planner. When it was 3:00 pm, we headed to Georgia St. As we walked down the street, there was no number 211, but we did find a 112. We decided to knock on the door (because I tend to have dyslexia quite a bit) and when we knocked on the door, we met Dede. We invited Dede to hear our message and at first she replied with, "I'm Lutheran," but as we continued to talk and present to her the Book of Mormon, you could literally see the "spark" within her eyes as we shared with her the truth that God has given us another book of scripture. She then asked, "How do I get one of those books?" :) Boy is that a good statement to hear! We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, and we shared with her a couple of scriptures including Moroni 10:3-5. As we read and explained the importance of asking God, Dede was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. We did not ever have to ask her if we could come back, she beat us to it by asking us when we could come back by. We are planning to see her today at four. Elder Douglas and I have made some exciting plans for our lesson today.
So on Thursday night, we received a message from the assistants that all zone leaders will not only be attending our zone leader council, but that we would attend Columbia zone conference as well AND that there was going to be some special guests: Elder Posey (local area authority) and Elder Gonzalez (President of the Seventy). We were trained by them for the first half of the day and then the second half was our zone leader council. After the zone leader council, it was snowing in Columbia. President McConkie made the decision that it was better to be safe than sorry, so the zone leaders who did not live in Columbia stayed the night at the mission home. We arrived at the mission home at 5:00 in the evening. And the rest of the night we practiced teaching one another, scripture cases, and also President gave us additional training on what we received from Elder Gonzalez. It snowed constantly the entire time we were up there. I think there was anywhere from 4-6 inches of snow in Columbia (I know that is not a lot compared to other areas of the world, but it was a big thing here). Because the trees are not used to the weight of the snow here, there were trees everywhere that were snapping. I really had a fun time. I was there with other missionaries who actually enjoy missionary work. We just had a blast.
The next morning, was Saturday! Elder Redston's AND my BIRTHDAY! We received a birthday breakfast from President and Sister McConkie. After breakfast President trained us even more. :) I love sitting around his living room and talking about the gospel. President McConkie has a vast amount on knowledge and a firm testimony. It is amazing to hear stories of him being taught by his father. After the training we had a snowball fight! :) It was such a fun trip-sporadic and not planned at all. Just the way I like it!
The sun came out and the roads were well enough to drive home. I'm glad we stayed in Columbia because as we drove back to Greenville, we saw so many cars that had driven into the embankment and in ditches. When we got back, we picked up Elder Douglas and Elder Hightower and we drove to Greer, where we were blessed to witness Kim and Corrie Coggins get baptized. They have a beautiful conversion story. It's also quite long. The Coggins have been investigating the church for the past year, and since I've spent most of my mission here in the upstate, I have heard about them, talked with them and worked with them. With all the hard work from so many different missionaries and members, they got baptized.
After the baptism, we went out to eat: PF Changs. :) I spent all of my funds, but it was well worth it. The food was delicious. Overall, I had an amazing birthday. It was not what we had planned, but I would not have wanted it in any other way.
Saturday we received transfer calls. Elder Redston is leaving. :( I am sad to see him go, but I know he is going to do great wherever he goes.
On Sunday evening Elder Douglas and I made it out to Clark Cir. We visited with Felicia (the one I told you about who has food storage and watches KBYU) and her mother Dot. We are seeing them again on Friday.
Yesterday we finally got ahold of John Perry. He has had so many problems with his life. A growth appeared on his foot and he had to have surgery to have it removed. As he was getting ready for church, he dropped a can on his foot. He told us he was in so much pain that he cried. It's sad to see that something always comes up, but he keeps a positive attitude. John is also continuing to read the Book of Mormon. We are seeing him again on Thursday.
I hope and pray all is well with everyone! Jesus is the Christ, this is His Church.
P.S. I love this quote:
The Lord sends boys foreign to become men,
The Lord sends men stateside to become leaders
The Lord sends leaders to the south to become scholars.
:) Oh yeah!