It was quite interesting as I was shopping yesterday, I noticed that the Walmart is beginning to put supplies out for the next school year. It was quite a shock when I realized that I am not going to spend this entire school year here in South Carolina! :O I need to put the pedal to the medal and make sure I use every moment effectively to fulfill the calling and purpose that I have as a missionary.
This week I am pleased to announce that the Florence area now has a map! It was interesting trying to plan on a map that was so old and had streets that no longer existed and was missing so many new developments. Last week we spent our time buying a new map and laminating it. Yesterday, our district leader, Elder Williams, and his companion, Elder Bangeter, came over and helped find where members live and placed them on our map. This ward is HUGE! There are enoungh members in the ward list to make a stake! It's quite sad that there are only 140-160 active members, while there are 800-900 less-active members. We are going to try and help re-kindle the flame that these members once had, while also teaching their friends and families. We are following President Monson's program "Rescue Effort." We also have been blessed with 600 media offers. These are individuals who either saw a commercial or went to Mormon.org and ordered free materials from the church. We deliver the items and also invite them to learn of the restored gospel. I sometimes wonder how in the world I am supposed to be in charge of bringing the gospel to so many different people. I have complete confidence that as I listen to the promptings of the still small voice, I will know where to begin with these huge lists.
Tanzania, felt the spirit, acted. . .and made the wrong decision. She was truthful when she said she wanted to get back into church, but unfortunately she chose to go back to her family church and does not want us coming back by.
This week we had a return appointment with Annette Brown. She had read the introduction and was very curious about the entire timeline of the Book of Mormon. We explained everything to her, letting her know who was the father of who, and she is so interested in family history! We are going over to teach her the Plan of Salvation today. I am very excited to see how she continues to progress in the gospel.
On Sunday, we found a sweet man named Lashawn. We taught him a powerful straight forward lesson, which I think only lasted about 10 minutes, but by the end Lashawn knew the importance of Priesthood power in performing ordinances in the gospel, and he really wanted to know if Joseph Smith received that authority from Jesus Christ. We have a return appointment with LaShawn today as well. Sister Selph is as sweet as always. I love her to death. She is still working on her addiction to cigarettes. She is going to begin attending the addiction recovery class which is held at the church every Tuesday evening. I know that as she completes the class, she will be smoke free and ready for baptism. The work continues to progress and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Elder Fitzgerald and the people in the Florence area.
I love each of you, and I love the gospel too!
P.S. Note for future missionaries (Justin, Blake, and Kevin):
Keep your area book current! Updating an area book is like repentance, it can be done, but it's a difficult process. The longer you wait the harder it is. If you update your area book everyday (just like repentance), it's easy, but when missionaries for the past year and a half have not kept good records, then it becomes a difficult process. :)