Well, we haven't been able to email today until late because p-day is actually Thanksgiving, but President still wanted us to email our families today. That was nice to be able to talk for a bit last week. I'm excited to be able to call home at Christmas and talk a bit more :)
We still need to set Ellen with an actual date for baptism. We've talked a lot about it and she has pretty much said she wants to and plans on it but she really wants to finish all of the lessons before she commits to a date. She has to take a bus ride to get to the church to meet us for the lessons and something kind of cool happened today. She thought we had a lesson but we actually didn't (we do tomorrow) and on the way to the church she got talking with this guy and he's going to come to church with her on Sunday! She's already a better missionary than the majority of the members - haha!
I can't remember if I've told you about a couple of the other progressing investigators. Smokey and Nubia… Smokey is in the family ward, he's in his mid-40's, and was referred to us by a good friend and bishop, in California. He met with Elder Bradley and his previous companion, Elder Rubalcava, before I came into the area and they taught him once and he came to church once and then fell off the face of the earth. Elder Smith and I got a call from his friend in California saying he had another good talk with him and he's back in Golden and wants to start investigating again. We are on exchanges tomorrow with the Assistants and Elder Smith will be teaching Smokey with Elder Scheopfle.
Nubia is in the student ward and also was a member referral. We've been teaching her for a couple weeks. We've taught her the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. She's come to church twice and is progressing quickly. She prayed out loud in front of other people for the very first time in her life in our lesson last Saturday! It was so cool :)
For Thanksgiving we have 5 set dinner lessons all with less active members. So yeah, that'll be a long day with way too much food. We've already informed them that we have multiple other dinners so we probably won't be eating much at each place. That is good to hear that everyone has got a place to be for Thanksgiving:) I'll be thinking of everyone.
Mom, you talked a bit in your email about perspective. That's something I love about the holidays, they're a nice time to refocus a bit on what actually matters. We have so much to be thankful for!
Mornings have been difficult lately because of my back. I don't know what the deal is lately, if it's some change in the weather or what but it hasn't been too much fun. It's difficult in the mornings but the discomfort has been lingering most of the day as of recently.
We had a great Zone Conference! I was able to give my training on OYM'ing (opening your mouth) and the Spirit took it somewhere completely different than I had thought but I feel it went well. I ended up talking more about how Satan's goal is to put fear into our hearts so we don't open our mouth. I feel like the "sweet boldness" technique is the only way to go, and I think that helped the missionaries out a lot.
You've continued to be in my prayers, specifically Dad. For your health and speedy recovery. That's good to hear that things are getting a bit better. Something you said in your email was interesting to me, that times of blessing and success can bring challenges. I've felt something the past few days for some reason and I don't exactly know what it is. I feel indebted to the Lord and that I want to work harder. He has blessed this area so much lately and I feel like I can't do enough to repay him… because I can't! Sometimes ya just don't feel good enough! I know the Lord is qualifying me for my call as a missionary and as a Zone Leader but I feel a constant need to become better. I don't know… it's definitely a balance obviously… you gotta always be making efforts to improve and progress (otherwise damning ourselves) but we also need to recognize how far we've come and what the Lord is making us to become.
I'll definitely be thinking of you all during Thanksgiving. I love you. I plead with the Lord for your spiritual well being and that things will be taken care of physically. I'm so happy and grateful for the knowledge and the potential we have.
Elder W. Marks
P.S. I've given up soda completely for the past month and a half or so and I've loved it! You should too, it's about one of the worst things we can put into our bodies. Love you all!