First of all, definitely make sure you do tell any of Erika's admirers that she indeed does have an older brother. Haha… seriously.
Man, so little time and I feel like I have so much to say this week. I have 30 minutes to write you guys this email and forward it to Kylie with a message to her.
I really hope you both know that I do value and appreciate the time and effort you take to email me and devote mental brainpower into writing intelligent emails - haha, I really do. I hope you know that I look forward to reading them, and they always provoke thought and invite me to repent and become just a little better each week. I really loved what you were saying Dad about testimony and conversion! There are so many people who we teach that are not active in the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they are not truly converted… many never were! I think that almost all of them had/have some level of testimony. Thank you for those insights.
There are many things I want to say in response to what you've both written about but I want to include some things that are new with me for the time I have left...
Elder Bradley is getting transferred tomorrow morning at transfers. I know he has helped me a lot with not only the way I work, but also the way I view the work, and we've had a blast together! So the missionaries we live with (Elder Smith and Elder Lund) will both be staying in the same house but Elder Smith will become my new companion! It was kind of funny when President told him that he was getting transferred and called to be a Zone Leader but that he didn't need to pack… do the math! Haha. I've known Elder Smith my whole mission and we've become very good friends. We've helped each other out through struggles and we trust each other.
There are so many miracles that have been happening in this area and they will continue! We had Ellen, Hongye, Matt, and a guy named Eric all at church in the student ward on Sunday and then there was a ward potluck after and they all stayed but Matt. It was so great to see people fellowshipping and building genuine relationships with these people. That is so crucial! Elder Smith and I will be putting Ellen and Hongye on date within the next week or two. I extended the baptismal invitation to Matt during our first lesson and he accepted but he doesn't want to choose a date yet until he really knows it's true. His parents are very strict Lutheran and he says he needs to talk with them first. Joseph IVCrows is his actual name haha, he's Southern Ute. Unfortunately there hasn't been any progress with him since I fist told you about him.
... Alright I'm just about out of time. I sure love you guys a lot. I'm proud of you. I respect you. And I truly do thank you for all you've given me and helped me to become.
Elder W. Marks
P.S. I want to copy/paste a reply to an email I sent to President that he sent me back. I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned in what he said...
Thank you for doing your best and being a superb missionary. You keep going even when you do not feel very good. That is a sign of a "man." True men do what they need to do because they are the father, the husband, the protector and the provider. Pres. Hinckley said, "Most of the great things in life are accomplished by people that do not feel very well". I have the utmost respect for you and I am honored to serve with you.
Your friend and fellow servant,