Here I am in a new area! And I love Raymond, it is a very, very different area, but a great place nonetheless. My companion is Elder Green and he is awesome! One of the fun parts of this week has been being "doubled in!" Meaning neither Elder Green nor I have ever served in this area. We get along very well and have very similar personalities and desires to work hard and be obedient.
When transfer calls came I knew absolutely nothing about Raymond other than it is in Washington and the southern part of our mission. Mom, you know things about the town that I haven't even heard yet, haha. But I came to learn quickly, first from other missionaries, then from the members, that Raymond has seen little progress in the past year. I didn't know any of the missionaries that served here before us. Many of them think they are being exiled to the outskirts of the mission and feel discouraged. But not us!!
So there we were, in our car, driving through the endless trees of Washington to a place we've never been nor seen before, with nothing more than an address. We reach our place we are to live in, a spare floor above the garage of a member's home. On the table is a paper with some information and 4 potential investigators. By week's end we have had 6 lessons with members present, and 12 other lessons, 6 new investigators, 8 Books of Mormon handed out, and about 4 investigators that we think can be baptized this transfer!! I say all that not to brag, because it certainly was not my own success. But I say this to glory in the Lord, who greatly blessed us. We worked hard, with great diligence, and a commitment to be as obedient as possible. The members are beginning to see, and the great harvest is starting to unfold.
Raymond is a interesting place. It is a very small town, the whole area has less than 8,000 people. Almost everyone here is older. I've never seen so many older people in my life. I've also never seen so much lumber in my life ever. There's a big lumber factory in Aberdeen and every day trucks stacked with huge tree logs drive up there. The member's we live with give us free jars of raw cow's milk. Haha at first I was very apprehensive because they said it's not technically for human consumption but it tastes SO good!!
|Local Lumber Yard|
We have been teaching some great people. One woman is Chinese and speaks very little English. We got Chinese Books of Mormon for her and I would find the verses I wanted her to read in her Chinese Book of Mormon (because I could find which book is which using the number of chapters in it :) ) and then she would read out loud in Chinese and you could see a better understanding as she tried to explain in English. She wants the best for her son and she realizes that this church, this gospel can do that! She felt the spirit very strong during our lessons.
Another girl (18 years old) we know is a recent convert of two months, who just moved here with her grandparents. She had a very hard upbringing but has a bright, burning testimony and loves the church. Her sister is not a member, but she was asking questions. We had a surprise lesson with her sister Saturday. But because their grandparents really don't like the church, we met outside on this open ground. We taught the restoration and her heart was soft, she is very sensitive to the Spirit. She committed to baptism because she felt for herself that what we said is true. She told her sister, "I feel different; I feel warm" and gave her a big hug. I actually teared up a little bit. Unfortunately their grandparents didn't like that her sister was considering joining the true church and did not let them come to church. We need to pray that their grandparents' heart will be softened.
My scripture for the week is 2 Nephi 4:20-21 because Nephi is awesome and because I feel as he did: greatly blessed and needing to continually repent.
2 Nephi 4:20-21
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
P.S. Mom, could you send me a few things? :) I've been wanting to study faith more, and at home in my bookshelf I have Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith that I'd like to have. Also could you send a good dictionary (it helps with personal study to deepen understanding) one with those cool archaic definitions. And could you send me some music? I'd like two CD's. They are both playlists on my old iPhone and on my old iTunes. One is called "MOTAB" and the other is called "BYU/EFY". It'd be great if you could just burn those playlists onto CD's and send them! And last, my rain jacket because the weather is great but it will soon end, so I'd rather be prepared. You can send to my new address. Love you!!