So I titled this email, "A Talk to Remember" because I had to speak in sacrament meeting this Sunday and also because I know that "A Walk to Remember" is Dad's favorite show haha. Work in this area is really different from my past two areas. There aren't a whole lot of active members here and everybody knows everybody. Many people no longer come to church and we meet with a lot of inactive members. Usually, in my past two areas, working with the members when we teach investigators and less actives is so crucial. It still is here, but there just aren't a lot of people to choose from. Also many people have been offended by some other members and it just isn't good. Elder Buchanan and I have really tried to become friends with a lot of people in this area and we definitely have. People love having us come over and spend time with them. Many of the less actives do not want to come back to church right now, but enjoy spending time with the missionaries. We decided that we needed to do something to get these people to start coming to church. We decided that we have such good relationships with them that if we spoke in sacrament on Sunday, we could invite them to come and if they still didn't feel like it we told them that, "We could use their support." So this whole week I have used my personal study time to write a talk. We found out that we were the only two speakers. Since there aren't a lot of people who come to church, partaking of the sacrament doesn't take very long, so E. Buchanan and I both had to speak for 20 minutes. It was the longest talk I have ever had to give!! We put a lot of preparation into our talks and somehow I actually spoke for the full 20 minutes. It was on Avoiding Temptation. I used an example in Alma 47 how Captain Moroni was preparing his people for war both physically and spiritually and how his faith was to "resist iniquity." I talked about how no matter where we are in our lives right now, we can begin to follow Jesus Christ and get on the path of righteousness. It turned out really well and I had the same experience like I had when I gave my farewell talk. I wrote out my whole talk, but I practiced it a few times. When the time came for me to give the talk, I barely even looked at my papers. It was pretty cool. The spirit was really strong during the meeting. Elder Buchanan did a great job as well. What was even better was that we had an investigator there for the first time, Bobby Strickland. Bobby is a big guy who has had some bad experiences with church in his past. He really liked it and said that he wants to come back next week. We also had John Janovich there with his whole family and we had two other couples who haven't ever been to church come. I could tell that they felt the spirit during the meeting. We hope to follow up with them and move them towards the next step whatever it may be. I might make a copy of my talk and send it to you guys, but I warn you it’s a long one. We've had a ton of members compliment us and tell us we should send our talks into the Ensign haha.
Well Dad you asked about my bike. Right now I am not even using my bike. This area is so small and wide spread that it is pointless to use our bikes. We have our car so we can drive to another part of our area, but then the actual town is so small that we walk around to save miles. It’s also better for us to walk because then we can talk to more people. I have my bike for when I leave this area and go to my next one. We might ride it here if we feel like it. It will definitely be nice to have my own bike. My whole mission I have had to find a used bike and they have all been really bad ones that are about to break down at any moment. My bike is good and will be a lot easier for me to ride. What else....Oh Lynds all the pictures you sent me were awesome. And I like Mak's letter he sent me. I especially like the one of Mak in his bow tie and of Dan with his mustache. Your family picture is great too. The fat baby twins are so big now. I see baby's out here who seem so big, but they are actually younger than the twins. It’s weird for me to think about. That’s fun that your friends got to meet Elder Kilpack. Man I feel so bad for him. He is 1 1/2 hours away from home, crazy!! He said that he sees his grandparents all the time because they live in that mission. I bet he is doing great though. I reread that talk they gave in General Conference about how missionaries are assigned to their missions. Honestly when they gave that talk, I just got super depressed instead of feeling happy about my call. I decided to reread it and it brought so much understanding to me. It said that President Eyring would look at the picture of the soon-to-be missionary and greet them. He would then picture where the missionary would FINISH his mission and that would help him decide where to assign them. It truly is inspiration and ever since I saw my reassignment letter signed by the prophet himself I have felt so good about my service here in Kennewick Washington. It doesn't matter where I go as long as I am doing my best out here.
Well in other news we got a new zone leader. It is Elder Morse. I don't know if I have ever talked about him before, but he served in Kennewick with me. When I first came out he was just a young missionary and now he is a zone leader. Pretty cool huh? It will be fun to serve with him again. And guess what? Both Elder Cashin and Elder Smith are district leaders right now. I hope they both are doing good. I think Elder Smith is just about done with his mission. He only has a couple transfers left. How weird.
Well that’s pretty much it for me this week. I hope everyone is doing well. I love hearing from all of you. Have a great week.