So first, what I've observed from the different mission presidents: President T. was very big on exact obedience. He had to be; the mission was straight apostate when he first arrived. He shouldered an enormous burden on himself and he added many rules to ensure that missionaries stayed in line. President J. is more focused on us using the Spirit and the White Handbook to determine what we should or should not do. This means many of T's rules have been done away. There are significant differences because of this-on the one hand, you have the trust and accountability to the Lord, and really that means some missionaries will take that to heart, follow the Spirit more, and be better. There are also those, and I have already begun to see this, that take these guidelines and run like the dickens with them. In the end though, it is their agency anyway and their decisions. Other things that President J. has done are allowed us to got to the temple! If you're within 2 hours driving, you may take your Pday to go do it! Lancaster is just within that limit. So we might go this Friday if our ride is able to go! So pumped!
The big news is that M is getting baptized this Saturday! She is Brother G's mom, and it has been such a miracle teaching her. When we first met her, she had memory problems and our first few lessons went in one ear and out the other. So we focused on her needs, prayed for her, and she began reading the Book of Mormon faithfully. She received strength and memory, and it was a true miracle. She was able to gain such a testimony and really remember and retain almost everything we taught her. She gained a true desire and testimony and passed her baptismal interview with flying colors. The only hang-up right now is that she really wants her son to back for the baptism. And he has disappeared. In a very sketchy way, he has been gone for over a month now, and every time we try to figure out where he is, he's somewhere else. We're talking Miami, Santo Domingo, and last we heard Argentina. So pray please that he returns so we don't have to postpone.
The other big news is that Elder Wilford Anderson of the 70 came on a mission tour yesterday (that's why I'm emailing today.) It was an intensely spiritual day. We received a lot of good training from him and his wife, he really counseled us to start with the end in mind, e.g., the temple. That should be the vision our investigators have when they learn from us. He talked about why baptism was so essential, and the difference between forgiveness and remission of sins. Simply put, we can forgive. We do all the time (it's a commandment actually). And God can forgive us. When we repent, even not as members, we are forgiven and His anger is turned away. But remission of sins, the cleansing and purifying of our impurities and sins, happens only through baptism of water and the Holy Ghost through the proper authority. So that is why baptism is really essential. That was a cool tidbit I learned and something that I actually realized really applies to our investigator family, the Ms. So I'm looking forward to our next lesson now.
Funny Story: I haven't been running recently just because it's too much on my feet with all the walking as well. Then last week we had a dinner appointment. The lady is pretty mad if you’re not punctual. Then this less active lady we teach texts us with an emergency 10 minutes before dinner, asking us to meet her at the library. We're like "crap." So we get things sorted out with her, and then ran probably a mile and a half to dinner. We were just booking it, ties flapping, shoes pounding, running up the sidewalks and stuff. People would yell out "Mormons!' as we passed at high speeds. Then we got to dinner, and I think the sister felt bad we’d sprinted so hard to get there so she excused our tardiness and extreme sweatiness.
Things are good here. I feel like I've learned a lot about myself, God's plan for me, and the divine organization of the Church. In particular, the way "Ask and ye shall receive" applies to a lot of things. When you think about it, that verse really means be humble and ask for help. The church is supposed to work in a return and report type way. Most times when that doesn't happen, we just sit and stew instead of doing something. If our Home teachers aren't coming, what's to stop the home-teachees from calling them and saying,"Hey, we want you to come over"? If something needs doing, sometimes we need to kind of step up and work with people to do it through the right channels. Something that I wish I’d had a bit of a better grasp of before the mission.