Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 24, 2011

Dear Family,

On Saturday night, somebody in our neighborhood got shot.  Somebody got SHOT!  What the heck?  We were praying, getting ready to plan and then we heard this "BANG BANG BANG BANG" and we both immediately thought it was gunshots, but decided it was something else so we finished praying and then looked out the window and saw these two guys running away and we were both just saying, "no way..."  We heard sirens off in the distance and one of them said, "Here they come."  We waited a little bit and then the police showed up and we went outside to talk to our neighbors and apparently someone about 6 apartments down got shot and was just sitting in his lawn bleeding all over the place!  The EMT's wheeled the victim into the ambulance and we were standing about 10 feet from it!  Talk about drama going down in Orange Park!  We are hoping this doesn't spark any sort of other violence, but don't worry about us, I'm pretty sure nobody's going to shoot us...  But isn't that crazy?!

Before getting home that night, a member took us over to my last area in Jacksonville East and we went to a Multicultural Festival!  It was a lot of fun.  There were a lot of members there and there were just people performing acts up on the stage and we just got to have a really fun night there!  I got to see a lot of the old members in San Jose and Elder McArthur and it just was a really fun night.  The members would get up on the stage and dance to their country's music and in that style and everything was just so beautiful and elegant and well done.  It was great watching all of the little Hispanic kids do their cultural dances and whatever else.

We have been dealing with a lot of the side effects that come with the changing of the Bishopric.  Almost all of the Spanish members are recent converts of 2-3 years, so they're not used to change.  I explained to one family the other night about the dramatic change when President Hinckley died, and it was really powerful.  Do you remember how sad that was?  It almost felt like the church was going to completely change and things would never be the same, but here we are...  Still going forward.  

Something I have been thinking about lately is how literally the work that the missionaries should do in the streets and out tracting should be minimal.  At least in our mission it just seems like we are here to strengthen the members and help them to convert their friends because going out and finding people that have little or no association to the church and asking them to be baptized is really asking a lot for someone with no friends in the church.  I have really been focusing more on trying to find those that are really truly and honestly interested in listening and learning, and the majority of those people come from referrals from the members.  So I guess what I am saying in the end is that the members play an ENORMOUS role in missionary work and they should be the ones doing most of the finding.  When people already have a background in the church, it makes that step of baptism and confirmation seem like so much less of a sacrifice.

That is so great that you got chosen to speak at YW in Excellence, Mom!  I knew that all of those kids would end up loving you.  I bet a big part that has to do with it is the great way you teach that class of yours!  

Can you believe that I am just a couple of weeks away from being a fourth of the way done with my mission?!?  That is the most insane thing I have ever heard.  Even though it seems like this has been my life forever and this is the way it always will be...  It's only my third transfer!  

I love you so much and I really am so proud of you as well!  You sound like the busiest people ever, but not too busy to forget about all of the important things, like MOI.  :)  Just always remember how blessed you are to have this gospel and the savior in your lives.  Could you imagine where you would be without them?  Think about all of the wonderful blessings we have and just everything, all because of the life of Jesus Christ!  It's crazy.  

Have another spectacular week!  The next time I write it will be HALLOWEEN.  Spoooooooooky.  



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