Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Baptism and Reunion

My birthday was on Wednesday. Yay... It was fun. For the most part, it was like any other day. I opened my packages the night before because I was going to be on an exchange the night of. We only open letters or packages after our nightly planning, so I would have had to wait, then I would be in someone else's area. Thank you so much, everyone who wrote or sent something. I really appreciate everything. I took plenty of pictures. I'm going to Walgreen’s this afternoon and I'll make a picture CD of everything.

We had our zone conference on Tuesday. The focus of missionary work is changing. It's a good change. It's still Preach My Gospel, but it's a focus less on learning the lessons and giving it, and more on teaching skills; asking questions, teaching people instead of lessons, etc. The new DVDs are great! They aren't these missionaries trying to be as perfect as possible, but they're missionaries being themselves, where you can see the good and the bad and learn from it. Reality TV has entered the church, I guess, but it's really good--entertaining, too.

We went to a Chinese buffet with a member during the week. Most of the stuff was normal. They had a few trays of weird stuff, and other stuff I just didn't have the guts to try. Surprisingly, though, my companion, as soon as he saw the tray of baby octopus, he snagged one. After lots of picking it up and staring at it, he forced himself to pop it in his mouth. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to eat that thing. Personally, I think it would make a great story, to be able to say that I did it, but I have absolutely no remorse that I abstained from such an activity. Bleck!

My exchanges are over. I'm very glad about that. It's too stressful. If I serve as district leader any more, I'm going to make sure I get them done as soon as possible, so they will be over as soon as possible. We get transfer calls on Saturday--again. It's all buzzing by. I only have four transfers left, which is a really weird thought. I usually have ideas as far as what is going to happen to the various missionaries in the district I happen to be in, but I'm usually wrong. This time, I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen--with anyone.

I also did my first baptismal interview. That was an interesting experience. The man has a really rough past and made intense changes to get to where he is. We went to, and taught at, his baptism the next day. It turns out, he is related to the Garza's from the Modesto 5th Ward, my training area. Most of them were there, so it was really cool to see them all and to see how they've changed. Not many of them have changed much, except the kids are now huge. The coolest part of the evening, on Saturday, was when this young couple came running up to me after the baptismal service. Does anyone remember the couple I (assume I) mentioned back in January, who we talked to outside their house? We started talking to him, then, and his wife came out and stood right next to him. We found out that he was a less-active member who had just moved into Modesto. He told me they were related to the Garzas and I was able to tell him that I knew his family. When we had asked where they had just moved from, he described an area in Visalia where they lived (where I had lived about one or two blocks from and could describe everything to them). I got transferred to Modesto 2nd the very next day, but they were taught for a couple weeks more by Elder Daniels and the elder he was training. It turns out that while she had been inside her house, she had gotten a strong spiritual prompting to "Go stand next to your husband." When we invited him on the church tour, he agreed and she asked us, "Well, I'm not a member of your church, but...could I come, too?" :| "Yeah!" They lost contact shortly after teaching them, which was frustrating, due to the fact that it was quite clearly divine intervention that everything worked out to connect us. <--long story, but they were really excited to see me and I got their information and am going to be passing it onto the elders in Atwater (where they moved to back in February) and they want to continue learning. For goodness sakes, it was his brother that was the one that got baptized. That whole experience just blew me away. I can't wait to find out what will happen with them. It was great. I hope everyone has a great week!

Aaron

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