June 13, 2010
Sorry for the late email, we had a *special* day today and emails had to come later. I’ll get to that in a second.
The biggest news this week was on Monday night last week, I got a phone call from the assistants saying, “Elder Baker, do you want Springvale East or West?” I asked, “Why?” “Two new missionaries are coming into Springvale, but you and Elder Vaiho are staying together. You have first call on which area.”
To put this into the right frame, this is very rare. The time that “new missionaries” come into an area is transfers, which was three weeks ago. But, some things needed to be switched around to accommodate a mini-missionary (someone who serves a mission for just a few weeks), so Springvale got reinforcements. Totally random, but that’s the way it works. We took the west simply because it was larger and needed our close attention more, but because these 2 new Elders got doubled-in to an area, they needed to be shown around a bit to get on their feet. As a result, it was quite stressful to plan ways to use the time of myself and Elder Vaiho, and this new companionship. We’ve been trading around here and there trying to follow up on previous potentials that Elder Petty and I had found so that we can give them someone to work with, but we haven’t had the most of luck. However, despite how stressful it has been to help them get accommodated, it really is a blessing to have a new companionship here so that we can be in two places at once. Elder Vaiho and I have still been feeling quite overwhelmed, and a lot of investigators and recent converts have been neglected more than we would like.
So that was the real meteor in the backyard, but a lot of other great things happened this week.
Elder Vaiho and I found a new investigator named David, an 18 year old kid who dropped out of school. When we first met him, he said he used to go to church, Catholic and later Buddhist, but eventually stopped and has since gotten into stupid things. That’s what he called it, doing stupid things. I asked, “Why do you do stupid things?” “I don’t know! I just do!” I think we can all relate to that. We got to teach him last Tuesday. We taught him all about why there are so many churches today, and how the disputations called for a restored church. By the time we showed him the Book of Mormon as proof, he was intrigued. We gave it to him, and he thanked us. He said he wants to share it with his family and friends as well! We also gave him the 20-minute Joseph Smith DVD. Later, on Friday, we saw him at a bus stop, and he came up to us with a smile on his face, saying, “I watched that DVD, and read some of the Book of Mormon! It’s really interesting! Really cool! This is my brother, he might want to learn a bit too!” I was so happy to see that influence from just that taste of the Gospel! And, lucky for the new Elders (by the way, their names are Elder Cutting and Elder Marurai), he is in their area, so they get to teach him. Lucky.
Also, on Thursday, I went on trade-offs with one of the Zone Leaders, named Elder Butler from southern Utah. I asked, “Don’t Zone leaders normally go on trade-offs just with district leaders?” He said, “Yeah, but we can do other trade-offs as well. We just wanted to work with Elder Vaiho and you.” Fair enough. The night before, I felt an idea pop into my head. We were planning to see John, and I thought, “Have lunch with him. Bring some food over and cook it.” So we called him up that morning, and planned to bring stuff for stir-fry. He was really appreciative, and it was a great meal. It gave us a chance to just chat. After the meal, we talked with him about the Word of Wisdom, and challenged him to get off the cigarettes. He’s said he’s already been working on cutting back. I asked him if he’s reading the Book of Mormon. “Oh, yeah, every day.” I asked, “How does it make you feel when you read it?” He replied, “Peaceful. I just feel better. You saw me before, I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t get up and get out. Now look at me. I had a job interview today. I got to see my son. I feel like I’m actually living my life now, instead of waiting for it.” Once again, it amazes me how remarkable his improvement has been in just a few weeks.
Let me take a second to say the Book of Mormon is the most valuable book you can ever read. Joseph Smith said so. I would testify that it has made a huge difference in my life, but I don’t need to. I’ve seen how it has affected many people now. Anthony, Ellen, John, Joanna, Tuvao, David, and others. I look at where they were when I first met them, and where they are now. It is not a normal book with normal power that can have that influence on people. Don’t take my word for it though, try it yourself!
I’m almost out of time, so I’ll just let you know that today, we got permission to drive to Phillip Island. We didn’t actually get to the island, but we had a great lunch by the beach, and then got to go to a zoo. Check out the animals! I took some videos too of me feeing emus and kangaroos. Theh’s some funny creatures down ‘ere, mate! Funny as!
love all of you. Don’t forget to write! Letters are what keep my going. I miss you, but a lot of great things have been happening. Talk to you again next week!
Elder Scott Baker