Hi mom and dad :) . As you've probably guessed, this week was transfers, and things were pretty interesting as to what happened in the zone. President has taken into great consideration the amazing miracles happening in our branch, and has reassigned me as a district leader there to make sure all focus is placed on making sure the growth in the branch continues. He spoke to me much longer than a usual transfer call lasts to let me know that my reassignment is in no way a poor reflection on how I served in zone leadership, but rather that he considers me one of his senior leaders in the mission and wants me to continue attending Mission Leadership Council. He also wants me to prepare the other Elders in the district for my departure. In other words, I can now wholly focus again on the branch, implementing all of the skills and qualities I've developed through serving as a zone leader to build this branch up as much as I can before returning home (my release date is the). That's exactly what I intend to do.
Our week was quite successful, and we had some amazing miracles. O and D have been the continual highlight of this week, the first miracle being when they came teaching with us for the very first time. We talked to them about what we wanted to teach the people, and explained that we needed O and D to testify especially about church. We'd hardly gotten in the door and sat down when O started bearing his testimony of the truthfulness of the church and how there are things in this church that aren't any other church. We hadn't even had a prayer yet and they were all listening to O and giving him their full attention. We had a fantastic lesson, and D was the perfect friend for the mother of the home, named V and being about the same age. The family was familiar with who O was, knowing him from the days when he was a preacher in their church in Slovakia, so they gave his words great credit. Sincere concerns were expressed that they never would've told us, and O and D resolved them easily without even a word from us. This family has been taught for ages off and on, and they've never progressed at all really, just enjoying the fact that we speak about God. In their conversation, they arranged amongst themselves for them to follow O to church by car, without any prompting from us to spark that line of discussion. This is a massive testimony to me of the power of members in our work. It changes a family with no progress in more than a year to a family seriously considering baptism, reading the Book of Mormon, and with concrete plans to attend church. That is a miracle. On top of that, virtually all of this discussion between O and D and this family was done in Roma, yet I understood all of what went on with complete clarity. The district leader I'd brought with me on exchange that day just sat in awe with me, realizing the import of what was going on despite not speaking the language. Even better? Present in that lesson and equally involved in the discussion were some of V's adult children, and the total of investigator households affected by this lesson totals three, all previously in the same situation of no progress as their mother. If this is not all a miracle, I don't know what is.
This week we also found out from R, O and D's son, that his manager has agreed to give him Sundays off from now on, and R was able to come to church. He has many friends there, enjoyed it thoroughly, and is scheduled for the for baptism. He is the father of A and M, the two girls baptized with O and D, so we're helping complete the family.
Church attendance stayed at the same high as last week, increasing by one; we ran out of sacrament cups for the first time that I can remember since arriving here. It's one of the best problems to have at church.This pattern of strength is exactly what President Pilkington is trying to support with all resources available. This weekend Elders Williams and White will be having a baptism (Lucia), who's interview I did. She's overcome smoking, and though it's been a real battle for her, she's finally done it and is so excited to finally achieve her goal of baptism.
All in all, this week has been filled to the brim with miracles, and I am amazed by the beauty of it all. This work brings such joy to me, and I love seeing how many other people are able to experience a joy quite similar.
I hope you can see many miracles as well this week, and I am so grateful for the prayers you send in the way of our investigators. I know they are heard, and we will keep working hard to make good things happen.
Love you so much :) ,
O + family (including R) came with us for a family home evening at P and M's house, which was quite fun.
Us, Bro. Stanton, and R at Bro. Stanton's house for his superb cooking. R loved that!
Our Taco Bell Valentine's day dinner. Yep, we found a Taco Bell in Sheffield. I'm not going to mention how expensive it is, especially in conversion to American dollars, but hey, for once in 2 years it was fun.