So, I love Kansas. It's really weird. I always remember when I would hear missionary homecomings I felt like every single time they would stand up and say "I loved my mission and I really love the people of *insert lugar (place) here* so much..." and I'm beginning to understand why. Kansas is so beautiful. It's really fantastic living in the country too, because there's less light pollution so we can literally see millions of stars! Hopefully my camera can pick it up and I'll try to e-mail you all a shot of the sky at night. The first picture was a sunset that we caught the other day. The sunrises and sunsets here are magnificent. But even so, there's something beautiful about being in the country and not being surrounded by civilization all the time. Beyond that though, the people are so fantastic. We rarely get doors slammed in our faces. Most people are genuinely happy that we're sharing the good word of Jesus Christ with people, though they have no interest in learning about our message themselves (yet). More than that, the ward is so fantastic. I feel like they've truly taken Elder Weaver and I in as their own children in a way. I feel so loved whenever I associate with them and I absolutely love them. I had the opportunity to speak to them yesterday in sacrament meeting and I felt so compelled to tell them how much I loved them. It was a very powerful moment.
But beyond that this week was quite fantastic. The beginning of the week our zone leaders called us and talked with us a little. We discussed how Elder Weaver and I had had very few member present lessons over the past little while and asked how we could create more. Member presents are very had to come by down here because we have very few set appointments. Most people say "just drop by" or "we're always busy" or whatever the case may be. But after that Elder Johnson said "you know, I know standard is 5, but I promise you if you get 2 member presents this week, you will see miracles. Will you get 2 member present lessons this week?" We said, "absolutely". That's one great thing about being a missionary and associating with other missionaries. As representatives of Jesus Christ when we promise something, it will come. So fantastic.
Anyway, so we went about our work. We took a recent convert to a lesson with Katie, our person on baptismal date. At the very beginning of the lesson when we reviewed baptism a little bit he said "wow, that's a really special date. I'll never forget my baptism" and throughout the lessons we'd turn to him and he was able to say exactly what she needed to hear. It was so awesome. They connected so well and after we left the recent convert said "wow, that was so cool! I've never done that before and it was such an amazing experience." He was feeling the Spirit big time and Katie was too. One way or another, she's progressing steadily towards baptism and it was awesome. Then last night we were short one member present for our call ins with about an hour to go before we had to turn our numbers in. We were eating dinner with the Brundages and Sis. Brundage asked how things had been going with Richard and Bonnie Strickland. We said, "actually, we haven't visited them for a little bit and we were going to see them tonight. Would you two like to come with us?" Brother and Sister Brundage agreed and we headed over. We felt really strongly that we needed to speak with Richard about eternal families, though it wasn't something we'd ever brought up before. We brought that up and the Brundages both shared powerful testimony about Eternal Families, but about their experiences about the gospel in general. Then, partway through the lesson Bro. Brundage just opened up and shared some powerful experiences he'd had in the Air Force that confirmed to him that the gospel was true. The Spirit was so strong in that room and you could tell that Richard was feeling it. Every time we met with him we felt like we were running into a brick wall over and over and everything we said really didn't matter to him. Then, the miracles came. It's truly amazing to see the Lord's hand in his work and how we're helping those prepared to enter the Kingdom of God once again.
I truly love being a missionary and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. The gospel and the church has brought me so much peace and happiness that I can't help but share this! The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the greatest message that has ever graced the world, second only to the coming of Jesus Christ himself.
P.S. The second picture is of Elder Weaver and myself laying down the law... of God.