Many of you saw Nate's Facebook go through some changes this week and asked me what was going on so I asked Nate to let you all know:
So here is the low-down on Facebook. Basically, we've been instructed to edit our Facebook accounts and convert them so that their sole purpose is Missionary Work. Over the past week I've been in the process of cleaning up my account of anything that would detract from the missionary work that I'll now be doing on it. I am restricted from using my Facebook for any type of personal communication. However, I am going to be posting uplifting messages, spiritual thoughts and lessons, and I will be teaching investigators and less actives over Facebook chat and video conferencing. All in all, this really has a load of potential to get the work BOOMING. I'm looking forward to the prospects. We will be using Facebook about an hour each day. President Nicholas has been training us for a few months on how to use it effectively, and it's going to be an exciting thing to actually put it into action! We received full authorization today at Zone Training Meeting. I will soon be posting a message on the Facebook news-feed that will let everyone know what I will be doing on Facebook. I just couldn't until now because I didn't have authorization to post anything until today. I hope that summed up all of the questions!
There is nothing in this world that I enjoy more than my mission at this point! I actually had my first experience of missing my mission! I thought about going home the other day, and it was the first time I have ever felt sad about leaving! I will miss the places and the people that I am serving, and I am glad that I don't have to leave for another 18 months! At the same time I can't wait to see the family again.... I dunno! It's really bittersweet, but I'm not even close, so I'm not going to worry about it! I'm loving the mission and I'm focusing;) (But I'm also super psyched about all the research you did on where we are going to visit, and I can't wait!!!)
The work is going well in Taber, Vauxhall, and Barnwell! We have picked up an investigator! Little Kiera. She's 12 years old and she is in the Barnwell 1st ward. She has had discussions from the missionaries before us, but the discussions were always at a friend's house. Her parents don't really want the missionaries in their home. They aren't necessarily opposed to her being baptized, but they themselves aren't active - or maybe even baptized... we'll be checking into that - so they asked that she not be baptized until she was 12. But as of this week, she's 12 and we're getting things in gear! We need to give her a few of the discussions, and then have her parents sign a form that states that she has permission to be baptized and confirmed. It's going to be awesome! What a brave little girl. I admire her a lot. Other than Kiera, we are just trying to find more people to teach. The Barnwell ward that we just received this last transfer looks really promising. I've never had members run up to me after sacrament meeting and say that they have someone for us to teach and that they'd love to have us over for dinner. That scenario is what we call a MIRTH in the mission field. "Member Initiated Referral Taught in the Home". 50% percent of every MIRTH taught ends in a baptism. That's the statistic. Suffice to say, we are very excited to have picked up this ward.
Now a couple of notes that I wrote down in my planner to tell you:
1. In the Taber stake, they have an event that they do yearly called the Stake Dinner Dance. They basically go all out and invite all of the non-members they can to this enormous dinner and they offer entertainment and a dance at the end. One of the numbers was "God Help The Outcasts", sung by a little girl. I was so excited! I told Elder Reid how my mom used to sing that song all the time to my siblings and I. I teared up on the line "I ask for nothing, I can get by. But I know so many less lucky than I." THAT is my mother. Thanks for your example Mom!
2. I need to say thanks to Aunt Jen in specific this week! For two particular things! A laugh, and a treat! I'll start with the laugh. So, in the last package, Aunt Jen sent me some Jerky. It is so choice.... Elder Reid and I had to be at a meeting at 7:30 AM this last Sunday in Barnwell, and we didn't have anything for breakfast, so I just grabbed a couple of packs of jerky for Elder Reid and I. We got out of our meeting and went back to Taber for church. The Taber church building has a balcony in their chapel, so we sat up there to avoid disturbing the meeting. We got up to the balcony and we sat down kind of in the middle of the small group of people that were already seated. After a minute or two, Elder Reid felt hungry, so he reached down in his backpack and pulled out his little bag of jerky... Well.... He opened it. I think we all know what jerky smells like when you first opened the package. Everyone around us started turning around and wondering what that awful smell was. They were asking their children "was that you?" and doing all sorts of hilarious things. Elder Reid and I sat there laughing. He shoved the package of jerky into his backpack and we just sat there looking at the families and asking if they smelled anything, haha. And as a bonus, the talks were fantastic;D So thanks for the laugh, Aunt Jen! The jerky TASTES fantastic!
Secondly, Aunt Jen, thanks for the treat! The people we live underneath have ramekins! The little ceramic bowls that are oven safe! I taught my companion how to make pizookies and we pigged out! It brought back some of the memories from when we all met up at your house for a holiday - probably Christmas or something like that - and you made us pizookies! Delicious! Elder Reid and I are very grateful. If not for you, we wouldn't have had an awesome pick-me-up during daily planning!
Anyways, thank you for all you do for me! I'm having a blast out here, and I think I'm becoming a better missionary every day! I'm really striving to do better and better, and I'm so grateful for all that Christ does for me out here. He really is real and He really does care about us. I love you all!