Bagley is doing awesome. I'm leaving a great area. Deana came to church again. She loves fellowshipping and is excited for the activity on Saturday for Pioneer Day. She is on date for baptism on August 23 and she is rapidly progressing, so fast that there is a visible change in her demeanor each time we see her. We attribute this to the Book of Mormon. She is reading every day. She participates in classes at church. It's been awesome serving here in Bagley.
I've enjoyed it immensely and am saddened to leave. I love the branch and people here more than anywhere else because I have worked the hardest in this area. Although the area was challenging, I love the people and wouldn't trade this experience for anything because it has taught me about the savior's love for me. I came to know for myself here in Bagley that the message of the Restoration is true. It has deep personal meaning to me now and I know that it occurred by the power of the Holy Ghost. I am a different person than when I came. I view myself and the world differently.
I will really miss serving here, but am looking forward to the challenges, experiences, and serving the Lord in Marshall in the future. So here is a summary of my last week serving in the Clearbrook branch in Bagley MN.
Tuesday was an interesting day. We were asked the day before if we would help usher for a funeral in Bemidji at the church. This was a great opportunity to talk to many non-members who recently had a family member pass away. As I was there I realized that funerals are where we get some of the best instructions from Heavenly Father about how we need to improve our lives. There’s something about the way people share memories and qualities of an individual who has died that gets you thinking about what people would say about you if you had died. That starts the process of asking critical questions that allow the spirit of a funeral where the veil is thin come into your life as you are pondering those questions. I suppose they would be different for everyone, but it was very special to be there and feel the spirit so strong as family members bore their testimonies of the plan of salvation to those in the congregation who were not members. It was very powerful.
Wednesday proved to be very interesting and very inspired. We tried to meet with Deana at 11, but we apparently didn't knock loud enough because she was there, but she didn't hear us. So we decided to walk back. As we did so we passed the food shelf and were inspired to go in and volunteer if possible. Turns out it was the branch's day for running the food shelf that day and they needed help. We even got to see Deana later and teach her a lesson because we ran into her later. It truly was inspired. The rest of the day included service at the homeless shelter here in Bagley that is under construction. We ended up sanding and staining what will be the stairs. It was a lot of work and the mosquitos seemed to appreciate us standing there outside.
Friday was Zone Training Meeting in Fargo. We learned a lot about family history work and unfortunately I also learned that Elder Smith is being sent home for surgery on his knee. He tore his ACL somehow, but he plans on coming back out on a mission as soon as is possible.
It took all of our day between traveling and the actual meeting so we ended up not doing much else. On the way back however, Elder Briggs was inspired to go see a part member family in Rice Lake. So we drove over there and I turned onto the wrong road. For some reason it seemed like the right one to me. We decided to keep going despite not knowing if it would go back out to where we needed to be. This also proved to be inspiration from the Holy Ghost because we passed a 15 year old on the side of the road whose car had run into the ditch. His phone had died and he had no way of contacting anyone to help him out. So we let him use ours and helped clear out the area around the car to prepare for when a truck could come and pull it out with a strap. It shows me how much Heavenly Father truly cares for all of us and how he can guide us to where we need to be even if it seems like an "accident".
Sunday was very exciting. Alvin and Leslie also came to church and Mia brought her niece Raine who really liked church and wanted to come back every week. The spirit in the branch truly touched everyone and I know that the branch will be a significant strength to everyone in the area. Looking back I see how much I have learned here. I can't believe I've been here for 6 months. It's been speeding by. I am grateful to have been sent here to Bagley and appreciate every second of it, even the hard and difficult ones.
So today is a lot of packing... Packing... Packing until finally we are done and now typing up this letter in Bemidji. So later tonight we will see the Niswanders, eat a seafood and steak dinner there, and also finish up everything that needs to get done before I leave. Tomorrow we will leave at 1:30 in order to get to Fargo by 4 so we can eat and then I head of on the Transfer van to Brookings South Dakota where I will then travel east to Marshall MN. It will be interesting.
Again, I love each and every one of you. I am very excited to write every week and am grateful for the opportunity to email.