Time seems to fly by here in the mission field. It keeps speeding up the closer I get to the end and the harder I work in an area. I am blessed to have the opportunities that have come from a mission and I appreciate very much the things I am able to do here for Christ and for the people here.
On Monday we spent the day at the Gregerson family's home to help them do some things and learn how to make white chicken chili. It was a lot of fun and it ultimately ended with a campfire roasting star-bursts and marshmallows and, of course, finally my one year mark shirt with a tie.
So on Tuesday we had a unique contacting experience while we were getting lunch at Subway, the two people working had seen us going there often to get Subway as a result of the gift cards we each had received from the members. It came to be a great conversation about the Gospel and how one of them actually has met with missionaries before. We also have made a resolve to be ready for when people ask us what we do as missionaries to teach about missionary work in Preach my Gospel lesson 5. The reason is so that the spirit has a chance to touch their hearts and help them recognize us as servants of the Lord. We then ask if we can share more with them. It has turned out to be successful so far. People appreciate what we do and then also have a seed planted in their heart for a future date if they aren't interested right away.
On Tuesday we met with a less active lady named Sister Roberts. She has been taking piano lessons at a local store here in Marshall and was working on playing some of the hymns. Elder Lete complimented her and said that if she would play a song and come to church we would come by and sing for her. Well, she went above and beyond. She came to church and brought a friend along with her! It's really exciting to see what the spirit can do for people even if we don't say anything. People can feel the spirit and resolve to do things that they receive inspiration on without us having to even say a word sometimes. It is a really amazing thing to have a chance to be a part of.
Later in the day we had the opportunity to travel to Montevideo Minnesota. It is very beautiful there. There are a lot of trees. There are hills, and there is a river running through it. It is a combination of all three of my areas so far. Chamberlain with its hills and river, Bagley with its many trees and small town feel, and Marshall because well it is part of my area here. It was nice to go there and meet some of the people there including the Davidson family who invited us back over for dinner later in the week.
On Wednesday we finally had the time to offer service at the Food Shelf again. We were able to help many people and Elder Lete actually had someone ask about what we do as missionaries so it was a very productive use of our time. We also saw that the person in charge of the food shelf put our picture up on one of the fridges that people can get food from which shows our participation in the community and will open up several possibilities to get in with people and teach them.
Thursday was a day seeing less active members here in Marshall. All of them came to church except Brother Allen who actually might have several health issues that keep him from church, but we read the ensign with him which is what previous Elders and Sisters have said to try doing with him. It went really well. We also saw Sister Dietz. We taught her about the importance of the sacrament and the benefits from taking it each week to renew our covenants we make at baptism and "retain a remission of our sins" or in other words stay clean from the sins of the world. It quite literally serves as a great protection from evils and spiritually recharges our week. We were excited when we saw her finally have the strength to get to church.
Later that day we had dinner with the Zumwalt family. When we arrived, the kids were having a football game and challenged Elder Lete and I against all of them. So we agreed after making the joke that they wouldn't want to tackle us in our dress clothing and changing the rule to 2 hand touch. Later we had a lesson with sister Gregerson and I practiced the piano a little bit on the hymns made easy. I'm still practicing, but getting better than when I first started practicing last week.
We had a great district meeting on Friday where we talked about some ways that we could have success. Afterwards Elder Smith cut Elder Rucker's hair for him.
We knew we were going to have a unique day on Saturday when we had lunch planned with the Ivanov family at 2 and then Dinner with the Davidson family in Montevideo at 5, so most of the morning was free to stay outside uninterrupted by Lunch. The Ivanov family is so nice, they are amazing and super missionary oriented. They always tell us that if we need anyone to come with us to the lessons we have, they would not only come, but would love to come. They also have great testimonies and a burning desire to share them with those around them without us even asking about it.
On Sunday we saw Sister Eichten who we gave a blessing to. She was very grateful for it and had never received one. Later in the day we also taught the Family Home Evening lesson for the Gregersons and ate nachos.
Labor Day Monday was very nice. The branch had a brunch planned in Redwood Falls at Alexandria Ramsey Park. It was very successful. Now the Elders in Redwood Falls belong to our mission and the area itself however, is not a part of our mission, but the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission. But they never send missionaries there and the city is actually part of the Marshall branch's boundaries. So the Minneapolis Minnesota mission "gifted" Redwood Falls to our mission. So technically we went outside our mission boundaries, but didn't actually do so because it has been annexed into our mission.
After the Bruch we were able to go hiking with some of the members and I was happy to have the opportunity to walk around and enjoy nature. We also ate lunch with the Gregersons and had a great discussion with them, the Redwood Elders and the Elders from Pipestone about how we can get the work here in the area moving and how to involve the members more. It was a great day.
There was a lot that happened this week and I have learned a lot about myself and continue to do so. I have also recently gotten interested into doing family history work because I need to know how to teach it to several people. So I explored around the website for a while and found some training to go through that help with doing family history work. This was also the subject of the combined Priesthood, Relief Society and young Men and Women meeting on Sunday. So I was really excited. It is a lot of fun and I encourage you to get involved in doing the family history work. Read Elder Bednar's talk "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn" https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/the-hearts-of-the-children-shall-turn?lang=eng It is very helpful and there is a promise given to us as we do family history work that is of great worth to each of us.
I love all of you. I am grateful to serve here in Marshall. This mission has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and the best choice I have ever made. Continue to learn and grow in the Gospel for that is the central purpose of our lives.