Dear loved ones,
How is everybody doing? Guess what I found out that I have been misunderstanding this whole time? Anyone and everyone is allowed to email me. :) I'm just not allowed to email back. So for those of you who would rather email than send letters, or find it more convenient: firstname.lastname@example.org :) I'd love to hear from ALL of you!!
BILL MURRAY (yes, that's really his name) IS BAPTIZED!! :D On Wednesday he had his interview, and he passed. I never thought I'd see the day... in case I didn't mention this before, he was originally RLDS. AND, he did so, SO good at keeping the word of wisdom. I am very pleasantly surprised with the changes he's made and the commitment he's shown. His baptism on Saturday was literally the funniest baptism I have ever been to. Everything went wrong. Okay, not wrong... just a little abnormal. :) First, our whole ward had been at a camping trip the night before, so our ward mission leader was scrambling to get everything together super last minute... and we were so grateful for the few members of our ward who sacrificed a little time on the camping trip to make it to the baptism! (We should have planned that better. Oops.) So the program started, and Courtney, who was supposed to be part of the musical number, wasn't even there yet--she texted us right as it was starting and said she had just gotten off of work and was on her way. That meant we had to stall til she showed up... but we were starting 10 minutes late as it was. So we whispered to Mike, who we had asked just to bear a simple testimony, to talk until she got there. He didn't have anything prepared. So he just whipped something out about the baptism of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry, and looked out the window every now and then, waiting for her to show up... :) and right when he said "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen," Courtney walked in the door and walked straight up the front of the room to start singing. It was super funny. And THEN, half way through the musical number, someone whispered in our ear that the font was draining! We rushed out of the room--I felt SO bad--and ran to the font. It was still plugged but for some reason the water was super low! So Bill was baptized on his knees!! But that wasn't even the best part... As the cherry on top, Bill was TRIPLE dunked before it was done all the way right. :) Ha ha. It was great. The moral of the story is that it was a very memorable baptism, and regardless of everything that happened, the Spirit was still very present, and another child of God has entered into his first covenant to gain eternal life. :) He was also confirmed and received the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday, and all went well with that too. Hooray!!
The other miracle that happened on Sunday was that one of our less actives who we have been working with FOREVER, Halden, was finally cleared to pass the sacrament!! He even passed the sacrament to our row, so it was extra special. :) I am soooo happy for him!! It took him a lot of effort to quit smoking. He went for a couple weeks without it and then gave in again... :( and then this last week we tried the church's program for quitting, and it finally worked! I really think it will be for good this time. I love that kid with all my heart, I was SO proud that he got to pass!!
I also had kind of a cool experience teaching a lesson last Tuesday night. We were teaching Jonmikel, another less active, and he's been... slipping a little lately. It's really sad because for weeks he was doing sooo good. But he took a trip home for a week, and that didn't help... he's also been thinking about his dad a lot recently because it's his birthday month (his dad passed away a couple years ago). So he's pretty down and went drinking last weekend. :( He wasn't being very responsive to us as we were teaching him, and I hated seeing him so shut off and sad... I was trying so hard to discern his needs and get him to open up. As we were talking about his dad, who wasn't a member of the church and never liked religion, an idea suddenly popped in my head: he should pray to know whether his dad has accepted the gospel on the other side of the veil. I really don't think that thought came from me, and I got really excited about it. :) Even though it didn't lead to some awesome spiritual experience during the lesson, it was just cool to feel like I received inspiration from out of nowhere. And Jonmikel said he'd try it.. so we'll see what comes of it. I hope he really will.
I got to watch the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday, too. :) AND... I interpreted the first ten minutes of it for a couple deaf women that were there! They were having trouble getting captions going at first... so even though I really didn't want to because I am SO incredibly rusty, I knew Heavenly Father wouldn't be very happy with me if I didn't use what little ability I have to help someone in time of need. Have I mentioned that I love ASL?
Shout out to Danny and Jessica: your friends whose house you worked on, Mike and Marci I think were their names, came into the battalion this week! :) They said, "You don't happen to know someone named Danny Madsen who lives in South Provo and owns his own AC business, do you?" And I said, "Why, yes, that's my amazing uncle!!" :) They think you're great. I think you're great too. :)
Welp. I'm out of time. Love, love, love you all!!