This week was great. I really believe that the Cherry Park ward is prepared for big things.We have a lot of people who are prepared to make the next step for baptism. Jeffrey is being baptized on February 7th. He is 13 and the son of a recent convert. He is so excited for baptism and it has been awesome to teach him. Unfortunately we had to take Shaylah off date because she has been really sick so we haven't been able to meet with her. Plus, she has a smoking problem and she is not sure when she will be able to quit. We will keep working with her and I will keep you updated. There is a family in this ward named the Brinkerhoffs. I have to find out how they do their missionary work. They are wrecking balls! haha. They find the perfect balance between sharing the gospel and not being pushy or over the top. We had a lesson set up with some of their friends last night. We showed up and they had not come yet and Brother Brinkerhoff was out of town so we were no allowed to go in yet. So sister Brinkerhoff told us to knock on the door of one of her neighbors and invite her to church. So we knocked on the door and had a great conversation with this lady that lived next to her. She expressed her concerns about going and we and we addressed them and it was great. Then she told us that she would be at church and that she was now accountable because she told us she would. It was so inspired. Then we went back and their friends, the Brewers, were there. He has been inactive forever, but still supports the church. She is a non-member. We had such a great lesson. They both have been coming to church and reading from the Book of Mormon. She started crying when we asked what she thought of it all and she said that it is all so inspired. She is worried about new culture, vocabulary, lack of knowledge, etc. so keep her in your prayers. Her name is Katie.
Richard is doing great. He is still clean and he wants to be baptized so bad. There is a bunch of stuff he has to go through to get baptized again, but it is awesome to see his determination. It is also because he considers us his friends too. He calls us almost every day (yesterday he called us to tell us there is a killer deal on razors at the grocery outlet) and he loves the lessons.
So Portland is so incredibly diverse. So as far as what draws Samoans there... I have no idea. We run into Russians and Ukrainians about every day. There are also quite a few Indians (not Native Americans but people from India). There are also a lot of black people and a ton of people from Vietnam and Cambodia. Samoans are great members of the church, but they are pretty lazy in general. 9:00 church is a struggle haha, but they are great. From them I have learned to relax a little and not be so stressed out and intense. We were eating with a Samoan family and I said that we had a lesson that we had to go to. They all looked at us like we were crazy! They were like, just be late! Haha! I can feel their love for those around them and I wonder if people can feel the same thing from me. It is a work in progress for me. No weird food from them yet... knock on wood!)
So the big jump was for the district. We made a big jump in pretty much all of our numbers. My first district meeting went well. I was afraid that it would end like 30 minutes early and that would be awkward but it ended right on time. So far all of my training have bee stuff that I learned from PGC so that is cool. Who knew that those books by Dick Devenzio would help me on my mission? The responsibilities are pretty simple. Just teach and motivate. I try and keep track of the investigators that are most progressing and I will pray for them throughout the day. I just try and focus on how to help the missionaries in the district.
I was thinking about how our problems can seem so big in the moment. Even as missionaries we think this. Elder Hammond (a zone leader that I live with) and I were talking about that. We were looking back in high school and thought how silly our problems were. Then we realized hat we are going to look back on our missions and think that our problems are small in comparison with what we will go through. Then we will die and look back on our mortal life and realize how small they really were, but how they each helped us become a better person and more like our Savior.
I am so glad that Kody is going on a mission. He will reach a lot of people in Mississippi. That is a good scripture that he quoted and a good message. Thanks for sharing it. There are so many things that go into serving a mission and so many experiences leading up to it. Heavenly Father doesn't do random things and everything happens for a reason. Brian Ashton game a great message too. That is something that President Taylor talks about a lot. We have to respect agency and just go with it. Sometimes people will make wrong choices and sometimes they will be right. We just need to love people.
Thank you for the email. I love hearing updates from home so keep them coming. I hope everything is going well. Have a great week. I love you all!