Mom i'm so sorry to hear that you're sick!!! Pneumonia sounds awful but at least its passing through you pretty quick!
Lizzy and Ben: Shutting mom up in her room all day and throwing some saltine crackers under the door doesn't count as taking care of her!! I'm sure Kate will whip you guys into shape though :)
It sounds like you guys have been living up your last few weeks before school starts! Its SO weird to hear that you are all going to Cherry Hill and swimming still! I can't believe that it's still warm enough for that down there! This week it hasn't gotten over 50 degrees so i've had to whip out the sweaters! If I think this is cold everyone's telling me that i'm in for a rude awakening in a few weeks haha!! But it seriously has been raining ALL DAY everyday for the past week! The rivers are really starting to fill up and the whole area's on flood watch. I can't believe that Mason's already one! I can still remember sitting in the waiting room for hours. and hours. and hours. and he still didn't come!! I'm glad you got the pictures and hopefully you can see how amazing it is up here!
This week has probably been my favorite so far! We taught Sis. Olson the third lesson (Gospel of Jesus Christ) We had already gotten a soft commitment out of her for baptism but she had told us that she wanted to find out for herself whether it was true or not which obviously is a good thing! The lesson went really well and the spirit was so powerful!! My companion and I both bore our testimonies and she ran out of the room bawling... I wasn't too sure if that was a good thing or bad things... Well when she settled down she came out and told us that she knew that it was true and that she had been waiting for this for her whole life! Music to our ears! So we set a date for August 24th! We came back a few days later and started teaching them the commandments. After the lesson we started talking about who would be baptizing her. Bro. Olson and Leif (18) both were baptized in 2003 and neither of them have the priesthood. With how soon the baptism is we were a little worried that they wouldn't be able to get it before then but our bishop was really great and they're both getting it next Sunday! Leif will be doing the baptism because Bro. Olson has Parkinsons pretty bad and can't walk too well. I'm so excited for all of them!
Right when I got here we started teaching a less active family, the Spanns. They're such an amazing family! Both of them were pretty rebellious earlier and have tattoos of skulls all over but i've never met a nicer couple! We've gotten them to come back to church and now we're working with them and the bishop and they've set a date to go to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. There is nothing better than knowing that no matter what happens in this life, you can be with your partner not just for this life, but for eternity! The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes up for everything that is unfair in this life.
A few days ago I was pretty down in the dumps. It had been raining all day and literally no one who we had been trying to see was home and if they were they didn't want anything to do with us! All week I had been praying for a family to teach. I realized that we can't pray for things and just expect them to be given to us. Sometimes we have to show the lord that we are willing to do anything for him, and to actually work for that blessing before he'll help us out. Anyways... My phone rang and it was a random number we didn't know. I answered and a lady came on the phone and told us that her and her family had just moved into Kenai. They weren't active and hadn't been for some time. She said that she wanted us to come meet with them and help them get reactivated and that she had a few kids that wanted to take the lessons and be baptized! Can't get any better than that right??! We start teaching them tonight and i'm pretty excited :) Like I said, the lord is always watching over us he's just waiting for us to call upon him to help us out! if we are doing everything we can and staying faithful then he will bless us!
Our area is heating up! We have 3 other investigators that are getting close to baptism and 4 really solid potentials! However, as every other missionary knows anything can happen. Like is says in the scriptures without the Lord I am nothing. All I can do is try my hardest, "study and little harder, pray a little longer," and try to help them feel the spirit. Teaching with the spirit is the key ingredient. He is the ultimate and true teacher and without his influence conversion is impossible.
This week I decided that i'd try a little experiment. I wanted to see whether or not constantly being optimistic and happy makes a difference! Let me tell you this much... Its not easy! I came across this quote that I really like:
"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
No matter how bad we may think our day is going, it can always change. Everything is mental. If we can just take a second and calm down and readjust our attitude, it can make the biggest difference! For me it was just as simple as putting on a really big fake smile for just a minute and then things started to lighten up! As members of the church, we need to be the the light that shines in the world covered in darkness. Its that light that we show (our optimism, mood, attitude) that brings other people into the gospel. And honestly... nothing is really ever THAT bad. Just by making a simple change in our attitude and smiling just a little bit more we can not only make a difference in our lives, but in the lives of everyone around us. Chill out, smile just a little bit more, and be happy. (Yes everyone I know that this is pretty hyprocritical coming for the Elder Brown you knew but hey people can change :) )
I know this is really long so I'll stop but I hope you guys are doing great!