January 22, 2013

Email 1/22/13

This week was a lot better, I had some struggles and I was having a really hard time with homesickness and stuff like that, but looking back it was an amazing week! Sorry I wasn't able to write yesterday, The libraries were closed for Martin Luther King day, Which is a holiday out here? Like the whole city shuts down for that. I remember in elementary learning about MLK and stuff like that, but never missing school for it, or I don't ever remember the post office, and city buildings being closed for that. So last Monday when I had emailed I was really upset about a few things, but I'm doing a lot better now. Thanks for those that were concerned about me and how I was doing.

I've talked about him a lot before, but me and Billy have such a strong friendship, that dude is awesome! After what he did with Jaramiah and holding people back from attacking him, and all of the times we have gone over to visit him we just keep growing closer and closer, i'm going to be sad when I get transferred out of here, me and him are great friends. Last P-day we hadn't called him because we don't ever really teach him in the night and have things to do during the day, and he gave us a call and said what's up guys? I'm just checking up on you! Like we would do with him all the time, but he decided to check up on us, so we decided to go over and share a message with him. That went really well, we had a lot of fun talking, and laughing, but also teaching and feeling the spirit. Every time we have gone to teach him at night when we leave, he always says "Give me a call when you've made it home safely." Haha I can't explain how cool he is, and he shows love towards everybody he comes in contact with. I'll talk more about him later in the letter.

Jessie was our investigator that lives with Adam. The reason she's no longer an investigator is.. We baptized her on Sunday! She really wanted the bishop to be there for her baptism, her original date was the 26th, but he is going to be out of town, so we prayed about it, and prayed about it with her, and we decided we would move her date to the 20th. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her to see where she was at and to see if we needed to reteach anything she had forgotten. Her son Rickie was there and he's 15, he has seen us before but never really sat in on a lesson. We had a lot of fun that night going over the questions, and joking around. It was cool because we were laughing really hard at one time and then could be serious at another time. Her son really likes us and we are going to be teaching him hopefully tonight.

Melvina is Billy's fiancée. She just moved here from the mountains but they had been doing a long distance relationship type thing. (I don't remember if I talked about this in my last email..) She moved to San B about a week before Billy's Baptism and he taught her the law of chastity right away and she agreed to live it and help him live it. She came to church the week before he was baptized and she said she really liked it, but we hadn't gotten the time to teach her yet. That week we had been teaching Billy everyday and going over some of the fist lessons and some videos to increase his faith, We showed "Finding Faith in Jesus Christ" and she was crying during that movie, we didn't get the chance to teach her until Tuesday. When we went over she had told us she had been praying about a church she should join, She knew James 1:5 very well. When she had seen Billy's baptism and had gone to church with him that Sunday she felt like she had gotten an answer to her prayers and she loved our church, and is going to come every Sunday.

We taught Melvina the first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon and a baptismal date for February 15th. When we went back to teach her again, we asked if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon, like we challenged her to do. She said no, but she knows it's true. She said just by reading it she can feel the spirit and can tell that it's a book from God. She said she did pray about her Baptismal date, (which we didn't ask her to do.) She got out a calendar and prayed about multiple dates, and felt like the 15th was perfect. It was a way neat experience hearing her say that she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and she had prayed about something we didn't even challenge her to do. We asked Billy to give his testimony on the Book of Mormon and what his feelings are about it. Now Billy isn't the brightest kid, He knows what to say, but he has a hard time speaking it, if that makes sense. He knows all the things, but has a hard time finding words. He started talking and like stuttering, We could tell he couldn't register his words so I started talking to try and help him, but he cut me off, stood up, grabbed the Book of Mormon holds it high in the Air and yells "This book is true!!!!!!" It was amazing! It gives me the chills every time I talk about it, I just wanted to cry when he said that haha.

Billy asked if a girl would be baptizing her, (he had forgotten that only men could have the priesthood.) So we told him that it would be a male baptizing her, and she automatically pointed to me. I was honored! I didn't decline the offer, but I countered it with something. Billy being a member, is now able to get the Priesthood, and I told them that he could baptize her. He's really scared too, but we've gone over and taught him about the priesthood, and he has a interview with bishop tonight so they can see where he's at and what he needs to do to receive the priesthood. It was funny, he asked me at Jessie's Baptism if it's hard to baptize, and then asked if I could say the prayer, and then he could dunk her haha. I really hope he'll be able to baptize her, although it's an honor for me to baptize somebody, it's ten times better if a member does it, so they have that fellowship and connection for when I get transferred out of the area.

So Jessie has this incredible faith, she has such a strong testimony of this church, she has been ready for baptism for a while, but couldn't because she was living with Adam. But because of his health situation, and them no longer being a couple, Bishop talked to them and they are allowed to live in the same house if they are in different rooms, so she can still take care of him. She was able to get a job too this past week! She drives for a nursing home, either taking patients to appointments, or to the hospital. So she has a lot of down time. During that time she carries around in her bag, a Book of Mormon, a Gospel Principles book, and The Lorenzo Snow book! She has been studying those books like crazy, and she loves them!

The Schreiners are this family that moved into the ward the day I came out into the field, and they are awesome! I love going over and visiting with them. Their dad is a non member and a civil war vet.. that has a hard time remembering things, so we were a little worried to go teach him. Their daughter who is 11 just moved in with them, and isn't a member either so we are now teaching Kayla, and Don. Don, remembered a lot more then I thought he was going too. And Kayla is way smart for an 11 year old, so she understood everything we taught her too. They both have a baptismal date for Feb 15th as well!

We had a ward movie night on Friday night at the church, we projected the movie Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration. I think it's the same one they play in temple square. I've seen that movie a couple times, but it has never had that impact on me before like it did on Friday. The spirit there was so strong. Being a missionary and watching that video, helped me understand so much more about the restoration of the church then I had known, and it will help me teach better too! Don and Kayla Schreiner were there and they thought it was really good. Melvina was there with Billy and she said that everything makes so much more sense now, and that it was an amazing movie. When the movie had ended, I asked her what she thought and she was just speechless, she said it was such a beautiful movie.

Sunday night we had Jessie's baptism. She asked me to baptize her too! It was awesome! It was our third baptism, and my second physical baptism. She's a little bit bigger then me, and a lot of people teased me before about dropping her and not being strong enough to pull her back up, but I was able to do it just fine! I did get a little worried though, because the font at our church has a leak in the drain so while you fill it up, it drains at the same time just not very fast. When we went into the font I thought I was going to have to baptize her more then once because the water was so shallow, it was like only three feet high! The Baptism was awesome though, and we got permission to do a font side confirmation instead of doing it during sacrament meeting. There was a very strong spirit there and you could tell everybody whether they were members or not, could feel it. Her son Rickie who we are going to teach tonight really felt it and wants to learn about the church now, and Her daughter Emery, who is 8 even said after Jessie was baptized that she wanted to be baptized! We might start teaching her too, it was cool because we were planning on teaching her before she said that. Saturday night we went over and taught Jessie and Adam and she had come at the end and said she wanted to say the prayer and so we taught her how to pray, and she got really excited after she said the closing prayer and said she wanted to do it again haha. Hopefully she'll be there tonight and will listen in on the lesson we teach Rickie. I'm a little nervous about teaching an 8 year old, because I'm worried I'll go on thinking she's an older person and teaching her way advanced stuff haha.

Jessie's Baptism - 1/20/2013

I've gotta run, but thanks for the letters, and the prayers. I love you guys and I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Landon Bell

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