Elders Olson & Gillespie during a baptism in March
Transfer info: ELDER OLSON IS LEAVING!!!!!! MAN...................
We were in high hopes that I'd be able to 'kill' him (send him home) with him only having 1 transfer left. Instead he is being moved to serve as a District Leader in our zone with a trial missionary, who oddly enough was, at the end of his 3 months (Trial missions = 3 months), reassigned to continue serving here for the rest of his days. He's from Boise. My new companion will be Elder Duano, he's Filipino, but he's from Virginia. He's the third Virginian companion I've had and all in a row. All of them are from the northern part of Virginia as well. He speaks fluent Tagalog, so it will be interesting to have my first non-white boy companion. He's probably just as white as the rest of us though, being from Northern Virginia. This is the second week in a row that I've forgotten to bring my camera so no pictures again this week!
In other news... As time goes in it appears to me that the Prophets and General Authorities, as they get older, are getting so much the wiser! Or am I simply opening up my aperture a lot more and allowing more light to come into my life? I think by far Elder Packer’s talk was my favorite. I think everyone had a hard time understanding a lot of what he said, but regardless, the Spirit taught me what I needed to know and my prayer was answered. I loved all of the emphasis on Families, marriage being between a MAN and a WOMAN, Satan is striving diligently to destroy the good that comes from families. "The family is THE MOST important social unit in time AND eternity." The family is where the most joy in life can be felt.
The work is going well here, in our area we personally have 4 baptismal dates with a 5th we will be trying to set tonight. So many more opportunities for sharing the gospel here than what I remember in Firth or Shelley. It's a lot more transient, larger, and the housing additions are more compact so that we can actually find people out and about walking, riding bikes, working on their cars, hanging out at parks, that we otherwise would find as a rare moment in the smaller towns. I do miss the small towns though, I think that would be where I'd hope to settle in and raise a family, not sure yet, I suppose it depends on what the future wife wants to do and where my career takes me.
The zone is doing GREAT! When I first got here we had about 10 baptismal dates as a zone, 3 of which were ours and 4 of which were the Sister Training Leaders. The zone has been on an upward escalator with every phase/aspect of missionary work. One thing we emphasized when I first got here was extending baptismal commitments DAILY and a lot of the zone has been converted to doing that. A lot of companionship's in the zone have found that they are teaching more than usual. I've been able to give two zone trainings now as a Zone Leader and it's very different being in that situation. To be fair, when I was in Shelley, the District had 6 companionships in it and I was ridin' solo. Now, as a Zone Leader, since so many missionaries are going home, we only have 7 companionships in our entire zone as of this Wednesday. So it's really not all that chaotic. The zone now has 21 baptismal dates with a goal of having 24 for next week, and keeping in mind there are only 7 companionships, where as some zones have had or currently have 12 companionships, 21 is pretty good. I don't send the 'logistic/statistic' emails very often, so here ya go.