So the transfers have changed a few things. Sister Wall is returning home to San Jacinto, CA. We are all so grateful for her honorable service and applaud her. Sister Wall leaves Tuesday (tomorrow). Elder Waldron, a missionary trained by Elder Hilborn before he trained me, is the zone leader replacing Elder Michaelis. Elder Michaelis is currently training in Topeka.
At our first district meeting after the changes transfers brought us, I met a Sister McArthur. Sister McArthur tells me a certain Elder Michael Sanders tell me "Hi"! What a coincidence! Sister McArthur met Michael on a plane ride to his mission destination in Chile.
At this same district meeting, I was asked to cut hair. I've begun a reputation. Because interviews were the following day, Elder Candland and Elder Wood were both desperate enough to place themselves seated in front of me with an electric razor in hand and a grin on my face. Like I say... Desperate. The haircuts are actually decent. I'm receiving a lot of opportunity to practice.
Funny story for you: As you may or may not know, missionaries, when backing a vehicle, must have another standing behind as to ensure there are no 'backing accidents'. Elder West, the clown he is, decides to seat himself on the trunk with a bike rack in front of him while I back the vehicle. In an attempt to jest with Elder West, I accelerate and brake quickly. Little do I know this will result in Elder West receiving a heavy blow to the groin from the bike rack in front of him. When we (Elders Clawson and Wood) realize what had happened, we can't help our manic laughter. Fortunately, Elder West is a good sport. He is not angry, and there are no hurt feelings... Just swelling to Elder West's nether unmentionables.
I've found a deep passion of mine is to testify of the Book of Mormon. Despite rejections, sneers, looks, threats, and all manner of discouragement, I LOVE the Book of Mormon! I am so grateful for this sacred scripture, for the valiant disciples within it's pages, for the love of our Heavenly Father so immense to provide this record to us His children in the latter days.
Here is a picture of a piece of the zone including the AP's. We had interviews with the president of the mission this weekend.
Elders Carling, Giliam, Goldsberry, Clifford, Candland, Labrum, Wood, LaMont, Cuadrado/Elder. Sisters Anderson Fernandez, Pedersen, and Wall.
I learned something about lawn mowers. They leak a smoke-like substance out of the muffler when there is too much oil in the engine, or perhaps when there is a sudden cold. The answer: put a zip-tie on the bar to allow the engine to run for a few minutes. You'll smoke up the neighborhood, but it will quit eventually and you can mow as usual. I'm grateful for all the things I am learning on the mission. What a blessing.
Elder Wood and I had a special opportunity to teach a lesson that healed a fragile heart. Just a week ago, we met Barbara. Barbara moved into the ward recently. She's downsized to an apartment closer to family and friends after her husband passed away from cancer. How fortunate where we to answer her tear-filled question, "Where is my husband?" We proceeded to teach her where exactly her loved one is, where he will be. We testified to her he lives as Christ lives. On the other side of the veil, cheering her on, helping her. The twelfth verse in chapter forty of the book of Alma never before entered my heart as powerfully as it did as I read aloud to Barbara, "The spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." The Spirit brought to my remembrance this is true for those I have seen pass in my own life, providing just an inkling of what Barbara could be feeling. I was nearly overpowered as I finished this verse of scripture. At first, I did not understand. I marveled why this verse was so powerful to me. I looked up when I finished the scripture, into Barbara's tearful face full of gratitude and I immediately understood.
Consider the words of our prophet who had this to say in our most recent General Conference: "Our Father’s plan for our happiness and our salvation is shared by our missionaries throughout the world. Not all who hear this divine message accept and embrace it. However, men and women everywhere... recognize its truths, and they plant their feet on the path that will lead them safely home. Their lives are forever changed."
I love so immensely how the message of the beautiful Plan of Salvation can heal such wounded hearts. I feel the power of prayer in my life every day from your utterances to our Heavenly Father in my behalf, and in behalf of those whom Elder Wood and I teach. I thank you immensely for that.