First off, Skyping with you all was lovely yesterday! It was great to see your smiling faces and whatnot. Wish we coulda spent more time! But at the same time, the limited communication is kind of a good thing because it helps us focus on the work, and also it makes each time we Skype more exciting! And also the eventual reunion will be even sweeter.
Tom Henry is so great. I think Skype cut out right as he was saying this, but when you guys thanked him for taking care of us he said something to the likes of "No problem, we do the best we can! He's a good boy, you should be proud of him!" His words not mine haha :)
Now the news you're waiting for...MOVES:
Elder Holm is being sent home, and I am staying in Omagh.
By that, I mean he is going back to Dublin, which is his "home" (where he was trained). Gotcha didn't I!
Anyway, he will be a zone leader there. And I will be staying here, as SENIOR companion (?!) Elder Gomez-Castillo, from Spain, just got done with his first two transfers so I won't be training, but I'll be senior. Definitely didn't see that coming! Super excited and a bit nervous too. He's learning English, so I'll also be helping him with that! Very exciting.
Now for this past week's stories. Wednesday after we emailed, we went to Castlederg. Our new investigator Lisa lives out there. I think I mentioned her last email.
But we brought Tom with us because she said she was the only one home when we called her. But when we got there she didn't want to let us in, because she was babysitting her three year old nephew and said he didn't take kindly to strangers.
So we taught her in the backyard at a wee table and benches. Really I think she just didn't want us coming in when she was alone...weird though, because she left the kid inside the house for like an hour. Oh well, the lesson was really good anyway!
Wednesday is when we got the bad news about Gertie. She hadn't been answering our calls at all that day, or the night before. Then we got a call from the R.S. president, who said she just got off the phone with her. Basically there was just a lot of family drama going on. She hasn't mentioned the church to her kids or her husband (still separated). I think she told her sister and mom, and they were fine with it as long as it made her happy. But she's just a bit scared to tell the rest of them.
So really the stress of the family stuff going on was taking a toll on her, and she thought that trying to be baptized in secret would just add to the stress. She still wants to, still loves the church and the Book of Mormon and the members and stuff. So she'll get baptized when the time is right.
My feeling I get is that she shouldn't do it until she's told them, just so it's an enjoyable and memorable experience rather than a stressful one. It'll all work out in the end!
Thursday's highlight was teaching Martin. We knocked on his door several weeks ago, and he told us he really wanted to talk to us but was just busy. We finally caught him at a good time! He is great.
First off, he converted from the Catholic church to the Church of Ireland, which is a HUGE indicator of his open-mindedness. He was very impressed with our commitment to serving, since we don't get paid, leave home for two years, and work ALL day. And he liked what we talked about and agreed to read the Book of Mormon. So he definitely has some good potential.
We saw Ian and Vera a few times last week. Their friendship is getting back to normal again, which is good. We also saw Alan and Nigel on Friday. (Photos!)
We visited Brian J. as well...went ok. We gave him an Ensign last week because he doesn't like reading books. But apparently the article he read was like three pages long, so he said he didn't like it and didn't want to read it any more. But we showed him the real short simple stories at the back, so he eventually agreed to read those.
Also he said he didn't like it because it made him question what he believes, which he didn't like. But of course we loved that! Ah well.
He was very blunt in telling us that if we were trying to convert him it wouldn't happen, but that he'll come to church occasionally if he feels like it, because he likes it there. No problem, once he comes to church enough he'll just be like "ah what the heck, baptize me." Probably.
Saturday was good...saw Tommy Reilly (the 92 year old who plays the fiddle) and Sister Deery. Tommy's was a very good experience. Every time we visit him the last few weeks, he's spent the entire time talking about how bad he feels, how weak he is, etc. Nothing we say to comfort him or lift his spirits helps lately...then as we were about to leave I felt like asking if he wanted a blessing. He said yes.
I performed it. Very spiritual experience. After, he sat in his chair quietly for a few seconds, just thinking. He had a smile on his face after that, and I think I almost saw wetness in his eyes. Very powerful experience.
The priesthood is REAL. Also I gave Maggie a blessing last week, which was another really good experience.
On Saturday we drove out to Newtownbutler, to see the Masons. They're an English retired couple who moved into the church branch (geographical congregation) a few months ago.
They live super far away from any members, and they told us we were welcome to dinner any time. So we set up a time and went to visit them.
Having a car is such a blessing! Also it was a good visit; we helped them come to terms with a family situation. Their daughter, who they moved away to be near her and her kids, was recently baptized a Catholic, and admitted it was just to fit in. We helped them realize that all they can really do is be an example to her, and pray for her. It was another good experience.
Then last night after Skyping, we went to see Kieron, the most recent convert in the branch (2.5 years) who is now semi-active. His fiance', Siobhan (Irish spelling...it's pronounced like Shovonne) has been more interested in the church recently, so we had a good chat. She agreed to pick up Kieron's Book of Mormon this week and to truly read it. So we'll see where that goes!
Well, that's this week for ya. Geez I write long emails!!!
I'm super excited for this new change in mission life. Wish me luck!
Alan! And their dog Frankle