I have some very exciting news today. It will sound great to you but I don't think you will fully understand the joy that I feel because of this...
BRIAN CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!! That's right, you read that correctly. Brian Hilt, our investigator from Litchfield, Illinois, came to church on Sunday. And get this, he loved it! He liked how multiple people speak on different things and the feeling there. I was deeply pleased with how many of the members of the branch came up to him and introduced themselves and made him feel welcome and comfortable. He told some members that he would be back next week! I a so happy!! I thought I would end up going my whole time here without someone even coming to church but now I don't have to worry about that anymore. Brian in progressing very well. Things with his adoption are now final and the baby is his. This is such a huge relief for him and his family. On Friday we were able to meet him at his house where we were introduced to his daughter, Samantha. Brian told us at an earlier date that she is even more interested than he is and she would often take his Book of Mormon to read it, so we were definitely pleased to finally meet her and teach her the restoration, which went very well. Samantha was unable to come to church because she had to watch Roger (the baby). I think part of Brian coming alone was to see if he would be comfortable bringing Roger with them so Samantha could come too. Hopefully he will do that. Thank you for everyone who kept Brian in their prayers. He and Samantha are now working on picking a baptismal date. And Brian also informed us that his oldest daughter is pretty interested in the church as well!
Earlier this week we picked up a nice elderly woman named Vanessa, who lives two housed down from Brian. We had a very nice discussion on the restoration on her front porch and I could tell that she was deeply touched by the Spirit as we shared that message with her. We hope to be able to get her progressing as well. We explained how to get to the church from her house and she seemed willing to go but was out of town this weekend.
On Thursday we picked up two more investigators in a town called Gillespie. Their names are Jacob and Wendy. Jacob comes from a religious background but Wendy does not. She had many questions about God and the world and how it's hard to be a good person. We had a really great discussion about the atonement, Christ's grace, the restoration and so forth. Before we left Wendy said "I feel a lot better now than before you got here. It's no accident that you came here today, especially after the week we've had." Hearing things like that just warms my soul.
We also received a bunch of referrals this week! There has also been a giant shift in the state and attitude/progress of the branch this week. My hope for this area is really catching some flame.
Also on Thursday we had some severe weather. There were supposed to be tornadoes but nobody spotted any, which I'm honestly kind of bummed about. I think it would be really cool to see one of those. But just before the storm the sky got deep, dark yellow and soon the rain was coming down in sheets and the wind was very strong. After an hour or so all the heavy rain was gone and the the worst of it was over. We got reports from our mission vehicle coordinator that six mission vehicles were totaled due to soft-ball sized hail that landed on them and made giant holes. Though we were clear of any hail we did end up with a nice little lake in our back yard which we subsequently called Lake Curtis, located in the Abbott National Forest (which consists of the three to four trees we have in the back yard). Below is a picture of me in Lake Curtis.
I think that is all I had for this week! Thank you for all of your prayers! They are being answered. Have a great week! Sure love ya!