Man, first of all, thanks for sending me pictures Rachel, I'm pretty sure that these are the first pictures I've seen of our family since Jessica left on her mission, which was I'm pretty sure over a year ago! What in the world.... Man, it's honestly scary to see how much you guys have changed. Mom and Dad still look the same but the rest of you have grown so much it's crazy.... Man, I still think of you guys as 14, 14, and 10! Now you're old! Rachel you look like you're older than I am, Jared looks about my age, and Jonathan, well you still look like Jonathan but you look a lot older! Wow, that's really werid.... Not to mention the fact that I am now convinced I will be the short and the bald brother! I'm pretty sure my hair is falling out at ever increasing rates, it's bad news, I'm just going to have to pray that I'll look kind of like Elder Oaks when I'm old. Anyways, this week was a pretty good one. We've seen quite a few incredible miracles, and I've been able to have some incredible experiences as well. It's amazing how the Lord can humble us so quickly and in such an inspiring way. This Thursday I felt impressed to call one of my recent converts, Jose Paz who I knew should be going through the temple soon and he answered and said that my phone call was an answer to his prayers. He was planning on going through the temple to receive his Endowment on Saturday and that he had been praying to know who should be his escort and then he asked me to be his escort... It was one of those experiences that is always so humbling, to be able to serve someone in such a sacred way. It was incredible to be with him and to go through the temple with him for his first time. The temple president gave the little talk before the endowment and opened my eyes to its vast importance and eternal significance. I can honestly say that the temple will never be quite the same again. He said a few things that can be said outside of the temple and one of the things that impacted me and caused some major reflection was the following phrase: "Baptism is the gate, the Holy Ghost is the guide, the Priesthood is the power, and the Endowment is the gift." It's definitely something to meditate on and it opened up the windows of revelation for me to a much deeper understanding of the power of the endowment and the temple. It was also just incredible to once again see someone make it all the way.... It's been humbling these past two transfers to see the power and change that the Gospel has brought to these people and to have been a part of it. There truly is nothing greater than sharing the gospel and seeing those who live it faithfully. I will forever be grateful for these individuals and the opportunity God has given me to be a part of their lives.
We've also had some crazy miracles throughout our zone and area. In our area we are now teaching a part member mother who is incredibly prepared though skeptical. We had such a powerful lesson, and it was only the second time that I've had the opportunity to say the first vision in english on the mission, and it was incredible to once again feel the spirit it brings. The lesson was powerful and her heart was touched. We hope that she will soon be progressing towards baptism. Haha she's an asian mom so she kind of reminds me of you mom. She'll be praying about the Book of Mormon and if things are right I may have her send you an email to ask you about your story. We also had a random miracle where we were at a gas station and a man came up to us and asked if we were from the church! It turns out he's muslim but is unsatisfied with his religion and what it teaches and is looking for something greater. He said he had seen us and was driving away when something told him to turn back and speak with us! The Lord is at work in His vineyard! He's in another area but I'll be keeping tabs on him to see how he progresses. We also had a random lady come to church this week with her less-active friend who also hadn't come for a long time. So the Lord is blessing us with people to teach and the opportunity to bless others lives. It's been pretty awesome, though still difficult as we've dealt with many many dropped appointments with people we had felt were solid. But the Lord has his timing as well. Oh man, then there's another very sad but inspirational story. There's a guy named Adam, 20 years old, who has gone through a ton of things! He's completely turned his life around and has been more gung-ho about baptism than almost anybody I've ever taught and unfortuantely yesterday we had to break the news to him that he probably won't be able to get baptized for a long time because he is currently on probation for something he's done in the past... Still, he is making such strides and is progressing in the gospel. He's quitting smoking and when we asked him how he was doing he said "Of course I'm doing great, this is for my baptism, this is for my salvation, of course I'm going to quit!" It's been pretty humbling to see such an intense desire to receive something even when there are so many obstacles in the way. He has truly taught me better the meaning of the gospel and atonement.