So we had two more lessons with Jim this week. He is hard to teach! He loves to talk and is so sure of the things he knows to be true, like the fact that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one and that "God" is a spirit. But he read over a hundred pages of the Book of Mormon between our visits which is really neat. He came to church last week and to a baptism the Bristol ward had this last week (they're the ward we share the building with). The baptism wasn't very well attended which was sad, but it was really spiritual. I was asked to the play the piano and I think it went well (at least I didn't hit too many wrong notes and didn't stop to fix the ones I did miss). The mom was excommunicated a long time ago, but within the last year or two she got rebaptized and wanted her son to be baptized also, but because she's divorced her husband wouldn't let him get baptized so they've been waiting for a year and the ward fasted that a door would open up and after a year the father consented and he was able to be baptized! It was neat. We were talking with Jim afterwards and he told us that he was never going to get baptized Mormon, but he committed himself to come to church for all three hours. The Bristol Elders think it was because he felt the spirit. Who knows. But, his wife just moved back in with him-- they've been having some marital problems. She is extremely jealous and he doesn't think it would be good to have two girls come over to teach so he asked if we could meet him at a Dairy Queen. We didn't think it would be good to sneak around his wife, so the Bristol Elders are going to teach him. Maybe they'll find a way to get to him. He recognizes that the church he goes to isn't 100% right, and he doesn't' think any church today is completely true, but I think he's fascinated by our bold claim that we have all of the truth. If he does come to know that this is true, I think he'll be a very strong member. He loves God and Jesus (as the same person) and he is very dedicated to church. He's a good man and I'm excited to see what will happen!
After we volunteered at the soup kitchenwe were driving over to town, we passed Anthony's house and he was sitting on his porch! We've been trying to get a hold of him for two weeks! I felt prompted to turn around and go talk to him even though that might be a little weird, but it turned out to be really good. He's a philosophical type who likes to think about everything. He's really busy, but he's home this week because of Spring break. We came back and we were able to share the first half of the plan of salvation with him. He's a logical thinker and what we have to tell him makes sense. He's a little skeptical about Joseph Smith, but was surprised by our boldness of telling him if he reads and prays about the Book of Mormon with real intent that God will tell him it's true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. We'll see if he follows through! But now spring break is over and he's back to busy busy busy. Hopefully we'll be able to teach him again.
That afternoon we had a miracle-- we had an appointment with Jim and Anthony and needed a team up to come with us. They were both planned with short notice so we didn't have much time to find team ups. We asked several people who normally were able to come, but they couldn't and we were feeling stuck. In most of my prayers that 24 hours I prayed that we'd be able to find a team up so we could teach both of them and a few hours before it was time to go, one of the sisters we asked said she had a change of plans and could come out with us to both appointments! It was a miracle! We were so grateful!
That same evening, the Tyhursts took us out to see the Joyce family. We've been wanting to commit them to baptism for a while now, but the last missionaries a few years ago really turned Ken (the dad) away from the church because they were too pushy. We decided that we were going to invite them to be baptized, but then Ken wasn't there because he had to work late. So after our lesson we brought it up and they said they would all be baptized!!!!!!! We didn't set a date because Marsha (the mom) really wants her uncle to baptize her husband and sons since he was the one who baptized her. Only problem is that he's 70 and lives in San Diego and will have back surgery at the end of the month. They're going to call him and figure out a good date and tell us tonight! It's amazing how the spirit has worked with this family over the years and softened all of their hearts. They will be a great addition to this ward!
We had zone training this week which was really good, as always! We were so spoiled in Knoxville being 10 minutes away from the stake center-- we had to travel about an hour to get there! But it was well worth it! This week was full of spiritual meetings-- we got to travel to Kingsport two more times that week for stake conference. Elder and Sister Zwick of the 70 were there as well as Pres and Sis Irion.evening session was all about missionary work. All four of them have so much faith and trust in us as full time missionaries. It makes me want to work even harder so I can be worthy of that trust. Jada really wanted to go to stake conference, but it was difficult to find her a ride. She lives on the outskirts of the ward and doesn't have a car. It's hard finding her a ride to church, so finding a ride to stake conference was even harder! However, after calling every active member of the ward, we were finally able to get rides for us and her. I'm glad she has such a desire to be an active part of the church! I'm so grateful for members who are willing to sacrifice to help out other people. I think in wards where the boundaries are so spread out, wards members are asked to sacrifice more time, but we are so grateful for all they do to help those who are coming back.
I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers and for the knowledge we have that He loves each of us individually. I love this gospel and I love this work! There's no where else I'd rather be!