Another pretty good week! I feel like I've gotten into the swing of things up here. Plus we had some really good experiences! So just to start out... We are having a baptism!!! Maybe 3! So stay tuned for that!
So I'll answer your questions real quick. So yes we live in an apartment, I only know of 2 areas where they live in members basements. Other then that all apartments in the mission. And most of them have 4 missionaries in them. Our apartment is ok, my last one was probably better and there are some way nicer ones but I can't complain compared to what some of my buds are having to live in around the world haha. The GPS makes things so much nicer! Just plug addresses in and go. We will help out at the visitors center for the holidays here and there but not tons, I'll let you guys know when I find out exactly what we get to do cause I'm not really sure. This area we don't have tons of service and we are somewhat the same teaching load with a little more investigators so we just tract a ton! Last area I feel like I learned to work with less actives and this area is teaching me to tract for hours on end haha So there use to be 4 missionaries in the Laurel Ward so now it is just the two of us that serve in the ward. And overall I can't compare to what it was before but it seems like it's fine having just a companionship run the Ward. We have enough work to keep us busy but not too much we can't cover everything.
Here's my week..
Sowe had interviews with President and Sister Cooke. President gave me a big smile and handshake as I walked in. He asked about how I was doing and told me that basically he has lost lots of leadership and solid missionaries and he needed some people to step up and I was someone he had step up this past transfer. Then he acknowledged things have been hard, but gave me a huge smile and said "But hey hard things just come to the best". Then got up and gave me a huge hug as I left. So it was super nice to feel Presidents confidence and just how much he loves and looks out for me and all the missionaries. Then I got to sit down with Sister Cooke. After making the mistake of telling her I was sorta sick a few weeks ago (she talked about that for like 10 min). She gave me some awesome advice about Thanksgiving. She said she knew that it was going to be hard being the first major holiday away from home and that it really is going to be a glass half full/half empty time because there would be things that would be missed but look for the blessings and things that only would happen on a missionary thanksgiving. It was awesome to hear that! First that she was real and acknowledged we would miss home during this time but also just how there are things that only a missionary thanksgiving would include!
So Thanksgiving was pretty good. No decent pumpkin pie or stuffing though so maybe a tear about that haha. But it was a non Proselyting day so Elder Williams and I just hung out until the afternoon where we went over to Lucies apartment to have a little pre thanksgiving lunch. She's from the Ivory Coast and she has been baptized for about a month. Her son Ishmael is 13 and the best kid ever! Ishmael didn't get baptized with his Mom because his Dad said no. But long story short Lucie has full custody and her exhusband is going back to Africa this month. So we get to baptized Ishmael!!!!! He's on date forand I don't know who is more excited, us or him! So just like Sister Cooke said, some things only happen on a missionary thanksgivings, like committing someone to baptism! That evening we had a decent dinner with a husband/wife in our Ward. Super nice of them to have us over.
Thenwe had a surprise exchange with the APs! Like out of the blue we are out tracting and they call and ask if we can do a day exchange with them. Super random and I'm kinda worried about it haha. Elder Herring kept telling me it wasn't for any reason and it honestly just happened. Plus he said he had no idea we had been with President the day before. But I'm still skeptical and so help me if I have to train this next transfer or something I'll whoop on Herring for lying to me haha. Well not really since he's like 6'7 haha. But yeah so Elder Herring stayed with me in Laurel and Elder Williams went with Elder Ord to the APs area for the day! It was soo awesome! Holy cow I love Herring! We get along so good and just talked non stop the whole day! Plus I finally had someone to talk football with since Williams is a performing arts guy.
Plus Elder Herring and I had 2 super cool experiences together! So first we were out checking on referrals. So we went to this house that had requested a bible and the ladies daughter who's about 20ish answers the door and she basically says yeah she wants to talk to us and she's talked to missionaries before. Plus she said she's was pretty sure it was me but I've never seen the lady in my life hah. But yeah so we are building that connection and we decide a good lesson to teach is Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we made the mistake of trying to quote a BOM scripture and right as we are explaining the BOM her mom shows up. And they turn out to be some of those people who believe in ONLY the Bible plus the weird stuff like when you feel the spirit you speak in tongues. So basically I got in my first Bible Bash! They pretty much hated us. We tried so hard not to argue with them. But then as we were about to leave we decided to leave with our testimonies of Christ since that was common ground. Then as we left we gave them a Festival of Lights card and invited them to that. Then we offered service like raking their leaves and they said no. But right as we left I said again, "We come out for two years and hope to teach people, but all in all we are here to help out anyone we can in anyway. So if you need any service give us a call". And I saw their hearts change. They saw we really are out here just trying to do good things. So we have a return appointment to read the Christmas Story in the Bible with the family next week!
Second awesome experience was later that night. We went to check another Bible request and we go to this apartment complex. We were walking through this complex and come across 3 Latinos. As we walk up Elder Herring asks "Habla Ingles". They all gave us the "umm sorta looks" as they shake their heads. So we look at each other and kinda laugh as 2 English Elders go for it. We struggle our way through some terrible broken high school Spanish and invite them to Festival of Lights. Then I decided I needed to ask if they wanted to be taught by the Spanish missionaries. So I whipped up some of my barely passing HS Spanish. And tell them "Estamos misioneros de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días (they helped me with the church name so that was way funny). Tenemos misioneros habla espanol. Te gusta habla con Them." Like I said, some terrible Spanish haha. But we ended up getting their phone number to pass on!! It was so cool! Plus I know the Lord helped me recall all those phrases from my dreaded memories of HS Spanish. So humbling to see that help when we needed it. Plus it was a good laugh for me and Herring as we walked away from them.
The week ended on another high note with Pres/Sister Cooke doing our wards sacrament meeting! Plus we got a shout out from Sister Cooke over the pulpit of how much she loves us! She said "I want to thank all of you that have my dear missionaries in your homes to feed and care for them. I know their mothers would thank you and as their surrogate mother for 2 years I also thank you. I love all my missionaries and Elder Carroll and Elder Williams both hold a special place in my heart". Ahh man I love the Cookes so much! I'll be so sad when they leave this summer!
Alsois how we picked up our 2, maybe, baptisms. So first is a man named Sampson. His wife and son were baptized a little while ago and he just wasn't quite ready. Now he's been saying he might be ready and basically as Elder Williams and I were teaching the gospel principles school class (since our Ward Mission leader was gone we stepped in) he told us he saw the blessings of the gospel and pretty much said he was ready to be baptized! BooYeah!! So we will try to get him on as well! And here is #3 so there is this hilarious 8 year old named Brian. And he comes from a single mom home and he's pretty much hasn't been baptized cause he's scared of the water and that he'll get drowned. So I walked up to him and told him if he grabbed my hand and I could curl him 5 times he had to get baptized! He said deal and I was psyched so I grabbed that kid and practically threw him through the ceiling. After he told his mom he was still scared but sure now he would get baptized!!! It was so cool to see how happy his Mom was when he told her that! So it won't technically count as a "convert baptism" and I might not be the one who baptizes him but I'm so excited for him! So that is how we might have 3 early Christmas presents and baptize 3 people on ! Wow it was an amazing week where we got so blessed by the Lord! This truly is his work not ours!!
Before you've asked for specific people to pray for, so this week could you guys pray for Sampson, Ismael, and Brian?
I love you all so much!
Us with the APs after our exchange.
We took it under a street light behind the DC Stake center so that's why we look all yellow