I think I have gotten taller since I left, but I'm not complaining about that. Heck, from looking at the picture of you at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, it looks like I'm not the only one! Man, Cal and Ellie are BIG!! They are making me feel old, even though I'll only be 21 this Saturday. Seems strange to think I've reached that age....and scary! Oh well, nothing I can do about it. Sounds like you had a good trip to Oregon (again!), but I'm wondering how much time it's going to take you all to recover from your "vacation month." Doesn't sound like things are slowing down, though, with school getting underway and various other things. And I'm looking forward to getting some much anticipated mail this week as well; I'll have to make sure Elder Remington and Elder Parker don't open them in any way! Our mail slot is in the door, so we know when it's come because we hear the mailman open and shut it. Last week, we were all sitting at the table planning for the next week when we heard him drop mail in. We pretty much tackled each other trying to get down the stairs to the door to see who the mail was for. This happened the day you sent your letters, which was the only piece of mail that day, so the other two were pretty upset. :) That's just one example of how valuable it is to hear from loved ones, so I want to thank you and everyone else that has taken time out to write me thus far.
Zone Conference was great last week! We really enjoyed having Elder Packer come and speak to us. I felt the Spirit as I listened to everyone that spoke. Pres. Robbins taught us what it really means to listen. I've seen how much it's helped in the short time since he presented it to us. All too often we've been guilty of having investigators present problems or challenges right to our faces, but we're so self-absorbed in what we planned on teaching that we pass it off as nothing....big mistake! I went back and studied about adjusting our teaching to meet needs as well as listening, both of which are in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel. Those two teaching skills play a huge role in the amount of success we experience, so I'm committed to following them to the letter. The words of the Brethren in Preach My Gospel, combined with the words of ancient prophets in the scriptures, couldn't make the gospel any easier to understand! They don't beat around the bush, so why should we? If we'd just follow the Spirit every day, we'd be SO much more successful in our assigned areas.
Stake Conference was great as well, Pres. Robbins shared a wonderful testimony. I'm sure that Judy and Shawn, our progressing investigators, were able to feel the Spirit as he did so, as well as during all the other talks that were given. They came to the adult session the previous night as well, and afterwards informed us that they are 100% positive that September 19th is the day they are going to get baptized!! I know this is due to the fact that they have been doing everything we've asked of them and are therefore feeling the Spirit more and more. Judy has even payed fast offerings a couple of times!! The members are beginning to take them under their wings more as well, which takes quite a bit of stress off of us. Members ARE the key to success, I can testify of that for hours!
Pres. Robbins is thinking of sending every missionary given a copy of Pres. Hinckley's talk, "Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep." It is absolutely incredible!! I've studied it a lot and shared many things with him, so thank you for sending it to me. I believe that TRUE conversion to the gospel is the key to accelerating the work, something Elder Packer stressed a lot in his remarks. I'll close with a great quote from Pres. Kimball about this same subject:
"Our role as missionaries is not primarily to convince people of the truthfulness of the gospel. If the Lord were primarily interested in convincing people of the divine nature of this work, He could, and perhaps would, demonstrate His powers in such a way that large numbers of people could know the truth in a relatively brief period of time. He could speak if He chose, and all the people on earth could hear in their own language. Or He could emblazon His words in the sky, where all could read or see them. But if those persons thus convinced did not really change their lives for the better, repent of their sins, and turn to Him in righteousness, they would be worse off than before and would be more insensitive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. No, the Lord is not primarily interested in having His children only convinced of His work. He would like them to be converted to the gospel. Truly converted persons change their old sinful ways and turn to a new life in Christ; there is truly a 'converting' or a changing in their lives."
Kind of a lengthy quote, but it perfectly illustrates the need for each of us, member and missionary alike, to live and teach the first principles and ordinances of the gospel to everyone, and show personal examples of how much it blesses us. Doing so will not only aid in THEIR conversion process, but for ours as well. I think I've said enough, so I'll quit for this week. May God continue to bless you with the things you stand in need of is my prayer!