Monday, September 9, 2013

Spring Lake - Week 3 1/2

Hey family and friends! I'm alive!
I haven't got to email until now because Monday was labor day and then Monday night I started a trade-off that ended up lasting until this morning. Crazy. Longest trade-off ever to occur I've been told. So yeah.
Let me start from the beginning. Last Wednesday (the 28th) I and my district headed to the SLC airport at like 4 in the morning. The airport was a funny experience; it was my first time being in the "real world" since I've put the mission tag on. It was hilarious to see half of the people smiling and greeting me and my companion and the other half avoiding all eye-contact with the us. We got to the gate 90 minutes early, and for the first hour I talked to a nice member lady who was sitting by us. For the other 30 minutes I talked to a nice lady named Delores from Tennessee. I talked to her a bit about the Gospel and ended up giving her a pass-along card.
I'll fast-forward through all the travel, because there's nothing special about it. We landed in Lansing around 5 or so and we met Sister and President Hess and the A.P's. Elder Snow and Larsen were very kind and excited to see us. It was a nice little reception we had in the tiny Lansing airport.
Anywho, we went to the mission home and had dinner and socialized for a while. Not soon after, we all piled into a van and headed to MSU campus. We did some personal contacting. It was a good learning experience, I'll say that. The first person I talked to was an older man who complimented my tie and seemed interested in what I had to say, so I bore my testimony to him. After that, he told us that he was a Baptist minister, called us heretics to our faces and told us to burn in hell. So yeah, that was pretty great. Personal contacting is sweet. I laughed about it later but at the time I was stunned and wanted to cry a little.
The next day I got to meet my trainer, Elder Reheis. He's from Arizona (Von, what mission did you serve in?) and he likes aviation. We get a long really well because he's pretty much the coolest dude in the whole world. We've had lots of success already and I'm learning so much from him.
Let me tell you about Tony Lee. Tony Lee is a member who lives in Muskegon and was baptized 5-ish years ago. He's probably the happiest, most dedicated person to the Gospel that I've ever met. He's had to face lots of challenges in his life but everything he does is for other people. He is so genuinely kind and the Spirit is so strong with him. Whenever I get discouraged, I think about how the Gospel has blessed Tony's life and that the Gospel can help people in the same way.
Now let me tell you about Corey and Kelle. They are 20 and 18, boyfriend and girlfriend, and Kelle is pregnant. They are investigators who were found by a miraculous tracting experience. They are way interested in the Gospel, and the first time I met them Elder Reheis, Tony and I taught them the Plan of Salvation. At the end of the lesson, Tony brought up priesthood blessings and Kelle asked for one. Tony gave her one of the most inspired blessings I've ever heard, and it brought most of us to tears. They felt the Spirit in abundance and have committed to baptism. They are now thinking about getting married and Corey is trying to stop smoking. Pretty amazing.
I've seen many other miracles so far, but that is all I have time to share for now. I'll tell you briefly about my super long trade-off. I went to Wyoming and was companions with Elder Benitez for the past 2 days. He's also from Arizona. He was really good for me because we ended up tracting for many hours each day which I need to work on having a good attitude about. We had a good time and worked hard.
OH MAN. I forgot to tell you- lots of the elders in my mission are into a card trading game called Magic: The Gathering. Elder Reheis is trying really hard to get me into it, and I must confess it's pretty fun but also pretty dang nerdy. Elder Benitez plays as well, and a bunch of other elders do too and they're trying to get me into it.
K, I'm out of time.
Mom: Yes I got my bedding, thank you. Thanks for all of the notes/emails, etc. You're the best. It's good to hear that the move went okay. I hope settling in goes okay as well. What Michigan cities did you grow up in, Mom? I met a brother Schmutz last night in Wyoming.Dad, you're great. Thanks for the candy I got in the MTC. Are you familiar with a Howard Schmutz who was a rancher or something? I wish I was better at knowing about my family, etc. I must be related to this Brother Schmutz in Michigan somehow.
Von: Where did you serve again?
Jae: How's the MTC bud? Can you believe I'm learning to play Magic? I'm somewhat embarrassed.
Annie: Thanks for the email. Keep me posted on things. 
All of you other people: I LOVE YOU. The Church is true. Amen.
-Elder Schmutz

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