I would like to start by saying that Kentucky is definitely as awesome as I thought it would be. To start out, we had dinner at a little local drive in -- the kind that only has two people working and only accepts cash. They made what I will call the best milkshake I have ever eaten in my entire life. I can seriously never go to Sonic again for it simply cannot be as good. Then we went to go visit a family in their trailer. We read the Book of Mormon with them and as we read the testimonies of the savior healing the multitude, the spirit filled the crowded little room. A change came over the family and the frivolous arguments of siblings ceased for that time. The next day, we had the privilege of serving them by helping build a deck so they could use their back door. I loved getting to work with them and learn more about them and the things they enjoy in life. Often we can become so preoccupied with our own busy lives, opinions, and lifestyles that we forget to see the beauty in others around us. We forget that all of us are children of God and each individual's life and desires are important to Him. I love the advice from Elder Patrick Kearon: "Meeting ... families and hearing their stories with your own ears, and not from a screen or newspaper, will change you. Real friendships will develop and will foster compassion and successful integration." I am grateful for the opportunity we had to work with this family and grow a real friendship with them. Here is a picture of John and our handiwork; his more (mother?) took the picture for us.
The rest of the day in Morgantown was awesome. We got to walk the whole way around town and talk to people as we went. I love that everyone was so approachable and willing to talk with anyone. It also amused me that directions around town included, "right next to where John lives," or, "across the street from the Jordan's house." The Mayor's actually name is Billy Bob. It was a great experience for me all around and I enjoyed speaking with the people.
We had a few miracles as we worked. After knocking on someone's door, I felt prompted to ask, "what is the purpose of life?" The woman who answered replied that she did not know and had been reading and searching for the answer for quite some time. I opened the Book of Mormon and read to her Alma 34:32 which reads, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God." She liked that and accepted a Book of Mormon as we promised her that it would help answer her question and bring direction to her life by helping her prepare to meet God. Afterwards we taught a lesson in a family's home. They had their friend over who has been coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon with them. Their testimonies of the savior and His gift of repentance led to a desire within this man's heart and he is now preparing for baptism in October. After all our planned activities were done, at 8:50pm, we decided to go out walking even though we had but ten minutes left. In this short time, we had opportunity to bear our testimonies to one more person and receive a wonderful referral. My testimony of missionary work was definitely increased that day and I am so grateful to be serving the people here.
We had a lot of cool opportunities to do service this week including cleaning out gutters and giving priesthood blessings. I think my favorite though has to be this right here:
"[A]nd lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul." I am actually very grateful that I was taught how to use a large variety of farm tools by my stepfather so many years ago. As hard as it was at the time, I am grateful for how it has helped me to serve others. Whenever someone asks if we know how to uproot a tree, dig a trench, or even use a sickle, I am happy to surprise them by saying yes. This was a fun job though definitely a work out; the weeds were taller than my head when I started.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and I am so happy to hear from you guys and write each Monday. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
PS. Ten awesome points to anyone who can tell me why I came up with the subject/title for this week's email
PPS. Here is a picture of the Morgantown district