First of all, thanks a ton for all of the pictures you sent. I just want to say that Mom, you are looking great, even younger than when I left on my mission!! I'm guessing it's all of the stress that was taken off of your back (hahahah). Dad... you need to run a couple more marathons (haha). I'm just kidding -- you both look like you are doing really well, but Frankie looks older. I sure miss him a ton!!! The sunsets are really beautiful this time of year with all of the clouds in the sky. I'll try and get a good picture with me in it and send it.
The dust storm was pretty cool looking but unfortunately/fortunately we were in a lesson the entire time it was going on. I say unfortunately, because I wanted to be out there riding my bike in it. And I say fortunately, at the same time, because we set a solid baptismal date with Marcos for the 23rd of this month, which is really solid since his wife is a member and he comes to church almost every Sunday. He was kind of one of those perpetual investigators that had been coming for three years. When I brought up his name in Ward Council everyone didn't think that he would accept a baptismal date. Brother Santiago (a Counselor in the Branch Presidency) drove us over the night of the dust storm and helped us set a date with him for the 23rd. Brother Santiago was pretty surprised he accepted but he bore a good testimony about enduring to the end which really helped. When we went outside our bikes were covered in dust. I didn't even think that it was that big of a deal but it was all over national news.
We found this sweet guy who was actually a media referral named, Martin. When we went over to his house we saw he had at least 20 Christ pass-along cards so I guess they were bound to call that number eventually (hahaha). He told us how he is sincerely searching for a change in his life and promised he would come to church last Sunday. When Sunday came he didn't show up at first, so we called him and he told us his car broke down. I blew it off as another excuse which we get all of the time but was surprised when President Lopez (Branch President) brought him into Gospel Principles as Elder Faldmo and I were teaching the class!!! He participated in the lesson (which was on charity) and afterwards when we went and talked with him he told us how it was like Satan was trying to prevent him from coming to church that day. He is an awesome investigator and we are expecting to see a lot of progress with him this week.
To address what Dad talked about in his letter, we are definitely trained as missionaries to promise direct and specific blessings because we have the authority to do that as ordained messengers from God. When we promise them with faith, our investigators keep their commitments, exercise faith, and finally experience the blessing that was promised to them, and they can recognize that the restored gospel is true!!! They will also have a stronger testimony and a greater desire to make covenants with God. A lot of the Hispanic people do consider themselves very blessed and there are even some (like Martin) that LOVE the United States and the opportunities they have here. I have definitely taught many people who feel they are struggling, especially in this area. It is very hard to find work in Phoenix, especially as an illegal immigrant. I think I am going to think about what you said Dad and try and focus on that the next time that I am teaching. Maybe it will help! Thanks!!
Some of the pics that I sent are of Elder Faldmo and me burning a shirt in celebration of his one-year anniversary in the mission field. It was great to hear from you guys. I did get the package with the Asian food and the Italian ice pops, as well as the package with the silly bands. I picked up an electric typewriter for 6 bucks the other day at Goodwill so I am able to write letters faster!! haha