I hope everything is going well in New Canaan. Are the leaves starting to change color yet? It is still over a hundred degrees most days here in Phoenix but it is starting to get a little cooler at night. At least the breeze isn't hot so when the wind blows it kind of feels nice.
Right now we are teaching a really awesome family, the Torres family. It is the son and daughter-in-law of the other Torres family (Ester and Luis Sr.) who are less actives that Elder Faldmo and I found. I think I told you about them before but they are now really active in the church. Luis Jr. (son of Luis Sr. and Ester) was less active along with his parents, brother and sister (his brother and sister still haven't come to church). He and his girlfriend, Patty, have been living together for 7 years and have 4 kids. Patty is not a member but is really interested in the church and wants to get baptized. She has studied with other churches before such as the Jehovah's Witness, but feels much more comfortable and happy with the Church of Jesus Christ. Obviously the thing that is holding her back from being baptized is the fact that she and Luis are still not married -- that has been the focus of the past 2 or 3 lessons we’ve had with them. We have had some pretty powerful lessons where we read, analyzed and pondered The Family: A Proclamation to the World. We told them that in order to obey the law of chastity they have two options, but as representatives of Christ we could only give them one. Normally the two options would be get married, or split up. But since they have 4 kids together and they have the right to be raised in an environment with a loving father and mother, the only decision that would be pleasing in the eyes of God is marriage. So we have been focusing a lot of what we teach on the family. I think that’s one of the reasons Patty was attracted to the message we were first sharing with her parents-in-law. (Luis Jr. didn't want anything to do with us at first but now he is more determined than she is!!) Luis has told all of us he wants to marry her. But like most of the other marriage cases I have had on my mission, the woman has this uncertainty. For all I now, she might have every right to feel that way but we are trying to help her get past it. I think she is hesitant because Luis has made such a significant change in his desire to come to church and live the commandments so suddenly -- she wants to make sure he wants to marry her for the right reasons. I think it is inevitable that they get married but the question is when. We are going to pass by often and read scriptures with her during the week so she can get answers to her prayers. We are also going to talk with Luis about things that he can do to strengthen Patty's trust in him.
We also found the Teran family this week. For some reason, I felt a very strong love for them even though it was the first time we taught them. We’ll see how it goes.
I hope you guys are excited for General Conference next weekend!! Can't wait to hear from you!!
Love - Elder Kinney