Thanks for sending the pictures of Sister Bray and the Davis' -- I hadn't seen them yet. That was a very "trunky" week seeing all those people from home and talking about all these people I haven't seen in forever.
Matt seems to be tearing it up in volleyball. Do they win a lot of games?? It's so weird that Matt is graduating I seriously can't believe it. Now that I'm on my mission, I have a better perspective of what the gospel is and especially the "why" of the gospel. Before my mission I knew the church was true despite whatever my actions portrayed but I never grasped its grandeur, and now that I do, I see so many things that I could have done differently (even things that aren't even gospel or commandment related) that could've helped me take advantage of all the opportunities of living in New Canaan, as well as being taught by so many amazing and influential people. I think having this outlook will help me be more successful upon returning from the mission.
Our District is absolutely tearing it up!! We have 12 baptismal dates and found 11 new investigators. The English areas are really the ones doing great, while the Spanish areas, on the other hand, are moving a bit more slowly. We have a bunch of new investigators that are kind of on the brink of progression and we are hoping to get 2 dates this upcoming week for the month of July. It still feels good seeing the success of the other Elders. Something that might contribute to that feeling is many of the referrals we have given them have turned into investigators and baptism dates. So even while the work isn't going as fast as we would like in our areas, we still feel like the Lord has his eye on us and is placing us in peoples' paths.
One thing I recently implemented in our District last week, that can be linked to the success we've had, is counting and reporting the number of contacts we do in the street or wherever we go. We have always put emphasis on talking to everyone. But reporting contacts and striving for a numerical goal that you report, helps us not only talk to all those in our path but those who aren't. In other words we're being a little more proactive in the "finding" process at our level. We've seen a ton of success from it and have received great feedback from the other Elders in the District. We've given them almost 10 referrals within the past 2 weeks (and like I already said, some have baptismal dates), and Elders Egbert and Kiene got 3 of their "news" this week from street contacts. I've told the elders not to focus all of their finding efforts on street contacting because, as we've heard a million times, it isn't the most efficient "finding" method and we're really trying to work through members. The Spanish potentials we've received from street contacts recently haven't been real great but we found all of our new investigators this transfer through the members. Really, what made me try this in our District was studying the call-in reports from about 2-3 years ago where the District was raking in 12-18 "news" a week on a consistent basis. Obviously, I don't have any demographic information on the area and how that's changed and there could be a million factors, but one difference was that they were talking with upwards of 400 people a week as a District. I can guarantee that we aren't doing that, and talking with that many people had a direct correlation with how many "news" they were getting. I'm hoping this trend can come back in our District as we try to be more proactive in our personal finding efforts in the streets while working in conjunction with the members.
Anyway, thanks for everything. Can't wait to see you in like a month!!