|Elder Mumm & I after a session of conference having lunch at the Jensen's home.|
What an amazing General Conference! I have truly loved watching General Conference on my mission. Being able to hear from the Prophet and His Apostles! So much was learned, and I'm so grateful for their strength. I'm so grateful for President Monson, who throughout his hardships is still up there being strong for our church. I love him and sustain him as our prophet! It was also great to see 3 new Apostles be called, they will do an amazing job and I'm so excited for the future years of their callings.
I loved every talk from Conference, but one of the ones that really stood out to me was by Elder Holland about motherhood. I am so grateful for my mother and all that she does for me! I can testify of what Elder Holland said about the love of a Mother being the closest kind of love to that of our Heavenly Father's love for us. I am so grateful for her and the person that she is, so grateful for all that she teaches me. I love you Mom! I also loved Elder Durrant's advise of picking a verse to memorize each week, and then asking others "What is your verse?" I can see that as we do this, the scriptures will mean so much more to us!
Well, it has been an incredibly busy last few weeks with plenty of miracles and stories, so hopefully I can share all of them without forgetting some!
I'll start out by talking about our Zone here in Winchester. The Winchester Zone has always been known as one of the slowest zones in the mission. There is just a lot fewer members and less work throughout the last few years. But the Elders and Sisters of our Zone are absolutely killing it right now! A few weeks ago, we started the month of October with Zone Training, where our entire zone gets together. Elder Mumm and I prayed and prepared instructions and activities so that we could set a goal of baptisms for the new month of October. When the time came towards the end of the Zone Training, we all kneeled and offered a prayer. As we discussed the Goal that we should set, we eventually agreed on having 25 people either baptized or with a baptismal date by the end of October. Keep in mind, the record for Winchester in a transfer of 6 weeks had been like 4 baptisms. But as we talked about the people we felt were close to baptism, we agreed that with the faith of our Zone, we could do it. We also read in Genesis 18:14 where it says "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" and agreed that nothing is too hard for the Lord.
Well, since setting those goals, we have seen so many amazing miracles. Today, October 12th, we currently have 11 people that have a date for baptism. Within a week and a half 11 wonderful children of God have chosen to be baptized, the most in Winchester in years. It has truly been a miracle to see the work and faith of all those around us and we serve here in this Zone! The entire idea of Winchester Zone has completely changed as the weeks have gone on!
A few weeks ago, I got to go on exchanges with Elder Lawrence, one of the Assistants to the President. We have become super good friends, so it was a super fun few days, and I got to go back to Columbia, Maryland for a few days to serve. The exchange was interesting to say the least though! For starters, we picked up Elder Ball, who had just come into the mission a week before. Since he got in, he has constantly been sick. He can't keep any food down and can't do anything but lay down and he has been struggling. So the first night, we went to the Mission Home where he and Sister Christiansen were. While he spent most of his time in the bathroom because he couldn't keep anything down, we talked to Sister Christiansen and she mentioned that Elder Ball has Crohn's Disease. I was a bit surprised, so I said "Does he really? So do I!" It was the first missionary I had ever met that had Crohn's, which is a disease that I have because of my Liver Disease. Sister Christiansen looked at me and said "You do?? Well Elder Leavitt, I guess that is why this exchange happened then." It was so cool to see that we were in the right place at the right moment and the assistants, not knowing this would happen, had planned the exchange for this week. I spent a few hours that night talking with Elder Ball as we shared the experiences of our hardships. Elder Lawrence and I took Elder Ball to our apartment that night because he stayed the next few days with us. Afterwards, Sister Christiansen said that it meant so much to Elder Ball to have somebody to talk to about what he was going through. Little did he know that it meant so much to me to see somebody like him, with such a positive attitude even though he was so visibly sick! Sadly, Elder Ball had to go home a few days later. I was incredibly sad upon learning that news. But I am going to stay in contact with him, and I'm so grateful for the experience of getting to meet him and seeing how strong of a man he is. Coincidences don't happen!
Well another part of that exchange happened the very first night as well! As we were about to go to sleep, Elder Lawrence was trying to put a blanket up over the window because the street lights let in quite a lot of light. As he did so, he was standing on a table that has wood on its borders and glass on the inside. Well...his foot slipped a little bit and he completely broke through the glass and it cut him pretty good! I looked at it and calmly (well I tried to be calm) told him I wouldn't advise for him to look at the cut haha. We called Sister Christiansen and she came and took Elder Lawrence to the Emergency Room, where he got 3 stitches and now might have to have surgery! So please keep him in your prayers! All of this happened just in a few days of 1 exchange, Elder Lawrence and I joked that we would be laughing about this years from now, but we were already laughing about it the next day!
Sister Wright and I wanted to show our support!
Here in Shenandoah Valley, it has been hard to find investigators for the longest time! So because of that, every chance we get we have been out on the streets talking to people! I've definitely been doing more street contacting the last few weeks then ever before in my mission, which provides an amazing opportunity to meet people!
One of those experiences sounds pretty strange, but was definitely a cool experience! So, we had been outside almost the whole day, and we had been drinking a lot of water. Needless to say, we needed to use the restroom and we weren't anywhere near a gas station or a place that we could go. So, we prayed that somebody would let us into their house. Right after the prayer, we saw a spanish guy and talked to him. Well, he didn't live at that house, but told us the neighbor that he worked for would probably let us in, so we walked over there. There was no answer, but as we turned to go, we saw a van pull into a driveway a few houses away. The timing was perfect, and we walked over to the van. A guy got out and we started talking with him. After we were about to go, we asked, which was a bit awkward if there was anyway we could use his restroom! He looked at us and said "You know, usually I would say no, but for some reason I'm going to say yes." I know that this story is not about something incredibly Spiritual, but I know that the Lord was looking out for us and he answered our prayer! Just a little laugh for the day :)
Things are going amazing and we have seen so many miracles. Thank you so much for the support!!
- Elder Leavitt