|"For behold the field is white already to harvest"|
Elder Leavitt & Elder Lawrence
This week we started a new transfer! I got the opportunity to pick up the new missionaries and drop off the departing missionaries, it is always so cool to see how excited the new missionaries are and how much the departing missionaries have learned! I can't believe we are already in a new transfer and that it is already February!
A few weeks ago, we got to watch a special broadcast entitled "Preach Repentance and Baptize Converts." It was put on by Elder Dallin H Oaks, who is now in charge of the Missionary Department for the church! This was the first time that a broadcast had happened for all of the missionaries of the church in over a decade! It was an amazing broadcast, and they talked about how important it is for us as missionaries to talk about Repentance. I think before my mission the world repentance always had a negative connotation, but I have learned so much about it on my mission! I have realized that in order to be truly converted we really do need constant repentance.
The Maryland Baltimore Mission continues to hasten the work! We currently have the most people on date that we have had for over 2 years, and last week there were 10 baptisms, which is quite a record for this mission! President's belief that we can double the baptisms is absolutely coming true! We continue to work hard to find those that have been prepared in this area!
This transfer, another set of Elders were added to the Ellicott City Ward where we serve! It will be crazy, we have 7 missionaries in this ward now!! 4 Elders and 3 Sisters! There is a lot going on here in this ward!
PACKAGE FROM HOME:
This week, Elder Wright, one of the Senior missionaries that works in the office, took quite a spill on the ice and ended up at the Hospital! We got a call from President Christiansen and went with him to go give Elder Wright a blessing. They were worried that he had internal bleeding in his head, but there he was smiling and being so positive! Just the day before, I had gotten in a car accident on the freeway (no injuries though) and Elder Wright had said "Elder Leavitt, react the way God would have you react, not the way Satan would." And as we stood there by his bedside, I told him that he was an amazing example of doing just that. He couldn't stop talking about how he knew it was in the Lord's hands and that he would be fine. We gave him a blessing, and he ended up getting 7 staples in his head and then taken to Johns Hopkins. But...only a few days later he was back home! He is doing well and recovering now and there turned out to be no internal bleeding!
A few weeks ago, we met new neighbors that were moving right above us! We had run home to grab something and they were moving stuff upstairs, so we helped them out! They are a young couple and she just had her baby this last week! During the Storm, we made cookies for them and brought them cookies and a Family Proclamation! We are super excited to try to teach them!
Something that has been really cool to see is that when Elder Cook came to our mission a few months ago, he told us that we should work on targeting those that are ages 17-26, that they were the most likely to accept the gospel and become members of the Church! Well...so far over 70% of the baptisms this year have been that exact age! It has been so cool to see the words of an Apostle of the Lord come true.
Francis headed over to Nigeria this week! He wasn't able to get baptized this last weekend because of the trouble the storm caused! But he will either be getting baptized in Nigeria this month, or when he returns next month we will baptize him here!
This weekend we had Ward Conference and our Bishop gave a great talk about conversion! One of the things that came to me was that true conversion will never change the events or trials that will happen to us. BUT when we are truly converted, our reaction to those events or trials will be completely different. I've seen so many instances on my mission where people believe that God is easy to blame. It is so amazing to see that change, when they realize that those events led to a process full of learning and change. I know that in my life, there have been things that have happened that I didn't understand at the time, but later turned out to be great blessings in my life!
Thank you for everything and all of the support!