Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 83 Happy Independence Day

 Happy 4th of July!! I hope that everyone had a great one! All of the fireworks for us have been postponed to tonight, so we'll see how it goes!

New Boundaries for Maryland Baltimore Mission 

Old Boundaries for Maryland Baltimore Mission

This was definitely one of the busiest and craziest weeks of my mission! Mostly because on July 1st, the Mission Boundaries officially changed. We lost the Annapolis Stake and gained the Chambersburg and Lancaster Stakes. It was fitting that it happened around the 4th of July, now that we have so many historical places in our mission! From Gettysburg where Abraham Lincoln gave his Address, to the Antietam battlefields, to Fort McHenry where the Star Spangled Banner was written, there is so much history! I've attached some pictures to show the before and after of our Mission Boundaries. Anyways, on Friday we went up and visited with all of the missionaries from the Chambersburg Stake. It was great to get to meet all of them and talk with them. It was interesting because they have iPads in their mission, but we don't! So they have to send their iPads home actually. We stayed overnight in York, PA, and then went to the Lancaster Stake the next day! It was my first time in Pennsylvania, and it was great! Lancaster is full of Amish people, which was an experience that I've never had before, but even got to see a family mowing their lawn using horses! Then today we went up to PA again for a training with some of the missionaries. So it's been a lot of travel!

I didn't actually take this picture of a lawn being
 mowed by horses, but someone sent it to me so figured I'd send it! 

Despite the travel, it was a great week here in Ellicott City! Mary was out of town, but got back last night! We're seeing her tomorrow, she is still preparing for July 17th! We had a pretty cool experience with her this past week though. While she was out of town, we were thinking about which chapter we could ask her to read and focus on for the week. We decided on the Book of Enos, which teaches the principles of faith, prayer, and many other great principles that apply to her right now. So, on Tuesday of last week we gave her that chapter to read. On Thursday, we called the Relief Society President, Sister Gardner and asked if she would mind texting one of her favorite scriptures to Mary. She's been such a great help in the whole process and said that she would! We hadn't said anything to her about which chapter we had sent Mary, but later that night we got a text from her telling us that she had sent Mary her favorite verse....Enos 1:37! It was so cool to see that she had picked a verse right out of the chapter that Mary was going to be studying. Simple and tender mercies and miracles like this seem to happen every day in the Mission field when you keep your eyes open for it! 

Mom sent me this picture, she is so
excited that I've hit the 80% Mark!

We had a little bit of a sad experience with Ferris this weekend! We saw Ferris almost every day last week, and he even accepted a baptismal date for July 16th! But then on Sunday, we found out that his dad wasn't going to give him permission to be baptized. Ferris is only 17 so he would need parental permission. His dad lives in Ohio and doesn't want Ferris to get into anything that his whole family isn't involved in. So we'll be seeing Ferris tomorrow to see how we can help him and hopefully be able to get the dad involved in some way. 

We had a huge breakthrough with Joe Jolissaint's parents this weekend! Joe is a member in our ward that was baptized when he was 18, about 7 years ago. He and his wife live with his parents, who aren't members of the Church. Over the last few months, we've tried to get the chance to teach them, but his dad has been a little bit hesitant. On Sunday night, Joe and Megan invited us over to dinner and Joe's dad made us an awesome dinner! Afterwards when we were going to share the lesson, his dad Greg wanted to join in! So Greg, along with the mother Debby, joined while we sat with Joe, Megan, Joe's friend Kyle, and Kyle's wife Joslin. 4 awesome members! We taught all about the Restoration: Jesus Christ, prophets, priesthood, Joseph Smith and the First Vision. It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever been a part of. You could feel it so strongly as each of the members, more importantly, as each of the family members and friends testified to their parents of the happiness that the Gospel can bring. Greg and Debby loved it and we are now teaching them and continuing to prepare them to be able to receive the Restored Gospel and one day be sealed in the temple, just like their son! 

Well, the work goes on! It's such an amazing work to be a part of. I'm so grateful for this opportunity! These are truly days never to be forgotten. I'm incredibly excited for the next week to able to see how the Lord's hand will continue to influence His work. Thanks for all of the wonderful support and love!!

- Elder Leavitt

Last 4th of July package from home!

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