Honestly, if every week goes like this I'll be home in no time. Saturday was officially my one month mark, and it has really flown by. It feels like yesterday that I was waving at you from the escalator.
Ma, what the heck?? I'm so sorry about your leg! I can't see you handling down time very well, and from the letters from Grandma and Dad I hear that you aren't...I'll be praying for ya, and know that I love you so much. Whenever missionaries here talk about their families I always think in the back of my mind how much cooler mine is. Haha it's not that I'm competative, just proud of my roots.
Well this week has been pretty good! We don't have any new baptisimal dates set, but we're hoping to set one tomorrow. We're teaching this guy in his mid twenties named Derek. He just got into med school, and the girl that he's seriously dating is a recent convert. They're both really smart and successful in what they do, and they have a growing appreciation for the gospel. I love seeing people grow in their understanding. Yesterday he called us and even asked for chapters of scripture that he can read. Apparently he was up the other night really late because he was reading his scriptures and couldn't put it down...talk about an amazing investigator. I don't know if I've already told you this, but Tampa is the second most baptizing mission in the south! A general authority visited the mission before I got here and he told the missionaries that God has his eye on Florida at the moment, and I know it's true. We get turned down a lot, but it seems that every neighborhood we tract through has at least a couple people that seem genuinly interested. I need to get better at holding my temper though...ha I must have some of Mom's fire in me. Every once in a while we talk to someone that jumps across the line between formal and rude, and for some reason the sarcasm in my voice picks up when I say "have a nice day". Haha I'm working on it though. Just a couple of cool stories from this week- We were finishing up tracting on Indian Bluff (a really nice area of houses right on the water), and stumbled across a couple of amazing people. We walked up to this huge gray house and climbed up the staircase to the front door. There's not any basements in Florida, so when you walk up to a big house you normally climb the front steps up to the second story. Anyways, we knocked and this older looking lady walked right out to talk to us. Normally people peek their heads around the door and that's about it, so this was pretty unique. We started talking to her about the gospel and she was so pleasant and receptive. She asked us for some literature to read so we gave her some pamplets, and then she started to break down. Her husband had died two weeks ago to the day in a plane crash and she had been praying for help to get through it. Talking to us had been somewhat of an answer to a prayer. When we left she gave us $20 and wouldn't let us turn it down...I guess giving us money was a way to say thank you, but we plan on going back to visit her. One of the last houses in that area also turned out to be a really neat story. We knocked on the door and a greek looking guy (there's SO many greek people in my area which means a lot of Greek Orthodox people. They're not huge fans of ours haha) opened the door. He listened to us for a second, and I could see his eyes glance to our name tags. He immediately asked "are you Elders?" We told him that yeah we are. A look of relief came across his face and he proceeded to tell us that he had just been diagnosed with cancer. Right before we had knocked he was reading in the bible and came across a verse that said something along the lines of "Elders are to pray over the sick". He asked us if we'd pray with him and we quickly agreed to. After the prayer he asked us where our church was and what time it was at because he'd love to visit it (basically he was asking us all the questions that we ask investigators ha). We also plan on visiting him again this week too. It's so obvious that the Lord is preparing the way. He knows he children, and is continually placing us in the way of those that are ready to hear the gospel. I feel so lucky to be here at this time, and I'm really feeling a passion to learn more. It's when we do our part to prepare that the Lord is able to use us as effective instruments in his hands. And that means I'm really trying hard to ready myself for those experiences.
Well, Dolly and Jim are doing okay...they like the idea of being our grandparents rather then our investigators though. Ha if you want to talk about life they're game, but once you start slipping into the idea of teaching about the church they get pretty reserved. We'll keep working with them for at least a while though.
A couple of quick questions before I have to go...Could you send me some more Benzaclin stuff in a couple of days?? Also, i'm pretty sure that my black belt is bleeding onto my white shirts. Whenever I take my shirts off at night I have black on the bottom of them. Any way to avoid that? I bought some stain remover, so hopefully that should help. And could you send me some stamps? If not I could go to the post office and grab some. Oh, and about my pictures- I went to wal-mart and had them put all my pictures on a CD and I'm sending it home tomorrow. It should probably get there by about Saturday.
I love you all so much, and I hope you have an awesome week!
Elder Kade Bartschi