Hello my family!!
We had a really great week here in Citrus Ridge! No, we don't have snow like you do back home, but the leaves are starting to change colors and fall off the trees! Yep, Florida is about 3 months behind you. But we did have a lot of really good teaching experiences this week!
Our first official lesson with Frank took place this week. For a quick refresher (I know that I talk about a lot of different people), Frank's dad was a member of the church and when he passed away the church really stepped in and took care of his family. His dad never shared much with him, and so he's very curious and willing to learn. Well his lesson came at the perfect time....We were out tracting right before that, and ran into a VERY unpleasant man. He really disliked what we stand for and let us know it....over and over again. I'd never ran into somebody that negative before. By the time we pulled away from the door, E. Larson and I just felt awful. Fortunately Frank's lesson was right after that, and when we bore our testimonies to Frank it was just as much for us as it was for him. We taught about the restoration, and he soaked up what we were teaching. He promised to start reading the Book of Mormon and he even one upped us by downloading the audio version to his phone. Ha which I'm certainly not going to complain about. We have a return appointment with him on Tuesday and hope it stays this positive.
Another great experience was with Alex. He's living with a family that just moved into the ward. Kind of a confusing background, but I'll try and explain it: The Macias family is from Africa, and they moved to Spain, then Nevada, and now to Florida. Alex is a cousin of the family and is from Africa as well. He's looking for answers to religious questions that he has, and when we offered to meet with him, he took us up on it. Well we normally teach about the restoration first, but right when we sat down he asked us "Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?"....Well that sounds like some question the Plan of Salvation can answer. Now Alex has some conflicting beliefs going on....he was raised in Africa which means he has his tribal beliefs instilled in him, and then there were catholic missionaries that visited him there, and so he has that going on as well. And then he decided to try being Muslim for a while. Ha but when we were answering his questions he kept shaking his head and saying "That makes so much sense". He said that he'd asked lots of people these questions before and no one had been able to give him a satisfying answer. I'm so grateful for the gospel! It answers the "questions of the soul", and helps you feel at peace, and that's what Alex expressed as well. He wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday, but we'll be seeing him again this week.
Now on Sunday we didn't have the turn out we were expecting....we were hoping for Alex and Frank to show up and were disappointed when neither of them did. But we were able to spot a family that we didn't recognize....which means we quickly introduced ourselves. I'll make a long story short (sorry, I have to go), but it turns out that they're a family from Columbia that are going to be visiting for the next 5 weeks. They're staying in the same neighborhood as a member of the bishopric and due to some circumstances were invited to go to church on Sunday. Well they decided to attend and loved it. We taught them during the second hour with some help from a few members that worked as translators. They are planning on being back next Sunday and they took a couple copies of the Book of Mormon with them.
Well I can't believe it's the week of Christmas already! I'm looking forward to talking to you all, and will probably be calling around 12 here (10 am back home). I'm especially grateful for all of you this time of year. Know that I love you all! Thanks for everything.
Elder Kade Bartschi