I am delighted to still be serving in Ottumwa! My new companion is Elder Epperson. He is 5' 10-11" and 165 lbs. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and went to high school in Bountiful, Utah. He has been out for 17.5 months. He served with Elder Fiso and Elder Peterson, two of my companions. So we have some common links in our missions.
Elder Schwendiman left me to go to West Des Moines. The members we Skyped with yesterday actually saw him with his new companion when they were in Des Moines Saturday.
This week was great! We were able to meet with Tim twice and address some of his concerns. On Thursday, he shared with us he was hesitant to be baptized and he wasn't sure what that reason was. We asked him to think about what it was. Yesterday after church, he shared with us why he thinks he is hesitating. A good portion of his extended family are members of another church. They were teaching him and trying to get him to believe what they believe and join their church. He felt that they were too aggressive and he said the experience was negative overall. So we committed him to read only the Book of Mormon (we have given him quite a few materials to read to answer his other questions) and to pray about it to receive a witness. We will follow up with him tomorrow!
Steve told us he was going to quit smoking this week! We haven't even talked about the Word of Wisdom yet! He is great! He has been coming to church for about 6 weeks now and he is enjoying it. It is amazing to see the Lord work in the lives of other people completely independent of when we are there with them!
I enjoyed Skyping with my family yesterday, and I was able to call Marinda on her mission in OKC too! It is really a blessing to have such an incredible, missionary-minded, family! My Mom has always been an example of being a missionary. My Dad has always talked about his mission in high regard. Marinda is now serving! Michael is preparing for one! Matthew was a missionary for Halloween last year. And Eve is just adorable. One of the most precious moments of my final call home from the mission field was when Paul (my 7-year-old brother) told me "I am being a mini-missionary. I talked to my friend about church and he is going to come to church." My family is also having the missionaries teach someone in their home. What an incredible blessing to know that my family is doing what I'm doing among their own lives.
Some of my favorite words on the subject are from our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson:
These quotes decorate the back of my 2nd to last planner:"The holy scriptures contain no proclamation more relevant, no responsibility more binding, no instruction more direct than the injunction given by the resurrected Lord as He appeared in Galilee to the eleven disciples. Said He, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.” Some of you here today will yet remember the words of President David O. McKay, who phrased the familiar “Every member a missionary!”
"We were not placed on this earth to walk alone."
- President Thomas S. Monson
"[Reach] out with love to share the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. ... It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord's errand."
- Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
My solemn testimony that this church is true and that Jesus Christ is at its head, and we must share it with the world I leave with you this day.
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
D&C , 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.