How`s everyone doing? This week was pretty crazy with the changes of all of the missionaries but it was also pretty great. Elder Brown did go home and that one was sad, he was one of the best missionaries we had in the mission so it was sad to see him go. But on the plus side I did get my card from Elder Hansen. It`s definitely different working in Moroni, but I really like it. Elder Dickson and I have set a goal to baptize an entire family this change so we have talked with every family that we`ve seen so far. We also had an opportunity in church yesterday to introduce ourselves and share our testimonies in sacrament meeting and we both mentioned our goal and we had some cool responses. We went and met with the bishop, Bishop Bernabeo (from France) and he told us the ward has not had a lot of animo lately to do missionary work so we`re going to try and change that. Any ideas? It`s super different because most people up here speak English. Elder Dickson and I are having the time of our lives out here. On Saturday we went out looking for old investigators and trying to get to know the area all day and we talked with so many people but only got into one lesson, but we were having so much fun talking with everyone that it didn`t phase us at all. We also got some pretty solid return appointments so it`s all good. Yesterday we went and a member brought us over to a friend`s house to teach him and his wife (they are old investigators). It was one of the coolest lessons ever! We were talking about the restoration and they were just eating it up. It made perfect sense to them how throughout all of history there have been apostasies and God always called another prophet because He loves us, so it makes sense that we would need a prophet today to be able to follow God correctly! It was super cool and they both accepted the baptismal invitation and committed to read the entire Book of Mormon with us in 4 months! That`s 2 chapters a day! They were telling us about how they felt an emptiness lately and they realized that they felt really good when the missionaries would stop by and talk with them and they feel like this can fill that emptiness! I was so excited! In the past they were having a hard time attending church so we`re going to pray a ton for them that they can attend church and keep their commitments and gain strong testimonies. Their names are Guido and Carolina Martinez (They`re already married!). In the lesson we had with them last night the Spirit was so strong and I realize it because I was learning so much as we were teaching and I got so many desires to keep studying and learning more. We also found a couple more families that are looking like they have a ton of potential to progress so we`re praying for them too. There is this one family, Jose and Gabriela, that seem pretty cool too. Jose is the son of a less active member and his wife used to be a nun but left that to get married (they`re married too). Gabriela invited us to a piece of cake because she admired the missionary program so it was a great way to start talking. She was telling us how it`s hard to find the balance between loving your children and your spouse and putting your spouse first. It sounded like a great question for the Book of Mormon to answer so we flipped open the part in 1 Nephi 4 where Lehi is comforting Sariah while their sons are on a dangerous trip to Jerusalem that the Lord commanded Lehi to send them on. It seemed to catch Gabriela’s attention and she committed to reading 5 chapters by Saturday so hopefully there`s some cool progression there. We also have a lesson planned for tonight with a part member family (the wife is a member and the husband not yet) and I`m excited to see what there is there. I`m loving my mission so much right now. Helping families through the Book of Mormon is the coolest thing ever! I started the Book of Mormon over today and as I was reading I decided to focus on a couple of questions. One of them was how can the Book of Mormon actually strengthen and bless families. Elder Dickson was studying about how the gospel blesses families. As I read the first 2 chapters, where Lehi leaves everything behind and flees Jerusalem, I realized something really cool. I started thinking about how Lehi obviously saw how dangerous it was raising a family in wicked Jerusalem, so I`m sure he went to the Lord for help. He being a worthy priesthood holder was ready to act as patriarch of his family so the Lord was able to tell him to take his family out of Jerusalem. He left everything but his sons were protected from a lot of wickedness and some of them, Nephi and Sam, were even able to gain strong testimonies and be converted to the Lord. That`s just one of the many classic examples of how the Book of Mormon teaches us how to keep our families safe in an unsafe world, turn to the Lord and fully trust in His counsel, no matter how hard it seems. We can also look at the fact that Lehi was a prophet so as we listen to the prophet we can also protect our families. The Book of Mormon is so cool! I hope you are looking for families to share the Book of Mormon with because it really does change lives. I love you all so much. Thanks for the pictures, glad Megan and Eli had happy birthdays. Until next week!
Elder Zachary J. Hulsey