Hey y'all! How's the weather down there? It's been a little rainy up here, and I've seen some snow on the mountains already. I didn't look up at the stars until a few days ago. They are pretty cool, but not much cooler than from PG, at least where I'm at right now.
Last preparation day we played some ping pong and pool at the institute building. I didn't think I would ever get to do that. But it's important to have a little fun out here, like the assistants said, or else you won't be motivated to work.
I've come to realize that the main compliment you get on your apparel is, "I like your tie." But for some reason it makes your day, it's quite funny.
Last Thursday we woke up at 5:30 to drive to Helena for a 'MLC' or something. On the way I tried to take a time lapse (I'll try to send it). We stopped at Wheat Montana to get some delicious caramel cinnamon rolls. Yum! When we got to Helena, we pulled over at the church we were supposed to have the meeting at, and after a phone call or two, Elder Kennedy (Zone Leader) came out and said the meeting was rescheduled two weeks ago and so we could just go back to Bozeman now. Elder Okerland was joking that would happen, and it did. So, we said a prayer and took off back home. There goes 180 miles down the drain. That was an off day, but we recovered.
I must brag about the Guptills for a minute. In the past few weeks, they've become some of my favorite people. He has a large salt and pepper shaker collection, he makes his own salami and sausage out of his own hunting (I'll probably get to see some carcasses hanging up in the garage pretty soon), he made some pretty delicious salsa, and he's just the most humble and giving guy in the ward. He's pretty funny too. He will prank you, or just tell it how it is sometimes. I'm glad I got to meet them.
Tracting is a classic missionary activity. You get to briefly meet all sorts of unique people from a wide range of personalities. I wish I could just video some of the door approaches that happen, but I'll just leave them up to your imagination :)
The Belgrade fall festival was a big hit. There were a lot of people there. We went after the parade to try and teach people, but most were just on there way to an improvised destination ;)
There are a few miraculous things that have happened. One, I'll just get off my chest: I played the drums!!!! My dreams came true, haha! We were contacting less-actives and we ran into a family with a drum set! The dad has played since 4th grade or something, so I'm hoping I can hear him play, and maybe jam out with him and teach him the gospel at the same time :)
Second, an even more miraculous event. Last Thursday, during our power nap, we got a call from the police saying they found Elder Schneider's iPad!!! Yes! After ten days of nothing, it was returned, like new condition(except for a couple chips on the corners, probably when it fell off the trunk of the car). God chose one of the most honest ladies in town to pick it up off the road. She tried to find the owner through Facebook for a week, until her friend suggested she turn it in to the police, where we had filed a report for it. Prayers were surely answered. We just had to be patient.
Third, there is a lady that hasn't gone to church for about 7 years that told us she wants to come back "permanently." I sure hope she does.
Fourth, basically we gave another lady a blessing, and it worked, just like that! The power in the priesthood is so real, you can almost touch it sometimes.
As we have been talking to many different people and hearing questions we've never asked before and running into concepts we haven't studied before, we have been developing a great thirst for knowledge from the scriptures. I've never been so motivated to read every book of scripture and more before. It is a great feeling. "Sometimes, I just want to study all day," Elder Schneider said the other day; I surely agree. But we have time everyday we can study, so we'll just stick to that.
Remember, there is a difference between being comfortable with a religion and knowing it's true. Coming to the latter is very important. If we don't know it's true, we are following blindly our leaders and not exercising any faith. Come to know the gospel is true by doing what God commands of us; pray to Him with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ. That is how we come to know truth. Not by logic or reasoning, but by asking God himself. No matter how strong your testimony is, the more you do this, it will strengthen. So do it.
May the spirit be with you