I'll start with the biggest news, which we got from transfer calls last night. I am leaving Avon. It's pretty crazy, and it was the last thing that Elder Ernest or I thought would happen. It was a hard call to receive, because I figured I would serve in Avon for at least three transfers (4 and a half months), but I'm getting transferred after my first one and Elder Ernest is staying. This transfer is going to be hard, because I've really come to love the people here, even though I've only been serving here for a little over a month. I've learned to love the people we're teaching and the members with my heart wide open, and they've started to become all of my focus and prayers. I just hope and pray that I can stay at least somewhat close so that I can see Ben, and any of our other investigators, be baptized. I'm not sure where I will be going yet, but I'll let you know next Monday.
This last week was packed, so I'll try to write about some of the highlights! Tuesday and Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Rider who is our district. He's a super cool guy. We were way busy, and we taught tons of lessons. One of the lessons we taught was with one of our investigators named Barbara. She's an older lady that has had a lot of health problems recently with cancer. When we were teaching her I asked, "will you pray to ask if the Book of Mormon is true, and if Joseph Smith was a prophet?" She said that she already had. I asked her, "so... did you receive an answer?" And she said, "Well I'm still meeting with you guys, ain't I?" Elder Rider and I laughed and I said, "So you know it's true?" And she just smiled and nodded her head. It was a cool experience. The member we brought with us told her he would pick her up for church on Sunday, and she agreed. Unfortunately, on Saturday she sent us a text that said she didn't feel like she was quite ready to come to our church. That was pretty disappointing, but hopefully we can continue to help her learn and progress. She's always very enthusiastic about coming to church and things when we meet with her and she feels the Spirit, but when we leave she feels a lot of doubt. Keep her in your prayers, and hopefully Elder Ernest and his next companion can help her progress. She's one of the people here that I've grown to love, so I hope that she can come to church and eventually be baptized.
This week we also met with Ben twice. Both lessons were really good and the Spirit was really strong. On Friday, he said he wasn't ready to be baptized on the 31st, so we talked about it and decided on September 7th instead. He said he would go home that night and pray about it. The next morning, he sent us a text that said he had prayed about being baptized then, and he felt awesome. However, on Sunday, he sent us a long text that said he wasn't sure he'd feel ready by then and that he had felt pressure from his family. He said he wanted some more personal time to study the scriptures and decide if what we had taught him was true. We told him that I'd be leaving, so he agreed to meet with us at least one time this week. Hopefully we can resolve some of his concerns there and help him out.
One last highlight was with an investigator named Nate. We found him a couple weeks ago in a trailer park, and taught him on Saturday. It was a very spiritual lesson on the restoration, and we committed him to be baptized on October 26th! His response to the 26th was, "Why not now?" It was super cool. He does smoke and have some other things that he'll have to work through, but he said that he's been looking for the truth and he has a strong desire to learn.
Anyway, this has been a long week, but a good week. I hope my email made sense, because there was so much this week I wanted to write about! I hope everything's going well back home. Love ya!
-Elder Tom Hill