Thank you for your prayers. They are felt and appreciated. This has been an exciting week for us. Elder Woodland and I had a wonderful last week together. We were determined that we were going to hit our goals and we did. Taking him to the airport on Tuesday was a sad but I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve with him and learn from him. He was one incredible missionary.
I don't know what happened in our ward, but they are on fire right now. The Lord has changed their hearts and they all want to participate in this great work. On Tuesday night (last week) Hermana Diaz, the relief society president, called and said she wanted us to come teach someone in her home. The man is named Jimmy. He is about 30 years old and has problems with alcohol and drugs. His father is good friends with Hermana Diaz and he called her and asked for help. Hermana Diaz, being the missionary she is probably thought of Elder Nelson's conference talk and said something to the effect of "ask the missionaries, they can help you". We then taught Jimmy and his dad Oscar on Wednesday and had a wonderful lesson about the Atonement and the Savior. We talked about repentance and change. It really touched Jimmy and after we left Hermana Diaz showed them both some Mormon Messages and they both committed to come to church. On Sunday, they were both there on time and stayed all three hours.
This Sunday was the best of my mission. We went to Ward Council and everyone there participated and gave us wonderful ideas about how to further the work. We then went to Sacrament Meeting and I sat next to Jimmy and the Diaz family. As we sang, "Senor Te Necesito" the Spirit touched me and I looked over and Jimmy was crying. We then went to Gospel Principles and the two strongest ward members came to sit with Jimmy and Oscar. There wasn't a teacher, so I taught about the Atonement again. It was the best lesson. I hardly talked at all and the members all participated and bore testimony of the Savior and His divine mission. I feel like that is how it should be in Gospel Principles. Many members should be in there each week accompanying their friends.
Then we had appointments for the rest of the day. We stopped by the Colon's for the last time so that Elder Woodland could say goodbye. They have changed. They are happy. The Gospel has entered into their lives and they can feel it. It was amazing. I will never be able to fully describe the joy I have each time I visit them and feel the Holy Ghost in their home and watch them grow and work towards the goal of becoming an eternal family. What a blessing.
Monday was crazy trying to do all the stuff for the outgoing missionaries, and then Tuesday was even crazier doing all the things for the incoming missionaries.President Ashton said that we had the largest transfer that has ever happened in the North America Southwest region of the church. We had 42 missionaries. We now have about 225 in the mission. The airport was a disaster but all things considered Tuesday and Wednesday with the transfer meeting went extremely smoothly. We could not figure out what to do for my companions so we kept having different ideas. About two hours before transfer meeting President Ashton and I went into a room in the church building and knelt down and prayed. We then felt the Holy Ghost and knew who it needed to be. So Elder Leavitt is my companion and him and I are training Elder Ayala. Elder Ayala is from Peru and is so cool. I have been wanting to train him for months so it is cool that it worked out.
Yesterday night after transfers were all worked out, we started proselyting. Our first appointment was a miracle. Some sister missionaries stole my truck so I didn't have my GPS. We got lost for about 15 minutes and then I finally found the way. We got to the appointment and right as we were about to start teaching, a man pulled up in his truck. I recognized him but didn't know from where. I asked him where he lived and then I realized that I talked to him probably my first month in the field. He asked if we had a Book of Mormon we could give him. We invited him to sit down join the lesson. He only spoke English, so the whole lesson Elder Ayala was having a bit of a rough time participating. He can understand (he has lived in Georgia for two years and learned English in the MTC for six weeks) but feels that he can't speak well even though he can. At the close of the lesson, I was about to ask if we could end with a prayer and he looked at me and then looked at the man, Rodney, and said that he couldn't speak English very well and that he had had a lot of things to say during the lesson but didn't know how to express them. He then looked straight into Rodney's eyes and bore the most powerful, humble, and sincere testimony of the Book of Mormon and Restoration I think I have ever heard. The Holy Ghost came powerfully and Rodney was touched. He looked at Elder Ayala and was stunned.
I couldn't be more excited for this transfer. This Gospel is true. Our testimonies are real. And just like Elder Gay from his conference talk in October, my testimony is my most precious possession.
I love you all,