Hello beautiful people!
I don't think I will be able to make this super long! Especially with the time allotted to us missionaries, but I will do my best.
Well things this side are going really well. We are working hard and making progress with those we are teaching. It really is a bummer though because in like a week we loose five SOLID progressing investigators due to the fact that they are student's and will be going home for the holidays! So it's something my son will have to pick back up again when they come back to school!
The culture of disobedience in our mission is DEFINITELY changing with our new mission president. And I think the mission is becoming a better place. It is a painful process to watch as people are getting burned for their disobedience, but it makes me feel better and it helps for us other missionaries to not justify our mild disobedience at all.
President Merrill just randomly showed up in our ward yesterday for church. Unannounced. It was cool though because we don't get to see him as often as we would like. He is a POWERFUL man and I love and respect him so much. If he asks us missionaries to jump, we ask "how high?" I am pretty sure all the missionaries in this mission would do anything for him. Because he loves and inspires us so much. My son, Elder Dryer, and I had a great time talking to him and his wife for ten or so minutes. I had him laughing and stuff so it was great. He said some really complimentary things about the work we are doing here in Panorama and the obvious affect we are having on the ward. He also told me he is considering sending me back to Mandalay, my previous area which was interesting. So I guess we will see how that works out.
Well this week overall has been really good! we have had some good changes that have been made with our ZL's and everything which should really take our zone and the work going on here to new heights. There is so much work to do though. Transfers happened again last week and Elder Dryer and I probably only have four more weeks together. He is really sad about it,and I am as well. We have grown so close and love and work with each other so hard. It'll be sad to leave this wonderful place and these wonderful people.
We didn't have a single investigator at church. I think that is the first time that has happened to me since I was in my greenie area right when I started mission. That was a bummer, but with the work we are doing, I really don't mind.
We had a great moment with the Reverend Andre. We taught him more about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We only got to the great Apostasy with him because he testified of almost everything we said. He loves to talk, which can make teaching him a bit hard because he is trying to teach us at the same time, but we have some really high hopes for him. He is a very spiritual guy who I think is willing to change. It's only the problem with him and his congregation. Hopefully they will all come over with him.
As I have been out here, someone told me: "Sometimes we learn through obedience. Other times, we learn through disobedience. The only thing that matters is that we learn." I want you guys to know that I have learned so much from all of you and from our experiences.
In closing I want you to know that I have a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the earth today. I have witnessed and know of the change that occurs when people live by the standards and teachings of the church. Some people call it restrictive and hindering. But I see it as an opening to freedom, happiness and blessings. I love this gospel. I am so glad I have chosen to serve a mission. I wouldn't trade this experience for all the wealth or glory in the entire world. Because nothing the world can give us will bring us the joy this gospel can.
I love you all!
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne