Where to begin... After sending my email last Monday, we got together with 3 other companionships and played some baseball and football. Elder Kowalk and I had also played tennis that morning, so by the end of the humid, 97-degree day, I was beat. It felt good to get that much exercise, though. Compare that to today, where Elder Kowalk and I both took some nice naps. We're excited to work off this mission pudge.
We had a great lesson with JT on Tuesday with the help of a deacon from the branch. JT's girlfriend recently visited Sandy (sad face) and got JT some awesome materials from Deseret Book, including his own quad. JT was also able to bless the Sacrament this Sunday, and he did a perfect job. He's moving forward and onward. We're working to get him to the temple for the branch's next temple day. The temple is closed this month, so we'll have to wait until the end of July.
When we got back from JT's on Tuesday, we headed towards the church building. As we drove through the neighborhood, a blinding light reflected off the backs of some homes, and as we kept driving, we found a bunch of fireworks going off in the back of an open field. It turned out they weren't fireworks. A powerline had gone down, and sparks shot everywhere. After it died down, a large fire started. Elder Kowalk and I jumped out of the car, and I dialed 911. The electricians and fire department came a few minutes later. Hey, sometimes missionaries can save souls in the physical sense.
On Wednesday we drove out to Wynne, which is about an hour away, to administer blessings to an investigator, her son, and her son's caretaker. We spent a bit of time there talking with them and taught the caretaker the first lesson. After staying there for a bit, Elder Kowalk and I explored Wynne for a bit, since it was so far away and we wouldn't be back for a while. The town of Wynne sits on and around a hill, probably one of 6 or 7 hills that grace the entire Arkansas farmland. Elder Kowalk and I were very excited to drive in, up, down, around and on such a wonderful hill. We even got out of the car and walked up a hill. We had to.
A recent convert told us of a restaurant in Wynne that served odd foods, so we checked it out. We asked for a sampler plate of ALLIGATOR and FROG LEGS. The frog legs were sick nasty. You could see the springy little tendons after each bite. The gator, though, was really good. Tasted like salty chicken, with the texture of cod or croppy. It's taken from the gator's tail, so it was like a little gator nugget. Everything was fried, of course. We had an appetizer of fried green tomatoes. This tops my list of strangest things I've eaten on a mission, and I am proud to say, I'VE EATEN ALLIGATOR. :B
Thursday was an awesome Zone meeting, and I got to see some good friends that have been in other areas. Friday was spent trying to solve some of Elder Kowalk's financial problems from going to the hospital in late April -- yeah, we're still feeling the effects of it -- and we both got some good mail from our families. Elder Kowalk got some good birthday goodies, and I found out some crazy new things about my own family that I won't disclose now. It sounds like they're enjoying their summer.
We're currently working with bringing a recent convert's family together in the gospel. They came to church yesterday, and the smiles on their faces were indescribeable. They felt the Spirit so strong, and they're very excited to learn more next Sunday. This is such a blessing to the recent convert, who has been receiving ridicule from her extended family. Several of the youth have been receiving patriarchal blessings, and they've eagerly told us what a blessing they are.
Some members and investigators have been falling away lately, and it's a sad feeling to know that once-good members of the church will put a block of hatred and rejection over their hearts for the Spirit they once felt. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a great talk about forgiveness this past conference that I think everyone should go back and listen to. We had a lesson in Priesthood about it yesterday.
This past week has definitely strengthened my love in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Both scriptures support each other, build on each other, and clarify each other. One can find the fulness of truth within each verse. The Book of Mormon is proof that God still speaks to His children today, and He still speaks through His prophets and apostles, whom I love very much. Stay close to the Spirit and the Truth, and don't let Satan put any doubt in your minds on the sanctity of the feelings you receive from God Himself.