(Written 29 May 2017)
Hello, there! This is Elder Adams, in The Dalles OR!
It's been the craziest week! IT'S NUTS! You have no idea how psyched out we are right now. The English Elders got chased down by a young lady named Taylor who wants to be baptized! She had prayed the night before to find the missionaries. She asked them if they could teach her the steps to be baptized. Turns out, she has a boyfriend, Daniel, and their entire group of friends has decided baptism is the next step. There are, at the very least, four of them in total. It's completely insane.
This is very, very exciting news for us and our ward. Even though it doesn't really directly affect the Spanish work very much, it is a really good indicator that we found the spiritual "plug". It's Family History. We felt last week that not doing Family History is what was holding the ward here back, and as soon as we switched our focus to that, Taylor was found.
We're super excited for what this means here. The members of the ward are getting excited, the Bishop is seeing that we're doing things, and we know how to keep going. We even have a huge new pool to tap into to find people! This is just the beginning, too. It's exactly what we've been waiting and waiting for. We have always felt that The Dalles 2nd Ward had a lot more potential than the success it was having would indicate. It was as if there was a dam holding back everything the ward was capable of supporting. We were trying to find the "plug" to unlock the spiritual flood, but couldn't find it for a very long time. Last week, we received the revelation that we needed to focus more on Family History. Now, the trickle just turned into a solid stream.
Now, we're super excited. Time to get ready to ride the flood!
Addendum: Also, we're teaching Noe and Maria. They... are... awesome! Maria read the Book of Mormon all the way through when Nephi and his brothers returned from getting the brass plates, and Noe also started reading last time! They aren't married, but want to be. They're Catholic, and the Catholic church has a lot of requirements for getting married. They're thinking about being baptized, they just have to work through having their families be Catholic for generations.
Questions from Editor Mom:
Have you really been in The Dalles over 4 months!? Inconceivable. How do you feel about that? - Wait, what? Really? Huh. I had no idea I had been here so long. It's not even quite 2 transfers yet!
[Note: Ben is right; he has only been in the Dalles for 2 1/2 months.]
Since it's Memorial Day, how about if you tell us a bit about what you are grateful to your ancestors for? What do you know about them? Which ones are you most looking forward to meeting after this life? Do you ever think about how they may be sustaining you and helping you even now? - Odd you mention that, but yes. I've been thinking a lot lately about Family History. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at it myself, but it's been on my mind that I need to be better. After all, we're focusing on helping the members here do just that.
I don't remember a lot about Elias Adams, but I remember hearing a lot about how cool he was. One of my favorite stories is about John Neff, and another of my favorites is about Hannah Dustin. I also remember a little tiny bit about your Grandma who taught school and gave you watermelon in the summer. Of course, I remember Grandma Olsen in person; she will always be dear to my heart. I only wish I knew her better. I look forward to meeting all of them someday! I'm pretty sure they know who I am, at least.
Are you doing anything special today? - Not really. Elder West and I are inventing a new board game for P-Day. Sound familiar? Yeah, it reminds me of inventing a new board game with Andrew Winebrenner.
What do you most like about The Dalles? - Well, I really like Bro. Corey. He's really amazing. He definitely knows what's up, and was clearly prepared for his calling. It's also gorgeous here... literally! It's a gorge!
Please tell us about members you have most enjoyed interacting with in your time there. - Oops... already did. Bro. Corey, also Bro. Stuart. He's awesome. He knows some Mexicans. The Carters are also a really cool family; Martin, their son, is preparing to leave for a mission in Argentina (Spanish-speaking, of course) in a few months. We're so excited!
Funny stuff? Uplifting stuff? Challenges this week? - Funny? I don't know. Probably. Oh, yeah! I took a picture of Humphrey... with a camel! We went to the drive-through zoo for P-Day last week. I opened my hump-day package in the car (it had already passed). Turns out, the zoo had a ton of camels! It was fitting.
Also, a straight crazy miracle happened to our ward. It's honestly incredible. I'll have to save the details on that one, though.
[See the main letter above for this story.]
(Editor's note: Ben received a "Humphrey the Camel" Beanie Baby for his "Hump Day", i.e. the mid-point of his mission.)