Thanks for the emails. I'm printing a lot of them out so I'll have longer to read them.
We just got back from Cornell campus. As a district we set up an appointment at Cornell Library to see a first edition book of mormon. The man who brought it out (in gloves) hardly knew anything about it. I just wanted to give him one from my back pack and say, "Your presentation can be a lot better if you read the book and pray to know of it's truthfulness." Ha ha. But, I didn't. We aren't allowed to proselyte on campus. It was neat though. He said the pages are made out of cloth. I got pictures I'll send soon.
On Friday we had "Return and Report" at the mission home. This is where the new missionaries (me and the 5 others I came out with) go to the mission home for a training. It was really cool to see my MTC district again and talk about our areas. Sister Despain is serving in Syracuse. I didn't realize how great of a companion she was until I saw her again! I've missed her!
President came to Ithaca on Wednesday and interviewed us. He said, "If I take Sister Stewart out of Ithaca and put another Sister there with you who hasn't served in Ithaca, would you feel comfortable?" I said, "I would if I knew it was inspired." I have a feeling Sister Stewart might be getting transfered. Who knows! We find out about transfers this coming Saturday, so I'll know next time I email. I LOVE ITHACA and the people I'm working with here. I don't think I'll be transfered. It's in the Lord's hands though.
One of the greatest things about Zone Conference that I wrote about last week was President Bulloch's Book of Mormon challenge. It's given me a greater appreciation for the Savior. So if you're wanting to add more to your book of mormon studying, you can do it too. All the missionaries in the NYUM are doing it. This is it...
1. Carefully and prayerfully read and study a new, unmarked copy of the Book of Mormon.
2. Underline or otherwise highlight each reference to Jesus Christ (any of His names or pronouns, prophecies about, or references to Him or His Atonement).
3. In another color, highlight any reference to His qualities or attributes.
I've loved it. Sometimes we introduce ourselves as "representatives of Jesus Christ". I feel so inadequate when I do though! So I've really enjoyed finding Christ throughout the Book of Mormon. Particularly his attributes and I'm seeing how I fall short of acquiring them, but recognizing them gives me more to strive to become. I love wearing a nametag with His name over my heart. I love being a missionary.
I feel so lucky to have this experience! This week has been great! Dan recieved the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday. He's preparing to serve a mission too! We are studying with him from Preach my gospel with him for our recent convert lessons.
I have sad news. We had 5 set for baptism, and now it's down to 4. Satan really does work on those who are so close to making this covenant. I hate seeing it. Kris Santos (11 years old) told us he believes in Greek Gods and doesn't know if there is one God. He told us that on Tuesday and his baptism was set for Saturday (the 6th). He also said he's drinking tea. His mom got baptized in July and his sister Megan did that first weekend I was here. He'll come around soon and we'll set him with a new date.
We have Tracey set for February 18th. She is a single mom of 3 boys. She's been coming to church for months and is finally obeying the Word of Wisdom, but her son came home from scouts a couple weeks ago and had learned about abuse. He told the ward his mom was abusing him. :/ She's felt really ashamed and embarrassed to come to church. She missed one Sunday but came yesterday. Abuse is not a baptismal interview question, but is a crime, and that is a question. We're talking to her about repentance this week. I just hope she really understands that this gospel is about changing bad habits and recieving forgiveness through the Atonement. I'm not sure if she's fully internalized that. Pray for her. We fasted for her yesterday.
Tyesha is amazing! She is 26 (also a single mom) of 5 kids! She and her two oldest are getting baptized on the 20th.
There was a "Great to be 8" thing last night at the ward for all children who are turning 8 this year. We got permission for some of our investigators to attend (even though they're older).
I have so much more to tell you about who we are teaching but my time is up. Until next week!
I love you!