So, I'll start this email off with some sweet news. Woodbridge, VA will be added into our mission starting July 1st! We'll be taking in all 24 missionaries from that stake as well. My fingers are crossed I get to serve there! They decided to move Woodbridge into our mission because the demographics are more similar to our mission than it is to Richmond mission, Woodbridge used to be a part of our mission about 4 years ago but it's finally coming back. I'm actually really pumped about this because if you guys remember Mike and Tamika and their family (recent converts from when I was in Falls Church), they moved to Woodbridge right after they got baptized. So now I will be able to go see them more often!
Saturday was adult session of stake conference with Elder L. Whitney Clayton, member of the presidency of the seventy and Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Seventy. So to build it up, there's upward of 700 people in the congregation, (11 bishops, the stake presidency, our mission president and wife, and two general authorities) and he calls my mission president up to share how he prepares missionaries to keep the sabbath day holy. President gets up and says "how about instead of hearing from me, you hear from our missionaries that are here." And as soon as he said that I was like, "that's it, I'm done, he's calling on me." But then he said "Elder Holdaway(my companion), will you come up please?" So I was like oh I'm off easy haha. No stress but then as Elder Holdaway is walking up, President proceeds to say, "Oh and his companion better come with him as well." I think I about had to change my slack. So I literally had to walk up in front of all those people, with about 0 times to prepare and talk about how I prepare for the sabbath as a missionary. It was probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my mission. You never really notice how many people are in a meeting till you are standing at a pulpit look out over them. But after the meeting, Elder Holdaway and myself went up to go and talk with Elder Clayton and Elder Palmer. They thanked us for our comments and said we both did a great job. Elder Clayton told us to tell our moms, and I quote, "you two did a great job." He made us both promise to mention that in our emails home this week. So there's that, you could say me, elder Holdaway, Elder Clayton, and Elder Palmer are all pretty tight now, basically homies 🏼
We had several awesome lessons this week. Jose and Sandra are still planning on getting baptized July 9! They are honestly so ready. They've been taught everything, have powerful testimonies on the gospel because they've already seen countless blessings in their home since their children have joined. They came to stake conference and the general authorities visited their homes and met with them personally to talk about their journey in the church. That helped them out a ton also. We went be a couple times this week to go more in depth on what heir understanding is on some of the laws and ordinances of the church. Julie's still planning on being baptized but we still need to figure out where to go with her on how to help her comprehend what we teach.
We had a lot of things happen this week! For starters, on pday we went fishing off of bull run river. I sent some pics last week. We caught one fish! It was about the size of a toothbrush so.... That counts right? I'm really going to miss the beauty of Virginia. The luscious green is seriously second to nothing (except the Rocky Mountains ).
We had interviews this week so it was fun to spend time with president and sister huntsman (Pics).
Zone training was this week. We talked about the importance of revelation in missionary work and one thing I want to share with all of you from zone training is the three things that keep us from having the spirit with us!
As we try to keep contention out of our hearts with love towards those around us, keep our priorities straight with staying focused on our righteous goals and by being obedient to the laws and commandments we know we're supposed to do then we'll have the spirit with us and the right to receive revelation in all things going on in our lives!
Over the past two weeks, I've been able to reflect on how grateful I am to be serving a mission. I absolutely love his work, I love my area (Manassas 1st Ward), I love my mission president and his wife, I love my companion. In the words of the Mormon Pioneers and a well known hymn:
"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well!"
I love you all, have a great week!
- Elder Tanner Leishman