This past week has been amazing!!! Bill is doing great and is making a lot of progress in his addiction recovery. Elder Olsen and I are going to buy him some nicotine patches this week and he has agreed to come to the ward's addiction recovery program and is excited to finally put this behind him. We had interviews this past Thursday, so I got to spend most of my day just chillin waiting to be interviewed. The sisters brought a bunch of homemade treats and Elder Olsen and I made our training for the zone into a jeopardy game to make it fun. I love having interviews with President Summerhays, he is so personable and cares about what is going on with you in the mission and wants to help you progress as a missionary and an individual. For a lunch break a bunch of us went out to get some wings and Elder Olsen paid for me so mission birthdays are great. And to top of the day the Raines family and Elder Olsen organized a surprise birthday party at their home and so Elder Olsen told me that Brother Raines was really sick and wanted us to come by and give him a blessing. So I walk in and around the corner the whole family is standing around the table with a bunch of cupcakes and candles and yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! It was such a great surprise!! The Raines family is legit!! Don't get me wrong the ward here is awesome but because of them and the friendship that is already there in such a short time is the main reason why I requested to President to finish my mission here in Port Charlotte. Crystal was finally baptized on Saturday!!! Elder Alber and I were able to go back up to Tampa and be at her baptism. It was great her non member roommates came in full support as well as a lot of her family and even her dad who was SO against all of this even showed up and you could tell that it meant a lot to her. All of us missionaries have studied the last week of the Savior’s life together. As I have thought of the Savior’s Atonement this week, I remembered a phrase in Preach My Gospel. “As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase.” I also realized that a mission is a near perfect environment for a missionaries’ understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to grow and mature and for this spiritual knowledge to blossom into spiritual power. We know of the power of Christ’s Atonement because of the testimony of ancient and modern prophets, the gifts of the scriptures, and from the effects of the Atonement that we feel in our own lives through the power of the Holy Ghost and the effects we see in the lives of others. Paul said, “We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen: for…the things that are not seen are eternal.” As we internalize the Atonement, we experience the mighty change of heart. This mighty change of heart brings with it a desire and ability to powerfully teach the blessings of the Atonement to others.
I Love You All,