It is so great to get updates about the greenhouse and everything that is going down in Utah. That is super awesome about Fong getting baptized. I always loved that guy. It just goes to show that the Lord sends you different places for a reason.
Elder Lynch and I had a good experience with that principle the other day. We were going out to try a potential investigator, who for the last few times has not opened the door for us. But Elder Lynch felt like we should at least try to stop by, so we did, and guess what. He didn' t answer. But thankfully there was an elderly lady working a little bit on here hedges outside of her house, and we were able to go talk with her for a bit. Her name is Betty Gunter, and the first thing that she began talking about when she found out that we were Mormons was that Travis Alexander trial going on, that neither Elder Lynch or I had heard anything about. But we had a good conversation with her and were able to come back later that week with one of our great members, Brother Gage. I don't know if I told you about Brother Gage, but he is this old, single man that has an innumerable amount of cats. He is super friendly and very helpful.
So about the appointment. Betty was expecting us at about 8 pm on a Friday night. We arrived promptly and it turned out to be the most precious thing ever. Betty turned out to be the perfect hostess and prepared anything and everything possible in order to make us feel comfortable there. She had put on this old lady outfit that was intended to be trendy and youthful and had done all of her makeup with bright red lipstick. When we sat down at the table to teach, she offered us all drinks in nice crystal goblets with an assortment of chilled beverages from which we could choose. Using some metal tongs, she extracted ice cubes from the freezer and placed them nicely in each of our glasses, and then proceeded to place in front of us some chocolate covered wafers and lemon cookies. Super precious.
Like I said, she was a fantastic hostess, but most importantly we had a stellar lesson with her. Betty had met with some sister missionaries in the past, and ultimately was just looking for a church where she could be a part of a family but still maintain some of her individuality. It was somewhat difficult to decide what we were to teach her; Elder Lynch and I weren't quite sure of her needs and what it was that she most needed to hear. But after some deliberation we decided upon a bit of an unorthodox lesson, service and charity. It talks a little bit about service in the fifth lesson, but rarely, if almost never, do missionaries focus this lesson towards a new investigator. But that is what we were guided to plan for and to teach and it turned out really well. I felt that Spirit extremely strong, almost as if the Spirit was twisting my heart to get me to say certain things that otherwise I would not have thought to say. It was spectacular. Sorry that I took up most of my letter talking about Betty, but that lesson was definitely an experience that I will not forget soon.
So a little bit more about Valdosta: It is not a huge place, downtown is probably about the size of Draper Peaks. About half of our ward has ties with the military since Moody Air Force Base is so close. I have really enjoyed it, despite the heat and the biking. Things are going really well. The ward is simply fantastic. Bishop Grant is extremely motivated when it comes to missionary work; it is one of his top priorities as a bishop. With his help and the support of the auxiliaries in the ward, Elder Lynch and I have just initiated a new system that we call "Member Missionary Nights", wherein we have delegated the responsibility of finding members to come out and teach with us to the auxiliary and quorum presidencies. So far it is looking like it will be a success and that we will be able to have a member with us for every day of the week. We are only growing in our motivation to serve, and I think that there is great potential here in Valdosta.
Again, thanks for all of the letters that you send. I am always excited to come read them on P-day. I love you all and hope things are going well.
Elder Jon Hendrik Vawdrey