I guess I missed a couple of details these past weeks. I ran out of meds, so I've been forgetting a buncha things.
We are now teaching more investigators rather than members. We recently received 17 referrals in one day. We have taught more Spirit-filled lessons than I ever have in my mission. We visit hospitals, shelve books, tutor elementary kids, and teach English class, guitar class, and ASL class. The branch is finally putting together an activity at least once a month. The upcoming one is a luau.
The other day, we went hunting for a chicken shack. In the 30 minutes it took to find it, we saw many things. Driving through an abandoned alleyway, there was a middle-aged man hunched over a giant wad of $100 bills, greedily counting them. Walking into the shack, desperate panhandlers met us from every angle, asking for wads of cash, please; are you Christian? Sitting down, we were encountered by a schizophrenic man. He said profoundly, "And the 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds. My first kiss was in high school. Tell that to your principal. My principal name be John. And the 13- 14- and 15-year-olds." He mentioned that about 7 or 8 times. We invited him to be baptized. He accepted and proceeded to froth at the mouth. We said, "We gotta go." And, without words, he turned and left the store. So we ate our chicken. It was delicious.
If you have previously had any emotional attachment to your phone, you you may be able to sympathize with Elder Johnson and me as I tell this story. We lost our phone. Our phone is the gateway to everything we do as missionaries. We searched and did not find it in anyone's house. We said a prayer. A thought came to our mind to search in the snow. We found it and immediately placed it in a bag of rice. The best feeling is finding your phone. Prayers are answered!
Yesterday, Spring Garden Branch received training from the Scotch Plains Stake high council. I recently celebrated one whole year as a missionary in Spring Garden Branch. Trust me when I say that that training was one year overdue. I am grateful for that prayer answered. I also know that God answers prayers in His own time.