That's so fun to hear that the family managed to get back to a little bit of our Louisiana roots and have a king cake! I'm pretty sure that I've never had one, but I have definitely heard people talk about them over the years and have always kind of wondered what that was all about. I was especially interested in hearing about all the Christian themes in a King Cake. I had no idea that Christian motivated traditions were part of Mardi Gras at all, but I guess I was just underinformed!
The story about Johnny and his tricycle was pretty funny too. It really does seem like little kids are just born with inclinations to love certain things (like playing with guns)! It seems like the culture doesn't really even make a difference. One of the fun things coming here and seeing so many different kinds of people from all over the world has been to realize that little kids are pretty much exactly the same no matter where you go. I don't know how it works, but it always feels like you're not far from home if there's a little kid around.
It's fun to hear about all the lessons and things that you hear in church too. It's cool to realize that the things going on back at home in church are actually pretty much the same things that are happening here too, it's just that here it seems like all those things are happening in three languages!
This week in KL has been really nice. We just finished up a Zone Conference yesterday and a Zone Leader Council the day before that, so I think I've had my fill of meetings for the next month or two, but I learned a lot and I'm definitely grateful everytime we get to hear from the Mission President and the APs. President Clark is really a special Mission President and we're super blessed to have him. He gave us awesome trainings the last couple of days on Prayer, Conducting Meetings, Leadership Skills, and all kinds of other missionary skills that have given us plenty of information to digest for the next month. The Holy Ghost is always very strongly present and it's always interesting to see how He points out to us the parts of every little lesson that are the most significant to us personally. I feel like everytime we go into a Zone Conference we all hear the same words, but come out with completely different messages. It's really exciting to see that.
We're teaching a few people that we're really excited about, but one of the most notable is a 27 year old girl from Myanmar named ***. She's turned out to be one of the most naturally spiritually sensitive people that I've taught on my entire mission. The first time we met her we were actually teaching another investigator when she just came into the room and sat down. Interestingly, although I was a little bit inclined to set her to the side and focus on the investigator we came there to teach, Elder Peterson really felt like we needed to focus on her. So, we started to teach her, and it wasn't long before I got the same feeling as Elder Peterson that we were there to teach her that night. It was awesome, she was so focused and so open to hearing everything we said. She really listened carefully and seemed immediately interested. Well, the next time we went to her house and taught her there and had another awesome experience with her, only this time it was made even better since we took the first investigator we'd been teaching (***) along to help. *** did awesome, and we left the lesson with two investigators that had strengthened each other's faith although they were both just learning the gospel for the first time. The next time we came back to teach *** she told us that since she'd had a hard time understanding us the first time we met with her, she'd (on her own) asked Heavenly Father to bless her so that she'd be able to understand our English better, and it totally worked! She told us the other night how when we're there with her she can feel a really strong, peaceful, nice feeling that goes away with us when we leave. When we asked her to pray and ask whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, she did it, but told us she didn't really feel like she'd received an answer. "It's ok though," she said, "I just believe that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. I just believe that it's true." I think she's well on her way to finding her answer.
So, she's doing awesome, and the investigator we always bring with us to teach her has basically become a missionary herself before she's even been baptized. She's an awesome teacher and is sharing the gospel with all kinds of people at her work. It's really exciting to see and is an absolutely huge blessing.
We're teaching two Nigerian men right now as well (I think I mentioned one before who bore his testimony at the first sacrament meeting he'd ever been to, the one who came with us to hand out food to the poor). They're both doing awesome, have accepted dates to be baptized, and are looking really solid right now, so we're enjoying a huge wave of blessings.
It's awesome to see how Heavenly Father has this whole experience planned out. I know that he's watching out for all of us and gives us exactly what we need when we need it. Sometimes that means a lot of blessings, and sometimes it means a lot of adversity, but I think that even the adversity can be a blessing if we treat it that way. It's funny though, lately I've just been feeling like I've entered the "reward" stage of my mission. We're just getting so much more than we deserve, and I know that Heavenly Father is behind it.
So I know that the church is true. Serving this mission has been the greatest opportunity of my entire life, and I think the blessings are just begining. I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful that we have an eternal family. Thanks so much for all your support. I love you guys!