One thing that I really appreciate is the people in the ward. The ward covers most of Rockingham County, yet there aren't too many members. In fact, there used to be a branch, but about twelve years ago they made it a ward. Anyway, they are so gracious! We have been fed dinner every single night since I've been here and it sounds like we will be fed every night through the end of the month. The first night I was in Eden, the Dawson's took Sister Kurtz (my new companion) and I out to eat. Oh, by the way, my companion is great. This is her last transfer, so she's getting excited to go home and see her family! I've learned a lot from her. Anyway, The Dawson's are a wonderful couple who returned to the church about 10 years ago after several years of inactivity. They said that they have never been happier since returning to church and they said that when they stopped coming, they were only hurting themselves. Sister Dawson was raised here in the South and she has a thick accent. I love listening to her talk! One thing she said to me during dinner was, "You know, we've got a problem here in the south. You may have heard of it. It's called, obesity." Haha, then she told me that I would be gaining a lot of weight while I was here. So far, I think I've actually lost a couple pounds from all of the MTC food! Anyway....
One thing I really want to talk about was a person that Sister Kurtz and I met on Saturday. We tried to visit a couple people that were referred to us by a member of the ward, without success, but we decided while we were out to visit a man that was in-active. We stopped by his house and he let us in. His wife did NOT seem to like us from the way she greeted us. She stayed in the dining room while we talked to Brother Ewing. We just chatted for awhile and found out that he was baptized about 20 years ago. His wife was very much Anti-Mormon. It sounds like when he was investigating the church, he read the Book of Mormon along with a lot of Anti-Mormon literature. He came to know for himself that the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. His wife, however, read a lot of the Anti-Mormon literature and apparently did not read the Book of Mormon. Well, he began attending the LDS church, but stopped for the sake of his family. He has attended church with his wife ever since, but has occasionally participated in some LDS things, but not much. Anyway, as we were talking to him, we got on the subject of his children. They are all grown and out of the house so we had a lot of questions about them. His wife decided to join in the conversation and they talked a lot about their daughter whom they are clearly very proud of. She is a remarkable woman and I told them that I had a lot of admiration for her. Anyway, we talked to them for awhile longer and Brother Ewing asked us a few questions that gave us the opportunity to bear our testimonies to them and tell them why we were out here serving missions. I felt the Spirit in their home and I wondered how long it had been since he had felt that Spirit. We had to leave for our next appointment, so we set up a time to come back a visit them next week. When we left, Brother Ewing walked us out and thanked us for coming. He said that other missionaries and ward members had been to there house in the past, but that was the first time his wife had ever participated in any way. He was so hopeful that we might be able to help her develop love for the Church of Jesus Christ so that he could come back and feel the comfort and love that comes from the Gospel. It was such a great experience and I hope that we can help them both come closer to Christ!
I have so many more experiences to share, but I don't have time. I'm sorry! Just know that I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I love my Savior and I know that He atoned for my sins! I know that He knows and understands everything we go through. Through the Atonement, everything that is unfair about this life can be made right. We can receive so much comfort from the Holy Ghost as we study the scriptures and develop a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! I love you all and thank you so much for all you have done for me! Forgive me for not writing much in response to all your letters! Good luck with all the home renovations! I hope that is not wearing you all out too much!
All my love,