Monday, February 24, 2014
We had a great week here in Des Moines. I really love it here. The people are great and the ward is one of the highest baptizing wards in the U.S. which is really cool. In 2013 37 souls were brought unto Christ in the Des Moines ward. That was due to a lot of great effort on behalf of the missionaries who had been serving here. But the ward has seen a recent trend that the activity of those who have made the covenant of baptism has been decreasing. It was almost like there were too many baptisms to handle in the ward all at once. Elder Flint and I and the Assistant's to the President were really anxious to see what the new baptismal goal would be for 2014. And we found out yesterday that the new goal is 20! Which is perfect. It gives the missionaries and members a chance to slow down and catch up as well as focus on reactivations. But twenty is still a great goal and will push us. I'm grateful for great leaders who receive revelation on behalf of the people they have stewardship over. I'm excited to serve here.
Elder Flint and I continue to grow closer every day. He is great guy and he loves to teach.
We met with a man named Curtis this week who is less active. Well he doesn't want to be less active but he doesn't drive so sometimes he has trouble getting to church. But he is a great man. He is around 50 or 60 but he can't live on his own due to some mental disabilities. He basically acts like a 12 year old most of the time... He lives in a group home, which in better terms is basically just a house full of crazies. I've never taught a lesson on my mission where I was more worried about what was going on around me. The people in there are crazy! There is a man named Maurice there and he is hilarious! He was eating pizza and said "This is the best pizza I have ever had. Pizza Hut is way better than Dominoes!" It was so funny! He was literally falling I love with his pizza. I guess one time Elder Flint went over there and Maurice stopped him and said "Are you the Mormons? Mormons are the nicest people I have ever met. They are truly going to heaven. I want to be baptized into your congregation. I think you men are angels. God Bless you for al that you do." He is so funny. he is just this crazy black guy! Anyways, Curtis is doing great. And we love him!
We also taught a recent convert named Andrew. Andrew was baptized in December and he has a super strong testimony. His parents are Lutherans and they don't actually know that he has been baptized... and they are were ready to disown him just for meeting with missionaries! Yikes. his faith amazes me though. He has a super strong testimony of the gospel. He spoke in church yesterday about his conversion story and his girlfriend and her family who are members in Nebraska came to here him speak. It was amazing and the spirit was so strong. He is a great kid. He just got accepted to BYUI and plans on going on a mission sometime next year. What a champ.
Anyways, I am loving Des Moines. We had a great zone training meeting on Thursday and learned about a new way to teach investigators. And so Elder Flint applies what we learned with an African family we are teaching. We taught lady named Comfort (Africans just choose random words to be there names when they come here) and her son Nezi, and her father. He told us his name but it was impossible to say, so Nezi told us to just call him Joe Biden. It was so funny! So that's what we call him. But Joe Biden wasn't at the first lesson we had with them so he is now a new investigator. We sent a message to our zone leaders that we got a new investigator and they usually send a message out to the zone and say something like "keep up the good work" or "another miracle" but this time they said "we are penetrating the government! Elder Flint and Elder Wardle got anew investigator named Joe Biden!" it was super funny!
Well, I love you, keep praying for blessings to come. I keep you all in my prayers and I hold you close to my heart.
Elder Caleb James Wardle