Thursday, June 12, 2014

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia

"I'm sorry for the spotty emailing, P-Day usually turns into a
teaching/putting out fires day, which is great, but I'll do better
about writing. It sounds like a lot of fun in Colorado, I got the
pictures and really liked them. I'm not surprised Coulson caught the
most, that's usually how it goes. It was a really good week here, we
met a lot of really awesome people and have a lot of great potential
built up in the area. Transfers are coming up at the end of this week
so I might be moving around, but P-Day will be next Tuesday and I
should know where I'm headed and what I'll be doing there. We had some
neat experiences the past couple of weeks. President Pitt will be
leaving at the end of the month and President Salisbury will be coming
in so we had our last training meeting with the Pitt's and he's
prepared us for the change. The traveling assistants are in our area
this week going over training and transition stuff for the next month.
We met a really nice guy named Rah Solomon this week and helped one of
our recent converts, Chris, prepare his dad's name for the temple. His
dad passed away five years ago and Chris expressed how when his dead
was sick he felt a sense of purpose in being able to help him. That
desire to help didn't leave when his dad passed away and Chris was so
excited to know that he could continue to help his dad by having him
baptized and have the same blessings Chris was experiencing now. It
was really a cool moment when he called us and asked if taking his
dad's name to the temple was a possibility. One of my favorite things
about being on a mission is that you get to see these huge changes
happen in people and they happen subtly but they're there. We met with
a guy this week who was really obstinate about the church and while
he's not quite at the edge of the font we can see how is attitude and
perspective are shifting. The other side of that is that we as
missionaries get to change to. President Pitt talked about trials of
faith and this week on of our recent converts, Craig, who got baptized
in the river, has gone entirely away from the church. We're not sure
what happened or where things got off track but it was a shock to
Elder Rueda and I and it kind of knocked us on our rear. We had a
short conversation with him and he denounced the church and Joseph
Smith and everything that we stood for. It wasn't hard to hear those
things but it was a struggle to care about someone so much and want
them to have these blessings but for whatever reason they just don't.
I've found that you come to love the people you teach very quickly and
very sincerely. However, I know that the gospel is true and I know
that he has a testimony of that so I'm not worried about him returning
to the church in time, an eternity is a long time. One of the talks in
sacrament meeting a couple of weeks ago was based around the concept
that if we have faith we don't fear, and with that absence of fear
comes an abiding feeling of peace and calm that can't be shaken by the
fiery darts of the adversary. So this week was a little bitter-sweet
but it's so awesome to hear from you guys and I'll make sure to do
better about writing. I love you guys so much and I can't wait to talk
to you again. Thank you dad, I love you guys."

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