Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Words from Elder Garrett Hollembeak in West Virginia

Hello Everyone,

It was a great week in Parkersburg, we've been getting sunshine and
rainy days off and on this week. Its transfers time again and Elder
Higley is transferring to Malta Idaho. He flies out tomorrow and my
new companion will be Elder Lane. I've never met him before but I'm
excited to stay here in Parkersburg. Our area is really blooming, we
have two investigators that are likely to get baptized in the upcoming
months. We met with one of them yesterday, his name is Dave. He met
with the missionaries a couple of years ago and then stopped meeting
with them. He's been reading and believes that the Book of Mormon is
true. He says its different than what he's used to, but he feels the
Spirit when he reads from it. This past week we met a family that
lives over in Belpre, Ohio who are just incredible. They're in their
sixties and have had over two hundred foster children. Right now they
have a daughter that they adopted named Tasha who was born with a
really rare condition where she literally was born without a brain and
has only 40 percent of her brain stem. She's completely dependent but
she responds to voices and smiles and everything. They recently had
interns from Nationwide Children's Hospital do a research study on
her. The doctors gave her less than ninety days to live and Tasha
turns nineteen next week, the family has had her since she was two
years old. We are really excited to teach them and get to know them
better. We've also been going through the new member lessons with one
of the recent converts that got baptized in July. A couple of weeks
ago it was brought up in ward council that she was active and that
they had no concerns about her but that she had not been through the
missionary discussions after she was baptized. Around the same time
President Salisbury encouraged all of the missionaries to make sure
the new member lessons were completed. So we started meeting with
Sister Weaver and found that while she was active in her calling and
at church she has stopped reading from the Book of Mormon and had not
prayed in awhile. Her testimony was still there but she had fallen out
of the practice of the gospel. She's doing a lot better with prayer
and scripture study and her sacrament attendance is better. It
definitely strengthened my testimony of following the direction of the
bishop and the mission president. It seemed to be a theme throughout
the week of the importance of daily prayer and scripture study and
weekly sacrament attendance. We met with a less active family who had
a lot of concerns about polygamy and Joseph Smith and local leaders
and the whole gambit. However, the more we talked with them the more
we realized that the practices of living the gospel, when neglected,
had affected their belief in gospel. I hope you guys have a great week
and stay safe, I love you.

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