Monday was the 4th. We were invited to a little get together by a lady named Penny. She is not a member. Some people she knew came and we enjoyed some pizza and snacks with some good conversation. We thought it would be a good opportunity to talk to people about the gospel. One man there named Tony brought his bongos and asked if any of us jammed. I thought for a second and then said, "I have a guitar that I can go grab really quick." We just lived right down the street so I went and got it. I went back and played some guitar while Tony played the bongos. I started singing some gospel related lyrics and then other people start singing as well. All of the sudden this lady started singing about how Joseph Smith was a prophet. This shocked Elder Burton and me a bit. A non- member singing about Joseph Smith out of the blue. Her name was Jeanette. We started talking to her about Joseph Smith and what she knew. She recognized who Joseph Smith was from meeting with the missionaries over ten years ago. We continued talking and asked if she wanted to learn more. She agreed and we are now teaching her about the restored gospel. Hopefully all goes well.
On Tuesday, Berla and Steve took Elder Burton and I out to dinner for an early birthday treat. We went to a sports grill and had some delicious wings and burgers. We had a good time and even had some lava cake with ice cream for dessert. Lets just say I was full after that dinner.
Thursday was my Birthday. Elder Jorgansen was on exchange with me in Oneida. We also had a zone training meeting that morning. It was super fun to see all of my mission buds on my birthday. They were all wishing me a happy birthday, It was great!! I went out to the car after the meeting to find that a big happy birthday sign was on the front of it along with a giant decorated rubber duck with a nice birthday card signed by everyone in my district in the drivers seat. Some sister missionary in our district put this together and it was definitely a huge surprise. I thanked them and everyone in the district for their kindness. After that Elder Burton and I met up with Brother Stevens and Mama Stevens from up north at the Oneida branch for a nice birthday lunch. We had some waffles with bananas and ice cream. They drove all the way from Lake Pulaski just to have a lunch with me. It sure made me feel loved and special on my birthday. That night Elder Burton and I met up with Mama Lise, Papa Lise, Stephanie, and Taylor to celebrate Stephanie's and my birthday. We all went to the Knotty Pine for dinner and afterward went back the the Lise's place for cake. We all had a good time laughing and talking with one another. I am super grateful that Stephanie was kind enough to let me share my B-day with her family. Over all it was a birthday to remember. I experienced some memories that I will never forget.
On Sunday night, Wayne had Elder Burton and I over for dinner. Before dinner we has a lesson with him on faith. We talked about how faith is a principle of power and how it is essential to God's plan for us. Wayne is coming along really well. He has kept every commitment that we missionaries have left with him. He is truly the elect that we missionaries have been sent to find. For dinner we had some delicious steak that his wife prepared. Before we left, we got to see some of Wayne's old cars. His collection includes a 1967 white Cadillac, a 1970's red Oldsmobile convertible, a 1970's Pacer, and we also saw his 1939 Dodge Durango. He sold that recently but all these cars are in pristine condition.
Anyway it has been a good week and I am so grateful for the chance I have to proclaim this gospel while being a dedicated servant of the Lord. The sky is blue, the Church is true and life is good.
Love, Elder Carlile