This week was good! There are so many things to be grateful for here in Matsumoto lately. Yesterday, I was struck particularly strong by the change in atmosphere at church here. I`m sure I`ve mentioned this in my letters before, but when I first came to Matsumoto, you could pretty much count on everyone disappearing from church within twenty or thirty minutes after church ended. Now it`s completely different from that...everyone is actually reaching out and trying to get to know each other better, and so now pretty much every week people will stay long after church has ended, to make the most of the opportunity that they have to talk and see each other. When I first came here, Ifelt it was an atmosphere of "We`re all completely unrelated, unfamiliar people, who happen to end up in the same building once a week" but now it really feels like everyone considers everyone else to actually be a member of their family. That has been a wonderful thing to see! Another great thing has been that again, when I first came here, testimony meeting was kind of a quiet thing. There would be a few people here and there that would get up, but then there would be big silences where nobody would get up. That also has flipped around pretty much 180 degrees...now when we have testimony meeting, there are so many people that get up to bear their testimonies. That`s another that is just so wonderful to see, because I can see how much it strengthens all of them, binds them closer together as branch, to hear all of the blessings and experiences that have been occurring in each other`s lives. It`s also occurring more and more frequently that people express how much they appreciate and love the people here in our branch...another thing that didn`t happen at all before.
Things with our investigators are going pretty well! We weren`t able to meet with all of them this week, but we were really excited to be able to meet with O---- again finally and see how his progress is really doing. His work and other things have been making it pretty impossible for him to meet lately, but I think we have established a time that he will be able to meet more frequently from now on. He`s not really in a state where he is progressing right now...he is praying every day, but hasn`t been reading the book of mormon, and still won`t commit to come to church, so we aren`t sure how well he is going to be able to make progress until he accomplishes that...but we are going to keep doing our best. We are excited to meet again with one of our new investigators, the husband of the Philipina in-active member that we did family home evening with. We are meeting with them again tomorrow to have another family home evening and hopefully commit them both to come to church tomorrow.
We have also been having some good success with 10X lately...that was how we found our new investigator this past week. Actually something that was really neat was an experience that we had on Sunday night. We were visiting former investigators, and even though we didn`t have any success with them, we found some great people whil 10Xing those places. We were walking down the stairs away from the last former investigator, and I felt like we should knock on the door of this person with a foreign name that we were passing by. We did, and the Brazilian man who came out, listened to our message, made a new appointment with us, and became our new investigator. (Elder Skankey was able to do all of that in Portuguese...I mainly just smiled and pretended that I knew what they were talking about...haha. Not really, I actually understood quite a bit, I just can`t speak worth a barrel of beans) Anyway, we finished talking with him, and then to continue 10x, we were trying to decide which building around us we should go into first. I felt kind of drawn to a building that I had never really noticed before, and so we started from the 9th floor of that building. One of the first doors that we knocked on, turned out to be a family from Peru, and the father was an old investigator who`s record I had read before! I feel like that was definitely not chance...I had had no recollection of that record before we started getting to know him and asked his name. He had been meeting a lot with the missionaries before and had come to church a couple times...it was written on his record that he felt the book of mormon was true and that he wanted an eternal family, but that after meeting for a couple months, the missionaries had lost contact. I don`t think I could really explain meeting up with him in those unlikely circumstances as any other than us being guided there. We shared a short message with him, made a new appointment with him and his family for next Sunday, and then left to continue throughout the building. We are really excited to meet up with them again! We found several more potential investigators, and only got through one and a half floors...so there are still a lot of people to visit there too.
It was so good to read about the baptism that Shane had recently! I haven`t been able to see the e-mails for the past few weeks and I so I was really wondering how it all turned out...that is so great! :) I`m not sure if he is still getting my e-mails...but if so, congratulations! That is awesome news! It sounds like it was a wonderful experience...with more in the near future!
I`d better get going, but I just want you guys to know I love you! :) Have a great week, I look forward to hearing from you next week! Actually next week is transfers, so it will be interesting to see what happens! I think that at this point if I stay in Matsumoto again, I`ll probably be here till the end of my mission. We`ll see though. Love you!