We accomplished so many things this week! It was by far the best week of my entire mission! :) Last Monday we played tennis alone with President James and it was a blast. He said it was only his fourth time playing tennis on his mission! As we were packing up and getting ready to leave the courts, a woman walked past us and we engaged her in a conversation. We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the church and she tried to get away as quick as possible! We were thankfully able to keep the conversation alive and very friendly and she started actually listening! We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and she promised she would read and pray about it! It was fantastic being able to stand there and teach and testify shoulder to shoulder with President James. We set a return appointment with her and President is really hoping a baptism will come as a result of playing tennis! We knocked the rest of the night and loved every second of it! Tuesday was a great day as we had a zone conference down in Raleigh South. Following the zone conference we drove down to Wilmington in preparation for the next day and went on a blitz with some Elders down there! It was a great blitz and we saw a lot of success. We spent the night down there and then had our Wilmington zone conference the following day! It was of course the best zone conference of them all (not being biased or anything)... I do feel like it was the best time I've given my instruction yet though! I enjoyed being able to look out at all of the missionaries I have prayed for and come to love so dearly. There are some great missionaries in this mission! After the zone conference down there we drove back up to Raleigh and got in pretty late. Thursday was marvelous as we had the entire day to work in our area! :) We had a breakthrough lesson with Yuliya and also visited the Rathavongsa family. We set baptismal dates with all of the three boys for June 24th! They prayed about baptism and felt God tell them it is right so they asked their father for permission and he gave it! We are very excited for them. We taught Slytherin (Tyrone) again and he even brought his brother this time! He is the friend of one of Bishop's young kids. It was phenomenal, Tyrone was practically teaching his younger brother the whole message of the Restoration despite it only being our second visit with Tyrone! Him and his brother came to church today and they seemed very happy! Thursday night as we were tracting we had two men come up to us (most likely baptist seminary students) and ask us if we were Mormons. Once we confirmed that we in fact were, they began to drill us with a bunch of anti questions and we answered all of them! We stood there firm in our testimonies and kept the smiles on our faces. We boldly testified to them that God has called a prophet on the earth again today and that if our message were true, there would never be a more important message upon the face of the earth. They attempted to catch us up with different scriptures in the Bible, but we were able to stand strong and resolve any and every dispute. They were confounded and so nervous that they began to flip through a stack of papers looking for more questions to throw at us, but couldn't find any! We introduced the Book of Mormon to them after having powerfully shared the first vision and the Spirit was so strong that they ended up accepting the invitation to read it and pray to God asking if it is true! We promised them that God would answer those prayers, but assured them that answers will only come if they ask if real intent. Humble and willing to change absolutely everything upon receiving a confirmation from God that it's true. We reminded them that during the time of Christ many were willing and ready to hear his words, but that there were also those that sought only to destroy him and catch him up using scriptures. We invited them to reflect inwards and ask themselves which category they fell into. We advised them to be a part of the first group and promised them the many blessings that come as we follow God. They were speechless and simply said that they would read and pray. I am so grateful for the Spirit of God that guides us in situations like those! We weren't there to bash, but to invite. To help the children of men open their hearts and minds to receiving the fulness of truth that God has so loving given us. Friday was a crazy day. We had initially planned to go on an exchange with the zone leaders down in Raleigh South, but an emergency came up that changed those plans. We ended up having to drive two hours down to Lumberton to grab a car and bring it back up to Raleigh for a companionship that needed it. The fun part was that we got to drive back up in separate cars, so that was a unique trip! We went on a short exchange with the zone leaders in Raleigh South and we had a great time! We had success too in finding many new people for them to teach! We had our usual meeting with President on Saturday and it again went from 9-6! We picked all of the trainers, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and district leaders for the upcoming transfer. It was a busy busy day! After leaving the mission home, we ate dinner with a less active member in the Spanish ward in Raleigh. It was delicious, we did a cookout and they made buckets (literally) of meat! We ended the night by visiting Mike Sherriff, a very promising investigator that we hadn't heard from in a few weeks! As we knocked on his door, he came out and told us that he had read some stuff online about Joseph Smith and wasn't too sure about the message anymore. He told us that he didn't want to meet with us, pray with us, or learn about the church anymore. We prayed diligently for the gift of discernment and after an hour long discussion with him on his porch, he told us that we would see him and his whole family the next day at church. Thanks be to God, we were able to address each and every one of his concerns using scriptures, testimony, and inspired questions. One time after having addressed one of his concerns, he just sat in silence with a smile on his face looking back and forth between us and eventually said, "Wow. You guys are good!" He felt the Spirit powerfully and we told him that it was not us that were good, but God our Father. We told him that we would fight for him because God needs him in His church. He felt that. This morning as we stood in the chapel waiting for investigators, Mike walked in with his wife and son. They loved every minute of church and left with the biggest smiles I've ever seen. God is Good. This is His work. We are blessed and privileged to be a part of it. This is truly the best time of my entire life.
Grateful for the Spirit,