Monday, November 21, 2016

An Invitation to be thankful

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, the Holiday season is upon us and the air growing colder and colder. It is a lot drier than it has been due to no real rainfall since I've been back in Phenix City. 
Car inspections..with no car
On Monday, we were at the church playing a good amount of football and I must say, I was getting pretty sore from everything we did. At 6, we had supper with the Phillips and had delicious tacos to eat! They are just like how my mom makes them. They were so tasty! I was able to eat 10 and Elder Buckley got 12 down. We then had small chocolate chip cookies for desert. Brother and Sister Phillips then took us home and we went out to street contact. We were able to talk to Jimmy in the parking lot at Piggly Wiggly. We hadn't been able to talk to him much, so this was golden! We got back to our apartment exhausted! 

The next day we had a mini District Meeting and helped Sister Lewis celebrate her 20th birthday. Later in the day, we pulled in to talk to Wesley and Jimmy, but we ended up talking to Wesley and Shane, their neighbor. Shane is a really cool guy. He loves Christ and he asked us some really good questions. He said we could come back and he has some good potential! That evening, after supper with the Woods, we went with Pres. Woods (Elders Quorum President) and his nephew Logan to contact some active and less-active members. We first visited with Dustin McClure and his family. We had a brief but short visit. We then visited the Thompson and reconnected with them. It was really good to see them and feel of their spirit. It was a real solid day.
The Columbus District takes a Selfie

On Wednesday, Elder Darrington, a new missionary came with me on exchanges. We went out trying to contact some new referrals and such. We in total biked about 15 miles, which doesn't sound like much, but a lot of it was hills. That wore me out, let alone Elder Darrington who doesn't bike as much as we do. That was a pretty busy part of our day. We were able to contact one, but he wasn't interested and another who moved. We then had supper with the Whitmore's and had Book of Mormon class to end the day. PHEW!!

The next day, we exchanged back after studies and we biked in the northern part of our area near Sis. Hearn and where Bro. Sullivan used to live. We tried contacting a member family but with no luck. We then went to the western part of our area. We were able to meet Sharon and get a good time from her to come back. We then got to a potential's apartment, Eric. We were about to knock on the door when a maintenance guy told us "No soliciting" even though we were clearly not selling anything. That really irked us for the next few hours. We then were able to talk with Nikki briefly about the Plan of Salvation since her sister had just passed from cancer. We then visited Sis. Stevens before meeting Bro. Goertzen at our apartment for a drop-off of Supper. All four of us Elders then formally said goodbye to the Cornetts. It was a good visit and we relayed some memories and thoughts from our time with them. 
Walking, Talking & doing the Dab w/ Logan Woods
Early Friday morning, Josten came and gave us haircuts before Zone Conference. The meeting went very well and it was quite cool when we got to the church building in Columbus. One of the training(s) was on introducing the Book of Mormon in 10 minutes plainly and sparking interest . The 2nd part would be to mark a copy with certain verses and passages circled. The whole purpose is to read it in 90 minutes and grasp the basic concept of the Book of Mormon and asking Heavenly Father in prayer if it is true. A very new concept to me, but I have faith it will work with the Lord's help and the Spirit guiding us. I really enjoyed the conference and I am looking to apply those principles taught. 
Saturday morning, after a great interview with President Grayson, we helped the Cornetts load up the moving truck for a few hours. Towards the end, we dove into Josten's supply of MRE's (Meal Ready to Eat). After changing, we visited Bonnie and shared the new method of introducing the Book of Mormon and she loved it! We then, all four of us, had supper with Sis. Brewer. Bro. Bush then picked us up and we had a lesson with Stan and Nikki. We had planned to teach the Plan of Salvation, but we were prompted to talk about the Word of Wisdom as well. The Spirit was really working on Stan and a lot is on him to help him and Nikki quit smoking. He even said that his co-workers notice a difference when he reads the Book of Mormon on his breaks. Absolutely no coincidence. There is a power that comes from the Book of Mormon that brings peace and guidance. We challenged Stan not to buy cigarettes this week and come to church to help quit smoking. It was such an incredible lesson and Bro. Bush gave some wonderful insights.

On Sunday, Stan didn't make it to church, which was very disappointing, but we can't govern his agency. We continued having a good day. We had lunch at the Bush's, visited Sis. Brewer, the Otts, the Newsomes, and Betty Rivers. It was a really good day!
Rectum Ripper Hot Sauce
Another cool thing or odd thing occurred this week. On Thursday, while we were eating supper at our desks, we saw a dark shape run into the kitchen. Elder Buckley and I just looked at each other with a stare and he asked me "What are we going to name this one?". We named him Ivan. So, Alberto has a Russian cousin, Ivan. Let the battle begin! He has evaded us so far, but he won't live too much longer with our efforts and traps. 

Since this week is Thanksgiving, I would like to invite everyone who reads this to think of something or someone you're grateful for and then tell that person. I'll start. I am grateful for this opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for my companion, Elder Buckley. I am grateful for my wonderful parents and siblings who show so much support while I am away in the Lord's vineyard for 2 short years. I am grateful for my brother, Ben, who is out serving a mission in the Arizona Gilbert Mission. I am most grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that allows me to grow, learn, and develop those attributes so that I cane better serve my Savior. 

God Bless and have a great week y'all!

Elder Alexander Kestner

PS. We will be eating with the Goertzens on Thanksgiving and we will be digging into a smoked turkey and a fried turkey as well. YUM!!