Thanks, y'all, for your emails! It's great to hear that the work is going well in Alief. I'm grateful for the continuing revelations and wisdom that I've gathered since I've been out in the field.
I'm really good. We're working with a wonderful investigator, whose baptism is set for December 6. She's super-solid; her name's Judy and she's super fired up about the Gospel, intellectually and spiritually. Despite some negative experiences in the way past, she's determined to be baptized and despite the fact that she's going in for surgery on her leg, she said she's putting her trust in the Lord. It's a joy and a privilege to be working with her and we are hopeful and prayerful that she will meet her goal.
Many less-active members of the ward have been returning in droves and it's been a miraculous joy to witness them not only return but actively participate in Church. It's been particularly wonderful to work with them to prepare for the Ward's Christmas Music Program. It's also been amazing to watch the metamorphosis of one less-active woman, broken down by anxiety, struggles with numerous temptations, and soulful anguish, blossom into a confident, happy, and earnest example to her non-member family.
Not everything that happens is super-spiritual.
Back when he was in Shenandoah, Elder Salazar was teaching an 8-year-old investigator. Elder Salazar asked the boy, "Matt, why are we baptized?" The kid was a brat (he's shaped up quite a bit from what I've heard), and he said, in a snotty boy voice, "To be stupid!" Just hearing Elder Salazar imitate the way he said it cracks me up. His grandmother exploded and says, "That's not why we're baptized! Get over here so I can whip you!" And she started whipping him in front of the missionaries and all the while he's like, "Noooo!!! You're so mean to me! I hate you, Grandma!!!"
Luckily, not every lesson we teach ends with a beating.
I'm excited for this work to continue to move forward. I bear solemn testimony of the divinity of the Gospel, the eternal importance of the Book of Mormon, and the divine callings of our living Prophets. I thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers on not just my behalf, but on the behalf of the set-apart full-time missionaries who labor throughout the world.