What a crazy week! It's been pretty great though.
First things first- Elder Baird ended up going back to Arizona for a short medical absence. He met with the doctors in Arizona and is going to get his Gall Bladder taken out soon! Crazy! That should be really good though. That means he should be back out here in the mission field within a month or two. It was really weird seeing him have to leave. We got a call on Monday night informing us of that, we packed everything up, then he headed out on Tuesday morning. While it was a wild past few weeks and I was sad to see him go, I'm comforted that the doctors know what the problem is and will be able to fix it pretty soon. I really enjoyed my time with him as my companion and learned a lot from him. He's one tough Elder for pulling through as long as he did! Get better quick Elder Baird! We need you out here! ;)
Now, I am here in Owego with Elder Gasetoto (Elder Nah-Say-Toe-Toe). He is from American Samoa and he is awesome! We're already having a lot of fun and getting back into the work. This past week flew by because we were so busy, but it was super good. We were able to meet with a lot of our investigators, do some tracting, and attend our Stake Conference with Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy.
A lot of our investigators are doing really well. We had some very spiritual lessons with people last week and I'm really able to see a huge difference in their lives from the time that I originally met them compared to their lives now. While the past transfer delayed some of their progress, they picked up right where they were this last week and are back on the path towards Baptism. There are about 3 or 4 that are getting very close towards baptism, and I just hope and pray that I'll still be here to see one or two of them make this wonderful commitment to live their lives like Christ. Seeing how much the Light of Christ can influence their lives for better makes all of the hard times out here worth it.
Elder Gasetoto is a ton of fun! Like I said before, he's from American Samoa and is a great companion. He's been on his mission for almost one year. He started his mission off in Albany on December 21st, 2011. Back home, he always spoke Samoan, but his English has gotten to be pretty good in the past year. We've had a lot of fun meeting (and eating) with the members here. When we ate with the Bruns family (they are SO awesome!) this week, they pulled out some pumpkins and we carved Jack-O-Lanterns after dinner! It was Elder Gasetoto's first time carving a Jack-O-Lantern and we had fun!
The rest of the week was pretty crazy. We were able to get Elder Gasetoto moved in, then got to work! We have had a lot of people to stop and introduce Elder Gasetoto to while setting up appointments, we did quite a bit of service this week, and we taught some great lessons. I'm already learning a lot from Elder Gasetoto.
Yesterday was Stake Conference here in Owego. Elder Bowen, Stake President Beck, and President and Sister Wirthlin were able to meet and talk to a few of our investigators before the meeting started, which was really great.
Elder Bowen (He spoke in this last General Conference-Sunday morning session) did a great job. He talked about a lot of different topics, but mainly our gospel, the reasons why we should share it, and the importance of the Temple. It was very powerful and I learned a lot. I was also surprised and loved the dynamic feel of his talk. He was very funny and could also bring the Spirit into the room for everyone. I'll send my notes I took in a picture so you can all read what I got from it. Warning, the "Quotes" may not be exactly correct, but the general idea is contained.
Besides that, we are just getting back into the swing of work as normal. The last month or so has been very different than I ever would have imagined, but to be completely honest, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I learned a lot by going through this trial and I feel like Elder Baird and I both got to be great friends going through it together. While we will all have trials in our life that sometimes straight up stink, we can always learn something from it. I've found the scriptures to be very true that tell us that God will not give us anything in our lives that we can't handle. Sometimes we don't realize how strong we really are until that strength is tested.
I hope all is going well at home! All 50 Billion trees out here in New York are red, orange, and yellow, and it's beautiful! I'm doing well and loving my time as a missionary.
You're all in my prayers!
-Elder Mitch Hussey