We had an amazing week. I have been super sick but we still have to get stuff done. We spend most of our P-day today preparing the most golden women ever for baptism. I loved it but I think my companion wasn't as happy. I have been super stress out all week because one of my favorite investigators had a problem with question 4 in their baptism interview. They finally got their interview from president today over the phone. So I sat in on it and it turns out it was just a miscommunication that happened in the first interview. I feel so much better now I was also able to interview a black woman named Key for baptism for another companionship in my district; that went really well. Elder Hogg writes the best group emails though! I attached it below
Love, Elder Pattee and Hogg
So last week there was a citizenship conference thing here in Plano. A member signed us up to have a table there to kind of advertise our free English class. It turned out to be a great place to find new people to tach the gospel to as well! One of the people at this conference was a lady that runs a non-profit immigration center thing. It's like a small office where they help you fill out the necessary forms and stuff to help and get your citizenship. Well we talked to her and now we help out a day or two a week over there. Just helping people fill out forms and stuff. We're also the only white people lol. The lady that runs it loves us and took us to lunch. She always tells us that we were sent there by God to help them.
There's a waiting room that's always packed with Hispanics every morning waiting to talk to the people that help them with their cases. The other morning she asked us to say a prayer at the start of the day. It's kind of religious place too. It has Baptist in the name but it's not connected to any church or anything. So Elder Pattee stood up to give it and then everyone in the room stood up too. It was kind of funny.
This week Elder Pattee has also been super sick with something fierce. His eyes have been pretty bloodshot and he's been blowing his nose constantly and been having headaches. He's been jokingly saying I gave him cancer. Well It's a rule here for areas with cars to not drive them at least one day a week. So this past Thursday we biked everywhere. We figured we biked at least 20 miles and it was killing me but especially killing Elder Pattee. We tried to ask members for rides (we had someone lined up for later in the night but they got sick) but nobody was answering their phones. So for our one appointment we biked across the city of Plano and knocked on the door, exhausted, and they said they weren't feeling well and to come back next week. It wasn't a total waste. We visited an old investigator in the same complex for a couple of minutes before biking home. I'm sure someone, somewhere, was blessed for it.
On Tuesday a call came down the line, all the way from the top. Elder Neil L. Anderson was coming to the mission. For our meeting with him he had specifically requested a large rolly-aroudn whiteboard and we were tasked at finding one. We immediately jumped in the car to check our building and nothing. Only chalkboards. So we called the district and one of the other buildings in Plano (there are 3) had one. So we told the APS and they picked it up. Mission Apostolic Whiteboard: Accomplished.
The next day it came down the line he wanted a lapel mic. We called our resident tech guru (Bro. Nine) and sure enough he had one. We're not sure why the APs were calling us about these things. He was going to be in the Richardson building and there's other companionships that aren't any further away. It's probably because of our awesome faith and willingness to help and Apostle of the Lord, and our humility.
Friday was the meeting with Elder Anderson and that was cool. We were divided into groups based on our zones and got to take a group photo with him. Then we lined up and got to shake his hand as we entered the chapel. He was traveling with an area seventy: Elder Wilson (i think?) and a general authority seventy: Elder Pearson. So now I've shaken to Apostles' hands (the other, Elder Oaks when he visited Milwaukee).
He talked like dad at the pulpit, one hand in his pocket, the other gesturing and moving his paper. His talk was almost entirely about Christ. He spoke mostly about making sure we sure up our testimony of Jesus Christ here on our mission. He essentially challenged us to memorize 10 scriptures from the New Testament and 10 from the Book of Mormon that personally testify of Christ. That way they "resonate in your soul for the rest of your life." He said you can't really be a disciple of Jesus Christ if you break his commandments (he used the Law of Chastity as an example). Sure, you can believe in him, but only at a surface level. For if you have a deep understanding and belief in him (that's where the memorized scriptures com in ) you wouldn't break the commandments. Faith is alive, he said, if it's not growing it's shrinking.
He also mentioned that the First Presidency and The Twelve are worried that Christ and the Atonement are being mentioned separately and talked about as two separate thaaings. He also said, "I hope you don't argue with people that believe in Christ. Celebrate with them and if they say we believe in a different Christ, tell them you celebrate that they believe in their Christ." (We're not supposed to argue with anybody for the record btw lol)
Elder Anderson mentioned earlier on that he was going to get to specific stuff about our mission but we're pretty sure he ran out of time (the meeting went way over). He didn't really get into any numbers or anything like he hinted he would. He didn't even use our whiteboard! He was in meetings with President Taylor all the last couple days so I'm sure he knows what he was going to say.
After the meeting we all stood up and he and the rest of the stand walked out and he said "goodbye, we love!" Afterwards Elder El-Bakri got up on the stand (he's an AP so he runs meetings sometimes) to announce on last thing. It was all quiet and somber in there after Elder Anderson walked out and Elder El-Bakri gets up on the stand and says "That was awesome!" It sounds stupid trying to explain it but it made everyone crack up haha.
Elder Anderson had an adult fireside the next night, that was broadcast to 14 stake centers in the Dallas area. The stake building he broadcasted from was ours! We only got to go though if we were bringing investigators. We had an investigator there and two less actives. We realized nobody set up translation though, so Elder Pattee did it best he could. He was still crazy sick but he got to sit up on the far end of the stand and he translated for an APOSTAL. I sat in the back waiting for our people to get there so I could give them the headphones. I probably very well could have sat in the back rows of the stand, but I didn't want to have to come down off the stand, and walk all the way to the back, in the middle of Elder Anderson talk.
During that meeting he also talked about families and how important it is to guide our children in the way of Christ. Oh yea! I think he accidentally told us he's a Republican.
There's a senior couple in our mission that he knows personally, and he was talking about how callings or careers or sides you choose, whatever really don't matter to the Lord. Only that you remain righteous, have faith and follow the commandments and how awesome it was that they were serving out here. I don't remember how exactly he said it, but he brought up Harry Reid as an example of a church member who people don't agree with, but still does what he's supposed to, and that's what matters. I think he didn't want to get political so he just kind of said "well, anyway, we love him because he's a member." Everyone kind of laughed because it accidently sounded like he was saying 'we love him, even if he is a democrat' lol. And during the fireside he said, last time he was in the Dallas area they met with Rex Tillerson, who is now Secretary of State. He said he doesn't know about the politics of it all, but they found him to be a very honorable man. I guess Rex told them he was worried that things like the Law of Chastity weren't being taught in churches very well around here.
We had 2 baptisms on Valentine's day (9 and 11 years old) and 2 more this coming Saturday! That'll be 5 this month. Elder Pattee did the baptisms in Spanish and I did the confirmation for the 11 year old in English, because even though his mother speaks almost entirely Spanish, he knows almost none. They are an amazing family though.