So for starters this week The City and County asked us to come so they could present us with a formal certificate of appreciation. and they gave me a copy of this front page headline for the state newspaper...It was fun to talk more with city and county people we worked with now that things are back to normal, I even met someone who lived in logan UT and works at a ski resort in Mountain ops just like I did.
Alright so this story will be further elaborated in my written letter, but long story short, Alan tells us his toilet won't flush, so we know a ward member who can fix any thing, the ward member comes over with a plumbing snake, says well that isn't the problem...he takes a look under the house in the crawl space and discovers a pool of "goodness" (use your imagination) John (the member) tells us what to do and how to do it. and we set to work. First step is we had to break through the old rock foundation of Alan's 1940 home and dig an access trench to get to the pool of goodness step two - pour Polarized lime powder on the pool and dry it up. Step 3- Shovel out the Goodness and dig out any contaminated dirt. Step 4 repair/replace the broken pipe.
We slowly dug the dirt out and bucket the clean dirt outside...these older homes feel like a cave or mine in the basement/crawlspace.
Making progress it was a very tight space at first.
At last I reached the "Glory Hole" as we called it
Once inside I discovered the culprit of the problem...look right in the center of the photo you will see a pipe that had become disconnected at the joint...this pipe goes to the kitchen sink so everything down the kitchen sink, and back-up from the bathroom sink and tub ended up under the house, causing the cast iron toilet pipe to freeze and rust. which meant that to our relief that most of the "goodness" under the house was gray water...but never the less it stank, once we got into it...we took precautions wearing masks gloves etc. and thoroughly washing up after.
The Tunnel/Trench...it was cold the days we were digging, but luckily their was a big Radiator steam pipe that ran the length of the trench and the boiler that kept under the house where we were warm...Count your many blessings.
This is what it looked like after we put the lime down and let it sit for a day, and started scooping it out.
We shovelled out the goodness and contained it in plastic bags to be properly disposed of. all in all we filled about 25 bags of goodness. This is Alan...he has such a great sense of humor.
Here is everything all clean after we finished...ready to repair the replace the pipes, which John is donating from his spare supplies. There is actually enough room in there to be on your knees know about three feet between the bottom of the trench and the floor joists...took about 4 solid days of work but we got it done! Now there is a miracle be hind all this service... between the work during lunch breaks, clean-up etc. Alan and his wife Tiffany asked questions and their sincerity grew leading to the most direct answer that the Book of Mormon is true, for Alan, came down here in the dirt, with one question of the soul, and the witness of the Holy Ghost...hands down most amazing moment in my mission, yes it even trumped my experience about the character of Joseph Smith that I wrote about in my last written letter.
In other words before I get to the amazing answer that Alan received regarding truthfulness of the Book of Mormon...I received the inspiration on what to share from Zone Conference in Lexington VA with President & Sister Salisbury:) Love them both so much...we are really becoming unified as a mission and I feel the power increasing.
Crossing the Virginia Border on I-64
we joked on the two hour drive that the sunbeams are moments of conversion happening.
Everyone arriving at Zone Conference in Lexington VA...Mission Cars Galore.
It was also pretty awesome to come to a Brand New Stake Center...It was huge! like being back in Utah...most of the ward buildings here are small, built in phases so to see a full size brand new stake center was wonderful...it even had the Utah smell.
After the meeting was over all full of mind blowing inspiration, I just happened to be sitting next to some of my favorite missionary friends, Elder Chevalier and Elder Cagle, who also happened to have Birthdays in January/Feb/Mar so we got to enjoy our birthday gifts from president together as well.
As well as Elder Ostler from back in Ravenswood...who is now a zone leader in Lynchburg
Lets not forget sister Sullivan (also from the MTC)
I also saw sister Cambell (from the MTC) and sister thomson from Ravenswood
Back in Lewisburg, we do regular service for Carnegie Hall, delivering their posters around downtown, and when we were there I felt the spirit nudge me to ask for two tickets to the show (which they had offered to us before) To give to Alan and Tiffany as a valentines gift. Carnegie hall thought it was a grand Idea and gave them personalized tickets.
Alan and Tiffany with their two children also came and had a great time at the ward couples valentines dinner, several ward members also brought their friends...it was a blast dinner and games. with babysitting provided for the kids. The night could not have gone more perfect we also gave Alan and Tiffany a quick tour of the building. and several members invited them over for dinner. The photo shows Alan (orange and white shirt) and Tiffany (stripped dress) talking with Bishop...best of all it all went naturally we pretty much were able to take a back seat and watch as the ward met and welcomed and mingled with Alan and Tiffany.
Did I mention how much this ward feels like back home in Utah...so many little kids:) Setting back up the chapel seats after the party.
Okay so the day after this party we were back at Alan's home digging when Alan begins to get a little stressed out and he later comes to me (as I am laying down in the trench digging) and asks, "why does God allow anger in the world" in an instant the spirit prompted me to say "the fall" I asked Alan to go grab my scriptures and study journal from the car and I Proceeded to teach what I had learned at Zone Conference the day before, and we read 2 nephi 2 he said that it was "like a light bulb" "revelation" and understanding "I have had this conversation before with other missionaries but it never made sense, now it does" The spirit was so powerful it was undeniable, Alan and I were overjoyed and full of the spirit. he said to keep from crying joyfully "I'm a man, I'm a man" haha...He thanked god for this understanding and for his struggled which enable him to progress and become stronger...it was amazing to directly see the spirit work. We were both Astonished. He then said about the Book of Mormon, I am so excited to read more and since he has set in every spare moment to read more of it. He also quit smoking this week! Alan also recognized the difference in his answer this time came from his sincere seeking to know and be obedient to what god wants him to do.
So amazing and divine I love this work
We also taught and are seeing progression from
Mike - single father of two boys
Brandon - Single student
Carol - single woman (self-referral through the stop smoking program)
The work has gone from almost nothing my first week here to blooming progression...spring and surely a number of conversions are just around the bend.
The Snow finally Came...it was bright all in white...and there was about another foot after this photo was taken, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet our neighbors as we joined the effort of clearing the snow and getting their cars out...pretty much all of our neighbors are students at the Medical School, which is neat because they are from new york, Florida, Michigan, and many more places around the country...made many new friends and many great opportunities to invite them to learn.
Sunday because Church was Cancelled we set out to deliver our valentines, to investigators and members...This is Alan finding the valentines we got for him and his family...it took him a minute to find us...we went a little extra for them because we love them so much.
#Shout out to elder Cluff...these were the valentines we gave to Alan and his family.
For the ward members it was between some re-gifted cookies or butterfingers...another fun thing about being in a ward with so many young families is when those young families find out that they are growing:)
Long story short...I love this work and in the words of my favorite zone leader Elder Fielding (who is now home) If your not having fun doing missionary work you are doing it wrong.
Love you all