Sorry about the late email. I have found myself in different circumstances...living in the smallest town ever! Population:2,228. Glenwood feels a lot different now that I'm living here, not just coming to visit a few times a week. There are many wonderful things about it, but it is just weird. We tried to find computers to do our emailing, but the public library was closed. The next thing I know, I'm sitting at a computer at the senior center trying for over an hour to connect to the internet. When I finally did, I had to wait for about 30 seconds for the computer to catch up every time I typed a couple of words. Then the senior center closed, so we just had to reschedule the rest of our emailing. Probably more information than you ever wanted to know!
Well...the first week in a new area is rough. Cameron knows how it feels- but I also know how Cameron feels to be transferred right before your investigator gets baptized. Although I couldn't be there, I am overjoyed to know that Debbie got baptized! Finally! I snuck to her house right before transfers last week to say bye to her. She hugged me like I was the prodigal son. We were so happy. She thanked me for never giving up on her. It almost didn't feel real to hear her say that. She knows it's true and she did what she needed to do. I was very sad to miss her baptism, but I heard it went well. I still organized her musical number and told her that I would be there in spirit in the form of Elder Keddington. (we were supposed to sing on her original baptism date). I hate to say it, but it just wasn't the same.
Now I'm back in Arkansas and it feels completely different. Going back to the Hot Springs/Glenwood area brought back soo many memories. In some ways I'm glad to be back. Everything is all worth it because of what happened last Thursday. I went to pay Brother and Sister Bledsoe a visit. My heart was pounding the whole drive there. We arrived at his house, I jumped out of the car, and then ran to his door. I wondered if anyone had told him I was here again. As he opened the door, my feelings overcame me. Tears streamed down his face and mine as well. I sat at his feet just like I used to do and witnessed the change that has taken place in this man's life. There he was talkin like he's been a member of the church his whole life! He told me promptings he'd received from the Holy Ghost. He told me about how he has read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and he's now reading the Book of Mormon for the second time. He is going to the temple to be endowed and sealed the first week of August. It was great to just be in his presence again and feel the spirit with him-something that was not present a year ago. I cannot describe the feeling that came into that room. I have never felt so happy in my entire life. I say that with all honesty. I find new meaning in the scripture that says "If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father". I can say with no trace of doubt that I felt pure joy that night.
And ever since then, we've been inseparable! Yesterday we went out walking with him for our exercise in the morning. Now you remember that this man is a walking champ, don't you? He's competed in all the surrounding states and won medals and trophys and everything under the sun for the senior olympics. He still teaches walking classes at the YMCA. Well, we walked. And walked. And walked. And Brother Bledsoe talked. And talked. And talked so long! We had to cut him off early because we had to go do our studies. I won't lie to you...I got out-walked. By a 90 year old man!!! My goodness. I will cherish that. He walked us back to our apartment and saw a couple a few apartments down who were struggling with a chair they were setting up in front of their house. He said, "oh I wonder if they need help!" He rushed over there and we helped them. He probably would have done that before, but he really has changed. I love the scripture in Moses that talks about how the spirit "maketh alive all things". Well Dick Bledsoe was pretty alive before, but I'm not sure he'll ever stop now that he has the spirit! We're both brought to tears every time we see each other. We're kind of a mess. haha. During our walk, he told us about last year (his final year of the senior olympics). He said he would have taken first in everything but he didn't. Then pointing at me, he said, "and it's all your fault!". I really couldn't remember why...but he went on to say that the 5-k that he usually won was held on Sunday. He chose not to participate in it because he had just been baptized. I don't know why I forgot that sweet story..but there it is. I am glad I could come back to spend this time with him. He is so dear to me.
Well I am training a new sister. Her name is Sister Jager from Oregon. She lives close to Salem. I told her my brother served his mission there. I wasn't sure the exact area, but I knew it was in the same mission as where she lives. She is completely different than I am! It's a good thing.. but we are adjusting. We have been finding and working with the members who are excited to have us. I don't think I'm ever very good at telling you about my companions...if you want to know anything in specific, just ask me. I will try to remember to answer your questions. Maybe that's the problem. haha. sorry.
I hope you are all doing well. I will leave you with a question my mission president asked us today.
Are you willing to follow Jesus Christ and perservere through the trials that come? The way to do that is to focus all of our thoughts on Him.
love sister wilde