It's hard to believe that I have been in Canton for only a week and-a-half. Luckily I feel like the "transition" period is over and now we can get down to business. This week we have had investigators dropped and exchanges take place, but we are slowly finding promising part-member families and less-actives who we can start to work with. This week we will also be focusing largely on the members and role-playing, as our ward has just ended their 40-day fast for missionary work. We started last night with a member from the Bishopric.
Here are the highlights of my week:
Monday - Elder Bills and I were asked a week ago to play a musical number for Zone Leader Council (he sings very well and I once-upon-a-time played the piano). We spent a lot of our lunch hours and such trying to find the right song that would invite the Spirit. We'd pick a song, play it a few times, and then decide it was either too hard or just didn't feel right. We were getting desperate come Monday at 8:30pm. (ZL Council was the next morning in Cleveland). As we're driving to the church building to practice/figure out what to play, a song comes on a CD. It's Redeemer of Israel on the Hymns of Faith cd (has a picture of the Salt Lake Temple on the cd) - a different arrangement than I've ever heard. Anyways, we're driving, it comes on, and I get the thought: "We could do this.... We could DO this!!!" I told Elder Bills, he liked the idea, and we started to create the music. It's a piano and violin (I think?) duet on the CD, so we wrote the piano part out by ear and Elder Bills sang the violin's part. We added some zest and excitement into the song so it wasn't so melancholy (the arrangement is just like that) and when we finished we both felt so edified. It was the coolest thing ever. We TOTALLY had heaven-sent help for putting the arrangement together. Everything just fell together perfectly and we felt so good about our musical number.
Tuesday - We ran through it a couple times the next morning and were in Cleveland by 10am. We were originally going to play a rendition of The Spirit of God, so everyone was expecting that when we got up to play. We played, the Spirit was SO strong, everyone was in awe (even ourselves), and President Sorensen got up to speak. He said he wishes we could end the meeting right then and there. But we still had 3 hours to go! While I played, but hands and feet have never shaken so bad, but somehow I was able to hit every note and play it without too many errors. And Elder Bills is just flat out an amazing singer... We got many compliments about it and we were so so so happy that it went over well. BUT! Now they're expecting more musical numbers and they all have to be good. Great.
Tuesday I went on exchanges with one of the Assistants and worked in their area (North Olmstead).
Wednesday - we exchanged back but immediately following I went on a second exchange to Ashland with the District Leader there. In Ashland I saw my first, real-life, Amish family! And their carriages everywhere! And horses everywhere! Pretty exciting, yeah?
The rest of the week was just a normal missionary week. Teaching lessons, calling the Zone, putting together Zone P-day and a Zone meeting we'll be having this Wednesday... Church was fun! I finally got to meet a lot of the ward. Turns out there are a BUNCH of people from Roseville, CA and an elder in the Roseville mission from the Canton ward. Isn't that funny? We've switched places! One of the families - the Vermillion family (funny how I always end up with Vermillions...) - moved from Granite Bay 2nd Ward five or so years ago... Someone in the ward was baptized in Roseville... Someone this and that Roseville. It was pretty cool to talk to everyone about it!
So that's my summary of my week. The Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to bless lives and this work continues to go forward. I love the Savior and am eternally grateful for his Atoning Sacrifice. I know we have a living prophet, even Thomas S. Monson, who leads this church under the sole direction of our Father in Heaven. These past 6 1/2 months have been some of the best and hardest months of my life, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.