For my birthday, we didn't really do too much to celebrate. I did get my package, so I opened that. Elder Pennington called in the morning and sang Happy Birthday to me, but other than that not too many people remembered. I did get a couple of e-mails from my college friends this week, so that was a nice surprise as well.
The best thing about being a full time missionary right now is probably how many times a day people tell me, "WOW, you're almost done!" :P. (Even non-members do it.) We will be street contacting and people ask how long have you been doing this and they all seem to know that I'm just about finished when I tell them I have been out for 22 months. But truthfully, I think the best part about being a missionary right now is just having the experience base and being able to draw on it. Whether it is scriptural knowledge or just being able to read people, I feel like by this point on my mission I've kind of figured out how to tell if someone is "elect". We still go by to visit everyone that tells us to come back, but I'm a little bolder with people and will ask them "Do you really want us to come back?". So that way we don't waste our time or theirs. People also are more curious about your mission when you have been out longer. They ask you where you've served and what you've learned, so it makes you feel a little more human, if that makes sense. Some people don't ask about your mission or about what you did at home before your mission, so then it doesn't always feel like they see you as a person. But this Ward is good to ask questions about us most of the time and that helps us feel like they care and are interested in us.
Our coolest teaching experience this week was with a lady named Karen. We were seeking with faith, and there was this lady on the phone, but she waves us over anyway. Elder Herald told me that he had contacted her before with another companion. I guess she asked them if they could help, and Elder Herald said sure, but his companion wasn't quite so enthusiastic about it (because we aren't supposed to do too much of that type of service). That seemed to have left an impact on her because she remembered that his companion didn't really want to help, but that she had liked Elder Herald's enthusiasm. So we were able to talk to her for about 30 minutes, and then we went back the next day to do some service and answer any questions she had. She was so surprised that we actually came back and were willing to help her! So she is going to introduce us to all of her neighbors, and we also have a return teaching appointment with her this week, So that service opportunity turned out to be very worthwhile and I'm excited to see where things potentially go with her.
From the West Side . . . . . .