Farewell Photo with President and Sister Hanks

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President Richard Hanks and Sister Hanks in front of the Birmingham Temple
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A Fond Farewell to President Hanks!

Hello:

It has been another wonderful week here in Alabama. You know it is summer in Alabama when the weather heats up as well as conversations about college football! People really do love their football here. With the craziness of the upcoming Presidential election, it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the state of Alabama writes in “Nick Saban” (Univ. of Alabama Head Football Coach) as their candidate for President!

Speaking of “presidents,” this week my Mission President for the past two years, Richard Hanks, goes home. He has been an amazing leader and teacher for all missionaries called to serve in the Birmingham, Alabama Mission for the past three years. He has taught me so many life lessons that are going to stick with me for a long time after my mission. I am inexpressibly grateful for all of his efforts in making my mission experience the greatest experience of my life. I am really sad to see him go, but I am also very excited for the new Mission President headed our way. I will only serve with him for a few weeks, but they are going to be a great few weeks.

The Pohnpeian group carries on! These past few weeks we have seen a smaller number of people attend church. Because of work schedules for the majority of the members in the group, it has been hard for them to wake up and get to church on time, if at all. So this past week we switched the group meeting time to 11:00 am. and numbers went back up again! We have several people that are getting close to baptism. With many of those that we are working with, it is just a matter of getting them up and to church on Sunday. We hope that they continue to rise to the occasion so to speak J and that more people will attend church now that it is scheduled for a later time.

I am so grateful for all of the wonderful experiences that I am having. I love and miss everybody back home and hope you have a great week.

Love,

Elder Neser

 

Alabama Thunderstorms!

Hello:

It has been another great week! I have received a new companion by the name of Elder Curtis!! He will be the last companion that I will ever have as a missionary and I am so excited to work with him.

We had a really crazy experience on our first night together. After driving back to the place where we live in Tarrant and dropping off all of his belongings, we thought that it would be a great idea to go out and walk to see a few people. We wanted to visit one home in particular and it was just over a mile away from where we live. We decided that we would visit that place last to have the best shot at catching people at home. We went through the evening visiting Pohnpeians and eventually made it to the home of the people we wanted to end the night with and we had a great lesson with them! However, about half way through the lesson we heard rain start to hit the roof of the house and thunder start to roll. By the time the lesson was over, the sky was dumping buckets of water on Tarrant, the lightning and thunder were out of control and we needed to get home fast! After waiting and watching the storm for a few minutes only to see things get even more intense, we decided that we should just make a run for it! So we took our ties off and everything else we didn’t want to get wet and put it in our bags. What a scene it must have been for someone to look out their window and see two Mormon missionaries running through the streets of Tarrant late at night in the middle of a thunderstorm! We thankfully made it back to the house safe and sound and soaking wet. The storms here in Alabama are quite magnificent.

That experience reminded me of the following quote: “Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is!”-Anonymous
It also reminds me of another quote from Elder Hales in the 2015 October Conference: “As a pilot in the air force, I learned this principle: never deliberately fly into a thunderstorm. Instead, fly around it, take another route, or wait for the storm to clear before landing.” What is the moral of this story? Next time we will check our weather radio and be sure that we are somewhere safe and sound when a storm hits. Then from inside the house we will tell the storm how big our God is! I love and miss everybody back home and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Neser