Mother and Father,
(I've started a new tradition. Whenever Elder Campbell gets a new companion, I send that new companion a gift basket with goodies from their state. It's probably good that I only started this recently and he only has a few more chances for new companions. It's a bit pricey, but very fun to do.) Elder Biggs (from Virginia) really enjoyed his package, but he was pretty embarrassed that my parents sent him a package and not me. I have been enjoying the awesome snacks with him. He is such a good guy. (Andrew has received many packages these past 21 months, so no one feel too sorry for him!)
This week we taught the G family the Word of Wisdom. Sister G had a lot of questions, but she committed to try to live it and Brother G said he would hold her accountable. We talked to S, and he really wants to read the Book of Mormon, but he is working full-time, getting a master's degree, and has a wife and two kids. (Sounds like he needs the Book of Mormon in his life!) He said when he gets the time, he is going to sit down and read the whole thing. It is just trying my patience, because nothing is happening right now. J won't be back until next week...
(Callie Crum sent the following email [Hey, I was volunteered to lead a discussion up at Youth Conference next month on Sharing the Gospel. Not sure how I got so lucky, but I was wondering if you would ask your missionaries in your next letter out to them "What they wished they had known or had done before their missions or to be more prepared." I thought some thoughts from current missionaries would be fun and helpful. The conference is August 5th, which I know isn't much time, so if they are able to respond before then, great, please forward their thoughts to me. I would really appreciate it. If you'd rather I send them an e-mail asking, then could you give me their addresses? Don't know which would be better for them. I know writing time is precious, so I don't want to take time away from them writing home to their families, but just a few ideas is all I'm looking for.], which I forwarded to him. He wrote back the following answers.) I would like to answer Sister Crum's email in a general way. Of all of my mission experience, something I wish I had truly grasped before I left was truly enjoying and wanting to go out and share the gospel. I had one of the least and the most populated proselyting areas in our mission. When I was in Boulder, we had at least 60,000 nonmembers living in our area, and in my time in Firestone, Colorado we had maybe 1,000 nonmembers in our area. The areas were quite similar in one aspect, and that is that our planners were completely empty. We averaged 0-2 lessons a week in both areas. When a missionary is in this position, he goes out and tries to find someone to teach. In suburban western America, this is brutally difficult at best. Learning to talk about the gospel in a natural and joyful way to God's children is much easier to bring on a mission than to gain on a mission, because when it is your responsibility to do so 24/7, and when everyone treats you in such a condescending way because of your white shirt, tie, and nametag, it is easy to lose hope. Gosh, I wish I already had those skills when I entered the field, because then having an empty teaching pool would not be so frustrating, because I would be ready to preach God's word. I would add another thing that I am glad I came into the mission knowing. That is that a companion may force a companionship to fail beyond your control, but never, NO NEVER, be the reason a companionship fails. Both companions need to give to the relationship in order for the companionship to thrive, but if your companion refuses to give, keep giving anyway. You will be better off for it.
Last night I read my patriarchal blessing and realized that I need to get my act together regarding certain things. So, for the first time in my whole life, I am practicing organization. (Can I hear an HALLELUJAH!!??!!) I am now keeping track of exactly what I need to pray for, what I need to be grateful for, what specific topics I need to study, discussion topics with Heavenly Father, and general to-do items. It is my goal that through this, my progression will no longer be a willy-nilly hodge-podge of this and that, but will consist of purposeful acts. Maybe I'll even clean my room. But, let's not get too crazy. (Be still my heart!)
I'm attaching a picture of me petting the G's cat. I got a little cut off.
Elder Andrew Campbell