Okay, so Mom asked what Middlesboro is like, what are the people like. So I just want to give a couple of snapshots for examples.
1. The middle-aged man next to me in the library is watching The Electric Company show from the 70s and jamming out to it! Reliving his childhood I suppose. The library is full of men doing this.
2. In McDonalds there were a couple of distinct groups of people around us. One was a Pentecostal family - (you can tell they are Pentecostal / Holiness, cause the women have long hair and always wear denim skirts). I have a lot of respect for many of them because these people are very family-oriented, devoted and faithful. Then there are two groups of locals - the men (former miners) sit and drink coffee and talk about who knows what. Then there is a group of classy, rich women who are on their lunch break. So there is quite a variety of people from all walks of life here, and I am learning to love it.
By the way, the local crazy man came up to us and told us that when he talked to the missionaries that they led him to a UFO where he found 2 aliens, and he's going back to the UFO and wanted us to come meet his alien friends! As he told us the local men all were laughing at our reactions to him. Haha!
So we've had a good, busy week. On Tuesday we went to Johnson City and met and heard from Elder and Sister Renlund. They had the Spirit very strongly with them, and gave us some beautiful advice. It was really cool when President Griffin stood up to give a training and related to us how he had prepared almost the exact same training Elder Renlund had just shared, and he said, "Elders and Sisters, when the Lord wants to give you a message, He'll make sure it is sent to you, no matter who the messenger is." So I learned a lot about teaching and testifying, and becoming who the Lord wants me to be on my mission. Oh, and they're Titans, too--they know you, Mom!
The family from Honduras that we met last week, the Woodrings, had us over for dinner this week. We got to go and experience their beautiful house and eat frijoles and fritas and other delicious Honduran food. When we sat to bless the food, they held hands and broke into a beautiful Spanish song to bless the food. The wife and her parents, who are Honduran, are Mennonites, and the dad who is American but has perfect Spanish, is Christian. They met as missionaries and have traveled the world doing missionary work. So we talked about missionary work and practiced Spanish. It was so fun to see other cultures in the midst of a very American little area!
We got to teach Shanda, our returning member, again this week, she is coming so strong and has come to church for 3 weeks! We committed her this week to work to enter the temple a year from now and she is very excited. The ward is fellowshipping her, so that's great. She has a friend that she wants us to teach, so we're super excited.
Okay, now for the miracle of the week. It was 8:40 pm after a lesson one night but we decided to visit one more investigator on the other side of town. We went over and saw a young couple who was there to babysit. He saw us and told us he's been looking for us! He's been curious about the Book of Mormon. Their names are Seth and Alissa, they're 20 and newlywed. We taught the Restoration and invited them to church, and they almost came but their alarm didn't go off, but I know they'll come soon. Pray for Seth and Alissa!
Thanks for all you do.
Love you, Mads