Elder Balch is amazing. I look up to him so much (even-though I am taller than him...) and he has been a great companion and trainer. He helps me in so many ways. We are becoming such good friends and it is crazy how the more we grow together and become more unified, the more success we have. Heavenly Father is way too good to us and we are undeserving of all the blessings we are being given but I think that just means we have to do what we read in hymn 219 "Because I have been given much I too must give." We need to give everything we can because we are given so much!
Paul's baptism was amazing! It made me so happy and the Spirit was soo strong. Satan was and even still is working really hard on him. He was put through the ringer last week but I know all of the prayers and thoughts helped so thank you for that! Please continue to keep him in your prayers. He is so awesome and he is going to advance in the Priesthood and in the gospel so much and that is why Satan is trying so hard to pull him down. He knows Paul's potential and doesn't want him to achieve it.
We have seen and found so many amazing people this last week! I just feel love, all the time! And exhaustion. We are always tired too.. But this last week we were able to commit 4 people to be baptized! We don't have a date set with any of them and are still helping them to feel of the Spirit more often and to pray to receive a for sure answer so that they can make that step and that commitment. We are so excited for them and love them to death! It is Elaine, Carl, Diane, and Jainee. Elaine is married to Carl and Diane is the sister of Elaine and lives with them in their house. They are all a bit older but some of the sweetest people and their eyes just burn with excitement and amazement whenever we are there and get to talk to them about the gospel! Jainee has been an investigator for about 14 years and is amazing. She is a much younger person but her husband is a member and attends the temple frequently and they have a 13 year old who is a member and is deacons quorum president and they have a 7 year old who will be baptized at the end of this month! She is so solid and is amazing.
Anyways, we got to help an investigator, Bob, burn some huge burn piles at his house and for a minute I thought my name was Thomas because that fire was starting to go out from the pile and burning grass and what not...I don't think it would've gone over well if we burned down the state of Oklahoma... But anyways, it was taken care of easy enough and we had fun! We have actually been fishing with him twice now in his pond and talk to him about the gospel and he loves the ideals of our church and I think he and his wife will really consider joining. They love the missionaries and think the members are great and the gospel just makes sense and they love the goodness of the Church.
We got to see the BYU game at the Merkley's house this weekend! Paul, who was then a recent convert, and a couple non-members/investigators were present among other members so we got approval to go and be there and watch it with all of them! It was so great and my throat still hurts from the screams after the hail marry! What a thrill to be there with great people and to see the events of that game!
Lots of good things like that are happening for us and we are just so blessed! I truly am learning so much out here. I can't believe how fast the time is going by.. Please let me know if any of you have questions and I would love to answer them either individually or in my next group email! I love letters too and thanks to those that have sent them to me. They always uplift and brighten the day even more.
It is exhausting to be a missionary. You are so tired all the time and can't ever get caught up and there is just so much to do but it is a great work and so worth it to serve a mission! The feelings of love and joy that I have and get to feel everyday are priceless to me.
I wish you all an amazing week in all of your endeavors.
Keep the faith, Elder Ricks
We got this picture last week with no explanation so we asked this week what they were doing and this was his response: