Sorry I didn't email last week. Things have been rough and we were in a cave all day last Monday. The zone leaders had somebody they knew, a less active I think, who had a cave on their property and so for a zone outing we all went caving. It was nuts. We had to walk through a lot of cold water, and most of the time the clearance was only 4-5 feet. It was definitely an adventure. We were in there for a good 3 hours I believe. There was a particularly tough spot right before we turned around where the ceiling was really low and we were slogging through water and there were a lot of pointy, sharp, painful rocks. My legs were really cut up. Then we got into a big mud fight inside the cave even though we were all already pretty covered in mud. I also got to drive our truck through a river and then we washed up in the river so we in a way got to go swimming! I will send pictures as soon as I can.
The other big news is that we had a zone conference. Normally zone conferences are 3 months apart but, Pres. and Sis Shumway called a mini-zone conference. Indeed it was mini because it was only like 3 hours long as opposed to the 8 hour long normal conferences. Apparently there was a mission presidents seminar, training thingy with lots of general authorities in Dallas that the Shumways went to and it was so good they wanted to share it with us right away. Obviously there were a lot of rumors going around about the conference that President put down at the beginning such as Sis Shumway was taking over as mission pres or that the mission was being split or even that we were all getting Ferraris. My colleagues and I thought that we were finally getting iPads but of course that wasn't true. It was a fantastic experience though. President shared a story at the end that was incredible. The Spirit was very strong. The conference also took place in Springfield in the Springfield South stake center which was the building I had church at in my last area. It was nice to be able to drive around my last area a little bit. I even saw my ward mission leader while we were driving. I also stopped by on some of my favorite members, so it was really fun. Also I got to see a bunch of missionaries that I was glad to see. I also signed my name on Sis Shumway's hand. Some other missionaries and I were talking to her after the conference and we were talking about how for the rest of the Shumways' mission, 10 weeks, there is going to be a big goal for the whole mission to strive for. So to make sure that we would agree to do it Sis Shumway made us sign her hand.... It made me think of like Kishkumen and stuff haha.
The other big news is that we should be having a baptism this Saturday. His name is Izaiah and he is related to some active members who take him to church every week but his parents aren't active and he hasn't been baptized. So we jumped on it and started teaching him. His parents have sat in on the lessons and have been really supportive. Hopefully this will help reactivate them. They're really nice people and it's been really easy to teach Izaiah. I also gave their dog a blessing which was weird, and we didn't really know if that was something that you could do so we asked the bishop and he said yeah so yeah.
Other than that there is not much else going on here. My companion and I have some good ideas and plans that we want to implement in this area but it's been a real struggle getting those plans in motion. But we are determined to work hard this week and get things done! It's gonna be nuts. It's so crazy, transfer calls are this Saturday. I've already been in Ava for almost 6 weeks!
Love, Elder Naegle