An idea for what to do in Idaho, go to the "Garden Caves" you'll need a GPS and probably a first aid kit. I think it gives you a coordinates to get to it and a suggested place to park to start walking to it. I believe it is in the outskirts of Idaho Falls. It was a worth while trip when I went on it with my friends. There is year around ice in the cave 2-3 feet thick. You'll need flashlights, water, and have to carry food for lunch too. When you get to the end of the inside of the caves you'll see lots of stalagmites and stalactites. You walk several miles on nothing but wavy lava rock until you reach the caves when you then go down into one of the crevasses (certainly there will be lots of ice around the entrance, I went in July I believe and there was a lot of snow in the entrance then.) You're sure to want to bring something like a sweater or coat for when you actually reach the caves. ... Just an idea ...
The baptism went great... and to make a longer story short, I missed the confirmation my companion was a part of... super sad... I baptized though. That was fun. The baptism on the 30th will still be followed through on, and an excommunicated member I've been working with since I've been here had his council yesterday with the stake leaders and the bishop called to tell us that he'll be re-baptized and that he has a 'soft spot' for missionaries.
Member work certainly makes things easier in all areas of teaching. They have a friend to go to to ask any questions about the church. They have an example. More people are on top of helping them receive an assignment. They know about all the activities and are invited to them more than once. They have many more visits than just by the missionaries. etc. It's much better that was too for non-members to feel the spirit, I think, from somebody that knows them and loves them a lot more than the missionaries probably do (because we're ever so imperfect) right off the get-go.
This is something that we are putting a larger emphasis on. It is hard to work with members (especially because a majority of the active one's live 30 min away). We are really trying to make that a focus this week.
Missionary work would be so much easier if people had integrity... So many times people tell us to come back at certain times and they aren't home. Then when you finally do contact them again they ask you to come back at another time and it continues until they finally tell you they aren't interested. Honesty is the only answer 100% of the time.
The gospel is awesome. It truly is. I have been making quite a list of things I want to apply when I am home again. It's so much easier than I've made it seem. It just takes a little dedicated time for prayer and time for pondering and studying then re-praying and re-analyzing plans and goals to find out how to apply these principals.
I have recently been in awe of how much God is true on his promise :"Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." It is said 120 times in all of holy writ that we have, the most common phrase in the scriptures (longer than "and it came to pass"). He certainly means it. He answers us in the fullest extent that we ask him piece by piece; we just can't stop to be comfortable where we are at else we cut off that continuing revelation that we are receiving. There is never a bad time to ask "anything else?", "where do I go?", "what do I do?", "This is a solution I've come up with, is it right? enlighten me to improve it?" In reading the March Ensign this morning I came across a paragraph that stuck out to me that said something to the effect of, "We feel bad when we don't go to the Savior for help, when we see the results that come from our lack of understanding and trust in Christ. He feels bad too, that we don't trust ourselves in His hands. He has them extended to us; When others don't accept our help when we know we can help, doesn't that make us sad for them? I'm sure the Savior is the same way with us."
Love you all,
Elder Benjamin Ray Walker