Dearest Family and Friends,
What a week it has been out in the field. I have learned a valuable lesson out in the field that come transfer week nothing is final until it is final. After further contemplation from President Vellinga I will not be heading to Warren, OH to the Ashtabula district. I was a bit sad about this because I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit my recent converts from time to time but a few missionaries who were supposed to come from the MTC now can't make it and our whole board changed. All of my sadness fleeted however when President told me about the next slot that was available to me, my birth place; EAST CLEVELAND! Granted nothing is final yet but as of now that is where I am set to go this coming Wednesday. East Cleveland if you don't remember is where I spent the first 4 1/2 months of my mission. It is a very interesting part of Cleveland. It is about 94% African-American and about 40% of the people live beneath the poverty line. It was hard to see all of the boarded off homes and all of the homeless people. The economy has been driving people out of the city for the last 20 years; sometimes entire streets are like ghost towns. To be honest it was truly the refiners fire for me; it humbled me and grew me right up. It is not a pleasing sight to the eyes but this area has a special place in my heart forever. I have missed the inner city and all the people there so I am pretty ecstatic at the thought I could be back out stomping the same streets I started on; I've got my fingers crossed!
This weekend was such a great weekend. Friday night we went over to Williams apartment to review the entire teaching record with him and to check his understadning of everything we had taught; this kid is so sharp! It was good to see that he had a firm understanding of all of the principles that we had taught him and then we explained to him that all of that was the "what" and we wanted to talk tonight about the "why" of the gospel. As President Uchtdorf says: "The 'what' informs, while the 'why' transforms". We had a testimony meeting with him there in his hotel and we all went in a circle bearing our witness of the restoration of the gospel and of the Saviour. His testimony was pure, humble and true; we all just wanted to cry. The next morning was Williams baptism. Earlier in the week we had made invitations and sent them to all of the active members of the ward to come and attend the service. As a result we had an amazing attendance. It has been neat to see very important people become so invested in William. President Vellinga offered our opening prayer and our Stake President, President Titera offered the closing prayer; they both have had William in their home for lessons with us and have truly come to love him. This ward has blown me away with their charity and concern for William. Many brought gifts and cards and every one had a warm smile and a hug. Friday night he had asked me to baptize him and I told him I would be honored. You should've seen this kid all dressed in white the next morning. Before we entered the font we knelt in secret prayer in the changing room and thanked the Lord for all he had done for us. I have never felt the spirit so strongly baptizing someone. After he came up out the water we just sat and hugged each other. I felt the spirit so strongly and warmly, it felt as though the font was going to burst into flames! Everybody at the service just sat in reverent silence and one little girl close to the water said simply and quietly " Aw, perfect...". William is such a great young man. He has the heart of a Lion and the spirit is so strong with him. I have never seen someone more sincerely prepared to make this covenant with the Lord; he has come so far!
This weekend was also Stake Conference. Both sessions were excellent. David and Danielle; our converts from June had the opportunity to speak and bear their testimony; they did a great job. I told the members that this was my last time with them and I truly was overwhelmed as I came to realize how much I have grown to love them. Last night I went around after the conference was over and got to give hugs and shed some tears with some of my favorite people on this planet. I will miss the North Olmsted ward so much. I have never been in an area as long as this one and I have never had so much support and praise from the members as I have had here. Nothing gets the ball rolling like having members that are enthused for the work; I know baptisms will continue to happen here.
I am going to miss my good friend Elder Metcalf. I have learned so many life lessons from him. We have spent nearly a quarter of our missions together and have had some amazing experiences. I am so excited for him to continue to serve in this capacity and to bless the loves of the missionaries here.
Well my brothers and sisters, I know that the Lord lives. I am so grateful to belong to the only true and living church on the earth. I pray that my faith my continue to grow and that the Lord might be able to work miracles through my companions and I. I pray that we might sell ourselves to him and not hold onto our sins. I pray that we might not have any sin that seems like a prized possession to us. I know that if our hands are holding firmly to the atonement we can hold onto nothing else. I know that Jesus is the Saviour of the world. If our eyes are fixed upon him we will not sink into the sea of doubt and despair and his invitation to all is simply to "come". I love you all and pray that we all might come unto Him in small way this week!
Love, Elder Prince