First miracle; on the first day we got here, Elder Buckmiller and I decided to drop by Billy's house. He's a younger guy who's learning to be a police officer in Bakersfield. At any rate, we'd tracted into him with Elder Johnson, but he was ALWAYS busy every time we came by. This time, I guess it was just time, because they let us in, and we proceeded to teach him and Chloe (his wife) the most awesome restoration lesson ever. He was asking all kinds of questions that we hope and practice for, but no-one ever asks. For example; when we taught that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, he said "Yeah, that could be true; I mean, I believe there could be prophets and stuff, but how do you find out if he was a prophet?" So, we taught him about the Book of Mormon, why it's important, and how it'll change his families lives. Unfortunately, when we reached in our backpacks, we realized that neither of us had an English Book of Mormon. He still wanted one though, so we told him to wait a minute and booked it down the road to where our car was parked. Alas, there was only spanish in there too! So we ran into the Morrow's home which we were parked outside of; and begged them rather dramatically for a pass-along copy of the book of mormon, which they thankfully had at hand. So hopefully, they'll read and pray and be baptized and be sealed and be awesome.
Later, we went to teach Cami (I think I've mentioned her before; reading the Book of Mormon for the first time in 2 years and stuff like that.) We decided to teach them the plan of Salvation, and in order to capture her boyfriend Josh's attention; we devised the single coolest way to present the plan of Salvation. Since he plays Magic:the Gathering (a card game like Pokemon mixed with Dungeons and Dragons) a lot, we made a set of cards, out of cardboard and in color and everything. We called it Magic: the Plan of Salvation. The lesson was pretty good, but the discussion afterwards was just miraculous. Cami and Josh and his mom Tana have all agreed to be baptized! It was absolutely mind-blowing to be part of it; and the whole poor Morrow family was bawling to pieces.
Things took a turn for the worse later on though. During our studies Thursday, Elder Buckmiller noticed helicopters flying over Taft. (Which is ridiculously unusual.) So, since what was going on seemed pretty close, we hopped up through the skylight to get a look at what was happening from the roof. There was a TON of police cars, three helicopters, a house was caution-taped off, and something was going on at the High School. We found out later that a young man had walked in with a shot gun, walked into brother Ryan Heber's class, and asked for a young man. When the other boy stood up, he shot him, and then Ryan Heber got grazed in another shot. He convinced the boy to give him the gun, though, and after that the police showed up. Brother Savea (the older one) had seen the boy walk into the school while trying to hide the gun, so he ran and called the police. Last I heard, the victim is in the hospital, in critical condition, but alive. It's VERY good it wasn't worse than it was; there was 20-something students he was after. It's really shaken up Taft though; it's not a very big place and EVERYONE knows everyone involved. Especially the youth in the church are having a rough time with it, but things are getting better. I still can't imagine it happened HERE of all places. Taft is one of the friendliest places I've ever been.
So; on a lighter note; Yesterday we set Cami and Josh both have a baptism date of the 13th of February! She's committed to follow the commandments now; and Josh's commitment to step up and follow Cami in regards to her faith is a great insight into the depth of his character. Tana is progressing REALLY well; and we're praying for more miracles to come on down.
In the meantime I love you all! Keep on keepin' on; Rock that lesson Mom, and I'll talk to ya in a bit!
Elder Matthew David Clough