Hello Friends and Family!
I'm pretty sure that bad weeks just don't exist. Every day there is something amazing that happens. Every day is an adventure. Every day I learn how to become a better person and missionary. Every day I come a little closer to Christ.
What I learned:
Don't be afraid of offending people: Now before I go any further, DO NOT BE RUDE. My entire life, I have strived to end every encounter with every person positively. I hate offending people and I still do. What I am learning is it is harder to offend people than I thought. People are generally open and at least willing to listen to us and then politely dismiss us. Only rarely is there someone who is angry at us.
A couple days before Christmas all of our appointments fell through. To fill in the time, we started to knock on doors. At the second house, an old lady came and answered her door. She said that she was busy then, but we could come back another time. We received her contact information and went on our way. The day following Christmas was awkward for me. I felt like families just wanted to be alone and be with each other for the holidays. I know I would be frustrated if people showed up at my door and asked if they could share a message. Nevertheless, I followed my companions example and we knocked on the door of this older lady. We were surprised to find that several people came to the door. When we asked for the lady, they said that she wasn't home. About here I was reaching for my bike because I felt like they wanted to just be with family when Elder Davis asked if we could share our message with them instead of the lady. 3 of the people did the usual "Sure .... (so I don't seem rude)", but there was one woman, who enthusiastically said, "Yes! I need to hear your message and I have a lot of questions." A bit taken back I set my bike back down and entered the house full of friends and family celebrating the Holidays. We started to teach the restoration....
The spirit is incredibly powerful: ... This lesson was going pretty well. We were being asked lots of questions, and the people seemed to believe everything we were saying. They had obviously gone to church for quite some time because they were very knowledgeable in the scriptures. I had never seen people just accept the restoration so easily before. These people had a genuine hunger for knowledge. Normally when we teach the restoration, we save the Book of Mormon for its own lesson. However, this time I felt like we needed to give them a Book of Mormon. I pulled out the Book and started explaining its history, and its importance. As I was doing this, the talkative family hushed and for a moment and I had their complete undivided attention. I watched their eyes light up with curiosity, hope, and wonder. I could see their yearning for the book. The lady sitting next to me, who had not been completely on board with what we were teaching, eagerly asked for a copy...
Having the Holy Ghost as a constant Companion is Amazing: Coincidentally, we had 4 Book of Mormons with us, and 3 people wanted a copy. There was no reason for us to have 4 because there was only one lesson that entire day we had planned to give 1 Book out. Because we were just being "good boys" the Holy Ghost was able to guide us in the morning and help us be prepared for the unplanned lesson. As we were handing out the Book of Mormons we felt like Santa Clause hand delivering a child's most anticipated Christmas gift. Each person received it with an ear-to-ear smile. I know that there is nothing I could have said to make people want to read this book. Their desire came from the Holy Ghost touching their hearts.
This family has not accepted baptism... yet :) But if they continue on this path they will become very strong members of the church. We will be meeting with them soon :)
-- The end of that story --
People are always watching: Whether you realize it or not, everybody is watching you. They watch what you say and what you do. When you were baptized you covenanted to take Christ's name upon you. I have the opportunity to quite literally take his name and wear it on my name tag every day. More important thou is weather we wear his name in our countenance. One of our investigators is continuing the investigate the church because of how loving the members are. A convert told me that she joined the church because of how loving the members are. A guy on the road said that if he ever became Christian he would join our church and I know that is because of the example of the members in fallowing Christ. As followers of Christ, we really do have a light in our eyes.
Pray for Miracles to Occur: "The Lord is able to do all things for the children of men, according to his will, if it so be that they exercise faith in him..." We have one investigator who has accepted baptism and is striving to come to church. The mission has a rule that investigators have to come at least 3 times in order to be baptized and she had only come twice. As much as she wanted to come, she had to give her son a ride to work. In a seemingly impossible situation she found a way to come and is now qualified for baptism. We just have to officially teach the commandments she is already living. The next miracle was her son. He isn't against the church but believes that he does not need religion. On Sunday we learned that his heart has softened up enough to accept a priesthood blessing.
I love you all! Thank you so much for your love and support!
- Elder Shill