Hello Friends and Family,
Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days! Time is just flying. Once again I had an amazing week, and I leaned so much. Finally the weather decided to cool off. I was getting tired of the 80 degree weather during Christmas. Feeling the brisk wind on my face as I bike down the road reminds me of skiing down the mountain. I'm going to have to buy a face mask to prevent my face from becoming numb :)
New years was pretty atypical. We met up with another companionship in a non-member's home (he pretty much is a member though) and played apples to apples and ate snacks. By about 8:30 we were all pretty much ready for bed and headed back to our apartments. Every one was sleeping by 10:30. It was so weird not staying up till midnight watching the clock strike 12. We just pretended like it was any other day.
Sickness has hit many of our investigators and we are having a hard time meeting with them. They say they are going to call us, but that usually means that they told their pastor about us and he disapproved...
Our investigator is getting baptized the second week of February!!! She is totally prepared to make the changes in her life. Originally she was scheduled to be baptized the first week, but then she realized that it would be a fast Sunday and "it would be hard to celebrate with food". This means that she is already planning on fasting! She is easily quitting tea. I am so excited to see her join the church! She will be an incredibly strong member. The only thing she is still struggling with is getting to church, because she has to take her son to work Sunday mornings. Even with this obstacle, she is finding ways to come.
We haven't seen the man in the wheelchair yet. Every time we bike by, it has been raining so he has not been outside. I really want to know how much he has read. He seemed pretty convinced that he would be able to receive an answer.
The family we gave the 3 Book of Mormons to, we have an appointment to meet with them. The Holidays make missionary work difficult because everybody is out of town or too busy to meet with us. I know they have a lot of questions and if they read, they are going to want to learn more.
There are so many things I learned this week:
Christ brings hope: Every investigator we have has serious trials in their life. Many people in the branch knows what its like to live with out food. I love hearing peoples conversion stories because they all follow this pattern:
1) I was seriously struggling with... (addictions, depression, finances...)
2) I broke down
3) Missionaries came by
4) This Gospel saved me
On the outside people seem to be doing fine. To a point, life is manageable; But eventually everything is going to leave our control and we will need help. Believing in Christ and following his teachings is what is bringing people out from the pit of despair. I bike by people who literally have no hope in there life and a belief in Christ and his Atonement would change that. They do not see their value as a person. They don't realize that every soul, including theirs, is great in the sight of God.
Give yourself ample time to do things: The moment you start pressing your self for time is the moment you start loosing opportunities. Don't do things as fast as you can do them because you will miss something. Quality is often more important that quantity.
Personal Study is absolutely critical: I have grown to absolutely love studying and learning more about the Gospel. Personal study is one of my favorite parts of the day because I have the opportunity to learn more. It is becoming so easy to fill an entire hour by studying 3 paragraphs in Preach My Gospel. It is so easy to become engulfed in the Book of Mormon. The more I read, the more I realize my potential as a missionary. The more I read, the more I realize my potential relationship with our Heavenly Father. I love that solid hour of personal revelation that helps me become better and draw closer to Christ.
People have free agency...: The easiest way to fix a problem is to let other people know what you need help with and what your concerns are. If you do that, then you can start to grow. When I was teaching with Elder Tolman, we visited a Less-Active to try and help him come back to church. We started talking to him, and he was very knowledgeable. We shared scriptures with him, bore our testimonies, explained blessings, explained the purpose of the commitments we made and everyone was feeling like we were one the right track. We could feel the spirit in the room and we knew that he knew the church was true. When we asked him to come back to church, he firmly said "Naaa." Everyone in the room was taken back. He seemed totally on board with everything we were saying and then just dismissed it all. We tried again. We taught from the scriptures, bore our testimonies, and tried to address his needs in every way we could. When we asked him to come back to church he simply stated that he didn't want to come. It was frustrating watching someone who knew exactly why they should come, have no desire to come.
Scripture memorization is paying off: There is a saying that the Spirit cannot pull from an empty well so, for those of you who didn't know, at the MTC I set a goal to memorize a scripture every day. Unfortunately my brain is not that good so I end up memorizing one or two a week. Even though I am not memorizing as much as I would like to be, as I listen to the investigators needs, scriptures come into my head that I can either recite or have the investigator turn to and read. I know that there is power in the scriptures. There is nothing that can bring the spirit like the scriptures can. It is amazing to watch someone read a scripture and then look up and say, that is exactly what I needed. Its amazing to watch peoples testimonies start to bloom and see the value of the scriptures. I encourage y'all at home to really search, ponder, and pray about the scriptures. They hold the keys to unlock every answer to any question.
I love y'all,