1) Have you met your new Mission Pres yet? What do you think?
2) Did you get the message about what type of iPad you have in Mahonri--exactly which model???--so we can order the right case/keyboard? (PS--I saw a"lost" set of scriptures in the church today that was printed "Mahonri Moricanumer" on the front cover. Made me laugh.)
3) Did you get the first package yet?
4) What kind of meeting did you have on the 7th that you might get the package? I can't remember.5) It is weird to you that friends you graduated with who are already coming home from missions?!?
1. Yes. haha he's so funny! So President Griffin is originally from South Carolina (if I'm not mistaken) and so he has a southern accent. Basically the first thing he told us is that we can be obedient AND have fun. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say we have to have long faces while we're enduring to the end. So the obedience in this mission isn't going to decrease (it should increase in all honesty) but we are going to try to have more fun, I suppose is what he basically said. President and Sister Griffin are definitely different from President and Sister Fenn, but I wouldn't say one is better than the other. I love them all so much and I know I needed to have both presidents for my mission president.
2. I did get the message; Mahonri is an iPad mini 2 (with retinal display, if that matters). And I'm glad you finally heard more information about the whole iPad thing. I was beginning to wonder if you ever would...but so my understanding (just wanna make sure we're on the same page) is that since I'm going home after 31 August 2015 I get to/have to buy Mahonri and will keep him after I'm released. Is that what you were told?
3. I did. Thank you! I really enjoyed the Johnny Lingo bit--did you write that or did you find it online somewhere?--and as far as the garments go, the bottoms were a little too tight (I could fit but it wasn't particularly comfortable) so I would ask you get a size bigger, and that should be fine. And with the tops, that is the smallest size right? I can't remember... Also, thank you for the CD and the journals. I just wrote the last day in the one I had so it was right on time! And I haven't opened whatever is wrapped yet; I'm gonna wait until my actual birthday. (Speaking of, so we're having a branch party/activity on 1 August, to celebrate the birthday of the branch, and Hna LaBonte volunteered to make tres leches cake so we're going to have tres leches cake for my birthday and for the branch birthday. haha) (:
4. On the 7th we just met President and Sister Griffin. We did get a little bit more training, from the both of them and from the assistants, but that's it. It was really great though! Elders Higley and Hansen taught about the three degrees of motivation (which I'd learned from Elder Higley while he was my zone leader in Peoria) but man, it's so good. I can't remember if I've written about it before or not, but anyway, the idea is that we want to be obedient (of course) but for the right reason--because we love God.
5. It is super weird! I can't believe we've been graduated for two whole years....who said that was okay...? So I guess the next thing to happen is all those young return missionary men get engaged....eek. I'd rather not contemplate life after the mission....but cool. This last week I got an email from a friend from high school entitled "My last email as a missionary....." Oof. It kind of gave me chills. I've always thought, every time there are departing testimonies at zone conference, and they all say "I never thought this day would come", I always thought that was silly. But now I feel like I understand better. I mean, mentally and logically I know the end will come, eventually, but it doesn't really feel real. Because you literally do the same thing all day every day beginning from day one. And then suddenly it's supposed to just stop? Excuse me? But yeah, that's how it works I suppose. Until 3 March 2016 comes around, I'm going too keep working hard and smart, as though that day will never come. Because that is how you're supposed to serve a mission.
I don't even know where to begin, this week was so amazing! But I suppose it would be good to start at the beginning, no? I will try to keep this somewhat short, and only talk about the highlights, but there were so many! Buckle up, peeps....
Monday: after our dinner appointment with our recent convert, due to an unplanned lesson that set our schedule back, we had about 20 minutes before 9:00. And we were about 10 or so minutes from our house, so we had about 10 minutes to work. We didn't know what to do with those ten precious minutes so we prayed, and we both received the same confirming revelation of the plans that we had made last night--to visit the family of an investigator with a lot of potential who is currently in Mexico. So we went and ended up finding the daughter of that investigator. Her name is Brenda. We found out she'd heard a bit about what her mom was learning but wasn't interested, but now she is! So we taught a really quick lesson and set up a time to come back, on Wednesday.
Lesson learned: seek revelation and you will receive it (James 1:5; 3 Nephi 14:7-8)
Tuesday: In the evening, we had plans to knock doors. Usually, this is effective until about 8 but we had plans to do so from about 6-9. A somewhat grim prospect perhaps, but I was excited. I love knocking doors. We went to 7th Avenue and began knocking. At one door, we met a young man named Ivan (he's either 21 or 28, we couldn't ever hear the last digit...) and he was really cool! We had a great spiritual doorstep lesson, but then at the end, he basically told us that he wasn't ready for this right now, so we testified that one day he will be and it will help him answer his questions. Then, it was about 8:45, so we were walking back to our car and we see a man sitting on the porch of an apartment building. Of course we had to talk to him! We ended up showing him the video Because He Lives and as soon as it's over he stands up, walks over to us (I was thinking "Is he gonna punch us or something?") And then he awkwardly embraces the both of us, one in each arm, while he's standing on the step above us....if that's not one of the most awkward things you've ever heard, I don't know what is. Anyway, one thing led to another and we sort of taught him the restoration, specifically about the Book of Mormon. And when we asked if he would be baptized by someone holding God's authority when he knows these things are true, he said, "Absolutely". Cool! Also, two times after the first he embraced us just as he had at the beginning. Triply awkward....ah well. And then of course we didn't have an English Book of Mormon so we ran to the car, drove back, gave it to him with an "assignment" to read Alma 32 (he was really into faith in Jesus Christ) and then we basically handed him off to the elders. (Anytime I serve in English church units, I feel like we do a lot of finding for the English missionaries.....is it just me or is that a normal Spanish missionary thing? haha)
Lesson learned: talk to everyone, because you never know when you'll be an answer to someone's prayer--or when someone will be the answer to your prayer (Alma 8:18-20)
Wednesday: don't be afraid to ask if we can come in and share more--some people do say yes! (Alma 22:1-3)
Wednesday: was exchanges. For the second time in my ten months, I left my area. This time I went to Wheaton, and I was with Hermana Montanares. It was quite a lot of fun. She and I are pretty similar and I felt like we worked well together. We had a member with us at one point to visit a referral from another member, but then they didn't answer. So we did some knocking in a neighborhood that didn't look Latino hardly at all....but eventually we found one that housed some Latinos! The man we talked to, turns out he had read the Book of Mormon before, when he was 14, because it was easier to understand than the Bible. We got to teach him about what the Book of Mormon is and why its necessary, and he seemed pretty open. However, he told us at one point that he doesn't believe in churches, because they're made by man. I asked him, "You know that Jesus Christ established a church when he was on the earth, right?" He said, "Yes" so I asked "So we should be a part of church, right?" And he said "Yes, but only if was Christ's church." *smile* "Well, that is the message that we share; that the church Christ established has been brought back to the earth through a modern prophet." Anyway, I was pretty complacida with myself because in situation like that, I tend to get frustrated and end up saying something that kind of drives the spirit away, but that time I kept it together! So happy. (:
Lesson learned: don't be afraid to ask if we can come in and share more--some people do say yes! (Alma 22:1-3)
Thursday: basically did almost nothing today, because we had so much driving and then weekly planning. However, planning was a revelatory experience for us! We came to the realization that we need to focus on just one of our investigators. Because while we do want to set and achieve higher goals, we need to start with the basics, and just focus on one person: Jose. So, that is exactly what we will do.
Lesson learned: even though we want to set and achieve high goals, we need to start with the basics--in our area, we need to focus on our investigator Jose, otherwise he's more likely to fall through the cracks (Alma 26:30)
Friday: We had an appointment with one of our really promising new investigators and she wasn't there; granted, we were a bit early so we decided to wait around for a bit. In order to be productive still, we tried calling the investigators we had numbers for that we hadn't had contact with for a while. One of them is Stefani. She's a YSA (young single adult) who seemed interested in knowing for herself in what we said was true, but we hadn't been able to meet with her again hace algunos semanas (for some weeks). We called her and she picked up! She was still super nice and sincere and wants to learn more--the problem is that she's so busy because she's in the military (I have no more details on that, sorry) and is working and going to school. But we were able to set up an appointment for next week before she goes out of town, which made her a new investigator! Then, our appointment never did show up so we decided to go by another new investigator nearby, named Gloria. And she was home and answered! We ended up teaching her and her 8, almost 9, year old son. She'd actually read from the Book of Mormon since our first visit and was in 1 Nephi 3, so we kind of recapped the beginning and read the rest with her and her son, Humberto. And for all of you who aren't familiar with the story of that chapter, it's when Nephi and his brothers go to get the plates (scriptures) from Laban, back in Jerusalem. Long story short, quite fitting for an 8-turninng-9 year old, wouldn't you say? He was pretty attentive and Gloria really understood it well, plus the doctrines that go along with the story. It was an awesome lesson that we totally hadn't planned for but I know because we were in the right place at the right time following the Spirit, Heavenly Father blessed us.
Lesson learned: You can't give up on someone just because they haven't answered their phone--we ended up with a new investigator (by giving her a call and setting up an appointment) and an other lesson (because we went by and she was finally home, and we taught her and her 8-almost-9-year-old son about Nefi, Laman and Lemuel) (Mosiah 27:8-20)
Saturday: Well, we followed the Spirit all morning and reaped the fruits of our labors, so to speak, and then we both felt we had finished all that we needed to do in a part of our area, so we decided to go somewhere else--which wasn't in our plans--and we ended up finding three men outside of the house where we were looking for our potential investigator. Normally, I'm not a fan of talking to more than two men at a time, but this time we did and we ended up having a lesson! And man, this hermano, Arturo, is very sincere in his desire to change his life. It was a really cool "coincidence" (the notion of coincidences is a heresy, so I'm told) and we made a return appointment for the next day--with his whole family!
Lesson learned: unless the Spirit explicitly tells you not to talk to that slightly scary-looking group of men, talk to them! You literally never know who is being prepared to receive the Gospel. (Alma 32:4-6)
Sunday: We had an appointment with someone we'd met and taught yesterday (not Arturo) and then no one answered when we went by, so we went to our back up plan: to knock doors. Wooh! To be quite honest though, I wasn't thrilled at this point to be knocking. It was blazing hot and I thought I was going to die. (I could never live in Illinois....) we finally get to the next number we have and we find out its an apartment building. And we have no apartment number. There are four options and so we finally just pick one and knock. And we meet Julian, who asked us questions pertaining to the Plan of Salvation. Then his wife came to the door and they kind of switched places (he recently had surgery so the heat was kind of giving him trouble I think) and we ended up teaching her the restoration! Once again, doing some finding for the English elders. haha but yeah, they were pretty cool and they even gave us cold water bottles! So thoughtful.
Lesson learned: You stay in an area until you find out why you're there, and then you begin to harvest! (Alma 18:12-23)
(Also, as a side note, we got to teach an Englishman today--a legitimate, born and raised, English accent, Englishman. Granted, he was maybe 16 years old, but it definitely still counts. Plus, I'm pretty sure he is totally ready to learn about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, which we just happened to have prepared to teach for our finding lesson at the Walters--he was staying with them. So that's an added bonus.)
So all in all, this week was really super awesome. The Gospel is true no matter what anyone says about it. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, called to receive revelation for our days. But it is up to us if we will listen to God's counsel given through him or if we will ignore it and continue to wander in the mists of darkness (1 Nephi 8). I know the Book of Mormon changes lives because it has changed mine and it has changed the lives of many people I've come in contact with. I know God answers prayers no matter what, just sometimes it takes a little more time than we think it will. And above all else, the question He wants YOU to ask is if there is more truth out there, if there's even the slightest chance that what I share, daily, as a missionary is true--if it has the potential to change your life. When was the last time you asked?
Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
Sent from my iPad
The corn is still uneven....so we found the tallest corn near the edge that we could find, and we also took a photo by our regular spot. But hey, at least they're growing!