1) How is this new companionship? Are things settling into place?
2) Any new investigators?
3) Have you planned any Hispanic weddings lately? (kidding)
4) How is Bishop Walters' family? Did their kids have a great time at EFY and Soccer camp? Are they taking care of you girls?
5) Are you getting used to your new mission president yet? Also, how's the back feeling?
1. Things are going splendidly in the new companionship. Basically we've just accepted that we're both awkward and we just have a good time together. Plus we work hard and seek the Spirit so it makes for a pretty good companionship, if I do say so myself.
2. Actually, yes. We have found quite a few new investigators. Sort of, anyway. Basically we just made appointments with a bunch of people that we'd taught but didn't make return appointments with. Which makes them new investigators.
The first one this week (I don't remember if I've talked about him before) is Tequila. He's from Tequila, MX and his real name is Aurelio but he calls himself Tequila. The first time we met him, he told us he doesn't drink water he just drinks Bud Light. But he was awesome. Anyway, we'd made an appointment with him for late Monday evening and when we got there he was super distracted and wasn't paying attention. We tried teaching him how to pray and he couldn't remember step one, two steps later...anyway so we (I) got pretty straight up with him and asked him what his problem was, essentially. He attributed it to the fact that he's moving this week and he had a bunch of work to do and whatnot. I told him, "You know what hermano, we have a lot of work to do too. Do you know what work we do?" I made him look me in the eye, and he said "What?" somewhat half-heartedly. "The salvation of souls." That is the work we do. So, while I do love this man, he just isn't ready for the Gospel right now. He will be ready someday, but it wasn't this week. So he became a new investigator, and then we had to drop him for now. But it's okay. He'll come round. I know he will.
The second one was Gonzalo Bautista. We met him a while ago, and he seemed really interested. He's originally from Guadalajara and he told us he lives about 7 blocks from the temple out there. He told us he loves Mormons because they're so "brotherly". haha cool. (: he's this cute little old man. Anyway, we couldn't set up an appointment because he was working in the milpas (corn fields) so he didn't have a schedule. But now the siega is over (harvest) so we called him on Friday and set up an appt for Sunday. Only, it was quite possibly the creepiest phone call of my entire life. I mean, I would say I've been hit on by more old Latino men than I can count, but this was by far the worst. And it was through the phone too. Anyway, we're pretty sure he was super drunk because when we talked to him Sunday to see if he was back in town or not, he was back to how he was when we first met him. So that was good. But then he was still in Elgin so he wasn't there for the appt. But we'll see him this week for sure. He seemed so ready for the Gospel so I'm excited to teach him. And the last two. Oh man. Buckle your seat belts because I'm about to tell you concerning the worst day of my mission--and then the second best day of my mission.
So Friday. We had lunch with Hermana Doelman (she recently moved in from AZ and she goes out with us all the time. She's an angel.) and then we had an appt with a senora we've been teaching for a while, named Maria. She doesn't pick up the doctrine super quickly so we teach her very simply, but she was open to learning more. However, her husband, when we taught him and her the Restoration and invited them to be baptized when they know these things are true, he told us that he thought it was a sin to change religions after he's been in his church for so long. So we knew he wasn't interested or ready. But then on Friday, we took our Relief Society President, Sister Dettman, to teach Maria. And we were just asking Maria about her reading in the Book of Mormon when her husband interrupted us and started going off about how they're wasting our time because they're not going to change and we all believe the same thing anyway. And I honestly felt like I was going to be sick. The Spirit of God was NOT present in that room. It was awful, I tell you.
Also, normally, when people start going off like that, I start to just get really frustrated because I don't understand how they can't see that this is what God wants for them and it is the only way they can be with their families after death and forever. But this time, I recognized the irritation beginning and I just plead with my Heavenly Father that He would give me His love for this man. So, as I listened to this hermano reject every testimony that we offered and every blessing we promised, tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't help it. It legitimately hurt my heart that he was being kept from the truth by the subtle craftiness of men. But one eternal truth is that of agency. We can't force the truth on anyone. So we left them with a prayer and I think it was the most fervently I've ever prayed in my head while my companion offered a prayer aloud. Someday his heart will be softened and he and his wife will accept the restored Gospel, and then be sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity. I was still a bit choked up after the fact, mind you. But we still had Sister Dettman with us so of course we needed to find someone to teach.
Our first back up was a cute old lady we'd met sometime in July, named Irene. I didn't think she'd be home, but when we were putting in back ups I felt like she should be in our plans. When we knocked on the door, her husband Jose answered (like always) and said his wife wasn't home. He suggested we try back Saturday when she doesn't work. But we hadn't gone there for nothing so we asked if we could share a message with him. And he said sure! At this point my heart was perking up because at least someone was open to listening to the Gospel. And then, to make a long story short, Jose accepted everything we said as truth, without the bat of an eyelash. The following words actually came out of his mouth: "I believe it. I believe he saw God and Jesus Christ." JOSE BELIEVES THAT JOSEPH SMITH SAW GOD THE FATHER AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST BEFORE HE EVEN PRAYED ABOUT IT!!!!!! Oh my stinking french fries. It was seriously a dream come true. Like, I can't even describe how amazing it was. I will say that my testimony of the fall increased that day. Because in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve didn't know joy because they didn't know misery. How many times have I said something to that effect? More than I can count. And that phrase become so chillingly real last Friday. Because we had just faced probably the worst rejection of my entire mission, the sweetness of this sincere man's faith was more precious than almost any other moment I've experienced. I know that Heavenly Father truly answers prayers. Because, in that moment, I needed a reason to keep going. And boy did He give it to me. So, in a nutshell, the new investigators are going very well. We have an appt with Jose and Irene for next Saturday. And he basically committed to come to church next week. (He told us that after we'd first met them and told them where the church was, one day they drove by because they wanted to see it. How cool is that?!
3. Thankfully no. haha we did have an English wedding a bit ago, but I think I told you about that. We didn't go to the wedding itself but we did help decorate. It turned out very nice if I do say so myself.
4. I think they're good, the Walters. I actually haven't heard anything lately about Addison but I imagine he's doing well on his mission. Kelly has had a bit of a rough first week of school, but I
think she's on the upswing again. And I believe she had a good time at EFY....I dunno. haha and Zane...oh man. This kid is so funny. He's always super little-brother-ly with the Elders but he was actually treating me like a sister yesterday. That was kind of fun. haha I think soccer camp was good. We actually had a branch activity last Thursday--put on by the Elders--so we played sports (all the women played a game called Kwizniac. It's so fun!) and it looked like Zane was probably beating everyone. But then I imagine they made the teams a bit more even or something. I dunno. But they're all good.
5. The new mission president is amazing! Man I just love him so much. I don't know what it is but just being in the same room as him makes a person feel so much more energized! It's so great. He and his wife were exactly what this mission needed. It sounds like we're going to be seeing some changes in how the meetings are held and various things so I'm excited to see what happens. It's going to be awesome. And my back is doing okay. Did I tell you we think it's just out of alignment? So basically I've decided that if it acts up again, I'll talk to Sister Griffin about going to see a chiropractor or something. Because that's basically the way to fix it, so I'm told. But we'll see. I imagine I'll be fine for the next long while.
Well, that's about it this week. I already told you the biggest story. But just wanted to share something I learned this morning during my studies.
In Alma chapter 37, Alma (the younger) is basically teaching his son Helaman everything he needs to know in order to be the prophet. And, as a member in my last area pointed out, you'd think he'd reveal some sort of grand secret. But he doesn't. It's so simple and straight forward and that's how we all need to live our lives, whether we're a prophet or not.
Also, in verse 16, Alma is giving his son charge concerning the scriptures that have been kept by all the ancient American prophets. And he tells him of his sacred charge, that he must appeal to God in all things concerning them. And I realized that that verse applies to all of us, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Because the Lord has entrusted us with something sacred. For me, He has entrusted me with the spiritual welfare of the children of God in Rochelle, IL. For you, it may be the spiritual welfare of an entire ward, or maybe just a 9 year old Primary class. But nonetheless, He has entrusted you with something sacred. And you absolutely MUST appeal to Him in all things concerning them. And the promise is that, as you do that, "no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." And I know that that is true. God will fulfill all his promises (see verse 17). He always has been a promise keeper and He always will be. So the question that remains to be answered is this: are you a promise keeper?
1. We had a Relief Society activity where we displayed our talents. Well, Hermana Henricksen and I hadn't prepared anything, but we brought a cake so we decided to do some frosting painting. (:
Everyone was very impressed. hahaha
2. Me with a dragon. Enough said.
3. One of the sisters makes chain mail. So this is a chain mail dragon. How cool, right?!
4. We decided to draw out the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a Facebook post. I'm pretty proud, just saying.