Monday, March 24, 2014
from me - it's frustrating. But I figure that will happen no matter
where I am, not just on a mission. No disrespect to this older
gentleman, but he offered the closing prayer at stake conference
yesterday and asked that we may "find time" to do missionary work,
etc. I somewhat squirmed because we will never FIND time to do the
things that we need to do - we have to MAKE time! So I made time to
write this e-mail - YAY!
This past week has been great. Again, the focus has been on Gary. We
met with him three times this week and brought him to a baptismal
service for someone in a young single adult congregation. That got him
really excited for his own baptism, which we're hoping will happen
this Saturday! Pray that he will pass his interview on Wednesday.
Something cool that he described this week was how he's feeling the
Spirit! We came into his lesson on Tuesday and we asked how he's
doing. And he said, "Oh great. Just feeling the Spirit. Peaceful,
calm, and comforted." He's been listening to the Book of Mormon on his
phone and loves it! He mentions it in every prayer and refers to the
church as "Your church" (in prayer as well). He's amazing! But because
of his Asperger's Syndrome, he does have some trouble staying focused
in our lessons. His desire is real though!
Had a great lesson with Arthur as well! He's been reading the Book of
Mormon slowly but surely. We talked about where we were before this
life and why we needed to come to Earth. Arthur is usually that "nod
your head and say yes" kind of guy, but he hit us with some good
questions finally! His brother is agnostic, which really makes him
sad, especially as he is investigating the gospel. He told us that the
question his brother always poses is "why do we have to always be
playing 'this game' with God? Why can't He just make us perfect
already?" Valid question. But as most of us know, that is Satan's
plan. He wanted us to be his little puppets, so we told Arthur more
about agency and how it is such a gift to have! I used 2 Nephi 2:23,
"...wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having
no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin."
How blessed we are to have that opportunity to know what it feels like
to do right and wrong! That is the ONLY way God knew we could learn
the lessons He wanted us to learn. This seemed to make good sense with
Arthur and we hope he shares it with his brother!
Well finally, we had Stake Conference this weekend and were blessed to
hear from Elders Johnson and Carlton of the Seventy, Sister Stevens of
the Primary Presidency and Elder Perry of the Twelve Apostles (via
broadcast, of course). I believe it was Elder Carlton who said one of
my favorite quotes of the day:
"Results come from ACTION, not motivation. But the results from that
action WILL be motivating."
I loved that! As a missionary, most of the power lies in just DOING
and not waiting until we're motivated. That always comes later and
builds over time - and the same goes for all good things in life!
Another quote by Dumbledore in Harry Potter: "We eventually must come
to choose between what is right and what is easy." May we all choose
what is right!
Photo: Gary and us at the Temple Visitor Center
1) Still teaching Arthur. He's doing really well. I think we need to focus more on teaching the doctrine then trying to help him understand why a second baptism is necessary. He was baptized as a Baptist growing up and feels that if he gets baptized again, he'll be betraying his family and what THEY taught him. Obviously, that is not our intention. We had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon with one of our members. She bore strong testimony that reading it is a commandment, but that it is also coupled with AMAZING blessings. Arthur is always very busy with his job, which can get him stressed and over-worked. We all promised that as he prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, he will obtain that inner peace, despite the chaos that's going on around him. Because he is so busy, we can only teach him once a week. Nonetheless, he's coming to church and making friends - so things are looking good!
2) Haven't heard from Eric, our Ghanaian, in a while. I think work got him stressed and is running him into the ground. He's so tired! We pray that he'll have the desire to put the things of God first in his life and trust that the rest will work out!
3) Marvin is also doing great! He's such a golden guy! We asked him to watch President Monson's talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings" and then pray to know if President Monson really is a prophet. He did exactly that and when I asked him, "Do you believe President Monson is a true prophet of God?" he replied with "Yeah, definitely. I love the way he talks - it's so soothing." Haha YAY. He passed the sacrament again on Sunday and was able to fast and pay his fast offering for the first time EVER. Can't wait to get him into family history work and going to the temple!
1) We received two referrals this past week (BLESSINGS). The first was definitely inspired. One of our members that we actually had dinner with recently called us and said she met a guy at Safeway that wants to take the lessons. WHAT?! She said that she met him once and then saw him AGAIN and knew that she had to talk about the gospel with him. So now we are teaching Gary! He is 30, turning 31, and is originally from Spain but has grown up in this area. He works as a Domino's delivery guy (on BIKE) in DC. He's so great! It's an amazing opportunity to teach someone that is so humble and has such a strong desire to improve his life. We have him on date for baptism for March 22nd and he has already come to church twice. Pray that Gary continues to feel the Spirit and receives his answer that this is true! A memorable moment from our first lesson:
We asked Gary to say the closing prayer. He was really nervous. Gary's dad died unexpectedly four years ago, so we told him to not be nervous but to act like he was talking to his own father again. So when he prayed, he was very open yet reverent. Suddenly, he got really emotional as he was praying and was so sincere in what he was saying. The Spirit was SO strong!
2) We had a "pass" lesson this week with the Hermanas down in Springfield, VA. The investigator's name is Tiggy and she is fabulous! She's such a talker, but you can tell that she has felt the Spirit in her life on MANY occasions. How the found Tiggy is QUITE incredible. Actual, Tiggy somewhat found them. Here is the story in the Hermanas words:
"A few weeks back you mentioned that when we are led to a specific place but our plans fall through, we should continue to work in the area until we find who we were meant to contact. That exact thing happened with Hna. Weenig and I when we were on exchanges! The whole day was inspired. At one point, a backup didn't answer the door, so we prayed and felt like we should knock the three neighboring doors. Nobody answered. But as we were driving away to try another option, a woman came running out of the building chasing after us! She said felt compelled to find out who we were and what we were doing. She had been praying about things that had been happening to her recently, and she wanted God to tell her what the purpose of her life was. She saw it as a sign that we knocked on her door that day. We had an incredible lesson with her-- the Spirit was strong and directing, and I could feel how much Heavenly Father loved her. It was a wonderful experience."
CRAZY, right?! And now we have the blessed opportunity to teach her and bring her to the Potomac Ward! Keep Tiggy in your prayers as well, since she is battling some pretty bad influences in her life right now.
Potomac Ward is REALLY taking off lately. It's like a night and day difference from when I first got here! The working is flowing! So much so that it is hard to get things going in Shirlington. Nearly all of the investigators that they had have dropped them (not returning calls, etc). We need to delegate time to find those families that are waiting to hear the gospel! We plan to take out more time this week to focus on that.
A member mentioned recently how God has so much trust in us. He really expects us to be able to act for ourselves, and knows the outcome will be good as long as we're following His commandments. When she said that, I thought of something I had read in my personal study just a few days prior. I was in the book of Helaman, at the part where war is going on and Nephi is wanting them to remember the Lord. Well you know what Nephi does? He petitions the Lord to change His plan! Helaman 11:4-5:
4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee.
5 And so it was done...
I first read this and thought - how could Nephi ever get away with telling GOD what to do?! That takes some real guts. But then I thought - No... God meant for Nephi to think for himself. To feel the Spirit and find a better solution. How amazing it is that God does this! We are His children after all and wants us to use the brains and the intuition that He's blessed us with. I'm grateful for scriptural examples that teach me so. I invite you all to follow God and then to take action! He will not lead you astray.
They had a Mini MTC in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. We took out "Sister Raza" and "Sister Morales", and brought them to Gary's first lesson! They were awesome!