2011 February 28
It sounds like you've got a bunch of exciting stuff going on on your end of things! Hopefully you'll be able to catch up on a little sleep in the next little while and feel like your normal self.
Things here this week have been pretty good... nothing extremely whacky or crazy, but it was a good week. Monday, we had a night of fails. We had three appointments set up, and they all fell through. One of them was a dinner appointment, so that wasn't too big of a deal, but the other two were supposed to be a lesson with Mario and another one with a member to start teaching a couple of her friends. Instead, we took a little time to knock doors and contact a couple of old investigators. I won't complain though... a member hooked us up with a free trip to Red Robin :-)
Tuesday we had a good, long day of interviews with President Dyches. We had originally planned to have a district meeting with interviews during that time. Unfortunately, President got there late and was in a couple of interviews forEVER. To make a long story short, we ended up being at a church building for like six hours just waiting to get interviewed. It was worth it though. Interviews with President Dyches are always sweet. We just kinda chatted about the mission and how things are going. I feel like that guy can really peer into your soul, it's kinda weird. He gave me some good counsels on what I can do to help out the zone and yeah... it was sweet.
The funny thing that happened after that was over is that we took a trip to have dinner with a family in the ward that has a missionary serving in Japan. What made it kinda weird though is that for some random reason, it was her son's birthday, and as part of her missionaries birthdays (while they're out in the field), she arranges it so that she can have the missionaries over to eat a cake and blow out candles... but for her son... while he's not there... I thought it was kinda weird, but I guess it's a good tradition if you're into that? haha. It was sweet though after pounding down some spelt-crust pizza with mozzarella from Italy (she likes to make things with whole foods and fancy-pants ingredients), we had a homemade cheesecake that was almost as good as the kind that you make Mom (man that sounded smooth, huh?) naw but it's the truth haha. That was about the excitement for Tuesday.
Wednesday was pretty weird weather because it would go from sleet to sun to rain to hail to sun to clear to foggy to who knows what. That weather has been a little nuts... and really cold! One memorable thing from that day though was the lesson that we had with Mario. We had been thinking that maybe we should give him a little bit more time to let him get baptized, but he straight up told us that he didn't want to wait and that he thought that the 6th would be perfect because he already knows the book of Mormon is true. Sometimes God throws us little bones like that :-)
Thursday was awesome. We woke up to the sound of absolutely no traffic outside (weird for the apartment that we live in) and snow that almost stuck to the roads! SNOW DAY! Oh my goodness I thought they might have to call in the national guard to take care of such a mess! It was hilarious because we got a call from a member that we were going to do service for that morning at 9:00 and he wanted to know if we were going to be able to make it or if we should reschedule for another day. We ended up going over anyway. I don't know what it is, but seeing how poorly oregonians drive in "snow" makes me want to drive faster and more recklessly just because it's not dangerous like they think it is haha.
Speaking of service though, it was pretty fun. We're helping a family in our branch to... well... I guess you could say "remodel" a bathroom they have in the house. We spent our service time ripping out a cabinet that was mounted above the sink that made you bang your head if you tried wash your hands. The idea is that we're going to yank that, spackle the holes, finish the drywall, sand it, texture the wall (because Dad taught me how do all that :-)), then paint it so that they can hang a mirror and see their pretty faces when they wash their hands.
Friday we spent in zone leader council talking about stuff they wanted to add to a binder for the incoming missionaries to help them get adjusted quicker and be better missionaries, as well as to discuss texting. They want to send it mission-wide and I said NO!!!! Missionaries are anti-social enough when they get here to the mission. The last thing they need is a technological crutch to make them even bigger dorks than they already are; let alone all of the problems that it could potentially cause for missionaries in the YSA wards... I shudder to think. The good thing is that elder Gardner and I (English elder that I became friends with in Woodburn) both held the same opinion and were able to keep it from happening. It's like in Utah when they wanted to keep people from using water they said "slow the flow, save H2O" but likening it to our texting situation Gardner and I said "stem the flow and just say no". Luckily it will only be going to zone leaders and district leaders to try it out for a transfer, and from there they'll see how it goes. I still don't feel good about it though haha. The last thing we need is a bunch of dork missionaries texting their investigators in the same room "wnt 2 get bptized?" instead of being sociable and helping them feel the spirit.
Aside from my texting rant in ZLC, we taught Andrea and Cathy where Andrea said she didn't want to learn from us anymore because she likes to have her own opinions on what's right and wrong. Luckily, her sister Cathy is showing a lot of potential and hopefully will start coming to church with her mommy :-) After that we ate dinner with the Sears which are a couple in the english ward that we were able to influence to come to the spanish group because she's from Mexico and he served a spanish-speaking mission (they didn't meet on his mission, don't worry haha). Anyways, they're super rad and I'm glad that we have them to help us out and go on visits with us.
Saturday was a day that I was not looking forward to because it was going to be a solid day of knocking-- no appointments. Luckily, we were praying out guts out and God threw us some good bones. We knocked in the morning for what was going to be an hour, but after five doors, we found a lady named Maria (go figure) who let us in and let us teach her about the restoration. She was pretty stoked on what we taught her, and wants to get her 20 year old son involved as well because he has a lot of doubts about all the different churches nowadays.
That's one thing that I failed to mention. We've had a lot of people come and tell us how we're doing our contacts wrong because we're just throwing the restoration in their faces and that we need to focus on their needs, God is their father, He has a plan for them, etc. Unfortunately, elder Van Hook and I have come to know that those types of things (a plan, God's love, why church is important, prayer, etc.) are taught in EVERY CHRISTIAN CHURCH ON EARTH! We decided to take it back, focus on people's needs and what they really care about, then show them how the restoration applies to what they need. It. Works. Perfectly. At the instant that we started talking about the restoration instead of all the "rah-rah-rah Jesus" stuff, we started finding more people to teach. (you may want to edit my email a little bit before you put it on the blog haha)
One interesting thing that elder Van Hook and I started thinking about was the fact that so many people think it's blasphemous that we can become Gods (like I said, might need to edit this haha). They say that it is sin to even think such a thing, but with the proper perspective, it only makes sense. If I could put this into a metaphor, it would be like this:
Christian churches are looking at a toddler of two years old and know that his father is a doctor (they don't have any idea about a mother mind you haha), and they get mad at us because we say that that child can be a doctor) They say it's impossible because they can only look as far down the road as the age of eight and say "there's no way that an eight year old can be a doctor." They're right, but they don't have the eternal perspective. What they don't realize is that his dad was a doctor, and his grandfather, and his great grandfather were all doctors, and the dad's whole purpose is to help his kid become a doctor someday. Luckily we have the big picture in mind and realize that on our measly earth existence (until we're 8...maybe), yeah, it ain't happening, but being able to look down the road and see that through school and practice and work it can and will happen. I don't know if you catch my drift and maybe I'm just a babbling idiot, but this is what goes on inside my head... maybe it's a good thing I'm getting medication soon haha. I just love that we have the fullness of the gospel to help us understand the true purpose that we have here... to become like our Heavenly Father. I really feel like that goes over a lot of people's heads when we say that though haha.
Anyways, regressing to my point, we found like three new investigators that day, as well as found time to go visit a member who just got out of surgery a couple days ago. She and her husband are super sweet, but they were in a fight, so guess what happened. Dr. Feelgood strikes again! I got to play marriage counselor for a good hour to help them sort themselves out. I'm telling you, I've got a future as a counselor or as a good TV problem-fixer like Dr. Phil (without the divorce, mind you).
So to cap off Saturday, we had a lesson with Mario about tithing and it went really well. He accepted it fully and was super stoked to go to church the following day.
Sunday: He failed us. I was pretty bummed, but such is life. He said he wanted to go to the Catholic church one last time just to make sure he was making the right decision. I can respect that, but we had to move his date back to the 20th so that we can have him come to church and be dang sure that he's sure. No me quejo (I'm not complaining)
Okay, so you wanted my input on some good words of inspiration for those that are in the ward for missionary month? Be good members! Tell them to go over what the baptismal covenant is and what it entails. Something that the average dee-dee-dee Mormon doesn't realize is that when they get baptized, they make the promise to be a witness of Christ at all times, to help other people become familiarized with the church, to be an example, and to invite their friends. My only real advice would be that they need to be brave members of the church. I've come to realize that white people are absolute wimps when it comes to sharing the gospel. If you know that this is the ONLY true church and the ONLY way that people will be able to get back to live with their Heavenly Father again, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? Let them know about it!
I'll give you an example of how to get it done: There's a family from Brazil that recently moved into the ward (like three months ago). Since getting here, he has shared the gospel with his neighbors, brought a family to church, invited people to play soccer with us so that we can get to know them and teach them, and talks to everybody about what he believes. If someone doesn't know that you're a member of the church after knowing them for more than a week, there are big problems. I had a little revelation a couple days back while I was talking to the members of the group about this exact thing (sharing the gospel). There was a member who asked the question "what can I do to help someone come unto Christ?" I came to the realization that there are basically four elements of being able to help someone receive the truth.
1: Be an example of someone who truly lives the gospel and has a testimony. I realized that when you want to know that the book of Mormon is true, it's not something you do once and hope for your big answer. It's something you do every day so that you have that constant confirmation of the truth to be truly converted. Once you do that, you won't be afraid to live the commandments and be proud of what you have or be afraid to share it with others.
2: Serve and love the people that you're associated with. That means friends, co-workers, classmates, people you meet on the plane, etc. Even if it's helping some old lady with her groceries in the store or something. If you do this, people will be grateful for your service, feel of the love that you have for them, and want to know why you are the person that you are.
3: Invite those that you are close to to take part in the gospel. When I think of Jesus Christ walking around teaching in Galilee and Capernaum, I think about all the bad things that were said about him by the Pharisees; that he had a devil, that he was a wine-bibber, that he was the prince of the devils, etc. When these accusations came, he didn't whip out his scriptures and prove them wrong (although he did call them a generation of vipers and hypocrites a few times), he said these marvelous words: "come and see." When people ask you questions about your religion or why you don't do certain things, you don't have to prove yourself with the scriptures... invite them to come and see. The missionaries can help answer the questions and going to church can help them to feel the spirit.
4: Be firm and steadfast! One thing that totally makes or breaks our game as missionaries is the relation that people have with members of the church. I've heard things from "oh she goes to your church? Yeah she's sweet I'd love to hear more" to "wait, that guy's a Mormon. If that's how they are I don't want any part of it. You never know who's watching, and if you're solid all the time (not just when you think people are watching), you will be able to be missionaries yourself. People tend to get a little freaked out when they see us knocking their door or looming in someone's house, but if they have your confidence, it makes all the difference in the world.
Anyways, that's my two cents on missionary work as a member. You're the ones who need to find people to hear about the gospel... not the missionaries. It works a lot better :-).
All right, I've flapped my trap for long enough on here and I bet you're sick of hearing from me, so I'll sign off for the week. I love you mom and I love you family as well as ward family. Have a great week!