Good morning y'all!
Here we are again, another week down and several more to go-thank goodness. This week was busy with a lot of good people and a lot of miracles. There is truly nothing like being a missionary!
The Latham Family came to church on Sunday! That was so cool and such a miracle. The young boy is still on date for the 23rd and if all goes well that will continue to be the case. Church was their big stumbling block but now it's a stepping stone. What was even cooler was the kids came with Brother Calderwood and we didn't really expect Mom to be there. But we got a text from her saying that she would be late. After Sacrament she came up and it was a sight to see that family together in the chapel. The greater sight was when all the ward members went up and gave hugs and hellos. I can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for that family as they start to keep the commandments and regain their footing on the path.
That was the big miracle for me this week but we also had a couple of other sweet experiences. We taught Wil again and he is doing great. He said he was reading and doing all sorts of other research online and stuff. He said he had found some YouTube videos so I was skeptical at first, but they what he was describing didn't sound Anti or awful. That is a miracle in and of itself sometimes! But he is still trying to know if this is something he wants to do.
We taught AL again and he is kinda stuck in the same place. We are trying to help him come to know that modern-day prophets are true. However, right before we were going to knock on his door I mentioned that I felt we should teach him something from the Plan of Salvation. I didn't know what it was or where it was going to go but before we could talk about it AL answered and we went in. We ended up having a great lesson and talked about the afterlife a little bit. If anything it gave him something else to think about. It's been interesting to see the Spirit take over lesson after lesson with the people we are teaching.
This past week we had a great lesson with Annette and Marlon. She really opened up about her past and her feelings. She told us that when we had first come to knock on the door she didn't want to answer because Marlon wasn't taking his medication and was acting up. She watched us knock and walk away and she prayed that God would send us back. Well, thanks to Marlon asking for a Book of Mormon we came back and it's been a blessing to us and them. Hopefully the gospel will continue to change their lives for the better.
We went and saw Rose again this week and helped her put up a medicine cabinet. She really appreciated that; yay for service! We went to see a couple that we met a little bit ago, Janice and Herold. Janice is really ill and appreciated our visit. I don't know if they will ever progress but they are nice people who are open to us and who need a pick-me-up every now and again. We made contact with a few others this week but nothing else super special.
Finding wasn't too bad though. We found a couple solid potentials, Dawson and Abby. We tracted into them on two different occasions in two different places so don't get too confused there. Dawson was open to hearing our message and we are going to try and see him sometime this week. Abby was a cool story. Last night was the President Nelson devotional and we were told we could watch it. Well, without and investigator there and without a ride we didn't want to bike all the way up to the church. So we decided we would watch it from home off of our neighbors Wi-Fi (shout-out to the Hills). We came on later than it started though, around 8:00pm and it must have already ended so we didn't have access to it. Instead of sitting inside for the rest of the night we went to make some follow up visits near our apartment. The first fell through but the second is where we met Abby. She literally told us, "Well I actually have a Mormon friend who lives out in Utah and I am genuinely interested in what y'all believe in..." We set up an appointment for Wednesday!
Brandon was another guy we ran into who seems excited to learn. Elder Holm felt one day to go back to an apartment complex we had previously visited and there wasn't really much work there. But. He couldn't shake the feeling (I learned this after the fact) so we went. We followed up with some people we already knew and then saw Brandon taking some stuff inside his apartment. We offered to help and brought in a keyboard for him. After talking for a bit we learned that he grew up religious and is interested in learning more about other beliefs. We left him with a Book of Mormon and said we would come back Tuesday. He also asked for some convert stories so if yours is amazingly cool and you want to share it with Brandon, type it up and send it it me. It'll be fun to work with him though. Stephanie was another lady we ran into. We actually met her a couple weeks ago but finally went back and were able to teach her a little more about the Book of Mormon and things. She took a copy and was excited to read it. We are looking forward to teaching her more tomorrow as well!
In the midst of all the miracles...
- Sister Latham punished one of her daughters by shaving her head. Literally took a No. 1 all around.
- We met Mr. Teofilo and he took us out to dinner. He and his wife used to be members but now their mission is to feed the missionaries.
- We went to see Cathy again. She's doing great, but not interested in changing churches. Also, the guy who took us out to lunch a few weeks ago who kept saying we believe in a different Jesus because we don't believe in the Trinity--he is their Pastor. Lol! Apparently he talked about taking us out to lunch to his congregation... Great, huh?
- We took a Watchtower off of a door when we were knocking and realized when we got home that there was a handwritten note with it. I felt kinda bad, only kinda though.
- We stopped and asked a lady if she needed help only to find that she was puking next to her car. That was awkward.
- I've been so creative recently: I made a new flag for my bike and made a rubber band ball. Now I'm reading "Discourses of Brigham Young" to keep me busy.
- There was an old, and I mean old, lady about to trim her hedges when we rode by. We stopped to help her and then Elder Holm almost gave her back the electric trimmers to do it herself. Luckily he took them back and did it for her.
- Got caught in the rain one morning. A nice couple let us take shelter in their home so we missed the brunt of it. But we still had to ride home on bikes through it.
- We went to help do service at Camp Hulaco. Pretty place.
- One evening we were going to tract only to find ourselves surrounded by Baptist children putting flyers on doors in the apartment complex. We left and went to another street only to find them again. We were surrounded, so we vacated the area.
- We helped our neighbor move in one evening.
- I talked to two people from Tupelo within an hour of each other. It was fun to talk about NE Mississippi again!
- I got several pieces of parenting advice from Brother Calderwood, the Magonigal and the Roots. I was also recruited to come start a Pediatric Practice in Huntsville.
A lot was done this week and a lot was learned. Reflecting on the week I've noticed that there are a lot of things that help us as missionaries fulfill our mission, that is: tracting, planning, studying, doing service, helping the members, teaching both members and non-members, etc. Though good, all these activities are a means to a greater end. Now, Facebook and other technological tools are also means to that greater end which is to invite others to come unto Christ by receiving the Restored gospel. With a greater emphasis on service in the ward, particularly to the ward members, I worry that the end of helping people be baptized will be lost.
Along with that thought, it's become interesting to me to see the difference between what I desire to do from the beginning of my mission to now. I had a brief conversation the other day with Elder Holm about teaching on P-Day. I stated that even though it is Preparation Day and we need to use that day to prepare for the upcoming week, it's still not "your day." We are still on the Lord's time doing his work and depending on the situation I would feel fine and be totally willing to teach at 12:00pm on a Monday. I said if I had to choose between playing basketball and teaching... "Basketball!" he interjected. "That's where we differ Elder, I would rather teach." Had I been out on my mission just a few months I'm sure I would have felt the same immediate response to basketball. But, over time I guess I've learned that the greatest joy comes from helping, serving, and sharing with others the message of the Restoration. What's an even cooler discovery is that we are all missionaries and are all called by God to do the same, but it's up to us how we are going to prioritize those activities. I've come to realize that the most important things are never about you.
I hope you all have a blessed week!
PS: Check out a cool video Elder Holm and I made up in Facebook about the Book of Mormon!!