This week was.
Our car was taken by some nortorious Spanish Elders this week (The Spanish Elders don't know how to drive - they got in a wreck, so they had to use our car). This week was Elder Grow's first week on bike.
Our legs are sore. I didn't realize how many hills were in Alexandria until we had to bike them.
Despite our pity woes and complaints, we saw some really amazing miracles!
We had a difficult time at the beginning of this transfer staying in contact with our investigators. A lot of them dropped off the radar. Elder Grow and I took the verse in Moroni 7:12-17 (That which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually). We did our best to call, text and drop by unexpectedly as often as possible this week. As a blessing for our efforts, we caught a hold of Joey! He had just had surgery, and he was in recovery mode. We scheduled an appointment for later this week. Joey is golden - he wants to be baptized. He wants to turn his life around.
It felt so right to see him again. I can name only a few people that I've met since my mission that I'm confident I was sent to speak with. Joey is one of them.
Missions are awesome.
Another great experience happened this week!
Elder Grow and I had just had a long day of going up and down the hills of Alexandria. The weather has been fantastic lately (Reciepe for great weather in Alexandria: a few clouds, a dollop of sunshine, heaps of pollution). We were parched. I prayed for prepared people in our path, and that we would be offered water. We were walking towards an apartment complex, and I heard a door open and shut inside. I promised God that I would speak to them. We got inside, and there was a lady there holding two unopened Deer Park water bottles. I was so excited! I did everything I could to help her see the importance of the gospel - we offered a Book of Mormon, a pamphlet, our card... Even a Finding Faith in Christ DVD. She rejected it all. She didn't offer us water, either. I was disappointed.
Later in the evening, we talked to a guy smoking on his front lawn. He was super receptive, and we got a return appointment. He said we could teach his family! As we were speaking with him, a kind old lady walked by, said "God bless you!" and offered us a fresh, unopened bottle of Deer Park water. Prayers are answered!
This week was really good.
Mom and Dad,
This is a picture of the clay creation Malorie (or Annie?) Made. I've kept that one and two others. The pineapple's my favorite!
Every Monday we go to a delicious Chinese restaurant called "East Moon Cafe," This was found in one of my fortune cookies. I was so touched, I cried into my fried rice ;).
I got my package! And the giant letter! I loved it! I wore the tie on Sunday! No one complimented me! But that's okay, because I have great self-esteem!
Sorry for all of the exclaimation points. I was thinking about Elder Gifford S. Nielson ("Exclaimation point!"). He's a great man. I learned a lot from when he spoke to us a few weeks ago. I learned about how those who enter into the Celestial kingdom are "Valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ." He invited us to pray to be valiant every day. It's something I've done, and I've found that while reading the new testament, I feel even closer to the Savior.
I'm safe and warm and happy - The snow didn't hurt me one bit! (Except I really miss snowboarding :( ).
Thank you so much for all of your love!
Love you right back!
Dear friends and family,
This week was pretty good. We've been struggling with getting in touch with our progressing investigators/investigators on date. We were pretty disappointed to label our most promising investigators as "Former investigators," this week.
Because of this trial, Elder Grow and I decided to work even harder! I learned more about discipline. I also learned how Satan puts discouraging thoughts in our minds when we're on the Lord's errand. It's easy to get caught in a whirlwind of lethargy and levity. As you try harder to be a little better, the "natural man" inside you demands attention. The natural man wants to stay comfortable - to take the easy route when there's an opportunity to become better. That's why good is the enemy to great. It's our purpose to step outside of mediocrity, and become who we were designed to be.
Peter had to "step out of the boat" to walk on water. He could've easily squated in the boat and waited for the Master to subside the storm. But he clung to what he knew was right! He took Christ's invitation, which is to "yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint." (Mosiah 3:19). Peter saw miracles when he battled mediocrity - he walked on water.
Funny experience this week at a member's home. The Anderson's had us over for dinner last night (they invited both sets of missionaries to their home). We asked them if we could do anything to help.
Bro. Anderson said, "If I had a lawn, I'd ask you to mow it," Everyone laughed.
The Andersons were growing basil on their window sill. To give the plants light, they had a LED lamp. Being clever, I offered, "We can change your batteries?" There was a period of awkward silence.
"It's plugged into the wall."
"We can change the bulb?"
"It's an LED; it'll last 30 years."
"... We'll stick around."
My face turned a nice shade of red, and everyone laughed. So embarrassing! And it's always at the member's houses. It's a good thing I don't see them at church every week ;).
There was a snow storm on Thursday. We were commanded by President Riggs to do some service. We didn't have any snow shovels, and we weren't allowed to drive, so we trekked all the way down to the bottom of our area to a Home Depot to buy some snow shovels. Good news! They were sold out.
There was so much snow on Thursday, people are still struggling to walk down the sidewalk without sinking through 4-5 inches of snow.
We're safe and warm, and God is always watching. Thank you so much for your prayers, love and support!
The power of our will is made manifest by the number of times we stand up, brush off, and try again. Peter healed a lame man at the temple. He told him: "look on us," (Acts 3:4) today, things will change. "And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength" (Acts 3:7). Don't squander your potential by allowing yourself to wallow in self pity - take Christ's oustretchted hand and walk.
Transfers were last Thursday. Elder Grow and I are staying in the Alexandria 2nd ward for six more weeks. My address is still 5816 Merton Ct. Apt. 180, Alexandria, VA 22311.
We were fortunate enough to go to the transfer meeting, even though we weren't being moved anywhere new. Our mission president had permission from the brethren to form a mission wide conference.
President Riggs wanted to show us a movie called the "Seratov project?" Or maybe it was the "Seratevo Approach?" I don't remember. My companion keeps teasing me because I keep on getting the name wrong. It was a movie about these two Elders serving in Russia who get kidnapped, beaten, and held hostage. It was pretty emotional. There were a lot of things I learned from watching it.
This past week I've been studying the topic of "suffering." In the book of Hebrews, it says that Christ learned obedience by the things he suffered. In Romans, we learn that we "glory in tribulations," and Peter teaches "that the trial of our faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." The movie taught me that even though things become difficult during the mission, it's worth it. The trials and challenges we have in life, prepare us for the time when we see Jesus Christ. And if we've endured faithfully, we will be rewarded with salvation.
The two Elders, although they suffered more than I will probably suffer while I'm on my mission, continued their service as full-time missionaries. Watching that movie was a great morale booster.
So, speaking of trials and hard times, Elder Grow and I have lost contact with a lot of our promising/progressing investigators. It was a pretty tough week - but it happens. We've just got to keep pushing forward to find the elect.
We did find a family yesterday around 7:00 pm. An Ethiopian woman answered the door, and her husband gave us a big smile and said we could come in (his wife wasn't too happy to see us, they kept arguing in Ahmaric while we were at their doorstep). Reluctantly, she let us inside. We sat down and asked if we could turn off the radio and the television (I don't know why they were going on at full blast at the same time, anyway). They allowed us to turn down the radio, but they refused to turn off the Olympics. They promised to listen to us (they didn't really listen to us :) ). The husband was super excited to talk to more Christians! He always shouted, "Hallelujah!" or, "Amen, amen, amen!" Whenever we said Jesus' name. At that point, it turned into a game of "how many times can you use Christ's name in one sentence?" It was really fun. I even started to shout, "Hallelujah!" once or twice during the lesson.
After we had our fun, we started to teach about Joseph Smith. Elder Grow shared the First Vision wonderfully. It was hard to feel the Spirit because the TV was so loud, but it was present, and for a moment, the husband didn't speak. Or smile. He demanded we leave.
I don't know why, but lately, Elder Grow and I have had to teach prophets/dispensations and about priesthood authority in explicit detail. Every time we tell someone about Joseph Smith, they think we worship him and think he's better than Jesus Christ.
It was a really fun experience. I'll never forget it.
Thank youi so much for the prayers and support!
Find tips and ideas on strengthening your prayers from this compilation of stories told by General Authorities: http://oak.ctx.ly/r/ozdp
Peter's passionate and abiding love for the Messiah is obvious. We know this because he showed it. Christ asked Peter if he loved Him three times, then commanded him, "Feed my sheep." Jesus Christ has extended the invitation. Will we show our Savior we love Him and feed His sheep? (John 21:15-17).
I'm looking forward to a new week!
This Thursday is transfers. We get leadership calls tonight and transfer calls tomorrow. SO! If you are planning on sending me any letters/packages, please hang on to them until I tell you if I've been transferred or not. Thanksomuch!
The beginning of this week went by really quickly, but the last couple of days felt like an eternity.
We found a woman from Ethiopia... Well, she's actually from a country that's north of Ethiopia. I don't remember what it was called, but she said I pronounced it with a perfect accent when we met her. It's kinda funny how we met her. We had forgotten where one of our potential investigators lived. We were looking where we thought his home was, when instead, we knocked into Arsema. I don't remember exactly what we said to her, but whatever it was, it was clearly guided by the Spirit. She told us her sister had died, and she broke down in tears. She told us she was angry with God for taking her sister from her, and she was trying to make things right with Him again. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and invited her to come to church with us. The closing prayer was so powerful - I had a hard time holding back tears myself.
I've had moments in my mission before where I knew I was sent to this mission to speak with them. This was one of those moments.
Sunday was really awesome, too! Our investigator that took us to the Ethiopian restuarant came to church! He wrote my name in Amharic on my planner, so that was a plus. He really liked all 3 hours of church. He's kinda funny, because he thinks that everything that his church teaches and everything our churche teaches is the same. Except for a few important things, like the Godhead, the sacrament, and the Plan of Salvation, etc. Regardless, he's a really neat guy. We finally were able to help him understand prophets and dispensations this past week - now he understands why it's so important to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. He said he's read through the entire Book of Mormon! He just needs to go through it again to "get all the details."
At the end of the Sacrament meeting, the person offering the closing prayer asked for a blessing to be placed on the super bowl, and that "everyone would have fun at their superbowl parties," and that they would all be "safe in their superbowl parties." It was pretty funny. You just had to be there.
Thank you all for your prayers, love and support.