Dear Mom and Dad,
This week like was an absolute adventure. As each week has, there were times of frustration and times of blessings. Before I left the MTC I told one of the sisters in my district (who coincidentally now lives in the same apartment as me)... "I never been so excited to to be so scared in my life". I've done some pretty scary lifetime time too, just saying, none that are nearly as scary as spiders, but still pretty scary. Missions however are hard, scary, full of joy, and all together awesome. My companion got sick this week. I think she had a sinus infection or something, but the point is that she needed a fair bit of rest. It's weird staying in your apartment when there is work to be done, but missionaries are human and we need rest sometimes too. While she was sleeping I read a few chapters in Jesus the Christ. It's thick, I know, but if you haven't read it, read it. I read abut the salt of the earth today. I've always struggled to understand this metaphor, but the explanation Elder Talmage gave was enlightening. It's in the first part of chapter 17, in case anyone reading my letter wants to look it up.
Yesterday one of the Hermanas from the other companionship that lives in our apartment was sick too. I think she was more exhausted than anything. So I went on splits with Hermana Marin. She's the one from my MTC district. The two of us went out and visited a potential investigator and then taught one of the ward members of the street.
This potential investigator was extraordinary. We found out she was from the Dominican Republic where she worked as a big name reporter (their equivalence of CNN). She was taught by the missionaries for 8 months and I think had a baptismal date, but left for the US because her brother was dying. She was praying to find the missionaries. She found Elders who didn't speak her language but gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she's been reading ever since. Mostly, she's been waiting for the missionaries to come find her...it's all working out though so it's ok. She shared her testimony with us. I felt so blessed to be in the room, Heavenly Father really does prepare people to receive the Gospel. Her heart had been softened and she is ready for great things. I'm excited for her. The other Sisters will be teaching her, so I may never see her again, but she was beautiful. It was a bit of a challenge to find her though. She lives in an attic (as do many people). There were 5 or 6 bedrooms of the top floor/attic of this house, each with a different occupant, and a kitchen in a small general area. There were only door bells to the first two floors of the house though. We knocked, someone who lived on a lower floor let us in, and we went up and found her. How do you have visitors if you don't have a front door?
That was the good....truly, it was a spiritual experience. People like her makes missions wonderful.
We were out trying to visit another potential investigator that night, thinking about whether we should go visit this member who lives across the street, and then, he walked by! We talked to him for a few minutes, asked if he wanted to teach with us, but then the investigator wasn't home. So we taught the member instead, just there, on the street. It was one of the most frustrating conversations of my life. He asked why we had a prophet? What the point of having one was? And why doesn't he just tell us exact steps of what we need to do? Basically, he wanted to be spoon fed by the prophet. I pulled out my scriptures and read to him from Alma, about faith being like a seed, and then how we need to nourish and care for the seed to make it grow. So, we ask questions, we search, ponder, and pray, and that's how we receive personal revelation. He was not interested in that answer. It was too hard to do that and if he gets the answer to one question he has a thousand more, so it's just easier to not ask questions. He was totally missing the point, this is how we grow, we ask questions and search for answers! We ended that by bearing our testimonies, asking him to read the chapter about faith, and challenging him to see what he can learn from it. He seemed pretty annoyed about needing to work for answers, but, that's how the gospel works. We work, God works, the prophet works....that really is how we grow, we work for it.
As I was walking home after that conversation, I thought of a conference talk by Elder Holland, which basically said that we want our investigators and the members to do all these things better, like pray read and go to church, and the Lord wants the exact same thing from us. He wants us and members and even as missionaries to do all these things better. We all need to be improving, every day. I love you, I love hearing from you, I miss you. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is real and it is on the earth. Share it with everyone you know. The missionaries will thank you and so will the Lord.