The title this week sounds bad, but it seemed like it worked because this week has been such an up and down ride. Really, this week has been one of my favorite ones missionary wise, but there have been some other events that have kind of tested my patience and diligence. Ill go ahead and start with the harder parts of the week so that I can end on the great parts! Going through this week has helped my testimony grow in the fact that everything that we go through, as long as we are following the spirit, is for our good because Heavenly Father loves us.
- To start the week off I was extremely disappointed with the companion I got. President Anderson had told Elder Sumpter that I might be training this transfer, and I was very excited for that (training is something that I look forward to). He had hinted the same thing in the interview I had with him. And then I got the transfer news that my new companion is Elder Thatcher, which of course meant I wasn't going to be training, and then on top of that I heard so many bad things about him as a missionary and how all he wants is leadership, and how stuck up he is. I tried my best to keep an open mind, but its hard when so much negative things are being thrown at me about him.
- Then as I am putting my shoes on to work out I noticed a huge rip that happens to be in the perfect place for my little toe to hang our very comfortably, the last part of the being sarcasm. That was real exciting to find out about considering I still have 20 months of P-days that they need to be used.
- And now to top off the negatives... We were tracting a couple days ago when I set my scriptures on top of our car, and my scriptures are in the same carrying case that holds my camera so that if I ever need it I have it readily available. We walked away to see someone for a couple minutes and then when we came back my scriptures, and everything with them, were gone. We searched all over the place, and have gone back each day since, but it is now pretty official that my scriptures as well as my camera are gone. Great huh? No camera, no scriptures, and no idea how to fix it.
Now reading through what I just wrote it sounds extremely negative, which was just the affect I was going for so that everyone can see that despite all of this happening my week has been incredible and there is no way I would have skipped it if I had the option. Sometimes I don't understand how God is working, but because of this week I am learning more that if I put my trust in him things will work out how they are supposed to. So lets go into why my week has been so great!
- My companion is awesome! Weird huh? Turns out the Spirit knew what it was doing when President Anderson was told to put Elder Thatcher and I together. All of the arrogance that others saw in him has simply been because he is not confident in himself and doesn't want to show it. Its true that he wants to be in leadership, but that's just because he wants others to look at him and think that he is a good missionary, not because he is full of himself. Since the Spirit has helped me see this I went from being defensive with him to wanting to help him be the best missionary possible. After just 2 days he has told me that I am his favorite companion so far and it feels like I am training him, which was a little embarrassing at first, and he is likewise helping me become a better missionary. Several times a day he asks me how to improve and wants me to teach him how to be confident at door steps and in lessons. I'm amazed at the thought of how different things could have been if I decided to just grin and bear this transfer instead of working with him like I should. Plus, he has been out 15 months and has never had a baptism and now he gets to come into an area where we already have 3 people on date to get baptised. What an incredible blessing for both of us.
- A couple days ago we devoted much of the day to tracting. After two hours he starting making comments about how useless tracting is and that we were wasting our time. I admitted that Ventana Ranch has very little success with going door to door, but that it is still important to do so that we are worthy of greater blessings in other areas of missionary work. We stopped after two hours of little success and went to an appointment we had and discovered that they weren't home, and we had nothing else planned for the two hours we had left until dinner. So to his disappointment, and even mine a little, we went out and tracted another two hours near where dinner would be. Still there was little success until the last part of it, and then the blessings poured out upon us. We were knocking on a door, no one home, when my companion looked over his shoulder and decided to let me know that a very attractive girl was walking by with her dog. Excited to talk to SOMEONE I turned right away and yelled out "Would you like to learn about how you can have an eternal family?", one of my favorite lines that I have come up with to start conversations. She shrugged and said that she was Baptist and started to walk away, so I replied happily that we are Christian as well and began walking with her. Pretty soon we were teaching her the first lesson and now she is excited to learn more and we are giving her a church tour on Wednesday. Then right after this another man walked by getting his mail and I asked if he knew Christ visited the Americas. He said no and that he was very tired and will talk to us later. I noticed he was wearing a fireman shirt and asked if he knew Rick Healy, who is also a fireman and was just baptised. Turns out this guy, Mike, is his boss and we started a conversation which resulted in him asking us to come into his home to tell him more. In the end he told us that it 'just so happends' that he is having a lot of family trouble and was looking for the right church and he accepted the Book of Mormon and is reading and praying about it. We were 10 minutes late for dinner :-)
- Just a couple days ago we went back to the street where my scriptures were lost and decided to look one last time, and did not find anything. So then we decided to go walking around the neighborhood in hopes of finding people outside to talk to. To our surprise there was not a single person the entire time we walked around so we came back to our car ready to leave. As we were about to get in my companion suggested checking the storm drain behind us, and with high hopes we walked over to it, but still found nothing. Then, we had a prompting to walk around the block back to our car instead of just walking backwards, and as we were coming around the last corner we saw a man working on his car. I called out asking if he needed help, and its a good thing he said know because I know almost nothing about engines. So then I asked if he could show us his car and he excitedly accepted the offer. After about 20 minutes of talking he said that he would love to meet with us again and talk about the church. Isn't it funny how the miracles always wait until the last second to happen? Later we were talking to a member who said he had been several houses up and he had watched the whole time, and he said he could tell we were following the spirit as we walked and that he enjoyed seeing us work.
- We met with the Healys again and they are still doing incredible. I guess the anti-Mormon grandma is not giving in at all but the family is handling it very well, and even getting more bold about how they talk to her. The family is now preparing a Book of Mormon with their testimonies written inside to give to her, and they said they are just hoping she doesn't throw it across the room. The interesting thing is that even though she is still very against the church she said that she has felt better in their home recently, but she refuses to admit its because of the spirit.
- Jeremy is getting baptised! I don't know if I have told you about him, but he is a friend of a family in the ward. One night he asked to stay the night and they allowed him to only if he agreed to come to church. He has been to church almost every week since and is now taking the lessons and getting baptised on the 10th. He is one of the most impressive young men I know. He is only 16 and he is already reading Preach my Gospel with the Book of Mormon and said he is excited to serve a mission. Then this last weekend he got kicked out of his home for meeting with us, and still would not give up his desire to be baptised. He stayed with the member family for a little while but finally his dad let him come back. Now his father says he wants nothing to do with the church but has agreed to allow Jeremy 'freedom of religion'. This young man is so in tune with the spirit and already has such a strong testimony that nothing can stop him from progressing!
- Nothing good has come from my ripped basketball shoes, yet, lol
There are so many incredible stories from this week, and so many miracles that have happened but I have to get going. I want to thank all of you for your many prayers in my behalf though, and hope you continue to pray for me and those I am teaching. If anyone needs prayers from my end Ill be happy to give them!