Monday, January 20, 2014

"I was born in my religion, I will die in my religion."

Another week has past. Dang, they go by fast.  So this week was a roller coaster. We had some amazing experiences and some very stressful ones. It all began on Tuesday with zone meeting. Since Elder Carlson and I are the zone leaders, it was our responsibility to prepare the 3-hour meeting and teach for a large portion of it. Tuesday morning rolled around and I felt a lot like Brian Reagan.  I awoke to the sound of the alarm and then I realized that it was the day of zone meeting.  My eyes got wide and my mouth dropped and I thought "Oh no. That's today." I had been preparing for weeks and still felt like I had not even started. We had so much to do.  It was a stressful morning.  We were running around like crazy trying to finalize all the little things. Since Elder Carlson and I are both new, we didn't really have any idea what we were doing. I was way nervous. It finally took shape though. It wasn't a very pretty shape, but a shape nonetheless. It turns out that we pretty much shattered everyone's universes.  We taught about finding quality investigators, improving our teaching and recognizing the spirit. There's been some talk floating around that it might become the 139 section of the D&C. We're not quite sure yet though. I'll keep you posted. Just kidding, it was pretty rough.  We have a lot to improve on before next month. 

This last Friday was interviews with the President Stucki.  They were great. The interviews started at 7 in the morning, so Elder Carlson and I were up at 4:45 preparing everything for their arrival. President and Sister Stucki are some great people.  They lead this mission really well.  One of the things I like the best about them is their genuine interest in the lives of each and every missionary.  They really care about everyone.  After the mission, I'll probably call my boy Stucki to hang out on the weekends. 

Sunday was probably one of the most frustrating days ever.  We invited an innumerable amount of people to church and received an innumerable amount of confirmations that they would be there.  We had a grand total of one investigator at church.  I'm stoked that we had one, but I was quite sad that no one else wanted to follow the commandment of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and come to church. It's not like we asked random people either.  We had been conversing and building relationships with these people for weeks. I really wish people would just tell me when they're not going to do something. Man, the frustrations of missionary work in the Philippines. 

After our frustrating Sunday experience, we had a great experience.  Last night we stopped by one of our investigator’s house (who we had a set appointment with) to share a message.  He wasn't there. So Elder Carlson and I looked at our planners and began heading toward our back up plan.  We walked by house of a woman that we had attempted to teach a couple weeks earlier.  In our first meeting with her, she clearly made it know that there is no way that she will ever change her religion and told us that we should stop wasting our time at her house. Ouch.  For some reason, as we walked by her house, we felt that we should stop by and pay her a visit.  So we did.  She welcomed us in and began to repeat her speech about how she will never change her religion.  We told her that we respected her beliefs and expressed that we just want to be friends and have a nice conversation.  She settled down a little bit. All of the sudden, her daughter walked in with her husband and little girl. We began to get to know them and began a very light gospel discussion.  They asked about our missions and why we were here. We talked about missionary work and how we were there voluntarily and weren't getting paid.  That caught their attention. They began asking about the Book of Mormon and other things they had heard about the Mormons. As we testified to them, you could see something change in their countenance.  Their eyes were glued to us as we spoke.  She then addressed the member that was working with us. She asked, "Why were you baptized?" Brother Jason responded that when he heard about the gospel he just knew that it was true. He explained that the knowledge of eternal families was what really stuck out to him and testified to him that the church was true.  It was perfect.  It turns out that Nanay had lost a son last year and was not at peace. We explained about eternal families and the whole atmosphere changed.  The spirit was strong.  They expressed their gratitude for visiting and sharing with them.  They demanded that we come back next week.  As we were leaving, everyone in the house was reinforcing our appointment next week telling us not to forget.  It is amazing to me the effect that the gospel and the spirit can have on our lives. We walked into the house of a woman that was set in her mind that she would never listen to the missionaries.  We left the house of a family that is enlightened and excited to discuss the blessings the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to their lives. Is there a greater calling than that of a missionary?

Well that's about all the time I have this week.  I wish I could just sit here and write every detail of my week.  You gotta love the gospel.  I just want to leave with my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is aware of each and every one of us. He is our Savior and our Redeemer, our brother and our friend.  He is right next to us through our trials; he's sad when we're sad and rejoices when we rejoice.  He is the perfect example and I am striving to become more like him.  

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