I'm gonna start off by being brutally honest. This week was hard. Not teaching wise, but staying focused wise. I had so many trunky moments. I wasn't homesick or anything, but just kept getting distracted by worldly things and reminiscing/ daydreaming about stuff I'll get to do when I get home, etc. It doesn't help that my companion is way homesick. We actually came out together so we've been out the same amount of time. She keeps counting down the days until we go home/ get to Skype and mentioning stuff from home (like listening to (non-church) music, boating, homecomings, etc.) So it's been hard for me to get her to focus, and in turn get myself to focus. Any advice on how to combat this? I want to be completely focused on the work and consecrated... I'm just struggling with the how right now.
This week we taught Phyllis. She was diagnosed with breast cancer not too long ago and just started chemo therapy treatments. It's been really hard on her. We taught her the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation 2 weeks ago and this last week we taught her the 2nd half. We brought a woman with us in our ward who is a breast cancer survivor and had her talk about how knowing about the Plan of Salvation helped her to get through that trial. It was a really powerful lesson! It'll be hard to see Phyllis consistently though because she doesn't feel well between treatments. Later that day we went to try talking to Phyllis's sweet old neighbor who is a former investigator. We asked her right off about her interest level and she said she was only having missionaries come by because it was good company. She said she'd studied Mormonism and a bunch of other religions before deciding on the church she's at now. We asked her if she has a copy of the Book of Mormon. She said she had 2 and one was really old. She pulled them both out. One was the blue one we pass out and the other was probably from 1920ish. It was way old. So I started flipping through it and got this weird feeling... it turns out it was a re-translated Book of Mormon from the Reorganized LDS church. I was reading in the preface and it talked about all of the changes they made to it. So we're going back this week to let her know that it's not a book associated with our church but with a break off. I don't know why I didn't mention anything before. I'm kicking myself for not doing that right then.
We had MLC and a zone training this last week. It gave me a huge boost! I get so uplifted from those. I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of them. Our ward correlation meeting was this Sunday (dad knows what these are) And it's the 1st one we've had since I've been here. We're supposed to have them once a week and this is my 5th week here! This ward is just so different from 9 Mile. I miss how missionary minded everyone was there. Out there our auxiliary leaders were constantly asking "What can we do to help you?" Out here our ward mission leader asks them "What can the missionaries do to help you?" And yes, we're here to help them... but the difference in that one question alone changes the whole wards view of their role as members. We don't even have a ward mission plan... It's May. Things will get better. I'm praying really hard to know how to help the ward and what we as missionaries can do to start changing the culture. I have faith that Sister Richardson and I can help get the work going here and get the members fired up.
So... bad news bears. Patrick and Stephanie aren't getting married on the 24th anymore. This is actually a blessing though. We've been feeling this past week that Patrick isn't quite ready to be baptized yet. He doesn't seem like his countenance has changed much or that he's making changes to his life that show he's wanting to follow Christ. Well, while on exchanges he starts going off about how he's not ready to be married yet, etc. I basically had to handle this by myself since the sister who was out with me had no idea what was going on. It was a little stressful, but I explained to him that we wanted him to make sure he was getting married for the right reasons and not just to be baptized. He said he wanted to be baptized but not get married. So I reminded him about how living the law of chastity is required to be baptized- meaning he either needed to get married to his fiance or he and Stephanie would have to get separate apartments. I know he'll be baptized one day because he understands and accepts what we've taught him. But he's just not at a point in his life where he's wanting to live it. He doesn't feel like he needs to be Christlike, just that he needs to know about Christ. I know that this life is all about progressing and changing for the better. Christ didn't live and die for us so that we could just have some cool stories to read in the Bible and feel like we could continue sinning because he already paid the price. He did it to show us the way; to give us hope; to watch us change and improve our lives as we become more like Him!
This week during one of our lunch breaks there was a knock on the door. I went to answer it because my companion was taking a nap. There were these 3 women in dresses and one says "Well you're dressed up today!" ... then she sees my name tag and says "Oh... are you about to go out to work?" I thought this was maybe someone from the ward who wanted to visit with the old woman we live with, so I asked who they were. She says "We're the Jehovah's Witness" and gets really uncomfortable. She said they were sharing a scripture about how Satan is the ruler of this world from 1st John 5:19 and she reads it to me. It sounded so weird. I asked her what version of the Bible she was reading and she said the New World Translation. I said "Oh. We read the King James version because it's the most correct and has been translated way less times." She didn't really appreciate that. But when I went down and read that same verse in the Bible it says something completely different. It's crazy how much one persons interpretation of the Bible can completely change the meaning of things! Anyways, I was really friendly with her and they asked me a few questions about what being a Mormon missionary was like. All in all it was good... But SO weird being on the other side of the door! I can see how some people might think we're weird haha!
We had another lesson this week with our recent convert, Kalli. She's 16 and having a hard time adjusting. But we found a less active family where the mom was baptized at 16 and is also the only member in her family. Kalli came with us to see the Ruegsager's. We got them bearing testimony to each other and taught them from Moroni 6:4 about the importance of going to church. It was so cool!
I'm running out of time. I wish I could share with you all that I'm learning in my studies! I started reading "Jesus the Christ" on my lunch breaks and I'm learning the coolest things. I'll have to be sure to share some first thing next week.
Oh one more thing. Last night some of the sisters serving in the other ward came by to pick up the car that we share half the week. There was miscommunication and they showed up last night when they don't get it until today. Anyways, my companion and I are planning in our living room in the basement and the 2 sisters jump down the window well to get our attention. I screamed the most blood curdling scream I've ever yelled in my life (other than the time Elise scared me in the dark when I thought I was home alone and she grabbed me and covered my mouth...remember that one Elise??)! I almost started crying and my adrenaline was pumping like crazy. I found out that in "fight or flight mode" I'm more of a flight. It was funny.
Well, I'm off. I love you all and I love this gospel! :)
Sister Megan Metcalf