I'll fill you in on all the good and bad. So on Wednesday night right before ASL class we took 5 non members on a tour of the building and explained more about what we believe in, etc. It was really good! None of them were interested in learning more, but that's okay because they've had a lot of positive contacts/ interactions with the church and church members and their hearts are softening. We also did some service for a member in our ward who has a raspberry patch with like 100+ bushes. We weeded and picked berries. I think this is my favorite time of year because so many people are growing their own berries and fruit and just let us come and pick some whenever we want. It's the best :)
This week we had back to back days of meetings where we had MLC first and the next day was zone training. Both took about 5 hours each, so it took away from proselyting time, but the trainings were good. We focused mainly on weekly planning and we weekly planned together so we could learn from one another. This new way of weekly planning is hard, but we're seeing miracles from it. Every Thursday we plan out our goals and who we are seeing/ what we are doing for every hour of the day with back ups (and what we plan on teaching them) for the next ten days. It's intense and takes a while. But I know that planning is a skill that is necessary for success not just in the mission, but in life! I'm glad I get to practice it here. Speaking of MLC- while we were there, the public affairs officer from the stake approached my companion and I. I know I've mentioned that with "The Book of Mormon musical" coming to Spokane that the church is doing a lot with the media to put a positive spin on it since it portrays missionaries in such an offensive and incorrect light. Well one of those things is to have a local TV crew follow around a few different companionships of missionaries for the day and do a little news spot on it. So my mission president suggested like 8 companionships for this lady to interview and submit info into the news station. The news station will review the "profiles" and decide which 3 they want to follow around. So... I may be Spokane famous in a few weeks- or... I may not. But it was super flattering that President Mullen would suggest my companion and I to be followed by a news crew!
My 4th of July was good for the most part. We still had to be in to our apartments by 9pm and it's still light out here at that time, so we didn't see any fireworks (plus they're banned in Washington) but we did hear a few that night. In the morning we helped a family move out of their house (the ones who had the brother who moved to Alaska after our cool experience with him my 1st eek here), then went to a ward/ community picnic. For dinner that night we were invited to come to a BBQ with 2 of the senior couple missionaries who work in the mission office. It was us and the AP's and then the office missionaries families. So it was fun, and I'm happy I got some grilled food for the 4th :) It was a really slow day work wise though because EVERYONE was gone to the lake or family's, or a firework show in Idaho. So to combat that, our zone decided to have a lemonade stand! haha. So for an hour, we set up a stand outside our church with a sign saying "Liberty Lemonade: it's free just like our country" We were able to talk to a lot of people about the church and passed off some referrals. Our intent was to give church tours with it, but there weren't any takers on that. So on top of not teaching many lessons, we had 3 investigators drop us (plus the 2 investigators that we dropped on Thursday and Saturday) that makes 5 less people in our teaching pool. I know they are people who weren't ready for the gospel and that we're really just making room for the elect, but it's still disheartening.
One of the ladies that we dropped (stopped teaching) we went to her house a few days later to help her do some cleaning. She's going through chemo and we wanted to still serve her. So she had us wash down her walls in a few rooms. Okay, have any of you seen walls of a smoker's home? When she took down the pictures and clocks there were visible yellow rings around where things were. And when we sprayed 409 on the walls (because soap and water weren't enough) you could just see the grime dripping down. Witnessing that was enough for me to know that smoking is terrible for you. I mean, if that's on the walls, what's on your lungs? Yuck. I think anyone trying to quit smoking should just wash their own walls and that would give them incentive to quit.
Sunday was a rough day. We've been working so hard in this area but it seems that between potentials, less actives, and investigators, we only have less and less people to work with despite all of our efforts in finding and working with members. Our ward mission leader, Brother Petersen, isn't very helpful or motivated. I even fasted about what we should do with our area. We felt like we should ask our bishop what he would like us to do since he holds the keys to missionary work in our area. So when we asked him what he wants us to do, he said he didn't have an answer. It was so disheartening again to not know the direction we need to go. Not to mention I was feeling sick all day (not to a point where I stayed home though) so we just pushed through the day. We had a lot of cancellations of appointments and just kept pushing through. By the end of the day and talking with one of our ward missionaries (because our ward mission leader didn't have any suggestions for us either) we felt like we really needed to focus on our youth and on service. So that's where we're headed now with the work in the Evergreen ward. I have a testimony that God never wants us to stop moving. When we're not sure where to go or what to do, he doesn't want us to just sit around until we feel inspired. He wants us to take some steps in faith. He's not gonna part the water until we get our feet wet a little. And just as Nephi didn't know what he was going to do to get the plates from Laban (after 2 failed attempts) he just went and did because he knew that the Lord ALWAYS provides a means and an answer! I know that's true!
So since this last week didn't feel so great, we're gonna start off this week with a bang. We're teaching one of our investigators, Jason, in our mission president's home tonight with his wife. I'm a little nervous, but really excited! I'll let you know how it goes next week.
I love you all! This gospel is true! And the hard days are what help me to appreciate the good days even more. I know that trials bring the most growth and improvement, and so I'm thankful for difficulties that I am given. Plus, I know it could be worse. I'm so blessed to live in this great country and to be serving my God! Again, I love you all!