This week just flew by! I have so many things to tell, and there just isn`t nearly enough time. I`ll have to be content with the time I do have. I do have one request...can someone, if at all possible, send me some updates of the other missionaries that are out/about to leave? A DearElder letter would be cool from their blog every once in a while...but I know Addison, Zach Oldham, Kirk Whitcoff, soon to be Forrest, Rob, Rick, and whoever else is out...just a few here and there would be cool!
So this week kinda started off on a rough note. On Tuesday night we had Branch Council meeting. It was a disaster. We had to make yearly goals as far as baptisms. It`s up to the leaders for the numbers on this one, it`s a branch goal. We told them that 4 a month is very reasonable for each companionship, and that if we had membership help, we could definitely accomplish that. However, they disagreed. They got into arguments about how none of the organizations do anything, and it just fell apart. The branch president doesn`t really know how to take control, so it just didn`t turn out well. They decided that 4 was way to high, and that it would be stretching us to reach 1 every month. I was pretty disappointed. I think JUST us missionaries could bring one every month, and with membership help, 4 wouldn`t be a problem. But that was their goal, so that is what we reported to President Chipman.
However, that was Tuesday! A lot changed since then! We worked really hard this week, Elder Ramirez and I. I had a lot of really spiritual experiences. I am learning more and more about letting the spirit speak through me, and how to truly love each person I meet. On Thursday, we had our interviews with President Chipman. I asked him about how I can learn to teach better by the spirit and he told me to make sure I really learned every doctrine principle. Well enough that I had a very strong testimony in it, so I could really feel the principle. Thats helped me a lot with my personal study, and I`m learning a lot now! I also asked him about the leader situation, and how I could motivate them and less active members to really want to come back or work. He told me that the Atonement is the key. It`s so true though! When someone truly has a testimony of the Atonement, they WANT to work. They want to bring others to the gospel to feel the joy that the Saviour can bring them. The joy that only the restored gospel, with the full knowledge of His sacrifice, can bring. I put that into effect, and already am seeing the difference in members and leaders! I`m also growing in my personal testimony of the Atonement.
This week we met a man that is an alcoholic. His son, Broc, is a less active. We taught them two lessons, and I really tried to bear my testimony of the Atonement both times. The first lesson was pretty amazing. We didn`t know about his addiction, and just went in to teach. I had the prompting to teach lesson three about the gospel, and focus on repentance. Well, I did, but it turned into more of a lesson on the Atonement and on how we can change our very nature by turning to Christ. It was amazing. He started to cry...and talked about how he really wanted to change and just didn`t know how. He was soaking up every word I spoke as I told Him how Christ could change his very desires if he was truly willing to repent. The next lesson we taught the restoration, but more about how the restored gospel is here to help him. I have a lot of faith that he can change, and that as he puts more faith in God, he will be a lot better.
On Saturday, we had a pretty tough morning! We knocked over 35 doors, and didn`t get into a single one! That is very unusual here, and I got a bit discouraged. I didn`t feel discouraged, still confident, just a little bit of a doubt if I was following the spirit or not. That afternoon I said a prayer and plead that God would direct my path. In the afternoon, it started off the same. All of our appointments fell through, and we were left to knocking again. This time though, I felt something pulling in a certain direction. I looked down one street and just felt good about it, so I went. I looked down another, felt nothing, so I just continued. The spirit literally led me to the door of a 19 year old, Elvis Smith. We knocked, and my companion tried to get in, but he refused. For some reason, I just started to talk, and bore my testimony of how the restored gospel was here again and that it could heal whatever challenges we had gone through in this life, and that we were sent to his door to help him. He let us in! The lesson went equally as great, and he actually seemed to be pretty interested! I hope he progresses, but if not, it was an experience that showed me that God loves me and is looking out for me.
That evening, in 3 and a half hours, we taught SIX lessons. It really was a miracle. I know that Heavenly Father was showing me that if I`m humble and have courage, He will direct my paths. I may have some days where I don`t have a single lesson, but that doesn`t mean I am faulting anything, there truly is opposition in all things.
Today for P day we had pizza!!! It was pretty delicious! Not like in the states...but still good.
I hope you all know how much I love you all. I`m working hard down here, trying my best to bring people to the knowledge that we`ve all been blessed with for years. Sometimes it`s not easy, but it`s definitely worth it. Heavenly Father blesses me so much with His spirit and His guidance it is incredible. Remember that each one of you has the right to His guidance and that He`s there for you. If you`re not reading and praying every day, repent and do it! It makes a HUGE difference. Even missing one day can be devestating to your spiritual health.
Love you all! Please keep sending letters. They mean the world to me down here! Mom, haven`t gotten the package yet, probably next monday. Oh! And if you are changing addresses for some reason let me know ASAP!! Chelsey, will you be living at home this summer? I need to know because I think my next letter will reach you after school ends...all of you, please send an address if it changes!
Tons of love,