"hola todos!" (-martha sharp, mormon battalion)
welp. mostly i cant believe it's the end of october. it still feels like august down here.
GEORGE is INCREDIBLE. he is going to be the best member of the church ever! he is still progressing very well. this week we had a lesson at the harrell's, our ward mission leader's house. we watched "joseph smith, prophet of the restoration" with him. that movie is a miracle worker, let me tell ya. he was so appreciative that we showed it to him, things made much more sense to him and it really touched his heart as well. (humankind... i swear that movies are the only thing left that really get people's attention. :P good thing heavenly father can use technology too!) the spirit was strong. during the closing prayer, which he offered, he said, "i do believe that this is christ's true church." :D GEORGE HAS A TESTIMONY! and then, the next day, the harrells brought him down to the mormon battalion and we got to give him a tour! he loved it. he kept saying, "i had no idea that the mormon church had such a rich history." and THEN, they took him to the temple grounds! he had a night full of the spirit and he just really enjoyed himself. the next day at church, he brought us a HUGE flower arrangement to say thank you!! it was SO sweet. he brought one for the harrells as well! (i don't know if i told you, but any time we have a lesson at a member's house and they provide treats or whatever, he sends them a thank you card. and he remembers the name of every single person he meets.) i was going to take a picture of it to show you, but i forgot. :( but i will send one with us and the harrells and him. i am so excited for george! last hurdle to overcome is coffee... we're teaching him the word of wisdom tonight. pray that his testimony is strong enough that he will be willing to give it up!
something else really awesome happened this week. we received a referral from mormon.org... usually those don't turn out very solid. but we always contact them anyway. we showed up at this guy's house--his name is ryan--and he invited us right in. that was the first shock. we sat down and started talking... and there were a couple of words he and his wife used that made me wonder how much they'd been around the church... like "ward" and "bishop." it didn't take long before we figured out that they were actually already members. i was kinda disappointed at first--i thought this was going to be a really solid investigator! haha. but then they told us what brought about the referral, and it's super cool... ryan is a convert, but he converted with his older brothers when he was like ten, so he never really gained a solid testimony. alyssa is a life time member. after they got married (they were never sealed), they went totally inactive. they've been inactive for about 10 years now. however... they also have two little girls. (kendall, the 6 month old, is SO. STINKING. CUTE. i get really distracted by her when we try to teach them. :P) and lately they've been thinking about what will be best for their family... so ryan put his own name in the referral system to request a missionary visit! this a change stemming directly from their own desire. we don't even have their records on our ward list, so we never would have contacted them. they asked us to teach them discussions... they really want help to get going in the right direction. HOW COOL IS THAT?? all day, every day, we ask people to change... we plead with them to make changes in their lives so they will be blessed. and here are two sweet people who want to gain a real testimony all on their own so their family can be happy! man. so amazing. we are so excited to help them back to the fold. :)
there's another man named bruce who is less active--can't remember if i've written about him before--that we're also teaching. when we showed up at his door, his first reaction was, "man, you guys just keep finding me!" but he warmed up to us after a while and told us we could come back. "when the boys come, i send them away," he said. "but i can talk to girls." :) bruce just needed sisters. so cool to know and feel that i am NEEDED. and that i could be an instrument in the lord's hands specifically for bruce. so we've taught him 3 or 4 times now... and guess what? :) this sunday, bruce CAME TO CHURCH for the first time in 50 YEARS. :) :) :) heavenly father was definitely smiling down on that one. (also, bruce needed some help putting up his brand new ping pong table, which i gladly agreed to... :) he he. that was fun.)
i had an awesome "i can't believe i'm really a missionary" moment this week, too. last week we stopped a guy named randy on the street and talked to him for a minute... he said we could come back, but we weren't sure how interested he really was. he was really nice though, so we gave it a shot. on sunday night, we went back to his apartment, and he had TONS of questions, as did his roommate. they were truly curious though, and respectful--they weren't like "trying to prove you wrong" questions. suddenly, as i was just sitting there, it hit me how cool this was: here i was, sitting in a COMPLETE stranger's HOME, having a religious discussion and sharing my testimony with two men who had no idea who we were, but who let us into their house simply because we stopped them on the street and had the spirit in our countenances. THAT is the power and authority of my calling. THAT is why it's so cool to be a missionary. THAT is why i love what i do. and after i leave, i will never be able to do anything like that again. :( i'm really, really sad about that. i will miss those experiences with all my heart. but holy smokes, i am so grateful that i'm here! :) :) randy and ramon did not decide that they wanted to keep learning. but they said they would read the book of mormon we left with them, and i know our visit was a critical part of their eventual conversion. i have no doubt they will both find the truth someday. how amazing to see their journey from heavenly father's eyes. and all because we said hello and asked if we could pet his dogs. :) I LOVE THIS WORK.
so things are going well. we have some other investigators too that have a lot of potential. we're working on them right now, i'll let you know how they progress. :)
i love you! so much! :) thanks for all your love, prayers, and support.