So on Wednesday afternoon we had a fantastic lesson about the Book of Mormon with the Cardenas family. We read through the Book of Mormon issue of the Ensign with them and answered their questions. They were all just super hungry for knowledge about how the Book of Mormon was translated. It was cool because it went a lot deeper than most lessons and they just took it all in and kept asking for more information. It was a lot of fun.
We went to the Book of Mormon class Wednesday night but sadly all of our investigators who normally come were sick, so we dipped out a little early and went tracting. We talked to a lot of nice people, and they talked to us for quite a while, but ultimately were content with where they were at. We met a really nice guy named Dan who let us explain more about the Book of Mormon. We ultimately asked him, "If there really was a prophet on the earth today, what would that mean to you? And what would you have to do to know if he was a true prophet?" He said, "It would mean that I would have to follow him like the Children of Israel followed Moses. I would also have to learn about him, read his teachings, and examine his fruits like Jesus counseled us to do during the sermon on the mount." I told him that the Book of Mormon was the fruit of modern day prophets and apostles, that we were here to give him the fruit to examine, and if he would examine it he would promised countless blessings from God. He looked at me in the eye, then looked at the Book I was handing him. He reached out to take it and then pulled his hand back and said, "I can't do that. I'm fine where I'm at. I mean I want to, I respect what you are doing, but I'm just not ready to do that. God has blessed me with enough. When I am ready for more, I'll seek it out." And then he walked inside. The Spirit was so strong as we testified to him! He was so prepared! He taught us all about the pre-earth life and about the apostasy and told us exactly what he was looking for! And we offered it to him in its fullness! Then he balked and walked away from it. It broke our hearts. He was the last contact of the night, and I just wanted to cry. It killed me. Luckily he invited us back, but I don't know how it'll go.
Thursday we had district meeting. Then I learned how to drive a giant van with a trailer on it and how to back a trailer. Then we had a transfer board meeting until 6:30 PM, the Miracles (that's actually their name) had us over for dinner. It was fantastic. They are working with some friends and hopefully will be inviting them over soon to hear the lessons.
Friday was super spiritual. Mostly we just worked on logistics for transfers, but we had a great lesson with Nick and Jessica. We received counsel from the Lord that morning on how to help them quit smoking. We were directed to the story of Naaman in the Old Testament and how he was healed. We paid close attention to the instructions Elisha gave him. We realized that we were the messengers sent by the prophet to Nick and Jessica, and that in order for them to be healed they had to do some specific things with exactness. We were told that they were to be given 13 cigarettes each. They could do whatever they wanted with them over the next week, but no matter what, they could not smoke more than 13, they couldn't buy more, and they had to throw away their ash trays on Saturday night and fast from Saturday night to Sunday night in order to be healed. This Sunday night we are fasting with them, as well as the Tophams, and on Sunday night President Topham is giving them a blessing. We shared all this with them and they took it all in. They agreed to live the commandments we gave them, and when Jessica opened up her cigarette pack to count out how many she had left, she had exactly thirteen. Crazy, huh?! How could we have known that? So far, she's doing great. She said the first day was really tough, but after that initial difficulty things have been going well.
Jess is also really grateful for your letter. She said that has really helped. She has tried a lot of your suggestions and they have worked well for her.
President took us and the office couples out to dinner at this nice Chinese restaurant on Friday because of our work on the logistics and transfers. It was a lot of fun. We went back to the office after that and worked some more.
Saturday we worked on logistics. At noon we went to a ward picnic and played softball for 2 hours. Then we did logistics all day until we had to go to the church at 7. Elder Gerratt taught the Cardenas family how to speak English while I went with a member to take Sue on a tour of the church. It was incredibly spiritual. When we got to the Relief Society Room, we explained how the purpose of the church is to shape us through Christlike service into who we are supposed to be. We explained that the Priesthood Quorums and Relief Society work together to organize service among the members and in the community. She started crying, and then she told us that the year before she was the recipient of one of their service projects. She had been having health problems and had tons of unfinished projects in her backyard. Her neighbor asked if the church could help, and she said yes. She said it touched her heart when 50 smiling people showed up the next week with donuts for her and for them and with their own tools. She said, "It was like one big family. They were all so kind and smiley. Not a soul complained. And they didn't ask anything of me, and that made me want to help. It changed my life. I felt something that day, and I knew I had to be a part of it. So when the missionaries [Elder Gerratt and Elder Christensen] knocked on my door, I wanted to hear everything they had to say." THAT is the power of service. THAT is why wards are so important and why it is so important to participate in ward functions. Because of that day of service last year, Sue will be getting baptized in October.
Sunday, we went to church and had one of the most powerful testimony meetings of my mission. The members really trust us and missionary work seems to be becoming more of a focus among the members generally. It is really exciting when Brother Whiting takes us right over to his neighbor's house to introduce us or when Brother Reik gives out 3 Book of Mormons at work or when Sister Hoskin tells us about how she invited her tennis coach to hear the lessons. It's also exciting when they bear their testimonies about how great it is to be missionaries. It was really powerful. So much love in that meeting. I really enjoyed it.
I taught gospel principles class. It was on the Word of Wisdom. I didn't plan that. haha Jess looked at the lesson and said, "For real? Come on!" haha it was really funny. We all laughed. But we had a really fun lesson examining the blessings of the Word of Wisdom. It was great.
After church we finished logistics. We worked from 2 PM to midnight. I'm pooped.
Today has been great! I'm now writing to you at President's house. It was a blast picking up the new missionaries from the airport. They are all eating dinner right now. They are so ready to go and to work! Such examples of faith and energy and diligence. It makes me want to be the best missionary I can be and to keep setting a good example for them to follow. Elder Lozano, due to some problems with paperwork, actually had to drive in from New Jersey. He's a really cool kid. He showed up earlier than the other Elders and hung out in the office with us for about an hour. It was sad when his parents had to say goodbye. His dad cried. His mom held it together until she got in the car... it was sad to see. It reminded me of saying goodbye to you guys. I love you! Thanks for being such great parents.
Anyway, he helped us pick up the other 8 elders from the airport. They're great.
Well, I should get going. Hope you have a great week!