What a week, what a week.
We started doing this awesome new thing that we like to call “MEMBER POWER-HOUR” that is definitely as cool as it sounds! We’re trying to improve the work that we are doing with and through the ward and so we have decided to replace our “after dinner spiritual thoughts” with a much more powerful and spiritual moment for all involved. When they don’t have a referral for us at that moment, we get them involved in the finding process and have them refer us to a place that is very Latin and then report back on how many people we spoke to, how many return appointments we have, etc. It really has been so effective! Our very first one was with sweet little Hna. Martinez who feeds us every Thursday. As she was thinking of a spot to send us to, the Spirit brought Maria to her mind, a woman that she didn’t know too well but with whom she had worked in the past! We knew that she had thought of her name for a reason and went over as soon as we could to contact her. It turns out that we couldn’t have come at a better moment! She has been having some pretty severe problems with her abusive husband, and he had just left the house 15 minutes before we arrived. Literally, 15 MINUTES. She has been juggling many options for her future and has been struggling to know what to do in order to give her four children a better environment to grow in. It was amazing to see the Spirit work through a member to put us in the right place at the right time. It was remarkable to see the Spirit work on Maria too! By the end of our visit, she just kept saying over and over how happy she felt and how all of the stress and anger she had been feeling was simply gone. We look forward to continue teaching her and her family.
We also had a boss lesson with another NI, Ana, who had been taught by some sisters in the past. Sis. Ferrari met her on an exchange, and I got to meet her the following day. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her because of some questions she had about it and were able to have yet another powerful spiritual experience. It was truly remarkable to see someone with such pure desires to find truth and real intent. We had contacted 18 different members, inviting them to teach that lesson with us, and finally, we found a winner, Hna. Bonachea. It turns out that she was the exact friend that Ana needed – they instantly clicked and Hna. Bonachea was able to teach and connect with her in a way that we never would have been able to. She is actively searching for answers – elect investigators are really the only way to teach!
This week, Nanci fed us kidneys.
This week, I learned that I do not like to eat kidneys.
Unfortunately, we had to drop our favorite investigator, Michael Jackson. It was a sad night, and we tried to do everything we could to help him realize that in order to receive an answer he needed to act upon the things we were teaching and test them for himself (see Alma 32). He simply just isn’t ready yet and will need some more time for the Spirit to work on him. He said he was going to give it a week on his own and then contact us when he is ready to act. We are counting down the days until we hear from him! Please pray for him!
We found a new complex to knock in and started to do so on a sunny Friday afternoon. On the first floor we found a cute little Cuban couple, a not-so-interested teenager, and a creepy woman who seemed terrified because we knocked her door and would hardly say a word to us but didn’t seem to want to close the door. So we continued upstairs and tried our luck up there. No answer, no answer, then, while knocking on Door #3, Door #4 opened up and some adorable children ran outside with their mom in tow right behind. We gave her a card and she was all excited because she had a good friend who is Mormon, and she continued on down the stairs. We continued waiting at Door #3, watching the young mom go down the stairs (we’re not that creepy, we promise), when suddenly she stopped in her tracks, stood on the stair for a couple of seconds, and then turned around and came back. She told us that she felt like she neede to tell us that we should be careful knocking doors there because drug dealers lived downstairs (that explained the creepy woman) and that not even pizza delivery men were allowed to knock doors there because one had been killed while trying to deliver his pizza. We thanked her profusely and took that as the sign to leave and try a new place. But, how cool is that! I got to see a woman receive and act upon a spiritual prompting, start to finish! Who knows if anything would have happened, but if I’ve learned anything on my mission, I have learned that when the Spirit whispers, first you obey and then you understand.
Our Stake Conference was this past weekend and it was absolutely fabulous! Unfortunately, none of our investigators were able to make it, but we spiritually feasted there. Here are a few of the thoughts I loved:
1. “I guarantee that all of you who haven’t been to the temple in the past few months didn’t go because every day you wrote down ‘Today I will not go to the temple’. You just never wrote down “Today I will”.
2. “None of us can remember what we haven’t truly learned.”
3. Apparently, monkey-catching is a pretty popular pasttime for Cambodian children, according to a returned missionary who spoke in the conference. To do it, they place a monkey treat (nut, dried banana, etc.) in a jug that has an opening just wide enough for the monkey’s hand and arm to fit through. The trick is that the monkey will reach in and grab the treat and therefore make their fist too big to take out of the neck of the jug. Apparently, the monkies never let go of these objects, making them easy pray because they have their hand stuck in the jug. Likewise, we sometimes hold onto things in life that we know we should let go of because they will ultimately lead to our destruction. It was a powerful reminder for me as a missionary to let go of all ungodliness and to give everything to the Lord during this short time I have to serve.
The happiest of happy birthday to my sweetest mother who I love so very, very much!! She’s my favorite!
I love you!!