My email title comes from Ward Conference at church yesterday. All the stake leaders came and taught the lessons and it reminded me of when the fancy Capitol people visit District 12 in Hunger Games. That is really the perfect way to describe it. I was pretty impressed with my accurate comparison ;)
Another wonderful week in the mission field! Highlight: we were able to teach a ton! We got 29 lessons this week and this coming week we're hoping for 30. We are really working at getting lessons with members, that helps so much. Lowlight: N, S, and N's mom got cold feet on Friday and they backed out of their baptism. Honestly, I was somewhat expecting that. They back out of their baptism a couple moths ago with some other elders. We are planning on S and N getting baptized this coming Sunday. N will have to wait a little bit longer. I know that S and N are ready but it will take a miracle for their to be able to realize that and make that commitment. Please keep them in your prayers this week.
It amazes me how little I do as a missionary. I feel like we are literally just lead to those people who are prepared (with the help of the members). God knows where his children who are searching are and he just takes us there! And once we are there, we do our best to teach effectively so they understand, but it is only through God that they can come to know the truth. I really do nothing. Every lesson we are able to teach is a blessing the God gives us, every person we are able to meet is from God. It is SO DANG COOL.
On Monday we were trying to contact a Less Active, T, who lived by our dinner (another LA, surprise surprise ;) and we could not find her apartment so we finally went to dinner. After dinner we were walking to the car and we hadn't invited anyone to be baptized that day. I really didn't want to remind Sister H because she had forgotten and I was getting so tired of walking up to people and inviting them. But it kept bothering me and I finally reminded her. She pointed out a guy outside and we went over to talk to him. When we invited him and he told us that his girlfriend was Mormon. We asked "Is your girlfriend T??" And he said "Yeah!" and showed us where his apartment was and now we are going to try and meet with them! Like I said, God just guides us to people!
That night we went to have a lesson with an active member and they are this adorable old couple in the ward who houses the elders. She was telling about one missionary who was sick and kept moaning and groaning and being so loud. She says "I wanted to yell at him, shut up! I've had 6 babies and I never made that much noise!" hahahahaha.
We also had a lesson with S, N, and N. N's friend Awas there too (J's son) and when we were talking about baptism he said "My dad and I are getting baptized at the end of July!" He had overheard us setting his dad with a baptismal date and assumed it was for him too! It's cool when we can set people with a date without even asking ;) I don't know that the end of July will actually happen because Jis not really committed to quitting smoking but we are trying really hard to help him find the strength to do it.
Wednesday we met with a potential investigator, B. She's 27 and lives with her 10 year old daughter. She told us how she is really confused because there are so many churches and she doesn't know which one to join. She is so prepared to hear the gospel! She was excited to read the Book of Mormon and find out for herself if it is true.
Then we had to go and teach N. and S. about the law of chastity. I don't know about you but I've never had to teach a 9 and 10 year old about the law of chastity. It was soooo funny. I started out "So, the law of chastity." and just kind of stopped then Sister Htook over and said some very vague things trying to avoid actually saying anything. I was laughing to myself so badly. Finally I just said "the law of Chastity means you don't have sex until after you're married" and then of course explained because it is a sacred thing from God and all that good stuff. But I'll never forget that moment. Shows how immature we are.... But you would all be laughing too. So no hating.
Thursday we found a new investigator named S, her dad is a recent convert but he's pretty much less active already. She is 27 and has been through the worst life ever. Her mom was murdered, she fell into drugs and had to give up her daughter, got divorced, etc. This being said, she is now one of the happiest people. She has somehow found the power to forgive everyone who has wronged her in her life. She let it all go and is such an example to me. She is a pretty solid investigator, because she LOVES the church, just knows nothing about it!
Friday we had a lesson with our investigators J and his granddaughter J. We brought the Bishop with us to this lesson and thank goodness we did because J's ex wife was there and she was... I don't even know how to describe it. Let's just say that when we got out of the lesson Bishop said, "Was she drunk?" J is adorable she always answers the door with her Book of Mormon in her hand and runs to the table to eagerly tell us what she had read. This week she had put book marks in every section she liked and written down all of the verses in a little notebook. I was just beaming, she read way more than J haha. She said, "I have a question, did Jesus actually die for us?" And of course that is a precious question and we were so excited to answer but J's ex wife jumps in "No. It was all political." Ug. -_- That was hard to hear. But somehow we were able to feel the spirit in that lesson even with the ex wife inserting comments like that the whole time. She liked a lot of the things we said and we tried to find some common ground with her but some of her ideas were just so far out there..... When we explained that the age people are baptized is 8, J silently motioned to J, pointing to herself then flashing all her fingers mouthing "I'm 10!!" So adorable :)
That morning we did volunteering at the retirement home. SO FUN! Do you know what we did? We played a game called At the Horse Races with about 8 old people. I'll take a picture of it next time. It is a long piece of cloth with a start, finish, and 6 stand up horses. Every takes turn rolling the dice and moving whatever horses are rolled until a horse reaches the finish line. Absolutely the lamest game in the world but we had so much fun. Sister Hand I tried to make it exciting by getting super into it. My Horse won once. Best tasting Butterfinger ever. No greater reward.
Saturday we contacted a media referral of a woman who lives at a different retirement home we volunteer at. We taught her (A) the first lesson and she is preparing to be baptized and quit smoking. She told me how there was one time when she was really angry and threw a chair at the wall and said the Lord's name in vain and she seemed so upset and guilty from that. She looked at me with worried eyes and asked "A Jehovah's witness book I read said God will not forgive the wicked. Is that true?" And I reassuringly told her that God loved her and he will forgive her of anything she seeks forgiveness of. She sighed a huge sigh of relief and laughed and smiled, so grateful that she can be baptized and forgiven of her sins :)
Sunday we had another lesson with J where we brought a man in the ward named Brother R. He talked so much and totally dominated the conversation but it was GREAT! He's a former Bishop and he really pushed J to finally commit to coming to church. We'll see how that goes Sunday. We met with A again and brought Sister P. it was really helpful because A was too embarrassed to come to church because she has a walker and Parkinson's Disease so she shakes all the time. Sister P was able to reassure her that there were a lot of members in wheelchairs and no one would judge her. Also, she is already making huge progress with the smoking issue!
We were at dinner and the member, Sister M said to me "Are you as hot as you look?" Afterwards I told Sister H, "I should've just said nothing and winked ;)" We have a lot of funny quotes that we always write down.
Look up the Mormon messages video "Having children in faith" I think that is the title. The African American guy, 2 AfAm kids and his wife is a young family in our ward. They are perfect in every single way but they just moved :( All the cute young couples are only here for the summer and keep moving! Sister H and I love them. We talk about marriage basically everyday. I can't wait to have my own cute little family!!!! AHHHH <3
Like usual I wish I could tell more and more and that you all could just be here experiencing this with me. Missions are incredible. There is no way to describe my experiences everyday. One of my favorite parts of the day is the hour of personal study we have every morning. I am more and more grateful for my family everyday and that God has given us families so we can have safety and security in this crazy world. Mom, you know that 9 page letter you wrote on prayer to all the kids in 2009? You're going to hate me for this but I finally read it this morning! It was amazing and made me so proud to be your daughter :) I don't know how I was so lucky to be born into the family I was born into. I don't think I deserve the amazing life I have but I will forever be grateful for it. I love you all. This church is true. When we were meeting with J he always talks about how much he is searching and studying with every religion. He mentioned that God has spared him from death 3 times I finally said "J, I can boldly tell you that you can stop searching. God has spared you so you could find the truth. the message that we share is the truth, I know without a doubt in my mind that this is Christ's church." He then mentioned how he was amazed because no other church has ever asked him to be baptized and I told him that's because this isn't just feel good stuff we are teaching. We are trying to teach you how to return to Heavenly Father and that there are steps he has asked us to take to do that. Thank goodness for the spirit and that people can find out for themselves this is true.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARYYYYY! Why is life so awesome? Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, I keep you all in mine. You are amazing children of God and I know he loves you.
Love Sister Knowlton