This week I have been ponderizing 1 Nephi 11:21-22, "And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things." I love that the first thing taught once Nephi beholds the Lamb of God is the love of God, it teaches me that His greatest act of love was to send His son to us and accomplish His mission.
Our investigator, Liz, the one we committed to be baptized, hasn't responded to us trying to contact her in two weeks. It's been a little rough. But we have plans to help her! Her baptism date will need to be moved though.
Paul and Sydney are Liz's parents. They have the mindset that she can do whatever she chooses and learn from experience, so they are totally supportive but seemingly a little careless. But very friendly! So we went by hoping to start teaching them, they said it was great we were teaching Liz but they were content with their beliefs themselves. So, we gave them each their own copy of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and said, "this is basically what we are teaching Liz, will you read it? We would like you to let us know if you find anything you don't want us teaching her, and we will be sure to honor your requests." They greatly appreciated that and said they would, and Sydney actually said, "I'm sure there isn't anything I need to be concerned about, but I would like to look through for her." We will see what happens.
Linda is out of town. We didn't know, but we found out by going by to see her. A man (who I momentarily assume to be her husband) answered the door and was not very respectful towards us. He said it was none of our business when Linda came back and closed the door. We texted her and haven't gotten a response, so we will try again after giving her a little time this week.
Jennifer and Ken set a time for us to come start teaching them about the Book of Mormon this Friday! They are so sweet to us, and they are going to 'at least start' the book before we see them.
We found Carrie Saturday while tracting. She seemed hesitant, but interested in what we had to share about the Book of Mormon, but wasn't available at the time. So, we gave her a copy, bore testimony of it, and she asked us to come back this weekend.
Nora lives in the apartment complex that the Elders who are ward sharing with us live in. They've been tracting around in there and found her, but she was busy. She has 3 little boys and a husband she lives with, and she speaks English as a second language next to Spanish. She speaks and understands English very very well, but can't read it easily, so we went by (the Elders passed her to us) and gave her a Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon, and we are coming back to teach her and hopefully her family sunday evening. She was concerned about us being out in the cold (it's been in the low 50s and 40s at nights), and was very friendly besides accepting our invitation, and her boys love us. They won't stop talking to us and telling us their names over and over haha!
Raquel (less-active) was FINALLY home when we went by. She travels a lot, her husband is not a member and is negative towards the Church and missionaries, I've never seen her at sacrament meeting but her whole family is LDS. This was Saturday night, she and her 3-year-old cute son visited with us for almost an hour! And, before we even thought of it, she asked what time church was the next day. She said if she's not taking her husband to the airport she'll come, but she wasn't there yesterday. She's Filipino and she wants Elder Medina (over the Tagalog work in the entire mission) to visit her this Saturday. She also asked if we had plans for Thanksgiving, and she's the 3rd person to invite us over.
Kathleen (less-active) is extremely shy, to the point when she can seem negative or aggressive. But we are having dinner with her sister who is active, and she invited Kathleen as well. We don't know if she'll come, but she did agree to come with us to visit Leslie and see how she's doing since she's trying to recover from the surgery and all that's going on with her cancer recently. She responds more when the focus is on her, and hopefully we will finally meet her this week.
The Carpenter family answered the door! They have a lot of kids ranging from around my age down to elementary school I believe, but I don't know details because we haven't been able to get in and meet with them for almost 4 months (including missionaries before me). The parents are extremely busy with a weird work schedule, but we found that we could likely catch them sundays so we're going to invite them to allow us to do a family night with them soon.
The ward members are fantastic. Fantastic! We met Patrick (nonmember) walking his dog, gave him a Book of Mormon, he says he loves Mormons and knows Brother Pingree. We visited with Brother Pingree and he's calling Patrick today to set up the missionary discussions with us. Camille is 15 and wants to start teaching a friend of hers with us. Mallorie turns 16 Wednesday and is working with 2 of her friends to start taking the lessons, and her family is having Joanie and Charlotte (2 of our current investigators) over for dinner when they have us over again. Sister Koelliker asked for our help to know how to talk to her friend next door about taking the lessons, so we're going over to see her and help encourage and prepare her to talk to them. The Ortiz family had us for dinner and committed to prayerfully choose someone as a family to give a Book of Mormon to after we gave a spiritual thought. They come up and talk to us about it before we have the chance to even follow up! At dinner last night, we were planning on asking the Jaramillos to do the same as we committed to the Ortiz family, and before we even introduced the spiritual thought Sister Jaramillo asked us randomly, "do you have a few copies of the Book of Mormon I could have? I have 4 or 5 friends I've been thinking a lot about lately that I want to share them with." After continuing in discussing that (because OF COURSE WE HAVE A FEW COPIES OF THE BOOK OF MORMON SHE COULD HAVE!) she expressed that she always avoided missionary work and has never done it at all before, so she's not just a super outgoing superstar missionary. We are following up with her at the end of the week. We taught Sunday School to the youth and challenged them to write their testimonies in a copy of the Book of Mormon and prayerfully select someone to give it to. They all accepted, and a few said, "could I have another one actually?" We are following up with them sunday, and even have a few names they've given us to help them with. When it comes to finding in this area, the greatest success I've had (and truly the greatest joy in the work I have experienced) is when we help members do missionary work, instead of just going out and trying to do things by myself my way. We have placed 20 copies of the Book of Mormon through members, rather than no more than 6 in the same amount of time on our own.
The mission is having me work on 6 different piano pieces for missionary purposes. I practice at a less-active's home because they got a new piano and love when I play. I still only get an hour or two a week (and more recently it's been tough to find that time, and I almost don't want to stop and practice). But it's been good.
Sister Ortiz found out I love popcorn. Last week she randomly got me brown sugar cinnamon popcorn for fun. This week was pumpkin spice. yum:)
I put up all the pics you sent me! That was sooooooooo fun!! My wall is covered. It make me happy.
Funny story: the Elders (and really all the missionaries) and us are good friends. We texted them Saturday before last (night of transfer calls) and said we wouldn't be at dinner the next day because we had to be in Newport for a music devotional I was over, they responded "yes!!!!!" as if excited we wouldn't be there and they could have dinner without us. Confused at first, but knowing they were joking, we went to the devotional and they went to dinner without us. After reporting numbers that week, and knowing that neither of the Elders were being transferred but that our district leader was being transferred, I had the random though and texted them "have the assistants invited you to transfer meeting?" (if they do, they are most likely going to call you to leadership position) they said "no, why?" I just said, "I just wonder if maybe you'll be the next district leader." A few minutes later they called us, I had it on speaker, and the first thing Elder Forthman (the one from Dallas) said, "First of all, I hate y'all. Right as we read your text the assistants called and invited us to transfer meeting." I responded, "that's what you get for being excited about not having us sisters with you at dinner tonight!" They'd better be careful with us sisters. B)
I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again, and again, and again), you guys are all awesome. More than I could say!:) Talk to you soon.
- Sister Shumway