Yeah it has been another week. And yet again in just a week's time you all have done so much! It's so fun to read about all your adventures and stuff :)
Update on the work:
We talked to Mary the other day (not a member, step-son on a mission in Sister Phinney's home mission), just stopped by to see how they're doing. Their flooring is making progress, and they've finally kicked the sickness that's been going on in their house, but she's still busy with all sorts of stuff. As is life. She loves having us come by to talk though so we did visit with her for a while. She told us about this Bible study she loves, and we had a pretty cool conversation about some things she's been studying. At one point we asked if we could do a small Book of Mormon study like that with her, but she quickly (but politely) shot that idea down. We were a little surprised at that too, but she wanted nothing to do with The Book of Mormon, she even told us she didn't want a copy before we could offer her one. Like she had already made up her mind a long time ago as to what it was. She was courteous though, and we still visited for a little while, but now we're kind of unsure what to do. Sister Phinney has been emailing their son so maybe he'll have some ideas next week.
Alexis is doing well too (less-active, 18 years old). The hardest thing is catching her at home. But she should be coming to young women's with us. The laurels are playing a dating game with the priests, so Sister Phinney and I will probably help out with refreshments or something.
Sheil (recent convert that disappeared right before I came to this area) came to church, I wouldn't have known it was her but Sister Phinney pointed her out to me. She's going to be gone another 3 weeks but we'll stay in touch as best we can so we don't lose her again.
Jennifer hasn't answered the phone in 2 weeks. We'll keep trying this week since her baptism date was supposed to be 2 days ago so she doesn't think all we were trying to do was get her baptized and that's it. But we'll see what happens.
Heather (not a member, husband is less-active) is really close to being able to take the missionary discussions. One of the members, Marci, is really reaching out to her and being her friend, she's awesome! She served her mission in Provo several years ago.
Walking has resulted in a lot of tracting. Starting is the hardest part but it gets better as you go along the street. We have a few potentials, and we're getting better at the door approach and trying different ideas. Some that 'aren't interested' have responded well to trying family history, including Debbie, Paul, and possibly Carol. Megan came to church yesterday, we tracted into her and she said she doesn't belong to a church because she can't find one that accepts her for who she is (personal things). We texted her later seeing if we could meet with her since she had accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon, she said she was available 'monday, or sunday if that works better' so we went ahead and invited her to church. She came, and she like it, said she may come next week. We'll try to teach her this week before then.
When Muhammed answered the door, his English was a little broken but we could still have an understandable conversation. When he saw our nametags he asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon and gave us his number. He said he's a guest in that house for 2 months, but in that time asked if we knew of anyone that could help with their English, and also that he had a daughter around our age that was looking for friends. We invited him to church and gave him the address, and he said he was out of town yesterday but is planning to come this next sunday.
Tara (recent convert) had us and the Elders over for dinner, and so we walked there early and tracted her street. One person across the street from her, Kelle, was a young mom and talked openly with us, saying she had a few Mormon friends. She accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon, but she'll be out of town for the next 2 weeks so she wants to meet with us when she gets back. Which I think is awesome because she said she sometimes goes to the Saddleback Church, which in this area is the one church I've run into that's been openly against Mormons. I find it interesting because some of the things they teach and practice are really similar and particular to the Mormon church, like the plan of salvation, family home evening, not buying property for church buildings until they can pay it free of debt, young women's program, etc. But anyway, every 'Saddlebacker' I've met has looked down on us and treated us less than what most would consider respectfully besides her. Tara is going to start fellowshipping her and reaching out to her so when we do start teaching her she already has a friend. It's so fun to see Tara get excited about the missionary work when she's been baptized less than a year.
Tracted into Rod, he's from South Africa and has a pretty sweet accent. He was excited to see us (...?) and asked us to come back later in the evening when his wife, Kathy, was home and the 4 of us could sit and talk. We did, and they dropped everything to invite us in when we came. We were able to teach the Restoration and they want us to come again when their grandkids are home (high-school age, they live with them). They asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon as well and at the end, after asking several questions throughout the lesson already that were perfect, Rod asked about life after death, perfect lead into the next lesson: the plan of salvation. We set a time to come back thursday.
A couple funny tracting stories:
We were struggling to know what to say and kept saying some repetitive things that got the same answers over and over. So, instead of turning around and doing something else like we wanted to, we tried another door and said, "Hi, we're missionaries, have you ever talked to missionaries before?" They almost always said yes. So we followed up with something like this - "great! We have a random question. If you were a missionary and went to someone's door like this, what would you say? We've been going door to door for a little while and honestly we are at a loss of what to say. We just want to be real but we're kind of running out of ideas. Any thoughts?" It was so fun to watch some of their expressions. Took most of them back, and a few said they always would just say 'not interested' or 'no thankyou' and shut the door. Even though a lot of those people still weren't interested, we had a few fun conversations.
Another door we knocked on - a whole lot of houses have double doors, but only one opens. And we've gotten pretty good at being able to tell which one of the 2 does open (you get to know a lot of doors). But this time we couldn't figure it out, and we knocked anyway kinda standing so they could see us if either one was opened. No one was home, but right as we knocked we of course heard a big dog barking and only a couple moments after we knocked the dog literally ran right into the doors so hard that they bulged outward and almost opened if it hadn't been locked. Did not see that coming, we had to stop for a minute before going to the next house to control how hard we were laughing. Had that next door answered we were planning on asking them if they knew about their neighbor's dog and tell them what happened, but they didn't answer either.
:D I have been anticipating being able to send that to you for way too long! But I'm so glad you got it and that you like it! It's weird to have mom say she wants me to show her how to do it, it's usually the other way around. We are excited for the valentine's package :] I'm so curious to know what this thing is that you thought didn't exist in Texas...
ponderizing scipture this week: 3 Nephi 28:30 "And now, behold, my joy is great, even unto fulness, because of you, and also this generation; yea, and even The Father rejoiceth, and also all the holy angels, because of you and this generation; for none of them are lost."
YES I'm so happy I'm still with Sister Phinney! And for the next 6 weeks!! We've decided to just be companions the rest of our missions.
Love you all, hugs and high fives all around!!!
- Sister Shumway