This week had some of the highlights of my mission but also some pretty trying experiences. I guess that is every week though. Haha. I am getting used to the area now and I can find my way around quite nicely to all the main roads and get us home. So, I am learning. We are coming to know the ward more, there are quite a variety of people, it seems like there are mainly just Senior citizens and then newly weds in our ward, not too many in between. So that is different.
We got to help an older lady in the ward decorate for Christmas this week. She is so sweet and made us lunch while we were decorating. It really brightened her day for sure.
One of the neatest experiences happened this week. The day that we got to Fort Collins, we received a media referral for a man. We contacted him over the phone and set up an appointment. He seems really interested over the phone, but we had no idea what to expect. On Thursday, Sister Snow went to the temple with all the other missionaries that are leaving this transfer, so Hermana Mondragon and I were able to be companions again for a day. I just love her. So, this appointment with A, the referral, was on Thursday when Sister Snow was gone. We went to his house, took a member along with us. When we first walked in he was just super nice and open and even had juices waiting for us. We got to know him a bit and found out that he is from Rock Springs, WY, crazy right, and his sister is LDS and so he has meet missionaries before at her house and they must have been the ones that told us to come by. But as we got to talking, he is SO ready for the gospel. We were able to teach the first lesson, the Restoration of the Gospel, and it was really powerful. The spirit was for sure there. He has already started the Book of Mormon, and he agreed with everything that we talked about. He is a very scientific man, has a degree in Physics, but he has come to see how science and religion fit together. He has been an atheist at one point in his life but then God showed him that He really did exist in multiple ways. When the timing was right we invited him to be baptized, and he agreed and said he really wanted to. We set him with a date for January 3rd, and he asked, "Ok, what time?" haha. He is just so ready for this gospel. Hearing his life story I could just see how God has prepared him to accept his gospel at this time. This experience was really powerful to me. I felt also during this lesson, that A is one of the reasons that I am here at this time. I am excited to continue to see his progress. Pray for him:).
One of the more difficult experiences of the week though, came from our other investigator, M. As I explained last week, he is struggling with seeing the reasons that he needs to stop smoking marijuana. He was so set on being baptized on December 13th, the Elders set him with that date before we got here, but he wasn't willing to stop pot. But, he did stop smoking cigarettes this week!! He is 3 days clean so far. But we knew we needed to break the news to him about needing to change his date. It was heartbreaking and nerve wrecking. The thing that made it so difficult is because we have seen him change this week. His countenance is just different, and he even prayed for the first time this week with us, and it was beautiful, he is reading the scriptures, and truly trying to follow our Savior. That made this lesson that much harder. We brought a member that just makes ever situation better because of her personality, and he had met her before. We told him how proud we were of him and the changes that we had seen him make so far in his life and how the Lord will continue to help him. We then told him, again, that he would need to stop smoking marijuana before he could be baptized. But we knew that he could do it. The problem is, how defensive he gets every time that we bring it up. He got very defensive and pulled out his marijuana "Bible", which basically tells you everything you could ever want and not want, to know about pot. He tried to "convince" us why it was ok and why is should still be ok for him to get baptized. It was tough because, it really comes down to, he needs to trust God before men. Because there have been lots of good things that comes from using pot, but God knows best and has revealed through prophets that it is not in line with his plan. It was tricky but we had to stand our ground and promise him blessings if he exercised faith to follow this commandment. We thought we had it worked out and then the next day he sent us a text that said, "Can I really not be baptized or is this some sort of test or something?" ...We then let him know that in order to be baptized he needed to be living the commandments. We tried to have someone go pick him up for church, no luck, and then he didn't show up to church at all on his own either. It was pretty rough. He took it really hard. We will continue to teach him and help him to work through it, we just hope he continues to want to meet with us and the spirit will let him know the truthfulness of what we have told him. It was a tricky situation.
Another day that was difficult was when we decided to go tracting, which to be honest, I have never found to be my favorite thing as a missionary and it has only been effective once on my mission, but we decided to try it. We went to a trailer park, ha first one was a Senior Citizen trailer park, that was an accident. Then when that didn't work we went to another one. Every door we knocked on were Spanish speaking people. We ended up finding 3 new investigators that day, but I felt totally worthless. We taught two lessons in spanish and I just felt so useless. I am not quite sure why I am with an Hermana and what President wants us to focus on, but that day was hard for me. I really felt like there was no purpose to me being there and that I was completely useless and Sister Snow could just do all of this without me basically. So that was tricky. At one point during one of the lessons, this hispanic man was testifying strongly right in my face, and I had NO idea what he was saying. I then thought of how funny the situation was and on accident I cracked a smile during what I'm sure was a spiritual moment for him. Haha. So, I guess it is quite comical in some cases but it gets frustrating as well. I prayed in Spanish at a house the other day and read some verses in Spanish during a lesson. That's about all I can do.
We had a great experience with a Less Active this week. Missionaries have not been able to get in to visit her before and she let us in. She hasn't been to church in 2 years. We aren't quite sure why yet, but we didn't push it. We shared a message with her about Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and then set up another time to come back to visit her this week. It was a great first step. I love when moments like that happen. Small and simple things make the difference.
It is very different being away from family and friends during this Christmas season, and at times it gets tough, I have found I have just been burying the fact that it is almost Christmas, until last night when it hit me during the Christmas Devotional. But it makes me glad that I get to be a representative of Jesus Christ during this time that we are celebrating his birth and life. I know it will be like no Christmas I have ever had before, but that is ok. I get to see others come closer to Him and witness His power in their lives. I know that our Savior is real and that His Atonement is real. Our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much that He sent His son to us. Share this joy,knowledge and love that we have, with others, our world needs it so much. I love you all!!!
Have a great week:)
|Fort Collins Temple thus far! Yay!!|