November 25, 2013
(Names have been changed again. I might just keep doing this.)
This week has been great! We had an exchange (missionary swap) with the Zone Leaders and I got to work with Elder Z. Pritchett here. We dove into the work and had some success in street contacting. Usually we use pamphlets and Mormon.org cards for street contacting, but Elder Pritchett had a goal to use materials we would not normally use. We gave a card with a number you can call for a copy of Family Answers, a video about how to better communicate with your family. He also used a card with the Thirteen Articles of Faith on the back. (The Articles of Faith outline Mormon beliefs really clearly. They were written by Joseph Smith and published in a newspaper. I'm not sure if that's why they're called articles.) We met Amal, who seemed really interested, but he missed our appointment for the next day at 3:30. He gave us his address, but he hasn't a phone. We gave him a pamphlet and our phone number, so maybe he'll get a hold of a phone and call us.
Louis is doing better. When he reads, he does well. We're giving him small steps to do. Right now it will just be reading once between lessons. He understands the scriptures really well for someone who is just starting to read them. We are thinking about inviting him to be baptized even though he may not be able to get baptized for a while. As I'm typing this, I'm realizing that we should do that. It would be a goal for him and would help him understand the need to keep the commandments and read the scriptures, so he can progress spiritually.
This week we drove to Danville, which is very out-of-the-way for us, without any solid appointments. Most of our plans fell through, and one of our backups was to visit Tom, who is the husband of a member of the Church. We were going at an odd time, 3:40, when his wife is usually working. Miracle number one: She pulled in just as we stepped out of the car. We all went in and talked with Tom for a while, and then (Miracle number two:) the wife had to attend to some visiting teaching, which is when you go visit and teach (and friendship) members nearby. She left us alone and we talked for a long while. The conversation turned to the church and Elder Chapman asked if Tom knew much about his wife's beliefs. He said he probably did, but couldn't really say unless we asked specifically. Miracle number three: He asked about how the Book of Mormon came to be, specifically how Joseph Smith was able to translate it. I find it very interesting that the Lord had us use more of our allotted miles than we normally should, to go see one person and answer his questions. He gave us an opportunity to share our testimonies of the truth of the Book of Mormon. When we left, he committed to read Alma 32, a chapter in the Book of Mormon about what faith is and how to increase our own faith. We'll be following up soon, probably over the phone.
We picked up a new investigator named Toni. She is a future ex-smoker. We are teaching her at a member's house, even though that member hasn't been to church in forever. He is a very firm believer, but he can't be around crowds without panicking. He taught a decent portion of the lesson. He's not entirely politically correct (minor problem) or even doctrinally sound (a little more major), but he's willing to share his testimony and take time to help others.
Personal triumph: I played one song on piano in the Priesthood meeting (all the men) without messing up once. I am trying to figure out how to make my camera work so I can record it and send it.
I love being here at this time with these people!
Love, Elder Jon Harrison Richins