This week we brought
Marc, a member, to teach Alan with us. He participated in the lesson a lot,
asking questions and providing insights in our reading in 1 Nephi. He invited
Alan to church and Alan was so close to accepting the invitation. He has a few
small concerns about getting to church, but we think he has another concern
that he's not telling us. Either way, he did not come to church this week. We
are going to hold off on the commitment to come to church for a little while so
that we don't pester him. We'll focus more on his reading and helping him gain
a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He told us this week how he first gained his
faith in Christ. As a teenager he sprained his ankle one summer and was laid up
for weeks. During this time he decided to read the entire Bible. As he read he
started to like Jesus a lot, like a really close friend. Alan kind of has a distrust
for people, and Jesus just seemed like a more solid person.
We also taught the
Dorays. We just talked a little bit about scripture study with them and then
read part of 1 Nephi 1 in the Book of Mormon. They had to go somewhere, so we
didn't read it all so as to be considerate of their time. We plan on helping
them, the kids especially, to get excited for the Book of Mormon by making
scripture covers for Family Home Evening. Their family is way cool! We actually
found out this week that they play Magic: the Gathering (a trading card game
started in the 90's, still very popular) and my last companion, Elder Rees,
taught me how to play. One person we teach, Joe, gave Elder Chisholm and I
decks of cards and is going to teach Elder Chisholm how to play. I started
poring over my deck, thinking up strategies, before I realized I could be using
my time much better.
This few weeks has been
kinda rough, but things are looking up.
This week Elder Rees and
I have been working hard to contact and teach people. We started teaching a man
named Allen. He has met with the missionaries before and was left with lots of
unanswered questions. When we first met him on his porch, he said he
"knows enough about Mormonism to know it's not for him." But we asked
what his unanswered questions were and he said he wanted to know why God allows
us to suffer so much, why He didn't give us better human nature, and why He
gave us free will if that would make us potentially self-destructive. When we
came back on Friday we gave him answers. At the end, he said that he felt that
even though he really wants knowledge, "I don't need to know the 'chemical
formula' for temptation. I just need to know how to never give in to it."
I think he was really taught by the Holy Ghost. I am so excited to see him
follow through on his newly-found knowledge. We get to teach him again
We also got to bring a
member teaching this week who we don't normally bring. Brother Zaugg came to
teach Ryan with us. We taught Ryan about the Restoration of the Gospel and
Brother Zaugg testified of the Book of Mormon and talked about his conversion. His
took 14 years, he said, to which Ryan responded, "I hope it doesn't take
that long for me." (I hope it doesn't either). Unfortunately he didn't
come to church. He didn't have to go clamming because the tide was up at that
time, so we're not sure why he didn't come.
Anyways, it was a pretty
good week. We found out that one person we teach likes playing Magic: The
Gathering, so Elder Rees got to take him on during one of our dinner hours. Fun
Us on a boat (a ferry to
Monhegan Island, so it's okay.)
Last week we started teaching a man named Emmanuel. It was a snowy Saturday (the second to last snow day of the year) and I wanted to visit a member of the Church who hadn't been going since I was last in Haverhill. I didn't know if that was still their address. So when we knocked on the door, we were not surprised that they no longer lived there. But, the family that lives there now let us in. They were watching "Exodus," which I guess is a remake of the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston? Maybe? Anyways, they let us right in and we got to teach them about Christ's Church on the earth in the past and now today. They loved it! Emmanuel especially was excited to learn. This week we taught Emmanuel again. This time he seemed a very different person. It had been a very rough few days for him. His faith had been shaken. After sincere prayer, he felt his problems only got worse. He said that he "saw no point in following God if all He is going to do is ignore my prayers." After hearing him out for a little while, we invited him to kneel with us in prayer and to invite the kids to join us. He was somewhat reluctant. Didn't want to make his problems worse. We finally convinced him to kneel with us, and the kids to turn off their video game upstairs to remove all distractions. I got to offer a simple, heartfelt prayer for him and his family in their trials. It was very short. The Spirit came into the room and after the prayer everyone felt it. We all looked at each other. All of Emmanuel's concerns for the moment left. He was himself again.
I have had similar experiences with prayer, where I've felt like I'm not getting what I want. After prayer, what changes the most is me. I'm grateful the Lord doesn't just give me whatever I want.
Really good week here in Georgetown. Most of the snowpiles are significantly smaller. Our front lawn is almost completely bare!
I learned something about
myself this week. I'm not allergic to bees. They still hurt though. We were
helping someone paint their barn and they were spraying a bees nest with a
hose. And when they were pulling the hose back to the house, they rustled a
bush with a different bees nest in it and those ones chased me.
We have some of the best
investigators here in Damariscotta!
One couple, Joe and
Livia, run a "lobstah" stand in town and they give us little bits of
lobstah sometimes when we go there to see them. They treat it like some people
treat candy. I've had more lobstah from them in the last two weeks than I've
had the rest of my mission. This is the Joe that we street-contacted two weeks
ago. We picked them up as investigators this week, shared a message about the
Plan of Salvation, and then had a church tour on Saturday night and shared the
message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. The church
tour went smoothly, and they brought a friend with them who, in Livia's words,
"needs God in his life." At the end of the Restoration lesson we
invited each of them to be baptized and Livia said, "Well, I have to read
the Book first!" This was a huge jump for her because when we asked them
about the role of religion in their life, Livia kept saying, "Joe needs to
be baptized," and we were inviting her to be baptized too. She was
Catholic in Brazil, and didn't know she needed to be re-baptized. Now the only
problem is getting them to church. They work seven days a week! Joe goes
lobstering every day except Sunday and the stand is open every day, so they
would have to get someone to work the stand for them. It just seems like a lot
to ask for, one of their busiest days out of the week. But this is also a great
opportunity for them to follow Jesus Christ by keeping the commandments to the
fullest. I am so excited to teach them!
I don't know how common
this knowledge is, but the missionaries (worldwide, I think) have access to a
program designed to help people stop smoking. I've read the program and it
helps eliminate the urge to smoke. I have not gotten to help anyone do the
program yet, BUT FINALLY I'm going to get to help someone stop smoking this Sunday!
A lady named Chrissy committed to stop smoking starting this Sunday, August 3rd
with her husband, when we teach them the Stop Smoking workshop. She has been
taught by the missionaries for a while and her husband has been coming back to
church (he's a member) and two of her kids have been baptized.
We don't have any
investigators with a baptismal date yet. Ellen is coming close. She's been to
church many times over the last few years, but she still does not have a
testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet. She has a testimony of prayer and of
Jesus Christ and of some commandments, but I think the main problem is that she
hasn't prayed about it. It's important to know all the truth, not just a part.
This week has been busy,
tiring, fun, spiritual. I hope you're all doing well!
This week we taught
Misty, an investigator, CPR (Church, Pray, Read the scriptures) in less than
ten minutes. The Spirit helped so much in that lesson as we used the scriptures
and taught from the heart. We also picked up a new investigator named Rhonda.
She is the wife of a member who had his records removed. In our lesson she
brought up concerns about what she heard we believe and then she resolved her
own concerns and said, "Well, I guess the next thing I need to do is read
the Book of Mormon to find out if it's true." When people say stuff like
that, I get surprised. I love it when that happens because it shows that they
understand what to do and also that they really want to know. I have high hopes
for Rhonda, and I also hope we can get her husband and other family involved.
We taught an investigator named Ellen the Word of Wisdom, but she's been coming
to church long enough that she knows almost everything about it. I have only
met her once, so I don't know what her concerns are about joining the Church,
but I think she knows just about everything she needs to. I think she lives
most of it, too.
Yesterday we met Joe, a
lobsterman, while he was walking from the gas station with ingredients for his
lobster rolls. This is a big "Talk with Everyone" moment for me,
because he was a little far away and it was raining a little, so it would have
been easy to not talk with him. But we did, and he was pretty interested. He
accepted a Restoration pamphlet and a copy of the Book of Mormon. I'm just
really glad we talked with him.