Elder Slik and I want to find contributing families. That's our goal, someone like Vicky. She's the greatest ever. So solid. She wants to join the church. She's great, but her husband won’t let her. Ugh. Anyway. I could rant about that all week.
So. Life is wonderful. We are so blessed. I know I talk about this all the time, but it’s a pleasure to serve with Elder Slik. He's such a good example. He's a great missionary.
MONDAY! Instead of studies Monday morning we had a giant mission meeting about the Gladys Knight presentation. It was so good. It got me so excited for this. It's an incredible opportunity the Lord has given us to find new people, specifically the contributors. I think ya’ll saw it while I was at BYU, no? We watched a video with Elder Ballard and different missionaries, mission presidents and ward leaders. It was very powerful. I hope that everyone can go to this and really feel the Spirit. The only other time our mission has got together like this was when Elder Andersen came. It's that big of a deal. I was impressed. Elder Slik and I committed to inviting all the members of both wards to invite a friend to this. It's what we spend the majority of our time doing, inviting members to bring friends. Ever since the A family I have had a new desire to just teach prepared families in member’s homes. Sounds like what every missionary should want but it strengthened that desire and this seems like the way for us to find those kinds of families. People get to come into a chapel and feel the Spirit and learn about the church and then Sister Knight specifically invites everyone there to have the missionaries over. I dunno. I've never seen it but Elder Slik and I felt the Spirit really strong prompting us to give all of our energy to this. It was P-day obviously after that and we drove a ton. Like all over. We were giving rides and running errands. That night Severina made us rice. She makes us a Filipino dish and then a heaping plate of rice. We are always so stuffed. She's so sweet. I really love spending time with her. After Severina we went to see Toni. We brought over Sister Rosser. I don't know if I've talked about her in previous emails but she was one of the members that I met coming on exchanges to this area a year ago. Such a great woman. She is clever and so Christ-like. That's the best way to describe her. And talented. The other day she played us a song on the saw. Like she got a violin bow out and a saw and used the bow to play music (on the non-serrated part of course!) But anyway. She shared her testimony on coming to know the Book of Mormon was true through prayer. It was so powerful. Sister Rosser knows and lives the gospel well and the Spirit was very strong. I thought Toni received it pretty well... more on that for Wednesday. We stopped in to see Stephanie because she didn't come to church. Dang. It was a mess. She was really depressed because her son had beat up her daughter, like crushed her face. It was a long and complicated story but basically the daughter dumper her bf and he got mad so he framed the brother who acted out and beat his sister up. Stephanie couldn’t go back to see them because she didn’t have enough money so her one daughter was in the hospital and her son (not Andre) was in jail. We went in and prayed with her and shared a quick scripture. You could see the Spirit work on her in the lesson and she cheered up a little bit right then. We love Stephanie, she's such a sweet person. She listens and keeps her commitments and prays and then she feels the Spirit. I love how happy she gets when we go by.
TUESDAY! Another great day! It's been that way for a long time. We went to District Meeting with Rigdon. It was a good time. He made a few comments and even during the 'gatorade' portion of the meeting asked for some tips on how he could invite a friend to investigate the gospel. Rigdon is a great kid and a good example. He is loving and funny and a gentleman. And as much as I give him a hard time, he's pretty good at rugby too (like way good). Our district leader Elder Montgomery taught us about how we can better use the New Testament. EM is really, really smart. He's knows the scriptures incredibly well as well. We came up with a cool list/venn diagram of teachings in the BOM, New Testament and both. They testify of each other. I won’t go off on another rant about reading the BoM, but it's really important. We didn't have anything set up so we knocked on a lot of doors. Rigdon has no fear which is cool. He was down to just knock random doors or do anything we could to find new people to teach. That kind of fire will serve him well soon enough in the mission field. We then went over to the Z's. Jazmine told us that she was pregnant (she's 22 and not married and living with her family and does’t have a job) and was like pretty sad when she said it. Almost like in a defeated manner "Oh, and I’m pregnant." It was pretty hard to hear. Elder Slik and I at the same time said, 'dang.' It was like a blow to the face. Jazmine has been trying to get her life in order and this kind just threw things off for her. She mentioned even more defeatedly that she's considering an abortion. We probed a little bit and she backed down from that idea. I think she just said that in desperation. It was a sad situation. Then we went up to Frenchmen Hills and started visiting members and exhorting them to GK [Gladys Knight]. Ohhh I hope they go. And I hope they bring friends bc apparently that is the only regret that people didn’t bring their friends. Then we went and did a baptismal interview. ES did one and I did one at the same time. I got to interview the mother and ES the daughter. The mom was so prepared. I was talking to her about her conversion and how she found the church. She said that the elders knocked on her door looking for someone else and they found her. They shared their purpose and asked if they could set a time to come back and she said that she invited them but wasn’t really that interested. But they came back and she felt the Spirit and she kept feeling it and as she learned more and more she felt herself growing spiritually. It was cool to see the light in her eyes and the fire she had for the gospel. She bore her testimony of the commandments to me like a ton of times. It's cool to hear that from people especially in a city like ours where they are so universally discarded. She was gold. Some people like her do exist and can be found by the missionaries by themselves, but they are most easily found through members cough, cough! On our way to dinner we talked to a woman sitting outside her garage. We struck up a pretty natural conversation about church and the like and it was interesting. She told us her story of how she got offended and stopped going to church and then fell into bad habits. She told us straight up that she has lost some of her gifts because of disobedience. We went to dinner which was crazy. This brother talked for like 90 minutes straight. The sister there just shared with us how she has been sharing the gospel with everyone. I love hearing that. We brought a priest out to see Brother D. He was more intoxicated that usual and was on this like "I'm going to kill him" train. I think it was a good thing we went by so that we could convince him not to do all the bad things he was planning to. He's a really good guy, but with vices. The priest liked it. The language was a little too colorful for my tastes but whatever. Brother D's friend who was there with him was 100% sober and super interested in the gospel. He was asking questions and wanting to know more. He lives kinda far but I still hope he calls us to set things up. Man. If only 1/100 of the people who told us they would call us did, that'd be awesome. But sadly people lie, forget, procrastinate or 'the dog ate the car'. We met up with Sister Justice to see Shenika but she wasn’t home so we went to see Stephanie and it went soooo well. The two of them hit it off really well. Stephanie loved her and it was really cool. They made plans right then to go to church together. We read the BoM together and it was a special experience.
WEDNESDAY! ES and I made jambalaya for lunch. It was dece. We didn't have any meat so we used some venison jerky. Dece. We saw grama and talked to her about sharing the gospel and she gave us snickers. I think she's made an active attempt to make us fat. She loves to feed us. We had a lesson with Parole. Idk if I’ve talked about him before. It went well. Most all the other times we’ve talked to him he's been drunk but we met with him in the morning so he was sober and it was a really good lesson I thought. He has a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation about a lot of things. But it was good he wanted to learn more. Near the end of the lesson he said to us that a devil must have been the one to teach him all those things because they aren’t true, a perfect example of the "father of all lies." We talked about prophets and it was again made clear to me the importance of them. I like testifying of the prophet. It’s a big deal to have one. People don’t realize that. It's like crucial. Idk it’s clear to me the more I learn that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the flawless example of New Testament Christianity because it’s the same thing. The NT really is a testament to the divinity of the Restoration in all its parts, authority and doctrine. Later we talked to a guy who was washing his car. He was interesting. We had a good talk, but he did lecture us on why our church is not true. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion it is true but he was just telling us straight up what we believe. I dunno. It bugs me when people do that, especially when it’s like some grapevine rumors. Annyyyyway. We taught Toni. Dang. It sucked. We love her and we don’t want to drop her but she refuses to progress. She doesn’t keep any commitments and she won’t pray. Today she even told us that she might start going to another church later. She expects us to just give her money and things and to come over every day and listen to her problems. We really do care for her a lot but most of her problems could be solved by doing the things we invite her to do. One of the hardest parts is that she just doesn’t listen to us. Like simply as that. When we speak she does other things and then brushes off our questions and things. I dunno what happened. She was a lot more solid before. Her niece moved out but we are pretty sure that she was feeding her anti-doctrine. She doesn’t get it. We've taught very simply and very boldy the message of the Restoration many times and invited her to pray about it and ask God if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. She just won’t do it. I know that if she does God will answer her prayer. It’s so simple but the effects are eternal. Later in the evening we taught Tyrone. That was cool because it was so easy to see a countenance change with him. There is so much more light in his life now and he is progressing. Going from that lesson with Toni to the one with Tyrone was such a juxtaposition. Toni with little growth and still plagued by the same problems and Tyrone already feeling the Atonement begin to work in his life. He almost looks physically different. We were having a good lesson and then his member wife came in and flipped out. It was weird. He told us that he had already cancelled two lessons that week and didn't want to wait any longer. That like warmed my soul to hear that. That we weren’t just pressuring him but that he really felt it was an important part of his life to have us there with him. :) Then we visited like all out favorite families up the hill. We have some great people to work with. That night we went to spc. It was crazy weird to be a part of that, all the leaders of the stake and then Elder Slik and me. I felt a little out of place. I'm still coming to terms with all the things that are part of this assignment.
Dang, I gotta pick up the pace.
THURSDAY! Good day. District meeting with Elder Puga about the Doctrine of Christ and setting out investigators for baptism. ES broke a member's skateboard. We taught Stephanie another lesson about the Plan of Salvation. She had read the pamphlet before and before we could even ask she was telling us how great it was and how strong she felt the Spirit. She's good. It makes me feel good when people are happy and excited to see us. ES then had to do a follow-up intereview for the girl he intervied on Tuesday. That went well. It was nice to get to sit down again with that sister and talk more about things. A sister made us a giant platter of Mexican food. So, so, so good. We saw one of our potentials named Brian. His gf just had a baby and he really wants to get his life in order. I'm really hoping that we can start meeting with him because the gospel would be such a blessing in his life. A member in FH told us a story about a time that he beat up a car full of gangbangers in front of his kids. His wife left him for a week. It was a crazy story.
FRIDAY! Such good days. We talked to Monique who is a member of the Z family and she told us how all the world came crashing down around their shoulders. No time to elaborate, but their life is hard. Keeping the commandments is really important. It keeps us safe from the crazy trials of life. We had a great visit with Stephanie and Sister Justice. She brought her cupcakes. That made me so happy. Andre was really interested in taking part which made me happy. He had a lot of good questions. Tryone wants to be baptized. We had dinner with Bro Deleon who I had dinner with a year ago with Elder Nonu and Tae and Bennett. We dropped Toni but invited her to keep reading. We will follow up next week but that’ll be the last time for a while. She just doesn’t understand and won’t try to. She also told us that it’s okay if we don’t come by anymore. She mentioned other churches and stuff. Idk what’s going to happen with her. She's pretty confident she knows everything too. She told us she knew the Bible better than anyone. Not gonna lie, in that moment I wanted to bash, but we didn’t. The Spirit was very strong in that lesson but she wasn’t listening to it.
SATURDAY! Good day. Gave blessing to Sister Despain. We went to two baptisms. President came to one. Saw an investigator from a year ago. Went to a farewell.
SUNDAY! Slik went to BV again to watch the farewell talk. Had six at church.
That's all I have time for.
I love you all so much.Sam