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Monday, January 20, 2014

Would God that all the Lord's people were missionaries

It's always hard to know how to start.
Things are going great here in Fabulous Las Vegas.
I wish I had some deep insight or some great counsel to give all of you, but I don't.
So I'll just give you the rundown of the week.

MONDAY! It was a good P-day. We got some hard news though. We called the S family and we were talking to Jordan and he told us that he had prayed about the Book of Mormon and he felt warm but then Grandpa George got on the phone and said that they had talked about things as a family and he said, "Your organization is not for us." That was super hard to hear especially after the good lessons and Jordan telling us that he had received an answer to his prayer. It was tough! But it's alright. The Lord has been teaching me a lot recently. This is another line upon the many that everything happens on His timetable. "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me," never complacent though. Miracles, blessings, answers they all come. But it's not when I say so, and not always when I want them. Not even when I think that I deserve them or need them. He will give me what I need when He knows that I need it. My test is to respond properly to His timetable, to the agency of others etc., if that makes sense. So that was hard, but a learning experience. I've really come to see how many struggles arise because of a (normally false) sense of entitlement. But that evening we went to contact a referral named Barbara. I wrote about her before, I think. She has cancer and she is positive and happy and looking towards the future with faith and hope even with it being terminal.  We went to her home and spoke with her about trials, and faith and healing, and then we gave her a blessing. She said something that has stayed with me since then. She said, "I could feel the power of God." It almost caught me off guard. She told us how much that meant to her. It was special. People like her are nice to be around. They aren't sullen or sad. She is full of life and light. I want to be more like that. Where people can see my happiness and be uplifted by it. I told her that she should write a book to help inspire others. That night we met with Robert and we set things up for him to be baptized on the 26th (Sunday). So we're excited for that! He's a great guy, quite the prepared soul. 

TUESDAY! We had a good district meeting. We talked about how we can help others to help themselves to overcome addictions. It's something though that all us missionaries have to deal with; people who are tied down by these habits that consume their lives. It's sad. We talk to a lot of people who want to change and see the need but won’t because they don't think that they can overcome and they’re afraid of failing. We're there to encourage and invited and support. That's all we do bc when it comes down to it they have to commit and follow through. We had a good day with Rigdon. He's such a good kid. He's getting closer and closer to being done with his papers. I'm excited for him! We talked to a lot of people on the streets. We've been having a lot more time as of late to find new people. And we've been doing just that. Lots of new people are being placed into our path each day. We got dropped by the S family but we made contact with three new ones throughout the week. Balm of Gilead. We taught Parole and Keisha and watched a DVD with them. Then we invited them to be baptized. They both accepted. Parole wants to prepare himself and be ready to start a new life. He's excited to not be a hypocrite anymore. He told us how he hates when people say they love God but break His commandments. He says if you loved Him you wouldn't betray Him like that! It's back stabbing. As he says he hates hypocrites and he hates being one of them. He's an interesting guy. Smart, off the wall, and kinda crazy some days, but he has a good heart and he loves his family. 

WEDNESDAY! We had an appointment with a man from Romania in the morning. I might have mentioned him before because of his cool story. Nick is his name.  We felt prompted to knock on his door on Tuesday and he told us that his wife had just died and he had no idea why he was living. He said a bunch of times that there was no purpose and that he was lost. So Wednesday we went by to share the Plan of Salvation with him to try to help him understand the purpose of life. He was super sad and so it was hard to teach and discuss effectively. He definitely liked someone to listen to. We showed him a picture of the temple at one point in the lesson and talked about how inside we make promises to God and He promises that our families can be together forever. He lit up and said,"You mean this place is here?" He kept asking how to get there. It was difficult to explain because of the language barrier. But it was cool. At one emotional high point in the lesson he excused himself to go smoke but then came back inside after a few moments and said that he didn't feel like it anymore. That was interesting. That'd never happened before. I wish it worked like that for all investigators hahaahah but then we went to eat with Severina. Her daughter and son in law were jamming with their band in the garage and it was crazzzzy loud. I haven't heard Nirvana in a long, long time... We talked to one of the band members for a little while as we ate. He asked us questions about missions and missionaries. We went and saw Toni and we had a good visit with her. We talked about the trials she's had since her baptism. She asked a question that impacted me a lot. "Elder Anderson, I thought when I got baptized things would be easier. How come that's not how it is?" We talked a lot about it. And we watched some Mormon Messages. http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=2176618422001 and  http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=1839005837001. She liked them. I wonder if some converts fall away because they think life will be easier and it's not. It'd be hard to not have that as your expectations. The blessings of baptism and activity in the church are many, but being free of hardship is not one of them.  That night while we were walking we met a less active family who invited us over and we sat and talked with them and the mother shared with us how she has seen as her life has kinda spiraled out of control since she left the church and she hasn't responded to her struggles properly and now she's in a worse situation than before. She doesn’t want to come back to church because of all the negative things she's said about it and all the bridges she violently and intentionally burned. It was tough to hear and see. Good people. Things got tough and she did things that she now regrets. It almost is like the situation with Pontius Pilot. Because of his previous political actions he was forced to make decisions that he didn’t want to/ knew that were wrong; the same with this sister. She had bashed the church and such and then now she feels embarrassed and like she can’t come back. Tough stuff.

THURSDAY! We had a good DM. We taught a family in the evening and that was cool. I love teaching families. It just is the best experience. I like teaching a ton, but when there are a group of people who love each other and you are teaching them how to live together forever in peace--- priceless. Then we taught Parole again and helped them to set a goal to be prepared to be baptized in late February. It's going to be a fight but we're going to do all we can to help them. 

FRIDAY! We had a lot of appointments but they all fell though which was hard. We had a great visit with the bishop. Elder Smith and I had a good comp inventory. That night we started an exchange.

SATURDAY! I was on exchange in my area with Elder Janke. He's an amazing missionary. I had the best day of missionary work that I've had in a long time. We started the day off with a stake president's breakfast. That was good to get a vision from the stake and to hear President Jarvis' counsel. We had a great visit with a less active woman who wants to come back to church and that was cool. She said that bc she adopted two new babies since then she's felt a big responsibility from Heavenly Father. He's entrusted her with two of his children and she needs to make sure that they get the best they can. So she knows that they need to come to church. It was interesting to hear that. (She didn't come to church tho :( ) We helped a man move in. He had sooo much stuff. And a ton of Betty Boop stuff too.... We had dinner with Susana at Sister Kuhn's house! I was super happy to see her. She hasn't had a lesson with the sisters since the lesson that we were present for. She said she's kinda of been avoiding them. It was hard to hear that. It's a super complicated situation. But basically we passed her off and she felt like we abandoned her and then she didn’t like the sisters too much. So we might start teaching her again! Yay! But it was a good dinner. Then we did a blessing on a home. We were talking to the head of the household about what he would ask from Jesus Christ if he were sitting with us and he got a little flustered and then explained that he's never been religious in his life and doesn’t even know who Christ is! That was a first. So we prayed simply and humbly and the Spirit was there very strongly. Afterwards we later asked him what we could do to help and he asked us to come back and pray with his family another day. That was cool; a man with no religious background asking us to come back. :D. Then that night we taught Parole and he really connected with Brother Martinez. How could you not? But it was cool to see Parole really focus up and take counsel. The Martinez family is the bomb.
SUNDAY! Ward Conference. In BV ward we had 190 people. That’s like 70 more than normal. Not including the stake people. All five of our lessons fell through which was tough, but we had some other really good experiences. We were walking through a park and a little girl asked us a question about Jesus and so we told her about the Resurrection and gave her a card. Then children just flocked to us and we gave out more than 50 cards!!! Kids are cute. Then we had a good visit with Bishop Remer.

That's the week. Sorry that it was rushed there at the end.
Things are good. We're trying to find the elect. Life. is. good :)!
I love you all so much
Sam

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