Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Second Week in DC

From Elder Croft's letter of March 16.

"Well, this week was better, I decided to chill out some, which is hard for me because I don't want to risk wasting time.... I've decided to be a little more humble and realize I really don't know anything. However, I refuse to lose faith in tracting...."

"So far we have one or two promising people. One is ... probably in her mid 30's to 40's and has a family. We helped her with her bags and she set an appointment with us. We gave her a brief 15 minute lesson about the Book of Mormon and she seemed really open and really willing to accept it. We tried to go back for a return appointment yesterday, but we were late... So she didn't have any time. But she did actually read it!!! Whoot! Which is way good, so there's potential there.

Then we had another little miracle. I don't remember if I told you about... an inactive of 9 years with a little daughter 9 years old, baptism age! She was brought to a ward FHE with a member and she and her kids loved it. We've had a couple of lessons with her and taken her to the [Visitor Center]. We're going to give her daughter a baptismal date here pretty soon! Then this same [lady] brought two of her friends to the next FHE, yeah I know it's crazy, already doing missionary work! We had the opportunity to give one of them a lesson, ... and he seemed really interested, and really open. Unfortunately he can't read, which will makes things difficult... But, nevertheless, he's showing some potential too.

Then we had another kind of interesting, sad, weird, exciting thing happen as well. We were biking along to one of our appointments when a guy stopped us and said "hey, I need to talk to you". So we were thinking, wow, God's at work here. Turns out he wanted to know why and how Jesus died. He's had a super hard life, and when he saw us he said a voice told him we were servants of God. It's super cool how aware God is of his children. Unfortunately, at the time he was also a little high or drunk, so we couldn't really teach him much because we knew it wouldn't have that great of an effect on him. It turns out he's gone through a lot of other rough stuff as well, like really rough... I felt a ton of love for this man, and realized again how blessed I am to have grown up where I did, with you guys as my family. I'm beginning to understand more and more the power and importance of the atonement in the lives of everyone, especially people that have experienced such pain in their lives. He came with us to the church to go to FHE, but then he felt uncomfortable about going inside, and then he left us... We tried to go find him again at his house, but he wasn't there... I'm really worried we won't be able to find him again, and I know he needs our help, our rather the help of the Atonement. Now all I can do is trust that God will put him in our path again, and do my best to find him.

That experience with him made me want to tell people about the gospel so much more. His experience made me think of the scripture where it says the Devil and his angels laugh as they drag people to hell. I could almost feel their laughter at this man, this son of God who they had been so intent on destroying. At the same time I could feel the power of the atonement to fight off all the powers of the devil. The devil has no power, the atonement overwhelms all evil if we can only let it.

I'll say one more experience, we were knocking doors trying to find a less active member, turns out they moved, but the man that's living in that apartment is ... really cool, and he let us in for a five minute lesson. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and I told him the story of Joseph Smith, and he asked me the question that I'd kind of been fearing ever since I got my call. He asked me if I really believed what I was saying, if I believed it with all my heart... It's a question I've asked myself a lot in the last five or six months, like do I really believe it? Can I really teach people this? I think it's a question every missionary asks themselves at one point or another. So I told him the truth, I told him I've had doubts at times in my life. It's an incredible story, and the implications even more incredible. However, I discovered for myself that I was able to say that I do in reality know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, I can say that and mean it from the heart. So even though the doubts will come, beneath them all, I know it, and I cannot deny it. And God blessed me to have that testimony reconfirmed to me as I told him, it confirmed to me that what I was saying to him was the truth. After that he said he'd read the Book of Mormon, so we're excited to see what happens with him!

Well I'm sure there were other little things, the truth is that in reality we see little miracles every day, and I think we all can if we're looking for them, but those are just the bigger ones that I remember.

Haha, oh there was one funny story. We were teaching a lady that's not married, but she wants to, knows the church is true, has visited with the missionaries forever, but her "husband" (boyfriend) doesn't want to get married though they've been together 10 years and have a kid... So we promised her that if she prayed daily, read the scriptures daily, went to church every week, she would start to see a difference in her husband. A promise we made in faith. Unfortunately, what I didn't know, that being the first time I met her, was that her husband happened to be sitting right behind me... haha I'm not sure if he heard me, but I was feeling like I should say it, so if he did, well we'll see what happens."

"...we've been able to eat at members homes fairly often... As for eating more than PB&J [when I cook for myself], yeah... I eat a lot of that..."

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