"Suffice it to say it was probably the hardest week I've had yet on the mission... Haha, it was just tough, to put it uneloquently, we got owned! First of all in one week we had a total of 7 flat tires! Yeah, that means we had to do a lot of walking, and had to miss appointments because they were almost an hours walk away. So, that really wasn't too great, but we did still manage to get some stuff done. Then it was super sad, we got dropped by four people/families that were really showing a lot of potential. Unfortunately they decided they didn't want to continue the lessons. It was honestly extremely sad. Then we had an appointment with [the great family], and frankly it was horrible. We brought along the ward mission leader, who is a good man, but is determined on taking control of the lesson, and proving the gospel logically. It was definitely not a good lesson, and after it Elder Shinost and I felt like we could've lost the family... We went back the next morning to try and see what we could do to fix the situation, and some incredible things happened. The ... family accepted a baptismal date! It was an extremely spiritual lesson, and honestly one of the highlights of the mission so far. However, just yesterday we found out that the wife really isn't feeling ready, and actually feels pretty badly about the baptismal date. We've pushed it back another week in order to give her more time to read and pray. [The father], however, is feeling solid, and that really is what God has prepared for him. So they're doing really well. There are some bumps in the road, but Elder Shinost and I are confident that they'll be baptized within the next month. Other than that, like I said, it was a really horrible week. We also met with these two less active boys. They are honestly some of the saddest boys I have ever met in my entire life... We honestly don't know what else we can do to help them, except for trying to help the mom, so that will be the new focus with them.
Other big news... I was transferred! Yep, I knew it was going to happen, and before I'd been thinking that I'd enjoy being transferred, but after being humbled this last week, I realized how much I really do care about these people, about their eternal salvation, and about their temporal well being. It's sad to me that I won't be able to continue visiting with [the family], nor will I be able to see those kids again... However, I take consolation in the fact that I will still get to come back when [the family is] baptized. Still, it was sad news... But like Mom says, I also do feel like I accomplished what I was supposed to while I was in Langley Park, and now the Lord has something else in store for me. I'm definitely going to miss working with Elder Shinost though, we got along really well, and we worked really well together.
I am now in an area called Onley with Elder Lee. Elder Lee was in our apartment the transfer before this last one, and I got to know him a little bit there.... It'll be a good transfer!"
"Well, I think that's about it. I'll have more news for you guys next week on how the new area is! I have a feeling time will just continue to pick up over here though. Oh, it'll also be super weird because I'm in a car! Ha, I haven't driven for five months! We'll see how that goes!"
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Derek wrote early (May 18), but I'm even later getting it up here.
"Yep, I'm writing early, p-day is one day earlier this week... We were going to go to a baseball game today as a mission, so they switched the p-day. Unfortunately, it's been raining here for the past three days so it was canceled... Ah well, we'll go to one in the future!
As for things going on this week, it wasn't too great of a week in terms of teaching, unfortunately. But we did have some cool things happen! First of all would probably be this guy we've been trying to work with, that has the blessing of having Sundays off from work but works like crazy during the rest of the week. He hasn't come to church for two months, so we'll go by trying to drop him, but each time he's said I'll be there this week. Finally we haven't been talking to him for the last two weeks, and miracle of miracles he was at church this week! It was awesome to see him there, haha I was super happy and surprised, hopefully now he decides to keep coming!
We also have two baptismal dates!! Unfortunately, they're after transfers, so we'll see if I'm still around for them, hopefully so! We have one girl [who is] a fifth grader that is incredibly spiritual. A few weeks ago we just had a door step lesson with her about the Book of Mormon and prayer. She prayed for the first time, and from there has prayed every morning and night. It's been cool to see her change as more and more of the gospel has come into her life, and you can see that she has more peace and happiness despite all the horrible things that happen around her. Unfortunately the father is an alcoholic and often drunk and doesn't want her to come to church, so we'll be praying for a miracle there. Still, it's been cool to see her gain hope and trust in her Father in Heaven.
Then we have a guy... I think I've told you about him before, [who's] had a tough life, and we've been teaching him these last two transfers. Unfortunately he couldn't get baptized before because he's not married to his girlfriend [and is living with her], but luckily for his eternal salvation, sad for his temporal, she's going to Honduras for a year at the end of this month! We had a really cool lesson with him in the Visitors Center this past Sunday where we spoke about the plan of salvation and eternal marriage. Both he and his girlfriend have strong desires to one day enter the temple and be married for all eternity, and Dennis himself pointed out that before that could happen he had to get baptized. The spirit was strong as it always is so close to the temple, and we invited him to be baptized on the 29th of May,... he accepted and said he really felt at peace with the decision. haha needless to say I was incredibly happy! It's been cool to see him change as he's come to know God more and rely on him to get him through his trials in life. It's been cool to see how their relationship has changed as they've involved God in it, and committed to living the law of chastity... They've grown a lot, and I'm excited to hopefully one day see him enter into the temple!
Those were definitely the highlights of the week. There was also another interesting thing that happened. Do you guys remember me telling you guys about a guy... that had a really tough life, I met him probably my second or third week here? He's the one that walked away and I wish I would've called him back to talk to him. Well, it truly was a miracle but we found him again. We were biking past some buildings and we found him sitting by the side of one drunk. I was surprised I still recognized him, but we stopped and talked to him, and this time I feel like we did what we could for him. He wouldn't give us an address, but we have his phone number and we left him with a book of Mormon that I wrote my testimony in. I now feel like we've given him as much of a chance as we could have. I really hope he reads the Book of Mormon and hopefully can come to know of its truthfulness. He needs the gospel, but he can't seem to see it, probably doesn't help that he's almost in a permanent drunken state it seems. Though we did get him to throw away his bottle of alcohol he had with him! Still, he needs the atonement, hopefully he can decide to use it...
Other than that, that's about it for the week. It went by far faster than any week I've had so far. It really feels like I just wrote you guys yesterday. Sheesh, too fast! Last week of the transfers though, hopefully we can do well! I really feel like I'm going to be transferred though, not sure why, but I guess we'll see!"
Sunday, May 15, 2011
We got to talk with Derek on mother's day. He sounds great and is doing well. We got a letter from him on Wednesday but I forgot to post it here.
Here is a picture of Derek's bike wheel after running into the car last week.
"...we have had a couple of cool experiences in the last two days. We had a really good day Monday with a lot of teaching, it was incredible, we actually taught almost the whole day! People answered doors and let us in, and appointments actually went through! It was still kind of sad though, on Monday we talked to two 14 and 15 year old girls that are either pregnant or already moms... It's ridiculous, my eyes are being opened more and more to the wickedness of the world. In Utah I knew the world was wicked, but Utah is so nice, and there are so few of those cases that it didn't seem too widespread. I came here and realized more how wicked the world really was, how much it really needs the gospel. Now, my eyes have been opened even more, and I can see that the world truly is becoming ripe for the second coming. When 14 year old girls are about to become moms and they feel like it's a good or lucky thing, there's definitely a problem. Especially since more than likely the guy is probably in his 20's. It makes me mad and sad that Satan has "such great hold upon the hearts of the children of men".
Luckily, the gospel is also growing, and it's cool to see these people begin to light up as we speak to them about the gospel. There was this one 5th grader that had never prayed before. We taught her how to pray two weeks ago and now she prays every night and day, because she needs it. She laughs about how her Dad gets drunk and beats her as if it's just a normal thing that happens to everyone. It's so sad that these people almost don't realize how sad their lives are or how beautiful they can really become, but with the light of the gospel I think they're starting to realize that they're lives don't have to be the same, that there is a hope for a brighter future."
"This last week I've really been trying to focus on gaining a greater love for the people I teach. I feel like I'm serving for selfish reasons as of right now, or at least sometimes I am. It's not to get noticed or anything, but I think it's so that I can feel like I succeeded, like I did what I had to do. In other words it's focused on myself rather on focusing on these people and how their lives can be so much better. It's made a pretty good change already, and I hope I can continue to grow in love for these people. I think it's working because I'm beginning to feel like Nephi did when he said that he sorrowed for the sins of the world. Truly evil abounds, and the only thing that will ever be able to combat it and bring joy to these people's lives is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it really does shine into darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not."
Here is a picture of Derek's bike wheel after running into the car last week.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
"I did indeed get hit by a car haha, yeah not something to laugh about, but what else can you do? It wasn't bad though, I was coming up this hill called metzerott, and the light I could see was red so I decided to turn left onto the sidewalk. Unfortunately the oncoming traffic light was green, and I was dumb and didn't see that there was a car coming, so I got hit... It wasn't bad though, just bent the front tire, and the lady managed to brake in a reasonably good amount of time so I mostly just tipped over when I got hit, but I had to buy a new tire... The lady was really nice though, she didn't even swear at me, which was something of a miracle! :) I also didn't make her pay, even though I probably could've because I felt dumb enough and it was really my own fault. But, no worries, I'm ok, and it really was a miracle I wasn't hurt, a little reminder from God for me to keep my eyes open."
"As for other miracles this week, there have been some good ones, and it's also been a rather frustrating week. The good news would be, 5 people at church! Whoot! [From the family, the] wife and kids came as well as two other investigators we have. So that was really cool! God has also been giving us more people to teach which has been good!"
Derek also talked about a good lesson they had with a couple, and some young boys who they took to the Visitors Center to have the Sister missionaries talk to.
"Other than that it's been a humbling and frustrating week as well. It's super tough to know what to do... We're always told we're here to harvest the people that are ready, those people must be hiding pretty well, because it seems like we can't find them... Still, God leads us step by step, and it's just making it through these tougher times, especially when we hardly ever teach, it feels like our day has been wasted...
Oh, another cool experience. Elder Shinost and I decided to go check on some referrals we've received. We have a pool of 54 referrals, most of which are never home, but we decided to each choose a couple by the spirit and then go visit whichever ones matched up. Out of the 54 Elder Shinost picked two, I picked three. Elder Shinost's two matched my two exactly! We checked on them, and both were fake addresses haha, but we talked to some cool people, and actually ended up being in an area of another referral at exactly the right moment for them to be home. God does indeed work in mysterious and small ways, but he does work. I just have to learn to be more patient and trust that if we're working we're doing his will, which is honestly very hard at times when you just don't seem to see any results... All our people are just sitting there, not really progressing towards baptism because they all have a big stumbling block that we just can't seem to get around... We'll see what happens this next week, we're really trying to push them and impress upon them the importance of baptism, hopefully it goes well!"
"Man, the time just goes by so ridiculously quickly... Ha, I even dated a letter April 4th today, and thought it was perfectly normal, psyche, it's now May 4th, whatever happened to April? 20 months is all I've got left, and it feels like they're going to be gone before I know it, haha missions should be three years! Anyways, talk to you soon, I love you all!"