Man, life as a Zone Leader again is just as crazy as life as an Assistant. It's incredible how we can always magnify our callings and occupy our thoughts and time no matter the scope of the stewardship or challenge. It was a pretty awesome week though I'm now struggling to remember all of the things that have happened. We've been able to find quite a few cool people recently and our days have been filled with appointments all day every day! I honestly don't think I've ever had so many appointments as we do now. A lot of them are with Less Active members and we've been able to have some cool experiences as we've met with them. It's interesting how I've felt such a pull to so many of these Less Actives and a desire to help them probably more than at any other point in my mission. There are a few that are progressing really well in the Gospel. One of them is Scott, he's a guy that hasn't been to church in 20 years but has now discovered that he needs God in his life and the other day after a lesson we had with him he texted us thanking us for the spirit we'd been able to bring into his life. It's funny how your perception on life and people changes once you've got to know a few people. I think before the mission I would've seen this guy and just wondered how in the world he was going to clean up his life. He has two kids with two different women, tattoos, he smokes, etc. but it's been incredible to see how much of a desire he has to follow the Savior. He was worried about coming to church because he's going to smell like tobacco and he's worried that he won't be able to live all of the commandments as a member, haha I'm pretty sure before the mission I would've said something along the lines of, "well if you love the Lord you'll definitely stop smoking and you'll do this and that, etc." now it was completely different. It was the idea of "you know what, that's ok, you just come and you feel right at home and start feeling the atonement in your life. The rest will eventually take care of itself, as for right now just come and feel the spirit and the love." It's been cool to see the change in perspective on sin, its consequences, repentance, mercy, and the nature of God. I believe He's a lot more merciful and loving than we maybe sometimes give Him credit for. Obviously it doesn't erase the gravity of sin, but it's interesting to put it into perspective and hate the sin but love the sinner.
This Sunday I also gave what was only my second talk in Sacrament meeting. Haha it was an interesting experience, the High Councilor that also spoke had come up to me the Sunday prior and assigned me a topic, the topic? "Why do we need to repent in order to be forgiven?" Yeah, I'm just glad that there weren't any Born Again Christian investigators in there. Still it was a fun topic to study and prepare for and once again it made me realize how much I've grown... It's strange to be able to stand in front of the congregation and not be too nervous, still nervous, but confident that the spirit was going to testify of what I was going to say and that was really all that mattered. Strange how the mission changes you so much...
We've also had the opportunity to go on several exchanges with some missionaries that have struggled to take off in their missions. It's amazing how each of us struggle and try and struggle alone when if we would just step outward a little bit everything would be so much easier. This particular misisonary was struggling with a number of things, negativity, depression, feelings of inadequacy, etc. and just hadn't expressed it to anyone for quite awhile. I think that exchanges and helping the other missionaries has become one of my favorite parts of the mission. It's an opportunity to help others see and realize their potential even though they already have the gospel. It just shows the universality of the Gospel as it applies to all of God's children whether missionaries, non-members, or anyone in between.
We've also been helping out this one guy named Adam, man the guy's life is crazy... He was doing really well, progressing in the gospel, leaving behind bad habits, etc. and then in just the last 36 hours he's lost everything... He was kicked out of his house, lost custody over his child, has no money and no job, all because of a single decision that snowballed and escalated.... It was a sobering realization that our lives really do turn on small hinges and that each moment and each decision carries with it heavy consequences. Thankfully he's been able to maintain some hope, but it's going to be a long road to fix up his life... Still, it's been cool to see how the Lord is teaching him, and then teaching us as we've been able to help him.