... As one finding activity, we have been working off of Former Investigator forms from an Elder who was here about a year ago. So we basically have their name, address, and a few comments about who they are and what they were taught. We've prayed and read over all of them, and gone to the one's we've felt impressed to visit. We know that it's been over a year in some cases though, so it was almost as though we felt to go to the address. Sure enough, not once have we found the person who is listed on the sheet. But, every time we have found someone. Either at the apartment, or nearby. That's the happy part, the not so happy part, is that none of them kept their appointments....not super surprising, but I thought SOME of them would! Come on people! Haha.
One day, we knocked on an apartment door of an address and there was no answer. There were lots of doors, but two others we felt to knock on (there's little pockets of Spanish speaking people, and so generally speaking, there was a likelihood people around would be Spanish too). At one of the doors, we found Luiz, a high school student who was quite interested, and set an appointment. When his fell through, he actually called (HUGE-especially in this culture down here) and re-scheduled. We're hopeful we'll have a lesson!
At the other door was Merilyn, a woman from El Salvador a bit older than me. At first she thought we were Jehovah Witnesses. That seems to happen a lot... :) Get this?! Turns out she's a member! She was baptized when she was 11 in El Salvador. From what I could understand, she moved here some years ago, her records were never transferred, and she hasn't been to church for years. So basically, we found a "lost member." Each of her appointments have also fallen through, but she had such a wonderful feeling about her. We're not really sure what's going on in her situation, especially with her husband who I am sure isn't a member. She also has 2 little kids. So, anyway, just little miracles, but miracles in my book! I learned once that miracles are the natural result of the application of correct principles. The natural result. So as we do our best and work our hardest, working in the bounds the Lord has set, I expect miracles to happen. ...
On Saturday, we taught our first real lessons! One to Lucia Olibares, a 10 year old. The Kenner Spanish Elders gave her to us because we're sisters. Lucia's Mom, Claudia (a member who is working on becoming more active) kind of hinted that she thought it would be better. Plus, the Dad, not a member, recently decided to not give his permission, and that Lucia is too young to decide. So anyway, I think they didn't know what to do anymore. It will be interesting to see what happens. Our visit went great though!!! Plus, as a child, Lucia speaks English. So while we speak everything we can in Spanish, if we ever get into a bind, she understands some English. Kind of a stress reliever.
Our other lesson was a referral that I've been trying for weeks to contact, and she was finally home! Her name is Ana, and she is from Guatemala. She speaks no English. Nice lady, let us come in and teach. On a little side-note, something that I've learned these last two weeks, especially in the Hispanic culture, is that you've just got to teach on the spot! They're nice, and more willing to let you in than Americans. But you might never get another chance, so seize the opportunity! Anyway, we taught the first lesson- The Restoration. Considering, I understand about 50%, it was a miracle that I understood her questions or concerns, or at least I think I did. :) She doesn't believe that the authority of Jesus Christ was lost, and therefore doesn't see the need for a restoration. We read Amos 8:11-12, and she said she doesn't believe that prophecy has come to pass yet. She grew up Catholic, and I think it's going to be a pretty common concern, but I really didn't know how to address it, then combined with the language, and it felt like I was getting beat up a little bit :) I do know that I have conviction, and that hopefully she'll see that, and want to know why. We set an appointment for next week, which means she "counts" as a new investigator. So that's exciting, now we'll see if it happens.
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, I super appreciate it. I feel like I'm in the refiners fire all the time. Being pushed to just the right level of stress. Not too much, but enough that I am growing a TON. I can feel how it's going to affect me for the rest of my life. But at the same time, I don't think I can see how much it's gonna affect me for the rest of forever.
Everybody have a wonderful week. How is family Book of Mormon reading going? You all are right in the thick of having a super busy schedule, and you each have so many demands on you, and so it might seem like a sacrifice at the end of the day when everyone's tired to read together, and yet I know there's nothing else you could do that will bless you and actually make you more capable to meet the challenges of this life. You will feel increased energy, and you will be better equipped to withstand temptations and hardships that come along during the day. I testify that book is true. I know that each of you know it as well. As you do what Elder Bednar illustrated to Elder Marks last week, and have meaningful prayer and scripture study, you will feel an increased power in your lives. That's my little 2 cents for the week :)
Love you all so much!! Have a fantastic week!