Mi Querida Familia,
I'll be honest, this week has been a little slower than the past few weeks. Almost all of our baptismal dates dropped simply because we haven't been able to contact any of them. Just goes to show how the little things such as communication, or a text message or a phone call are so critical. Without communication, nothing gets done. I think it's the same with our Heavenly Father. When we fail to communicate with him, we cease to grow spiritually. He can't let his Spirit guide us if we don't try to talk to him. That's one of the things that I've noticed about being a missionary: we pray almost constantly. We pray right when we wake up, for every meal, to start and end our personal studies, to start and end our companionship studies, before we leave the apartment, during each lesson, each door contact, for every meeting, every day we do a role play for our investigators, and finally every other time in between when we don't have anything to do. Needless to say, us missionaries say many prayers; let's face it we need all the help we can get.I think the mere fact that we openly try and communciate with our Father in Heaven contributes to the whole experience.
We didn't see too much success as far as numbers go, but I've still had some great experiences. The first of which was an exchange I went on with one of our Zone Leaders Elder Aliifua (an exchange is where you switch companions for one day). I had a great learning experience with him. He's almost finished with his mission and he has so much wisdom and knowledge that has really helped with me. He bore his conversion testimony to me, and my testimony of the enabling power of the Atonement has increased 10 fold because of this guy.
I also had one of the most meaningful teaching experiences with him. We were teaching a lady named Juana, her daughter Tania, and her son Oscar. Juana had been a former investigator in our area but for one reason or another, the last missionaries stopped teaching her. So Elder Chapman and I found her record and began the teaching process over again. Juana is very kind, speaks only Spanish and loves hearing the missionaries...but she is not one to make commitments.
So going into this lesson without a companion who spoke Spanish was a little daunting. However, I found that I was given the gift of the interpretation of tounges for this one lesson. I understood almost everything she said, not perfectly but enoght that I could answer her concerns. It was truly a revelatory experience that the Lord will make sure that whatever situation I'm put in, as long as I have faith, He will provide. For some reason, I was able to communicate with Juana and teach the Gospel of Christ all in Spanish. It was so cool! And I could feel the Spirit testifying just as strongly. Juan then invited us to come back on Sunday.
Elder Chapman and I then got to meet with her on Sunday, but this time we took a different approach. We decided to include the daughter Tania in on the lesson. It's actually kind of a sad situation with the mom and daughter. Tania speaks English while her mother speaks Spanish. Both can understand a little bit of eachother but neither can tlak to each other very effectively. But Elder chapman and I decided to focus on Tania. And as we did, we noticed that Tania had a great curiosity for things about God. The fact that we included the child in on the lesson, in my opinion is something that touched Juana more than anything.
We then taught them again last night using the same apporach with the Plan of Salvation and I was astonished by the wisdom of a little child. We were asking her some very pointed questions and she answered them simply and profoundly. It was amazing, and again the mom was touched.
It just goes to show, that when you teach a child, adults will understand and learn more effectively. I've heard it said that the true mark of a genius is one who can a very complicated idea and explain it so that a child can understand it.
In other experiences, Elder Chapman and I were looking for new investiagators when we ran into a man named to Miguel. We had a very nice prayer with him and he asked us to come back on Tuesday (which is today...woah). At first I was like "Ok cool we have a new investiagator. I'm excited." Then Elder Chapman asked me if I noticed anything strange about Miguel. I said apart from the fact that his apartment was pretty clean, no. He then asked me if I saw the tracking bracelet around his ankle. I said No, I must have missed it. We are apparently meeting with a convicted criminal tonight. Not too scared becaue we definately felt the spirit during the prayer, but this is gonna be interesting.
I've run out of time to write, but things are going pretty well out here in Oklahoma. We had a Talent Show coming up this Friday with the Spanish Branch and I'll be performing a little piano song by Jon Schmidt called "Onward Christian Soldiers" (sound familiar?) and also accomompanying an opera singer in our branch. I'm excited, and hopefully we'll be able to get some investigatores to come as well and start involving the branch members in fellowshipping them.
Hasta proxima semana!