Week 27 - North Oklahoma City - January 7, 2013

Mi querida familia,

It's been a crazy emotional roller coaster ride this week out here in Oklahoma. We've found a lot of new investigators to teach, and we've been teaching the Restoration a lot. Elder Mendoza and I do a pretty good job teaching. We need to work on being a little bolder because we haven't set any baptismal dates in this area for the past 3 or 4 weeks. It's been hard. WE also haven't had an investigator come to church for the past 2 and a half transfers. 

On the plus side, like I said we find people to teach every week, so we actually have appointments set most every night. Most of the time they fall, but at least we're not spending our evenings tracting a whole lot. Knocking doors at 8 o'clock at night is not very effective in Oklahoma.

We've had two referrals from other missionaries and the area and they've both turned out to be rather solid investigators. I'll let you know if they start progressing by next week.

Now, let me tell you about last night. Remember that family with the kids who I said were really solid in wanting to learn the gospel, but how the parents were not very solid? They ended up dropping us last night. Correction, the dad passed on a message from the mom that she wanted to stop our visits. This is a lady that was baptized a member of the church in Texas but has since gone inactive. In short, she decided to go with the Jehova's Witnesses. We tried to set up an appointment so that we could at least have an opportunity to get the last word in, but it was  to no avail. 

My companion and I walked back to the car in silence. We sat there for a bit just utterly shocked by what just happened. I think this is the first time in the mission where I've felt the true pain the comes wit rejection. What pains me the most is that the daughters really were sincerely interested. There were even reading the Book of Mormon. But know because of the mom's decision to reject the Gospel and the Dad's decision to not even care about religion, we can't visit them anymore. It is my most fervent prayer that these young women will continue to read the Book of Mormon. right now its their only hope, and maybe one day down the road they will accept te Gospel. 

the rest of the night was a disaster as well. We got dropped by another investigator because they were too busy, another appointment fell because the lady we were visiting decided to spend the night with her boyfriend, and then earlier another man we talked to really went off on attacking what we believe. 

I know these trials are really miniscule to some of the things I'm hearing about back home, but nonetheless, last night I felt pretty miserable. But, now I'm over it.

Here are some excercises I did that helped me overcome this night of despair. Apply them as you will.
1. I started to count my blessings. 
2. I talked with my companion and asked for his advice. Talking with anyone, a friend, district leader, mom, dad, family member. Just the simple act of venting what you feel instead of keeping it bottled up in side of you really helps you realize how much more possible it is to overcome that difficulty.
3. Sincere prayer. I know it sounds simple, but honestly, there is no better person to vent to then your Heavenly Father. He knows you personally and knows how to help you. I didn't feel an overwhelming presence of the Spirit. The pain didn't leave immediately, but I can testify that without prayer, it is 20 times more difficult to regain the spirit of hope after a hard night. And you don't have to wait until night to pray. Pray at the exact moment when you think there is no hope...and you will find it. 
4. Read the Book of Mormon with the specific question in mind: "How can I better deal with rejection?" I did that this morning, and it was incredible. I read the exact verses that I needed to read in Mosiah 3:9. King Benjamin is talking about Jesus Christ and after he lists all the amazing things that Christ did for us he states "even after all this they will see him as a man and say he has the devil and then crucify him". Even after Christ did everything for us, he was still rejected by even his closest of friends. The way we bear it is through patience and hope. Sounds vague I know, but I promise there is hope. 

And don't think that feeling sad is a bad thing. People talk about how you shouldn't feel sad when you get rejected and get discouraged. I respectively disagree. For at least a little while you should feel sad. Its the natural outcome. To pretend not to be painfully affected by a trial or rejection is foolish. It's ok to feel devestation for something or someone you care about. 
So my motto is feel sad for a little while and then apply the 4 things I talked about before and then gradually the pain will disappear. As I write this email, I can testify that the pain I felt last night has been completely eradicated. I am filled with hope and faith in the Lords work. 

Anyways that's my spiritual thought for the day. This week is going to yield better results I just know it. We will set a baptismal date. Someone will be ready to accept the Gospel. The Lord wouldn't put missionaries in an area he didn't have work to be done. 

I hope everyone will find strength in the Lord when they are going through trials. Don't keep it bottled up in side, let the Lord help you out; and then go and serve someone. 

I love you all and I know this church is God's kingdom on the Earth. The Book of Mormon is the evidence; if you ever doubt the church, read the Book of Mormon, NO ONE can deny that is the word of God.

Con Amor y hasta la proxima semana,

Elder Powley

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