Mi querida familia,
Great week full of many bitter and sweet experiences. We taught a lesson to a solid family from the Marshall Islands. The dad is solid and took the lessons well. The teenage sons that we met, Danrick and Eric, are super solid teens as well. They are future missionaries for sure. The only hold up is the mom. She doesn't speak a ton of English, and we have the slight feeling that she is skeptical of the church. Which is strange because she has an uncle who is a member and branch president somewhere. We have a lesson with them tonight and we're giong to try inviting them to a specific baptismal date.
We also a cool Follow the Spirit experience. It was late at night and we were nearing the end of the normal proselyting day. All our plans fell through, when I felt prompted to go try this one house that we'd passed by several times. So we biked over, and we see a man with his wife and kids parked in the front of the house. The man's head is down on his steering wheel and he looks at us, and then he looks down. At first, I thought he was maybe trying to avoid us. I looked to Elder Beus and we both agreed that we should go talk with this man. So we apprached him, and found out that he was having a really rough time, on the point of actually going back to jail. We were able to pray with him and share some words of encouragement and get some contact information. He had been prepared to receive the missionaries. He actually mentioned that he had been praying, and when he looked up, he saw us as missionaries walking towards him. It was an uplifting miracle that just shows how the Lord puts us in the right place at the right time, but we have to be willing to follow those small impressions that come to our mind.
Saturday....probably had one of the most trying experiences of my mission. I was on exchanges with Elder Jenkins in Elk City, a city 30 minute west of Clinton, and I felt prompted to try this one house. We start talking with this lady, and what started out pleasent deteriorated into an attack on Joseph Smith and the Church. Soon she started attacking us as missionaries. "You will one day have to stand accountable for leading people astray." Then I'd bear my testimony and she'd flat out respond with "You're wrong." I felt terrible. Everytime she opened her mouth, I just felt terrible. We quietly left the door and I felt soo angry and bitter. How could she be so closed hearted? She was more willing to trust and anti-mormon DVD than actually read the Book of Mormon! I could feel Satan attacking me with doubt anger. So my companion and I did the only thing you can do in situations like that...pray. We offered a prayer asking for comfort, and there are few experiences where I've really strongly felt the Lord's love and this was one of them. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I know I am one of the Lord's representatives here on the earth today. We're supposed to be rejected. I felt my testimony grow 10 fold that day. I am so grateful for my testimony of the Book of Mormon. A testimony of this book is what can serve as an anchor to all the attacks made on this church based on Joseph Smith, polygamy, or other stances made by the Church. We must keep reading this book daily to keep our testimonies strong, or we might find ourselves doubting and giving in to the subtle temptations of the Adversary.
The sting of the experience on the doorstep with that lady has been aliviated; I especially relieved as I partook of the Sacrament renewing my covenants. Renewing convenatns worthily also helps rekindle testimony.
And even better, I now feel a lot more comfortable talking with everyone I see. Every time you contact someone through OYM, you feel more confident the next time. It's a continual cycle, and I can see an increase in my capacity to love every time I engage in a conversation with a complete stranger. It's such a great feeling! I'm so glad to be a missionary or else I would never have this experience to increase my capacity to love.
I had a great birthday yesterday! It's so wierd to be 20 years old. this mission has really helped me grow up and understand more my purpose here in life. Looking back to myself before the mission, one of the biggest changes I've seen is in my capacity to love. You really start to learn how to love people here on the mission, even those you don't know on a friendship basis, and even to those that curse you.
I love my mission. My year mark is motivating me to step it up a bit more, be more bold, talk to more people, be more creative. I only have one more year to introduce myself as a representative of Jesus Christ and speak with power and authority from on high.
Have a great week! Todavia puedo hablar espanol!!