Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 4 Letter

Hey everyone!

Well, this was one of the most up-and-down weeks ever. It seems I often start with the happy parts, then leave the depressing crap at the end, so I'm gonna reverse it this time.

I don't know if you remember me talking about Amy... She's one of them I've been meeting with essentially since I got here. Well, the last time we really sat down with her was about a month and a half ago. During that lesson, she flat out said that she had experienced a "mighty change of heart" as described in Alma 5 and said even her mom had noticed it. It was great! We scheduled another appointment for the next week, but it fell through because of her son's scout meeting. Same with the week following. Then she wasn't responding to texts or calls, so we tried to stop by her house one day. We heard some people inside but no one came to the door, so we assumed it was her kids and Amy wasn't home. So we tried another day. We kept trying back every few days, just at different times during the day, hoping to catch her. Then we tried back this week and there was a note taped on her door reading: "Missionaries, We are no longer interested. PLEASE respect our decision. - The Schenks." I have no idea what in the world happened... She went from an investigator who had us over for Christmas and would go all out to make sure we were happy at our appointments by buying whatever drinks we like our whatever... to this. 

Then, to make it all worse, we got a text from Cora, the lady I baptized my second week out here, last night. It essentially said, "I don't want Mormons at my house anymore. I have prayed a lot about this, and have got my answer. Please respect my decision." It's all so frustrating....

Now to start switching over to some good-ish news. On Wednesday, we met with Roger's dad, Roger Sr. at Roger Jr.'s house. We'll just call them Jr. and Sr. for now. Sr. has lived a verrrry rough life, full of drugs and prison and who knows what else, and it's really messed with the family. Now, even in his 60s, he struggles with drugs and partying. But everytime he runs out of money (which is often) he goes to Jr.'s house for help and shelter. Jr. is getting pretty tired of it, but doesn't really know what to do, but he wanted us to come and talk to his dad about trying to change. Well, we did, and had a decent conversation, but Sr. wouldn't admit that he really even had a problem, which makes everything all the harder. Well, I am going out of chronological order here and will just say that he up and left Jr.'s house by Friday. But, when we were still meeting with him on Wednesday, the most important thing to talk about is the way our conversation with Sr. completely changed the way Jr. and Jr.'s wife, Josette, looked at us. 

See, Elder Thueson at one point was trying to say that it was a miracle that a boy from Idaho and another from Arizona could happen to meet some 60 year old man in New York. But then Jr. jumped in and brought up even more, pointing out that he'd actually texted us to say it wasn't a good night, but since we'd left our phone at Kelly's, we came anyway. So Jr. was the one who was saying it was a miracle that we were there!

Then, when we were trying to teach Sr. about the Book of Mormon, he really kept backing away from it, not wanting anything but the Bible. When he left eventually, Josette commented about how hard it is for her to read the Book of Mormon, being raised that there was just the Bible, and that's it. We talked a little more about it, and it all started clicking in her head. Then, she made a really interesting comment: "I would hate to get to heaven and have God say, 'I sent how many missionaries to your house, and you never accepted the truth?' I guess if this really is the real church, I'd probably be best to figure it out." 

Since then, we've met with them again and have set up an appointment for Wednesday. It's very exciting. They could be such an incredible family!!! (When I said good-ish, the ish part was cause Sr. ran away to his old ways again... I made it just sound all good though!)

Now for the most awesome news!! There's this lady, Debbie, who I've only kind of talked about in the past. She lives at a recent convert's house, and has been coming to church for months, but has always been very adament that she was not getting baptized any time soon. The stake president has taught her once and everything, but she was not budging. I think I mentioned before, though, that she would put up big fights about things until she understood what we were saying, then everything else went easy. Well last week, we challenged her to read the Book of Mormon in two weeks, which she accepted. Well, she made it to Alma 8 in one week, but naturally had TONS of questions. We went over yesterday to go over them all, which was a very good experience in and of itself. But then we got to what we always get to: the necessity of baptism and the idea of baptisms for the dead. We had a FANTASTIC talk about eternal families, though, and showed her the Mormon Message, "Families Can Be Together Forever," which had her in tears. Then, we extended an invitation to her to be sealed to her dad. She thought about it for a second, then asked the key question: What would that entail? "Well..." we said, "First, you'd have to be baptized." She was apprehensive at best at that point, but we ended up convincing her to pray about it right there with us, and wellllll, long story short, SHE'S GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!! WOOOOO!!!! Haha it was super exciting!!

Well, there are other things I COULD tell you.... but I don't have time. We just realized this morning we never sent in our car report that was supposed to be mailed four days ago... so I gotta run! 

BUT! A) You should write me. PLEEEEEASE :)  B) You should check out my new blog post, all about why Jesus talks so freaking much about Israel when he visits the Nephites and how much it applies to me as a missionary! Go here and love it! http://brackenallen-thinkonthesethings.blogspot.com/2013/03/why-so-much-about-israel.html

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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