Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15 Letter

This week has been an interesting one. We had next to no investigators when I first got here, so we have spent a huge chunk of time trying to build up our teaching pool. That means I have significantly fewer stories to share. But I'll see what I can come up with!
First, I guess I could share a cool story about David. Well, let me give you a little bit of a recap on how our teaching with him has gone, because it's been a new experience, for sure haha. Keep in mind, he's 72. So, it's kind of like teaching Mr. Krueger. He's very friendly... just hard to keep on topic. It's like we talk about the Word of Wisdom, which he says he agrees with because it will keep us healthy, which he thinks is important because he is old, which means he's seen a lot of things in his life, like this one time he got in a car accident, but he has a really nice car right now and likes to cruise the countryside at about 140 mph, and on and on and on. Then we try to somehow relate cars to coffee. It has been tough sometimes haha. But, heck, it's been a new experience! Haha so, we've had to go over every two or three days and just teach a principle or two at a time. The problem has been that he is really willing to take our word on everything. Normally that's not so bad, but we need him to get a real testimony, not just a general acceptance. He's never had much of a habit of prayer, and I don't know if he remembers that he needs to pray about what we taught about by the time we leave most nights. BUT! something cool happened Saturday and Sunday!
So Saturday, he was convinced someone had broken into his house and stolen his wallet the night before. Really, his whole story didn't make much sense, so we kind of assumed he was mistaken. So, we invited him to pray for help finding his wallet. (Hahaha, as a funny sidnote, his prayer to close our discussion that evening was, "Dear Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for sending me these two friends. And please help them to find my marbles." hahahahahaha.) The next day, we called him to see if he was planning on coming to church. He said he was feeling sick, but was really excited. He told us he'd prayed before he went to bed, and found his wallet almost as soon as he woke up! HE was the one who acknowledged it as an answer to his prayer, too, which is super exciting!
We have been receiving referrals left and right. Literally, though. I have received more referrals in my three weeks in Warsaw than I did in eight months in Freedom. The problem is I am evidently REALLLLY bad at contacting referrals. We contacted seven last week, and only one invited us to come back. I swear I can have that much luck with tracting! But, we have another ten that we still haven't contacted, so hopefully that turns out a little better. It was really funny, too, because I can think of at least four testimonies yesterday where people started advocating for us haha. They kept on talking about how quickly we get in contact with referrals. So that's a good sign, at least!
One of the referrals, Sandy, we contacted two weeks ago became a cool story, this week, actually. We had gone out to contact her, and had a pretty good conversation with her, actually. We talked about the whole Plan of Salvation, and she seemed fairly intrigued. She then told us that she'd actually been to the Sacred Grove. "Something happened there," she said. "There is such a different feeling when you get in there and when you come back out." But she didn't invite us in or even set up a time that we could come back. She just told us to call her sometime and "maybe" we could work out a time to meet up again. I wasn't too convinced about anything.
But then this week, we got a call from Tayler Petranec, whose husband had referred Sandy behind his wife's back (she's really better friends with his wife than with him). She said that she had just received a call from Sandy, who was wondering when pageant was. She said that she wishes that she'd known we were coming over, because she just couldn't invite us in because she has dogs that bite, I guess, but that we were "very nice young men." But the important part is that she now really wants to go to the Hill Cumorah Pageant!! Not just hypothetically, either. Once we figured out the dates that pageant was, we found out she wanted to know so that she could book a hotel in Palmyra during that time. I was pretty stoked!!
We are also working on getting Gila and Josef (the Jews) out to Palmyra. This week was interesting to be teaching them. The way she talks, it's almost as though she believes every bit of it. When talking about going to the Sacred Grove, she is really excited about it, because she expects it to be just as spiritual as it was when she went to Abraham's burial site. For a Jew to put the Sacred Grove at the same level as Abraham's grave is saying something. Anytime she talks about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, it's as though it is fact. Which is a good thing, but then it just confuses the heck out of us because she does the same thing when she talks about Baha'i, Judaism, or anything that isn't Islam, Jehovah's Witness or ChristianDOM (she always intentionally emphasizes the dom part hahaha). She gets super excited when we point out connections between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, like Mulek, Ezekiel 37:16-17 compared to 2 Nephi 3:12, or anything like that. She was ecstatic when we told her that the keys to the gathering of Israel were restored by Moses and the keys to the turning the hearts of the children to their fathers were restored by Elijah. But then when we invite her to come to church or anything, she starts talking about how she knows our job is to "recruit members," which is clearly not the direction we want to go. But, what can you do? She likes us enough we'll just keep going over and hopefully make magic happen! The Holy Ghost can do some cool stuff, so who knows!?
We also started teaching Renate this week. She is the wife of a member of the branch, and has actually been coming to church for years now, maybe more consistently than her husband. She didn't seem too intent on taking legitimate missionary discussions, but did agree to read at least a chapter of the Book of Mormon with us every week. So we went over and read 1 Nephi 1 with her this week. She is pretty frustrating sometimes, not going to lie. She is convinced that every church can be true, as long as its members try to do good in the world. But then she seems very doubtful of a lot of things, because she's seen TONS of bad in the world. She actually lived in Germany during World War II, so you can imagine the kind of stuff she's seen and experienced. She really struggles with the idea that God would let evil exist, and in some cases prevail. But, the really frustrating part is that I think she knows the Church is true, just doesn't want to admit that her philosophy is off. Really, she runs away from the Spirit. Whenever any of us - even her own husband - were bearing testimony, she would change the subject, sometimes even in the middle of a sentence. In a small way this is a good thing, because she definitely recognizes when the Spirit is strongest. We just need her to not run from it. Luckily, we have weekly visits scheduled with her!
Welllll... hopefully that fills your fancy! Haha and hopefully we can find some new, cool investigators to talk more about for next week. I don't want you getting bored with the same ol' people every week!
But hey! You should read THIS! These were my thoughts on how well Lehi teaches us to receive revelation in the very first chapter of the Book of Mormon. Read it!
Oh, quick question for any of you that might be intelligent. For the past two weeks, I've randomly kept feeling a really warm feeling on the side of my ankle. It's not a real burning or anything like if it were really hurt. It really just feels like there's an air vent blowing on one side of my ankle. But it happens every two or three hours, and is a very distinct feeling. Anyone know if this is a problem? Haha Hopefully I'm not dying from the ankle, up! Let me know if I, in fact, am!
I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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