Well, it's been quite a week. Before I get going on what happened, I think it's really interesting to look at the difference from one companion to another. With some companions, it feels like you are teaching a thousand people a day, but the lessons are only marginally effective. Others, it seems like you might teach one or two a day, but you really get somewhere with them. Elder Holmes and I definitely fit into the latter. Even with Elder Hirschi, less than a month ago, we were teaching about 20 lessons to investigators a week. Elder Holmes and I are hovering around 12-15 so far, but yet I feel the lessons are actually going somewhere. It's pretty interesting. At least to me... you probably don't care. But it will make my email home longer ;)
Anyways, Andrea and Jerry are the greatest. We went over there , and finally taught them the Restoration. Generally, we don't wait until we've been teaching them a couple months to get to that, but when they have to gain a testimony of God, you rearrange things a little bit haha. Anyways, it went pretty well. Andrea was a little confused for a while on what happens to other Christians, but I think we explained it about as well as we could without teaching the whole Plan of Salvation along with it. It was a unique lesson, though. Normally, we kind of skim through the first half of Preach My Gospel's "Lesson One," by saying, "Time and time again, God calls prophets. People like Noah, Abraham, Moses. They speak for God, bring His gospel, and bring people together. Eventually, though, the people reject the prophets. Look at Israel! How many times have they rebelled?! So what does God do? He calls another prophet to restore everything back. Eventually Jesus came to the Earth, and brought His full gospel, but somehow people even rejected Him. But, He passed on His authority to the apostles, who tried to keep things together as well as they could, but just look at the New Testament. It is almost entirely the Apostles', especially Paul's, attempts at keeping unity and rejecting false doctrine. When they were killed, the authority to run the Church was no longer on the Earth." Now when you are teaching someone who doesn't know who Noah, Abraham, Moses, Israel, or the apostles are, and when they have a very limited understanding of who God and Jesus are... things change. It was pretty cool to teach it all from the very beginning and really explain it all out to them.
When we finished, all of the sudden Guo Jian (the member), Andrea, Jerry, and some other Chinese woman who lives in the house who doesn't speak any English started bickering back and forth in Chinese for about 30 minutes. We had zero idea what was going on. (We found out later from the other elders that apparently Guo Jian said that if they didn't start reading the Book of Mormon, he was going to stop coming over anymore hahaha.) But at the end, Andrea said something really cool! She was talking about how her friends and family really want her to get married. "I know it would make me happy," she explained, but then said that even if the perfect guy came around and wanted to marry her, she would probably get so nervous that she would avoid doing anything that would lead to their marriage. She compared this to the Church. Essentially, she is acknowledging that the gospel can and likely will make her happy and change her life, she is just scared of doing the things that she knows are going to help her accept it. While it isn't exactly the best outlook on it all, it is cool to see her recognize for herself that what we are teaching can and will change her life, entirely.
This would all be a much bigger downer if it wasn't for the following ten minutes! After we explained... actually, I really don't remember what I explained. But I talked to her about the comfort and confidence God gives us as we move forward, step by step. At the end of it all, I asked if we could close with a prayer. Andrea looked at me terrified, assuming I was asking her to pray. I assured her I would say it this time around, and did. At the end, I stood up, only to have Andrea look up at me and say, "Can I say one, now?" Whaaat??! Normally it's taken quite a bit of reassuring and encouraging for her to pray; for her to volunteer is unheard of!
Now, to make us even happier, we are planning on going to Palmyra with Guo Jian, Jerry, and Andrea the after Thanksgiving! One of the Sister Missionaries is from Taiwan, so she will be taking them on all the tours and everything. It'll be so great!
We also had a really great lesson with Stephen. We went over covenants, and yet again he pretty much just sounded LDS the entire time we talked. He talked about how covenants are something we need to make throughout our lives so that we can grow closer and closer to God. It was mindblowing. We are getting closer and closer to baptism with him!
Then we have a new investigating family! Two weeks ago, we were tracting, and a lady opened the door. There were a thousand kids inside, and we could tell we definitely were intruding on something. The lady's daughter came to the door and said that it was her daughter's birthday party. We asked if we could come back some other time, and she said yes. We asked if there was a good time, and they said pretty much any time would work. That is never a good sign. That means they are essentially saying, "Do whatever, we really don't care at all..." But, we were in the area on Tuesday, so we stopped by. When we knocked, we heard, "Who is it?" "The missionaries!" we hollered back. "Oh, one second!" was the surprisingly pleasant reply. As Destiny (the mom whose daughter was having a birthday party) answered the door, we talked to her for a few minutes at the door, then she went into another room to talk to her husband. From around the corner, we heard, "The missionaries are here." "Oh, I'll be right out!" We ended up talking to them for some thirty or forty minutes about everything from hunting to the Restoration! It was fantastic, and we are headed back !
Well... I'm sure there's more to be said... but I'm drawing up a blank and I've probably rambled on enough for one day!
I love you, but I don't miss you!