It's been an eventful, crammed week!
We spent Monday packing and saying goodbye, then most of Tuesday trading Elder Ryser for Elder Holt up in the Palmyra area. So, that left us with five days to do everything else that we needed to do, which was surprisingly a lot (especially given our dismal numbers haha).
Probably the coolest appointment of the week was with a girl named Jenn. She is the daughter of a member of the ward who is going through a pretty rough divorce right now, so she and her son are temporarily living with her mom (and her grandma who is about to turn 100!!!) in our area. My first week in the area, I taught School, and Jenn was there, but we haven't seen her at church since. A week ago, when I was on exchanges, Elder Ryser and Elder Johnston caught her at home and had a decent talk with her that really turned into her asking question after question after question. Well, this week, Elder Holt and I went over and had a great chat with her, running through the Plan of Salvation. It's interesting to teach her, though, because she is 100% attentive. She'll answer questions when you ask them, she'll read when you invite her to, and she can reexplain anything you've taught or read. She pays attention, understands, and commits to doing things (reading the Book of Mormon, praying, etc). But we haven't been able to find a niche that gets her excited! Granted, we've only talked to her three times, one of which was at church in a class setting... but still. However, Joan, her mom, talked about it in School! I don't even know how it got brought up, but she mentioned that we'd been over teaching Jenn and that she has the whole extended family praying for her. Hopefully that helps us out a little!
Then, we taught Cassandra just yesterday. I don't even know if I mentioned Cassandra a couple weeks back, because our first lesson really wasn't all that notable. But she is the aunt of a less-active girl who used to live in her house. We were looking for Lucy (the member) but since she'd moved we ended up just talking to Cassandra. She is the big black lady from Liberia who is just the classic African lady haha. Hopefully that doesn't sound too racist, but really, just imagine the classic happy African lady in her fifties, and you have Cassandra. The first lesson, we went through the Restoration, and she pretty much decided that God did come to Joseph Smith, but it wasn't anything uniquely special. Just some Christians needed a prophet like him... some do not. Anyways, we went back yesterday, and got right to the lesson. She started talking about how she disagreed that there weren't any true churches during the time Joseph was growing up. We had a chat about the apostasy, and how all good things come from God (Moroni 7) and how it was really the authority and the revelation that was lacking, which created a world of "mostly true" religions, not a whole world of 100% falsehoods. Somehow, in the midst of this conversation that was only going all right, we transitioned to the Book of Mormon. Out of nowhere, she committed herself to reading it and asking God if it's true. "I only do what the Lord directs me to do through His Holy Spirit!" she said. We asked her how the Holy Spirit talks to her, and she goes on and pretty much quotes the fruits of the Spirit part of Galatians (exactly what we usually use) and says it mostly speaks to her heart "in a voice of gentleness." She nailed it. Then we started talking more, and somehow we showed her Mosiah . I don't think I've ever seen someone get so excited about a single scripture. She started talking about how she was going to put it in her quote book and on her wall and was going to study the verse and then the whole chapter and pretty much was going to guide her entire life around it from then on! Haha it was hilarious! Then she started talking about how much she liked that it pointed out that even when Christ has forgiven us, we still have to do what we can to keep the commandments. For a self-proclaimed "Born again believer" that is a rare thing to say! Unfortunately, she can only meet every other weekend, so that will be odd. But, I don't know if I have met anyone so energized about reading the Book of Mormon ever, so I'm excited to go back!
We also had a funny lesson with Randy. We went over and talked a little about his reading like normal. (I swear, that's all our lessons are with him. Haha but he reads so indepth, it works!) Then, when his kids came through the door home from school, he asked us if we would teach them about "the fear of God." Haha we thought he was kidding and just flustered with them briefly. But no. He had the kids come in so we could teach them the fear of God haha. We kind of twisted it a little bit and talked about loving God and wanting Him to be happy with us when we see Him instead of upset at us, and we compared their relationship with their dad to the relationship they had with God. It worked out pretty well, actually!
Well, now let's talk about meetings. I had one great one and one frustrating one.
First, the frustration. Since I'm a District Leader again, apparently I had a District Leader training meeting that no one told me about until . That would be somewhat okay... but they told me about it to let me know they were changing the time to - the next day. We had a handful of appointments scheduled plus a district meeting that I had already prepared. So, I cancelled the district meeting and rearranged/cancelled our appointments. Then, that night at they called us to tell us that the meeting was now an hour later! Haha so that morning we got to call more appointments and re-rearrange/cancel on them last minute. I was pretty peeved. They have us plan a week in advance then throw mandatory meetings at us 12 hours in advance. Then we go to a meeting where they teach us just how important district meetings are, and the whole time I am thinking about the one that they had me cancel last minute. Haha I should probably have been more forgiving, but I was so frustrated by the whole thing.
But then yesterday was AMAZING. So, in the morning, I was talking about how horrid I was at fasting and how before my mission, I had only done one or two full fasts. Even then, by the time the Sacrament was being passed, I realized I hadn't decided what I was fasting for and was just not eating anything. I hurriedly thought and said a quick prayer for help working with the ward better. Well, the first counselor got up and started the testimony meeting. Then some other member got up. Then... the bishop got up? It was odd because generally it's one member of the bishopric and that's it. He said he was really nervous, but felt the Lord had told him it was time to turn a key. He gave a quick explanation of priesthood keys, but said he saw it more as turning on an engine than just opening a door. He then said that one of the keys he holds is missionary work in the ward. He pointed out that our building was dedicated to become a stake center. "That isn't going to happen by people moving into our boundaries," he said. "That's going to be people we already know who are already living here." He told them it was time for everyone to be more open with their testimonies and more active in getting people to the church. From there, the rest of the testimony meeting was people going up, each sustaining bishop and his new goal. All the auxiliary and quorum presidents went up to say they were going to restructure their goals around missionary work. Just everyone. It was great! Haha it's going to be interesting to see the repercussions!
Well... that's pretty much my week.
I love you, but I don't miss you!