This week has been crazy. I don't even know where to begin. We have dropped most of our investigators and will be starting from scratch on finding.
I learned something very valuable this week, applying Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-36, which reads: "Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson— That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven."
If you change a few of the words, you could say that "there are many who receive a testimony by the Spirit, but few are baptized. And why are they not baptized? Because... they do not learn this one lesson - that the rights of the priesthood are necessary to receive the powers of heaven unto salvation."
When investigators don't understand the significance of the restoration of priesthood keys - that God really does have just one church, and that His priesthood order actually has meaning; and in fact is essential - they allow the challenges of the world to overcome them and they don't accept the truth.
Two of our investigators who seemed the most ready for the gospel fell into this trap this week. It wasn't that we didn't teach them the Restoration, or the priesthood, or its importance. But they didn't understand it. They were unable to sustain their personal conversions, denying the witness of the Spirit and allowing opposition to keep them from receiving the ordinances of the Gospel.
However, this experience has really helped Sister LeBaron and me to grow as missionaries and individuals, and evaluate and strengthen ourselves. I applied what I learned from the Book of Mormon this week with these two investigators: we got to the point where we had no effective tools except "bearing down in pure testimony against them" (Alma). We did so, listening to the Spirit the best that we could and trusting in the Lord. Everything is in the Lord's hands. And we maintain our hope and faith that their hearts can be changed as we do and have done all that we can, applying something I loved in 2 Samuel this week: "Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me (and to our investigators who have faltered)?"
In other news... Sister LeBaron and I have decided that we're not going to transfers. If they want one of us to leave they'll have to come get her and drag her away, kicking and screaming. We went to the flea market in Opa Locka today (similar to the ones in the CA central valley) and had a ball. We both got Cuba watches and we now have matching shirts :)
We have an awesome investigator, David. He should be Young Single Adult doesn't want to commute to the YSA ward. We taught him once this week and weren't able to see him the rest of the week because he picked up a new job. We had a really cool experience with him. He had worked the night shift and gotten home just as we called him to remind him about church. He said he was too tired and couldn't come. So, being the diligent and energetic (and insistent) Sister Missionaries that we are, we went over to his house. We testified about the importance of Sacrament meeting and he said he would try to come for the first 20 minutes, just to see the Sacrament. Then he showed up and stayed for the whole meeting. He has a baptismal date for this , and we will be teaching him over the phone on his lunch breaks.
We also had some miraculous experiences with less-actives this week. We went over to visit Arturo, the one we met at the bus stop last week,night. We taught a powerful lesson on the Sacrament, and he ended up coming to church! We also learned that he is probably has dyslexia, and so were grateful to be able to tell him that the Book of Mormon apps now have audio options. We really saw the love of the ward with a recent convert Naomi. She wants to be active but her husband doesn't. They have three kids under the age of 8, one of whom is very actively autistic. It is a struggle for her to be at church, let alone bring them there. But during sacrament meeting six or seven different people helped her - sitting next to her, taking the kids out of the room, or helping to control them. It was really amazing. afternoon we also ran into two less-actives of many years, just talking to people on the street. One of them is coming to church next week, having felt like something is missing in his life but not having realized that it was the gospel.
MISSIONARY LIFE IS CRAZY! But so worth it. And I've decided that ice cream is a necessity for Sundays. Because you need it after church either for celebration or consolation. But anyway...
Love you all!