Monday, September 9, 2013

Lots of Awesome People. . .And Some Other Fun Experiences. . .

Does this need explanation?
(I would be surprised if this is Eliza admitting a great love of basketball--
I think she must be talking about the weather!)

Dear Everyone,

We had an amazing week in Hialeah! Lots of awesome people whom I need to tell you about... and some other fun experiences...
I'll start off with the not-so-great stuff. Last week someone we will call L, whom we had dropped a month or so back (he's the one who sent us the text about "I need warrior womens of God by my side, i got big challens in my future"), came to church. We set him with a date for the next week and came by to see him Monday night. We had a somewhat awkward lesson with him, joined in by his neighbor RR. (more about him later, and I have to put the R. because you've heard about so many Rs recently!), and saw him briefly on Wednesday. We texted on Thursday telling him we wouldn't be able to come and his reply text was very awkward - he assumed it was just my phone and asked me out to dinner.. (in Spanish) Let's clarify; L is 40+. On Friday we tried to smooth things over by thanking him for inviting us to eat but told him the members fed us and we were good. After the lesson he sent us another text, saying that once I trusted him more I would accept him, and then started making all kinds of comments about us being allowed to get married, plural marriage, etc. It was very creepy. We don't answer his texts anymore.
So! On to RR! We think he may have had a stroke or an accident, so it's a little bit hard to understand him. But he is amazing. He came up in the middle of a lesson and wanted to join in. Then in another lesson with L (pre-creepy) he made the analogy of a road between God and the Devil; you go one way or the other. We were walking with him to a dinner appointment at the house of a member nearby where he lives, and I was giving out cards and inviting people to be baptized, as usual. We passed by a woman sitting a little bit out of our way and were going to just keep going until he asked us why we didn't give her a card too. He loves the Restoration Pamphlet that we gave him and tells us about the things he's learned from that and the Book of Mormon whenever we come by. On Sunday we arranged a ride for him and he asked if he could bring a friend - he brought two, one of whom now also wants to be baptized next Sunday. So. cool.
I told you last week about meeting N, whom our member invited to be baptized when we met her on the street. Well, we went and harvested the apartment building where she told our member that she lives, and we found her again! She is incredible. At our second lesson she was wondering which tribe of Israel Nephi and family were from and asked us what she would be wearing for her baptism the following week! She came to church on Sunday and fit right in - we didn't even realize she was there until someone pointed her out, because she looked like a lifetime member.
Foods recommended in the Word of Wisdom

We have another investigator who is amazing. He has a very strong testimony that this is the restored church of Jesus Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he needs to get baptized. He has a lot of struggles with the Word of Wisdom though, and he's fighting to quit drinking and smoking. He didn't show up for our scheduled lesson on Friday night and so we went to get gas on our way home because we didn't have time to go to another appointment. As the gas was pumping, guess who walks out of the gas station minimart, smoking a cigar and carrying a bag of beers. We talked to him and told him that those things were from the devil, and would he commit right then to giving them up. He gave us the beers and we went to say a prayer. He stopped me as I started to pray, telling us to wait. He took one more puff of his cigar and threw it as far away as he could. Then he asked for the beers back and threw them into the trash. Finally he turned back and said we could pray.
Thinking of him and some other investigators led me to studying some material from the LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Program this morning. There are 12 steps to quitting, and I wanted to know how they worked and how we as missionaries can help people to apply these steps. The first three are the ones that we have the most influence on:
1. Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.
We can help those we teach to fulfill this step by teaching them the commandments that God expects them to live and teaching them the Plan of Salvation, and our role in the grand scheme of things.
2. Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
We do this by teaching of God's power - using scripture stories, testimony, personal experience, and teaching the Restoration and how God helps us day by day (also, PRAYER!).
3. Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
We help to do this by inviting our investigators to commit to change, to follow the example of Jesus Christ and live His commandments.
SO COOL. It also follows the gospel pattern of faith, repentance, baptism...
One more thing :)
Depiction of Ammon teaching King Lamoni's father

From the Book of Mormon, I learned about how the Spirit works with the elect. In Alma 22:5-7, King Lamoni's father has burning questions that he needs the missionaries to answer, and he is willing to believe anything they say. He started wondering about these questions as a result of Ammon's example and simple testimony of truth. The Spirit really works with the elect, and our example makes a difference!

Hermana Houghton

A friend in my helmet this morning!

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