It's been a week of battles:
The first battle was with tracting. I'm a firm believer that tracting brings blessings. Not every missionary feels the same way. Sister Hunt unfortunately doesn't like the heat or the humidity and has the smallest bladder I've ever known of. If we can get an hour in a day, it's a victory. If we were in Corbin, this wouldn't be a problem. But seeing as we're in Salem and our teaching pool is dwindling in unbelief and getting smaller by the day, this is a big problem. We can't teach if we don't have people to teach. We don't have people to teach if we don't tract. If we're not tracting or teaching, we're wasting time. Wasting time makes me irritable and quiet. Being quiet with a companion who loves LARPing and woodworking can get quite miserable. The only way to stop the misery is to tract. But if we've filled our hour quota, what's a person to do? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
The second battle has been with bugs and spiders. It's warm outside which means that the creepy crawlers are back. Not only are my legs and arms itchy and red because of it, but visits with people are becoming harder to endure without me looking like a crazy person. We were at Melinda's the other day and while we were talking a huge, brown, furry spider crawled along the arm of the couch and made its way for my hand. I was up on the other side of the room within seconds and Melinda was afraid I'd seen a ghost. Brother Winslow's place is covered in them and he thinks it's a good thing. (He also swears that before he went blind he never saw a spider with 8 legs. "Spiders and bugs have 6 legs! There's no such thing as an 8-legged spider." "What about tarantulas?" "Well, only tarantulas. I forgot about them." "They're spiders!" "Yeah. But they're the only spiders with 8 legs.") Our house is starting to get them. The doors we tract always seem to have a huge bug on or near them. It's getting ridiculous.
The third battle this week has been with dreams. Wouldn't it be neat if you could order a dream like you play a movie? You decide what you'll dream about and how you'll feel when you wake up. That would be awesome. My favorite dream would be Jane Eyre or You've Got Mail.
The fourth battle this week has been with parents. (Not my own. I'm an angel and would never go against my parents on anything. Happy Father's Day, Dad!) First let's talk about Joey. Joey is the Catholic kid we found last week who is friends with Robert. He had promised to have questions ready for us from his reading of the Book of Mormon. We showed up at his house and his grandma answered the door. (Sidenote: I'm not as dumb as my companions sometimes look. We can hear people say not to answer the door. We can see your kids run up and then run away and never come back. When there's glass involved, there's reflections. We can see the people waiting in the wings, listening or hiding.) So, Joey's grandma comes to the door and looks at us, then looks to the side and says something like "stay there" and answers it. But when she moves the door open, the reflection on the glass shows Joey in the hallway listening and "hidden". She pretends like she doesn't know what we want. "Can I help you?" We explain who we are and why we were standing there. She drops the facade. "Did Joey tell you we're Catholic?" "Yes." "Well, we're not interested." Then she shut the door. Based on the conversation we had last week and the fact that WE were the ones who said we had to go and had to put an end to his questions, I don't think that Joey is the one that's "not interested". At least he has a Book of Mormon. Maybe he'll read it anyways if she hasn't taken it away.
Second is Robert. Robert knows the church is true and wants to get baptized. He wants to come to church. He's excited about what he's learning and is sharing the gospel with his friends. His parents, and especially his dad, aren't at all for Robert talking to Mormons or being baptized. They've said that he can meet with us. But he can't come to church and he can't get baptized. Sometimes they'll make him cancel at the last minute because his meeting with us interferes with their spur of the moment plans. At least he turns 18 in September. He's determined to get baptized someway or another.
Third is Jake. Oh, Jake. Our happiness was so vibrant yet so fleeting. We all know how excited I was to go and meet Jake Schmidt on Wednesday at his Amish home and have a wonderful lesson where everyone within a mile of the place was in attendance and at the end there were loads of people begging to be baptized and confirmed right there on the spot. Well, that all probably would have happened if it wasn't for Jake's father. We pulled up to the property and I parked. But then we realized that I was parked right in front of the hitching post so I backed up in case a horse and buggie needed to park there. We got out and started walking towards the house when a man who looked almost exactly like Jake walked up. The only difference was that he had a nasty, gray neck beard and had wrinkles on his face. He didn't say anything. So, I asked if Jake was available. He said that Jake wasn't. I asked if there was a better time to catch him. He asked why. I didn't want to tell him. But I couldn't lie. So I told him we had given Jake a Book of Mormon and that he had said we could come by and answer any questions he had about it. His dad paused, "He did?" He looked at the ground for a moment. He looked up and said, "Well in that case, I don't think there is going to be a good time for you to come back." And then he watched us leave.
Oh, it was depressing. Talk about a let-down. All those Amish baptisms... squashed before they even knew they wanted them. The drive was a long one back to the main highway after that. By the conversation we had with his dad, Jake hadn't told him that we were coming. Or if he had, he for sure hadn't told him that we'd given him a Book of Mormon. Who knows what the dad did after that. He didn't seem too happy, though to find out that our Mormon "propaganda" had reached his son and infiltrated his home. I asked Brother Hobson the other day what the churches around here say about the Book of Mormon. When we're tracting as soon as we mention it, people's eyes change. They always say, "I've heard about your book." But they'll never tell me what they've heard. Brother Hobson said that the preachers will give sermons on it and how it's from the devil and how it's all evil and how it will brainwash you and how Joseph Smith made it up so that he could have his own church. Why would Joseph sign up for the persecution and the hardships and the trials if it wasn't true? How can a book that encourages us in every page to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him be evil? How can a book that comes with a challenge and a promise to read and pray and use your own judgment paired with the Spirit of the Lord to find out of its divinity be something that brainwashes? It's so frustrating. These people love the Lord. I know they do. I can see it. But the Lord that they love and follow is calling to them and giving them more light and more truth and they slam the door on it and won't even scan through its pages. You'd think they'd be excited that we have a book that supports the Bible and proves that its true. You'd think they'd be excited that God has called a prophet to lead and guide them the way He always has done for His people.
Well, anyways. Hopefully Jake still has that book. And hopefully one day he'll read it.
Well, anyways. Hopefully Jake still has that book. And hopefully one day he'll read it.
After we left Jake's it was 7:30 and we were left with no plans. We drove around not really knowing where to go. I finally stopped on a road near where we first met Jake and got out. Sister Hunt didn't want to go tracting (another battle I've had this week) but I told her we weren't going home on that note. We picked a house and when we approached we were met by four pitbulls on chains barking at us like we were steak dinners. Hurray for blessings that tell you not to be afraid in your missionary work. We knocked on the door. A girl who is my age opened the door with little boy, followed by another little boy. We ended up talking to her in her backyard for a half hour about the Book of Mormon and the love that Christ has for her and the answers He's offering her to her questions of how to bring her family closer together. We played with her sons. She started crying when we left and asked us to come back. It was a powerful experience. It was one of those where you instantly feel connected to a person. She's great. She has a controlling boyfriend who I can see posing a problem. But for now, I'm just glad that she knows that the Lord is aware of her and loves her. Her name is Sandra. We're meeting her again this Friday.
The Lord loves us and is aware of us no matter who we are or where we live or what we do. Life has its ups and downs but the downs are a lot easier if we're close to the Spirit when they come our way. In the end, all things will/can work together for our good. I really believe that.
Extra Blessings: Otie
Quote of the Week: "My gynecologist had to cancel my appointment because she went into labor."
Happy Birthday last week, Lindsey! Happy Birthday this week, Nick!
Missions are awesome. So is the Book of Mormon. I actually think it's even more awesome than missions which is saying A LOT! Read it! No excuses. There will always be excuses not to do a good thing. So what? Excuses are for losers. God doesn't make losers. The Church is TRUE! Share it!