This week was incredible! I'm sure that's a very typical way to start off a missionary email, but it's true.
Let me start with Tuesday. We had a lesson with a less active guy who is SO AWESOME. He is a recovering alcoholic, and has began a spiritual journey back to God. He is completely focused on helping others who are going through the same things he has experienced. As he told us his story, there was no trace of self pity in his tone or words. No sense of selfishness, or bitterness. Just concern and compassion for others. That lesson was a spiritual experience for everyone. While he thanked us continuously for the lesson, we were so thankful for HIM. I just love learning from others who are so much better than I am. We see him again tomorrow :)
Next we went to Aminata's apartment. She was a referral from another ward, so we had never meant her before. Upon seeing us at her doorstep, she hugged us both and invited us inside. Yet another gracious, humble, and loving person from Africa. She moved to America two years ago, but was left by her husband to live on the streets. She was taken in by a woman, and in turn watches her children. She is an amazing woman. We have had two lessons with her, and she was at church this week with three of the children! They are the best behaved children I have ever seen. One of them is eight, and is so cute. We asked if we could see them later that day (after church) and he exclaimed, "Yes!!! Come over today!!!" Ugh, they are so great. We met Aminata Tuesday, like I said, and on Saturday she was telling us she loved us. I think I want to live in Africa.
Then we met Kara, a referral from the Spanish elders. Keep reading, because the miracles aren't over quite yet. She was so excited to hear about what missionaries are, and what our purpose is. She wanted to know everything. She was so surprised to find that we teach all day, everyday for a year and a half (Except Monday's). I'm not one to extend baptismal invites in the first lesson (that's not a logical approach for me), but on the other hand I AM one to listen to the spirit. I explained our purpose, and baptism. Her eyes got big and teary as she stated, "That is so awesome." She told us she believes God has truly sent us to her, and she is determined to get her life together. I am so excited to watch the gospel nourish her. She, as well, told us she loved us on Saturday. I love these people.
Later that night we met Patty. I wrote down the wrong address for a man we tracted into a couple days previous, so we ended up at her apartment. Was Patty interested in joining the church or meeting with us? No. But that didn't matter. We had an open conversation about religion, full of tolerance and understanding. She was so cool! I loved her. We talked for more than an hour, and the spirit was definitely there. We were able to leave her with a Book of Mormon, and with a better understanding of what LDS people believe. She said a prayer for us, and our safety, and we headed home.
That was one of the best days I've had so far!
Ooooh, and big news, MARCUS IS GETTING BAPTIZED TOMORROW!!! I am so excited! He is so ready, and so excited as well. And this means he gets to attend the recent convert temple trip in December. Ah! Life is good.
We had a lesson this Sunday on the the talk "it works wonderfully" by president utchdorf. I love that talk! We discussed what it means to truly simplify the gospel. I have (mostly) gotten over my fear of being controversial, so I added my insights. I explained that, in my mind, the church and the gospel are not one in the same. When mistakes are made, they are made in the church. The gospel is perfect, but it resides within a church with human members and administrators. I have to constantly remind myself that having the gospel in my life is worth tolerating the mistakes made in the church. The gospel, as we teach it to investigators, is: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. The gospel is not going to school at BYU, absolutely loving it, and getting married at 18. The gospel isn't making sure your skirt covers your knees, or keeping your hair and makeup simple. The gospel is not gardening, food storage, or writing a blog. The gospel is not anything other than what Jesus Christ pronounced it to be. We all have our idea of what being a disciple of Christ looks like, but we have to remember the definition that holds truth came from Christ. Whether or not we believe purple hair, ripped jeans, or tattoos disqualifies someone from being a "true disciple", when we go back to the basics these insignificant details are nowhere to be found. WE are giving ourselves extra requirements for discipleship. We are, not Christ. We are putting extra pressures on ourselves, and others. We need to stop it! It's silly!! The gospel is simple. And when it's not, man is involved.
Anyways, this week was spiritually uplifting and edifying. As I was trying to fall asleep last night, my erratic mind came up with this
phrase: I grew tired of myself, so I'm exploring other things. I forced myself to crawl out of bed and write it down. What this means to me is there is more to find than what we already have. We "have"
ourselves already, I don't know why we seem to be so fascinated with the idea of "finding yourself." It takes about five seconds, just look in a mirror and poof there you are! I am much more interested in exploring other people, places, and cultures. I am much more interested in exploring the nature of God, and His gospel. And this week, I was able to do just that. :) I'm happy, I'm content, and I'm ready for another week.
This week we also raked SO MANY STINKIN LEAVES. So many! It was fun
though, I love doing service.
Swing Set- Moving Mountains