This week we had a focus on finding people with potential. We've found plenty of investigators, but not so many with potential. And this week was hard, like last week, in the sense that we still don't have any of those "golden" investigators to work with, but thanks to the Spirit we could find a bunch more people this week. It really makes you humble and grateful for what you do have when you don't have a ton of success otherwise!
One cool experience was with a future investigator we've been hunting down for a while, now. There's this guy we'd contacted on the street like a month ago or more, and he was like, "Yeah, I've read all the triple combination and I know a bunch about Joseph Smith, we'll have to talk sometime!" And kind of kept going quickly, must have been busy. So we were like, "Ok..." I wasn't sure if we should really look for him again, because sometimes people are crazy, but every once in a while his name would come to mind. So one day I decided to actually plan to find him - he'd given us a kind of vague idea of where he lived (it's not easy to find people's houses here). That day while on divisions we managed to find his house - but he wasn't home. They said we could find him weekends. So the next weekend we passed by, and we didn't find him, but we found his wife, who told us we could find him at night. The next night we passed by and found his wife again, who told us it'd be more likely on Tuesday. Sometimes I don't like going on these wild goose chases, but this time I wanted to see it through. We came back Tuesday, at the time she told us to...and we found her again, but this future investigator wasn't there! She told us she'd expected him to be there, but he must have gotten backed up in his work, and didn't know if he'd come later...but she told us if we waited for the very last bus to pass by, in about half an hour, we might be able to catch him. Ok, so we decided to try that. We started walking down the street to contact people while waiting for the bus to come. And as we contacted a family...there came the bus! We ran all the way back up to the bus stop, but didn't get there in time, we couldn't see if he'd gotten off or not. So we took one last chance to knock on his door....and he had gotten home! And he let us in! And he's actually a pretty cool investigator. The only bad thing is that he's going on a trip and won't be home for another two weeks so we'll have to chase him down again. The point of all this is there were so many moments when we could've given up, but we didn't. The Spirit was egging us on this whole time, and although we didn't know what would happen, we decided to follow it, and miracles happened!
Another miracle was with Mayra, the non-member wife of a member that had been less-active but had been "rescued" before we got to the sector. Although she's always been happy to have us teach and help them out, she hasn't fulfilled practically any of the commitments we've left in the months we've taught her, even though she always comes to church. And I messed up - she's not his wife, because she still doesn't want to get married. But this week we had some trainings with President where we learned about how to teach repentance, and soon after we disovered that she doesn't want to get married because she's afraid her husband will go back to some of the bad things he did before...but we talked about repentance and had a very spiritual lesson. And we invited to her to say the closing prayer, and she gave a really heartfelt prayer where we all felt the Spirit. It just made me so happy. I love these scriptures in Isaiah. In Chapter 1, the Lord strongly rebukes the apostasy among the Israelites, but then says:
16 ¶Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
I'd like to end with some thoughts from Elder Holland on hope, from a talk he gave that I recently found.
Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. Moroni spoke of it in the Book of Mormon as “hope for a better world.” For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful,whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It isenough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of “good things to come.”
My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offersus, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened.” It is the very Son of God Himself. In loving praise far beyond Romeo’s reach, we say,“What light through yonder window breaks?” It is the return of hope, and Jesus is the Sun. To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your “high priest of good things to come.”
I know the Gospel is true and I know that Christ lives. The mission has taught me a lot about what really matters, and those are some of the things that matter most to me in my life.
Oh and something cool I learned from the gospel fundamentals manual - the word of wisdom specifically names the flesh of beasts and fowl as to be used sparingly...but doesn't mention fish. Fish is way better - and scientifically proven. Too bad it's so expensive. I think I've eaten more fish here in the mission than in my whole life.