So first of all, skyping (well, google-hangouting) ya'll for Mother's Day yesterday was literally the BEST THING. Don't let Cassie's emails fool you into thinking she's like a different person now. She's obviously the same. But Pants and Buddy are growing like weeds, and Mom hasn't aged a day (nor has Gma). Padre and Brosk, I promise to give ya'll more attention next Christmas. I care about your lives too. Now to the mission stuff.
No really, though, remember that one time when Abraham almost had to sacrifice his son but then an angel stopped him "STOP JUST KIDDING YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE TO DO IT" because he was just being tested for faithfulness, not just for God to see, but for him to see what kind of faith he was capable of. And THEN there's a ram in the bush for them to sacrifice instead. We do hard things. And God provides the ram. Well, let me tell you. We got a bunch this week.
On exchanges with Sister Keyes (STL), our car keys accidentally ended up in Jackson.. in Sister Creager's purse. It's cool though, because we got members to drive us out last minute and though we had to walk all over the dickens to get from one neighborhood to the next, we found a girl in a trailer park who took very well to the idea of the Book of Mormon.
"So Mormons believe that you don't have to be a certain type of person for God to love you?"
"Oh my gosh, I think I might be a Mormon."
Older teenager, Guns and Roses t-shirt, multicolored hair, wooden plugs in her ears, sweet girl. Lives with druggies in a crackhouse hood, so she told us to email her and we could meet up at the church. Ram.
Diddy opened up even more when I came over with Sister Keyes that same day. Her story goes deeper and deeper, about why she felt she couldn't get married because of financial consequence. But after flipping from scripture to scripture, trying to decide which to read to her, while she tearfully explained her fears, I finally stopped at John 14:27.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
"I needed to see this," she said, through more tears. She breaks my heart. The Spirit told me to share it. The Spirit knew.
Then she received revelation! Told us the next day she'd been praying, and then God got her to thinking, that she doesn't have to think she needs to save the world, because that's HIS job! And although a lot of people depend on her financially, maybe this is their chance to exercise faith and rely on God! Yes! She got it! A+, Holy Ghost. Way better teacher than we are. And THEN next day, one of their huge financial problems just went away. Literally was gone. Guy came over, said, oh you don't need to spend a lot of money to upgrade your plumbing, sorry bout the misunderstanding, here's several hundred dollars you don't have to spend. Can you say, "ram in the bush"?
In M-Hall, we knocked into a mid-age couple who came downstairs and let us in after we shouted up to the balcony for a minute about who we were and what we do. After we taught the restoration, asked what they thought, he took the pamphlet we'd been teaching from, pointed to the picture of the first vision and said "This. I've never heard about this before." We're like "Yep, it's awesome huh? That's why we come around and share it. The heavens are not sealed." This guy who'd been stone faced and skeptical up to that point was merry and smiling when we came by an hour later with a Book of Mormon for him to read. Ram.
Our investigator on date for May 24th let us dig holes for her plants after our awesome spiritual lesson. The awesome kind are the kind totally directed by the Spirit as the investigator pours out their true feelings and insecurities. She felt like she was losing her faith, used to study scriptures daily, wishes she felt like she could praise God all the time but just doesn't feel it. 2 Nephi 31, after recieving the Holy Ghost, "then can you speak with the tongue of angels and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel." Just gotta get baptized first! But step one, get back into daily scripture study and you WILL be happier. "Then you think I'll be ready to get baptized?" she asked, still on the fence about her own readiness. Yes. The answer is yes. Ram.
I found a legit Polaroid One Step land camera (rainbow stripe included) for 20 bucks at an antique shop in M-Hall. Does not pertain to missionary work, but made me very very happy. (Little ram.)
We tracted another trailer park (only place to find success) and that awkward moment of "Can we share a message about Jesus Christ with you?" "I'm a Mormon." "Oh...." Super sweet lady, hasn't been to church in years, lives with her husband who's Alzheimers has him back to the mind of a 2 year old. Sometimes he wanders out to the street thinking they still live in another city, and other times talks about his wife and doesn't connect that his wife is the woman sitting next to him. It's so sad. But we taught her about faith, hope, and charity. This life is just a minute. In the next, all ailments of body and mind will be gone, and they can be truly together again. She's still nervous about coming to church again, but she likes us a lot and will receive us anytime. Ram.
With the returning member/part member family, we sat down with him as he was having dinner, got to talking about how difficult it was for him to re-discipline himself to do the things he knows are only hard because they're the right things to do.
"Do you want to change?" we ask.
"Yeah. I need to."
"You want someone to make those choices for you?"
"That'd be easier."
"Can we help?"
So I reached past his pile of quesadillas and plucked his Bud Light from the table. Then proceeded to dump the contents down the drain and recycle the can. My companion applauded. She had been wanting to do the same thing since we walked in. He despairingly committed to not drink anymore, his girlfriend laughing and "I told you so"ing in the background. Ram.
Remember that one time we tracted into someone who didn't have time for a message but asked where church was (a lot of people do this) and then actually showed up at church yesterday (not a lot of people do this) !?!?!? He totally came, listened to the sweet talks by humble people on faith, hope, and charity, then the teacher of gospel principles, seeing an actual investigator in class, launched into a Restoration/Plan of Salvation/Gospel Of Jesus Christ mega-lesson, covering every principle in Preach My Gospel. I fear our inv. may have suffocated under the weight of the entire restored gospel in one sitting. But I think it was good! The Spirit has this way of filtering for people, so they get out of it what they needed to. He asked some good questions and by the end was stoked to start the Book of Mormon. Maybe NOW he'll make time for a message from us. The best part, though, which made all the difference, was the number of brethren in the ward that put their arm around him or warmly shook his hand that day, to let him know how much we loved that he was there. Ram.
We worked like mad this week. And we're going to work even harder, now that my companion and I have both committed to daily Jillian Michaels workouts, and healthy eating (I had to buy stuff like kale and almond milk today, this is for real). We give our all, and Heavenly Father gives back. We put forth the will, and He provides a way. Just as He has from the foundation of the world.
Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
Look to the Lamb. And God provides the ram.