Friday, July 25, 2014

Week 50: Watching. Waiting. Warning.

Let's see.  Tender mercy this week: We were about to start tracting and the mailman stopped us to ask what we're doing and when we told him he warned us about houses with mean dogs and gave us his dog repellent.  It's like pepper spray.  But for dogs.  I feel a lot safer with that stuff clipped to my belt.
We drove by the young less active's house that we've been working with forever (who still hasn't mustered the motivation to come to church despite our every effort) and he was leaning against his truck, smoking.  I'd half a mind to drive up, get out, and punch him in the face, but I didn't.  He also slunk inside when he saw us coming, so instead we talked to his roommate sitting outside, asked him for an estimate on the mini damage to our bumper (we just accidentally rolled into a little ditch the other day, nothing serious, don't freak out) and he told us he's trying to get better at not using the Lord's name in vain.  He's technically not an investigator, but he'll talk to us anytime we're around.  He lives the party life, just like his member roomie used to.  So we commended him for that little step of repentance, told him how God is our Loving Heavenly Father and if he remembers that it'll make it easier to honor His name.  I don't know why I like this kid so much, as he's never without a Bud Light in his hand and smokes like a chimney, but it's prob because he talks to us like we're friends and I think maybe we can slowly, sneakily love him into the gospel.
Speaking of interesting characters that I have an inexplicable love for, I've been working on charity lately.  And really all it takes is to pray for it with all energy of heart and then make a conscious effort to stop thinking about myself (how hungry, tired, or frustrated I am) and just listen to them while they talk.  The love just comes.  It's pretty great.  I hope I can keep this up.

Remember the guy that told us to pray about fluoride in the water?  We caught him at home again, showed him the Restoration movie, and he was in awe.  He loved it.  We asked if he believes that Joseph was a prophet, and he said yes, because he has a lot in common with him.  Apparently they receive revelation in similar ways.  And here I thought pillars of light above the brightness of the sun were like a special occasion or something.  Still hasn't committed to anything though, he won't even read the Book of Mormon until God tells him to he says, and each time we ask like "Will you come to church on Sunday?"  or  "can we set up a time to come back?" or "Will you set a date to prepare to be baptized by?" his answer is always "I don't wanna lie to ya" meaning he doesn't want to make a commitment he can't keep.  So we pray hard that he gets some solid revelation soon while we play the waiting game.
We do a lot of waiting.  Waiting for our investigator with a date and without a phone to get back from the hospital every time her little baby has surgery.  Waiting for our once-progressing investigator to move out of her boyfriend's house once and for all like she keeps saying she will.  Waiting for our golden member referral to move back from Virginia so he can get baptized asap.  Waiting for letters.  Cough cough.  So if you ever worried that I'd come home not having learned a lesson in patience... just... worry not.

One of our new investigators was super sad the last time we saw her.  She'd just had to give up her three little kids to the state because she couldn't take care of them.  However.  She found a job the same day.  And said she'd been praying, as we'd committed her to do, and asked for a sign to let her know that everything would work out for the better.  She looked up and saw two angel shapes form in the clouds.  That was her sign.  She knew God was taking care of her.  That's the thing, everyone receives answers in a different way, but it's always a way that befits them, that makes sense to them.  For her, angel shaped clouds.  She said when she got that answer, it was like a wrecking ball came at the wall she'd put up between her and God and BOOM no more fear.  Well.  A lot less fear.  She set a baptism date that same day, after we told her about covenants and the sacrament.  The irony is that the job she got keeps her so busy that it's been impossible to meet with her again.  So we wait.

We followed up with this one family, and it was like a prime example of the differences between the generations.  We showed the Restoration movie (prime teaching tool, anyone can understand it), and we got three different responses.  The grandma said she enjoys our company but she's Baptist and she's going to stay Baptist.  The mom who doesn't go to a church said she'd try ours out whenever her son wants to come, but obvi isn't making it a high priority, it's just like whatever.  The son, who gradually got into religion on his own, said it'd be very important for him to know for himself whether this is the true church and that he wants to look into it himself, read the book, pray about it, and visit when he can. 

There was this lovely moment when we were talking to a recent convert, and he was this perfect picture of the south, a scruffy sixty year old man with the thickest southern accent leaning on an old red truck while he talked to us, and as he talked about church that morning and how much it made him want to do missionary work in any way the Lord requires it and how he knows we're going to receive a great reward in heaven for the hard work we do - before my eyes he transforms into this ageless, beautiful, noble hero of some sort.  It's like, hard to describe.  But our differences, whether they be generational or cultural, just didn't exist anymore.  I imagine that's what it'll be like when we're all resurrected.  Perfect and beautiful and glowing and mighty and heroic and radiating with our infinite worth and potential and capacity to love and connect.  What an awesome time that will be.
Speaking of the times.  I should forewarn you.  I've been learning some things.  And many of you will probs think I'm crazy.  But I accept that.  Because it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor and whether or not the neighbor accepts that is not upon my head.  Ye be warned.
So here's the deal.  This isn't like official doctrine, but I'll let you look it up and ponder and pray about it yourself.  Here goes:
Matthew 24.  When the fig tree putteth forth her leaves, you'll know the summer is nigh.  A generation will not pass until all these signs happen (and the second coming occurs).  The fig tree is Israel, which was established in 1946.  If a generation is approx. 80 years, that puts us at 2026.  Twelve years to detonation. (Kay I know this isn't like precise, but you get the idea!) Doctrine and Covenants 88 give us more.  It's written, six angels at the second coming will declare the history of the six thousands years that man has been on the earth from the creation til then.  Adam was 4000 BC.  It's now 2014 AD.  You do that math.  It's written, the fulness of the gospel will go forth to everyone and people just won't recieve it.  It's just so they won't be left without excuse.  Cough cough.  It's written, above all clothe yourself with charity.  That will be most important.  What was President Monson's last talk about?  LOVE.  It's written, cease to be idle or sleep longer than is needful.  Um, at the time this was written, these people farmed and did manual labor like all day and played outside for fun.  Facebook, instagram, vine, twitter, and youtube did not exist.  You tell me which generation this warning was directed toward.  I'm not even going to go into the Cardston Temple vision of 1921 or vision of the popes by St. Malachi in 700 AD, because those people weren't prophets or revelators, but needless to say.  We have less time than Satan would have you think.

126 Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself. Amen.
Watch and pray.  Read the scriptures.  Follow the prophet.  Be temple worthy.  Update your food storage.  (And familiarize yourself with the law of consecration and maybe learn how to grow wheat and vegetables.)  And do not count these things for naught, because there's a reason everything prophesied of since the beginning of time seems to all be happening right now, all at once.  The wicked are slothful and think they have all the time in the world.  The righteous will be ready.  Pick your side.
Sister Valdez
note from Mom: this is a face Sabrina made as a baby!

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