My goodness, this past week lasted a month, I'm pretty sure. We did in 7 days what I averagely would have accomplished in 15-20 in previous areas. Mostly Florence. That place was gettin a lil slow. But here, we taught hecka lessons this week. More than I have room to talk about. And I get scared that we have so many investigators or potentials that I'm going to forget about someone and they'll be lost forever but the Jesus said "I know my sheep, and they are numbered" and "none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." So I think it'll be ok.
The investigator, Didi, who set a baptism date, is still legit. She expressed a desire to stop smoking. So for our third lesson, we taught the word of wisdom. I've never seen anyone on the verge of tears from reading Doctrine and Covenants 89. We read the promised blessings at the end and she's like "sniffle.... that's beautiful...." and when we committed her to live it, she shook on it. Didn't make it to church yesterday, and we're hoping it's not because she or her sister (both cancer patients) had to be rushed back to the hospital. Health problems are literally the devil. They are the number one thing keeping people from progressing in the gospel here lately.
We tracted an apartment building that was like a gold mine, up until we met a guy who looked like he wanted to murder us. He said something about how he doesn't know why his prayers aren't answered because he's not a bad person, then he says "I don't do any killings... or rapings.... or things you see on tv" and like right when he said that, me and Sister Rocha both looked into his eyes (could accurately be described as "serpent eyes") and got the sickest, darkest, most demonic feelings inside and said "well here's a picture of Jesus k bye!" and booked it out of there. If any of ya'll wanna look up the sex offenders list for our area and send it to me, feel free. Because neither my companion nor I would like to end up stuffed in a sack and shoved in a closet in five pieces.
Same apartments, we went back a few days later for a return appointment with a lady there. Her husband was a straight up hater, was like "Oh we thought you were Jehovah's witness. Ya'll believe in the guy that found a book in the woods? Cause I don't believe in that." We were just like "Yep! Book in the woods! That's us!" but he let us talk to his wife anyhow. She was super open and super sweet, three cute lil kids jumpin all over her, and she committed to a baptism date! We freaked out, screamed when we got in the car, but of course keep in mind it may be too good to be true cause she didn't show up to church and I'm praying it wasn't because of her hater husband.
Our WML took us out to lunch on Saturday at a swank place on the beach where I had the best seafood pasta I've ever had in my entire life. It felt like being in California again and I decided I have to live by the coast. It is in my future. Then he came with us to see our investigator who's older, divorced, major qualms with the government and consequently anything else that is an organization, sits with us out on his second story porch with no safety railing, and wears the same puppy t-shirt every time we see him. He's fascinated by the Book of Mormon, but indoctrinated by one tv preacher, is very open to hearing our message, but tends to go on tangents about Adam and Eve and what really went down in the garden. This took a long time to get over, but we finally got to our main points. That it doesn't matter how many kids they had or what the fruit was or who Cain married what matters is that YOU have freedom to choose because of it so don't make the wrong choice. Haha. Not what we said. But that was the point we made.
We were trying to teach at a member's house this week, and while we attempt this spiritual conversation about faith and repentance, this little girl is being a monkey climbing over her grandparents and spilling a pixie stick all over the place and sticking things in her mouth and it was distracting, it was hot and I wanted to die, but then she's like "I made a cake" and she goes and gets a pineapple upside down cake she had her grandparents help her make because she knew we were coming and asks when we'll come back next week because she wants to be there. The point is..... I should have had more charity for her. Even though she was fidgety and sticky. Because she's still pre-accountability, still a pure soul, and children are an heritage of the Lord and theirs is the kingdom of heaven. I hope I always remember that, when I have kids later in life, no matter how monkeyish or fidgety or sticky they get.
We dropped by another member one night and we were just straight chattin, then she tells us this long history of some misunderstandings between members in the ward and we're not sure what the purpose was, until she starts crying because she doesn't have any friends in the ward and just feels so out of place there. In church. In the true church. Whereas, at her nonmember family's church, she feels welcome and a spirit of love there, always. And I was super sad. Because it does happen sometimes, many times, even within the church because people are people are humans are flawed and we were almost crying right along with her because no one should feel friendless in the fold of God. We assured her that keeping her baptism covenant and staying in the church was worth it. We shared every encouraging scripture we could think of, and this one stood out to me:
Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me [D&C 97:8]
We're always going to be asked to sacrifice something. Keeping our covenants is never going to be easy or convenient. Something's gotta give. But the reward is worth it every time - being accepted of the Lord. And His acceptance is more important than anyone else's, it's the only one that will bring peace and lasting happiness. Elder Kopischke of the Seventy gave a talk on this and elaborated on what it meant to observe our covenants by sacrifice, among them being partaking of the sacrament worthily every week and serving faithfully in our church callings. He then gave this indicator of how you can know if you're doing it right:
"Having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion is the ultimate indicator of being accepted of God."
So there it is. If you're observing your covenants by sacrifice (well, doing your darndest), and you can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost working with you in your daily life, then you're doing it right. You're doing fine. You're doing great. So don't freak out.
I'll close with my favorite lines from last night's devotional by Elder D. Todd Chirstofferson of the quorom of the 12 apostles.
The way you live your life should be a 'confession of Christ.'
The best way to show your love for your family (or others) is to love the Savior first.
Learn to want what the Lord wants.
His point being: Losing your life in the service of God and accepting His will and His plan over your own is the only way to go. Because if you don't do it, you're not living up to your incredible potential as a child of God. And you just won't be happy. So do it. Lose it. I can testify. It's the best thing.