Monday, December 19, 2011
This week has been the biggest rollercoaster week of my mission. I think God wants me to learn more about patience and faith and probably a lot more things. First, the downer parts, and then I'll share how it all worked out. As we started the week we had a good number of lessons with our new and progressing investigators. I was feeling pretty good about it all, as it had been a bit of a rough start in this area. Well, by Wednesday night all of our progressing investigators had dropped us or were impossible to get ahold of. The family we were teaching called and said they had changed their mind and were no longer interested, and a lot of other things like that happened right out of the blue. I was dying. When you train a new missionary you want things to go really well to build their confidence and to help them know they can be successful, and this was not going anything like how I had imagined. Thursday I was pretty down, and got a pretty bad migraine which didn't help anything. But that is where our miracles begin.
Thursday night we didn't have a lot of time left to work once I was finally feeling better, but we prayed and wanted to go find people to teach. We felt really good about a certain road, and like Trent, the very first house was interested. Turns out that the grandfather in this family had joined the church in California and just come here and wants to come to church and also to have his daughter and her family learn more. We're pretty excited. It's not every day you run into a part member family who are really interested and haven't met with missionaries before. Friday was the mission conference, which was so good. Sister Taylor pulled me aside and we were able to talk for a while which was super helpful. I really love working with the Taylors, and have really felt so blessed to serve with them. The rest of the conference was really good. I enjoyed seeing the other sisters, and then going to the temple as a mission was really good. I remember going last year and loving it, and this year was just as amazing. Saturday we ended up in the mission office to meet with President for some follow up on the training program. It was really helpful for me, and I was greatful for the advice I recieved. After that we came back down and went to work. We were able to set a baptismal date, which I'll tell you a little more about in a minute, and we had a really really needed lesson with a recent convert family that we have been working with. The end result of that one came on Sunday when the rest of the family who have never wanted to have anything to do with the church all came to church, and stayed for all three hours. Incredible.
Now for a little about the Chavez family. They are the family who we had a first lesson scheduled with for Monday night. Mike, their 21 year old son just got home from a mission in Texas, and is really excited about his family finally being interested in learning. We had a really really incredible lesson with his younger sister Jessica on Saturday night. We had planned to teach about the restoration of the gospel, but we got in there and within a few minutes invited and committed her to be baptized on January first. It was one of the most memorable moments of my mission. As she committed to be baptized she then turned to her older brother and asked him if he would baptize her. It was an incredible moment. Then Sunday night we came over to teach Mike's mom, Isabell. I'm pretty sure she taught us instead of us teaching her. She is one of the most spiritually intune people I have ever worked with. I learned so much in just an hour with her, and I am so excited to continue working with her. Dad is a little less interested, but we'll keep trying... some things just take time.
I thought I would end today sharing a few thoughts about Christmas and this past year. First, being a missionary is the best, but also the hardest thing I have ever done. As I chatted with President on Saturday we both agreed that when you set off on a mission you really don't know what you are getting into, and that honestly, it's probably better that way. There are a lot of things that you just don't expect or that don't work quite like you want them too. It's also so rewarding, because you get to watch lives change and you get to spend every day serving and helping people. I remember a few years ago Grandpa Okeson shared some thoughts in a testimony meeting at church about missions. He talked about how after serving his mission he came home with lots more grandkids, and that they weren't necesarily biological grandchildren, but that he loved them from the time that he had been able to spend serving them. Well, I've found the same thing on my mission. I've really come to love the people I've served. I've found people I love like family after just working with them for a few weeks, and I would do anything for them. I am amazed by how much I want to give and how much I want to help. This is really amazing. I love being a missionary!
Have a wonderful Christmas!