Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016: The New Year

Things are starting off pretty well. It's already getting warmer, which is nice. I've never been so cold in my life.

We taught B.'s (less active member) girlfriend, E. In our lessons before, they didn't show a lot of interest or pay much attention. We decided to take a different approach. Instead of teaching one of the set lessons, we just spent some time talking. We found out their worries about the future, their desires, their interests. We then took time to explain why we teach, and what the gospel actually does for them. She gained a lot of interest and has been reading the daily scriptures in the Book of Mormon, has read through the further scripture study in the pamphlets, and has been getting B. to bring her to church. They're doing awesome!

We were a little worried about Sister T. last week. She had still been reading a bunch of books about Mormons, but not actually reading the Book of Mormon (she listened to it in her car on the way to work). She was still looking for the intellectual answers, and as good as that is, that was all she seemed to look for. She had mentioned that she was sort of hiding from God because she was afraid of what he might ask her to do. At church that week she seemed depressed and our Gospel Principles class didn't help (some members started to debate about spirit paradise and prison). Every night we prayed that she would be able to have a spiritual experience and learn to walk by faith.

This last Sunday, we decided to start over the Gospel Principles class. As we discussed about how we can come to know God, prayer was brought up. Sister T. stopped the lesson and said, "I want to talk about prayer for a minute." At that, all of us panicked (Brother H. gripped is cane nervously). She said, "You've been telling me every time I have a question, to pray about it. Today in sacrament meeting, as someone was giving their testimony, I decided to pray." She started to tear up, "I received the very distinct impression, 'It's not about what you want.' I realized that it's really about what God wants for me." She seemed to be brighter and seemed younger.

All four of us missionaries were silent for awhile. It was the best thing, I think, that's happened to me out here, and the other elders (even the older ones) agreed. I've seen people blessed and saved from poverty, but it didn't change them. They didn't pay it back to God, and they stopped living right and fell again. This experience was different. She changed.

So I'm going to explain a few of those presents [Christmas present he sent home]. I got the Tolkien book and the lightsaber from the thrift store we give service at. Sister H. made the necklace and always has the missionaries send one home. The geode thing, D. (Sister L.'s son) gave that to me and as I pulled it out of my pack at the flat, a huge spider crawled out and up my arm. The Star Wars stuff is just from Walmart.

I was the only one who really stayed up until 12 on New Year's (we had permission). I talked to Elder L. as I sat on my bed, but he just kind of moaned. I had invited the others over and they seemed like they were coming, but then they bagged it and just went to bed. Kind of lame, like I expected.

Hope you guys are having fun this new year. From your pictures it seems so. I forgot my camera cord.

Love all y'all.
Elder Rice