Sunday, July 28, 2013

[07/15/2013] Week 18: I am a District Leader

Oh, what a week! President Wilson used to say, "No Weak Sixes!" I feel this has been a very strong week for Elder Benedict and me. We reached almost all of our goals and were just two new investigators shy of hitting the mission standards of excellence. That would have been a first for me! I am still proud of how hard we worked and how effective we were at getting members to join us in teaching others. We fasted last week about how we could get more investigators to attend church - as we had been struggling with zeroes and ones for that key indicator - and decided that we needed to have more member present lessons, so that the investigators are more comfortable at church. This week we had five investigators at church! What a blessing and a testament to the power of fasting.
Elder Benedict and me with the Jarvis Family

So, I have been called to be a district leader. I was hoping I could stay in Shoultes to finish training, but the Lord has other plans. I am getting transferred, but I won't find out where I'm going until tomorrow.

To receive a leadership call on Thursday night was surprising, to say the least. I am humbled that the Lord feels I am ready to take on this new challenge. However, the call brings mixed emotions for sure. I am leaving a ward family that I have grown very close to, whom I know has come to trust me as a servant of the Lord. I am also leaving Elder Benedict, who is a dear, dear friend and brother to me. Regardless, I know there are people in my next area whose lives I need to impact. I know the Lord has great things in store for me as I exercise faith and work hard in the coming months.

I will miss Elder Benedict
The highlight of my week comes from Tuesday evening, when Elder Benedict and I taught Scott McCune, the ten year-old nephew of an active family in our ward. Being his second lesson, we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation. Having already taught him once, we knew he needed to be taught simply and visually, if possible. So we prayed about how to best teach him during companionship study, and shortly thereafter I was reminded of something our bishop said during a recent funeral service. He compared our eternal progression to moving through rooms and doors in a house. So I said to Elder Benedict, "I have a crazy idea. Let's set up the plan of salvation in the Robinettes' house just like Bishop Rasmussen was saying!" We ran out of time before planning out all the details, and I thought we would just opt for something simpler like flash cards. However, when we sat down to begin the lesson, he turned to me and out of the corner of his mouth, said, "Elder, crazy idea?" I was hesitant because I felt like we hadn't planned it well enough, but he insisted, so we went for it. With the Brother and Sister Robinette's help, we set up the lesson plan while the kids all waited in another room. Elder Benedict and I acted as tour guides, directing the family through the plan of salvation and asking questions all along the way.

The back yard was the premortal life, the garage - with its clutter and confusion, danger and disarray - was the earth life. The small laundry room connecting the garage to the house - complete with cold, dark, dreary washer, for those who needed to be cleansed from sin, and warm, cozy dryer, for those who had already been washed before reaching the laundry room - represented the spirit world. The laundry room was stuffy and hot, making its inhabitants eager to move on to judgment which lay just outside the door in the joining hallway. The dining room, kitchen, and living room represented the telestial, terrestrial, and celestial kingdoms, respectively. Of course, the lighting of each room was adjusted accordingly. We all ended up in the comfy, cozy celestial kingdom, sitting on couches and enjoying ice cream, as a family.

What was so great is that most of this came together by itself; the "tour" took very little initial set-up and a pinch of creativity. Elder Benedict pointed out that we just had to humble ourselves, ask the Robinette's for help, and go for it. It turned out wonderfully. Afterwards, Brother Robinette informed us that his 11 year-old son, Josh, went from saying there was no way he'd ever go on a mission to talking about where he'd like to be called. That was the most humbling aspect: that we could play an influential role in a young man's decision to serve.

Another investigator, Conrad, decided in a member-present lesson on Tuesday that he wants to be baptized on the 27th of this month.

It really has been a wonderful week, and I am sad to leave an area with so much going on, and to leave such an amazing companion, but I know that I can trust Elder Benedict and our amazing ward mission leader, Brother Jarvis, to keep things moving forward in Shoultes.

I am absolutely looking forward to seeing what I can do to contribute to the work in my next area, and to grow and develop as an emissary of Jesus Christ.

In other news, check out this awesome, awesome story from Sister McBride!

"I've talked about this other gal we are teaching before, but I have some serious news about her! We have been teaching a girl named Nicole, who goes by Swag, since I first got to Collierville. She's 21, and she's really awesome. She's very caring and loving, and she is a heck of a deep thinker. She picks our brains for information! Some of her extended family is Mormon, so she was interested in learning from us and about what we believe. The first time we met with her, we taught her the Restoration, and invited her to be baptized, and I think she thought we were crazy. Her exact words "Y'all are brainwashed."  At one point, we was searching Mormons online and she clicked on a youtube video. Guess what it was?! The temple ceremony! She watch the whole thing, imagine how crazy she thought we were then! But she let us continue to teach her.Over the past 6 weeks we have gotten really close with her, and she told us that she was gay. She began to read the Book of Mormon, and one day she even told us that she "felt like this was going somewhere." Soon after that though, she wasn't ready to change and she dropped us. My companions and I were all pretty bumbed because we really love her!

Larry at the Hot Springs
On Wednesday, she called us up and asked us to meet with her. We were really surprised and excited because we were pretty sure she was really done with us. We went to her house and talked with her a little bit. We talked about why she dropped us and she told us it was because she knew the Book of Mormon was true, but she didn't want to know about what she had to do to repent and change. We talked about her relationship  with God and how being gay effects it. She said, "When I'm close to God I know it's wrong, but when I'm not close to Him, I don't care." We  addressed her concerns and helped her see how opposite those two feelings are and how one is from God and the other is from Satan. The spirit was really strong, and she just sat and cried. She knew everything we were telling her was true. Long story short. We invited her to be baptized and she said..... YES! We got all her interviews done and she was baptized yesterday morning and confirmed in sacrament, the same day! She cried the whole way through it, because she knows its going to be hard for her to change, but she knows that it was the right decision. She is already talking about preparing herself to serve a mission in a year, and about going to BYU! It was so awesome to see how the atonement works in other peoples lives, and how Nicole's desires and wants change. There are great things happening in my mission, I mean, we baptized a gay person!"

A fine dinner guest
Please keep me updated on Seth. I'm glad to hear he is improving and upholding the Martin family name. If he wasn't, I'd put a whippin' on him. Did he get his package yet?

Puget Sound
We caught one crab that was legal to keep, so we named him Larry the Lobster, took him back to our apartment, and cooked him up. First time I ever had crab and it was dang good! The Sound was also so beautiful!

I lurve you all! Keep me updated on how scripture study and stuff goes!

No comments:

Post a Comment