Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[9/16/2013] Week 27: Rough Week

You know, it's been kind of a rough week. Everything we had set up fell through. It's hard to have been in an area for nine weeks now and not have anything happening yet. I mean, there's a little bit here and there, and I've had some really awesome experiences. It's like I have these cool experiences of following the Spirit or teaching boldly that really brighten my outlook and help get me through the week, but nothing is really happening as far as real growth. We set things up and they fall through. So we do our best to make up for it, but people are just not home or don't answer their phones or whatever. And the days keep marching by. There's only so much you can do, I guess. Nobody seems to have a real desire to learn and progress. I can remember President Wilson testifying so surely that there are ten progressing investigators in every area of the mission. Of course, the question is: How do you find them? I can't seem to figure it out. Maybe we just need to revamp our efforts entirely. But what direction do I take? How can I be sure to do it right? Like I said, I get to have these super cool experiences every now and then, but it seems like they never amount to anything long-lasting. I'm usually more positive, but this transfer is winding down, and I don't want to end another six weeks feeling like I haven't had an impact on the area. I guess I'm feeling a bit of urgency to get things done, but I can't seem to make it happen. Obviously, others' agency is out of my control.

Don't get me wrong, this week had its ups, too.

For one, Elder O'Rullian and I still get along really great. We have a similar sense of humor, so that's helped brighten things a lot.

One of the more interesting experiences happened on exchanges with Elder Gasser (it's always on exchanges!). We went to visit a less-active in a neighborhood that I'm not as familiar with, and when we didn't find them home, we decided to explore around a bit. We embarked on our adventure and shortly came to a cul-de-sac. I asked Elder Gasser, "Alright, which door are we gonna knock?" He pointed to one on the right, and my response was, "Really, because I was going to say the one on the left." He replied, "We'll knock 'em both and see who's more inspired!" So we tried his first, and were met with three teen-aged young men of Arab descent. Though home alone, they invited us right in and we got to talking about Islam, Mormonism, and the similarities therein. Periodically, the middle brother's cell phone would ring, he would take it in the other room, and then he would return. As we were bringing our lesson to a close, the home phone rang, the middle brother answered it, and then handed the phone to me. "It's my dad," he said. Ah, stink. "Hello?" I said. "Who is this? Who is in my house?" he inquired. I told him our names and stated that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I don't know who you are, but you are strangers in my house with my kids. You need to get out now, please. I will be home in five minutes. Please get out now and wait for me outside." Elder Gasser and I complied immediately. When their father arrived home, he had his children go inside. He was very respectful in explaining to us his thought process and his will concerning his children. We discovered that he had come very close to calling the police and having law enforcement officials greet us outside. But he decided against it and drove home as quickly as he could. It was clear we had given him a good scare. And he had every right to react the way he did. Anyway, he asked us not to return because he needs to teach them a lesson about allowing strangers into the house. Otherwise, he said, they are allowed to attend whatever religious group they please as it is their own lives. For the record, the oldest, though seventeen, looked to be in his mid-twenties. And we were sure to ask before entering if their house rules permitted our entry.

We never knocked the other door.
My twin Christian and friend with freshly killed chickens

Most of the rest of the week was comprised of fallen through appointments and marginally successful street-contacting. We did well at cleaning out some potentials who finally admitted they weren't really interested. We did have a good visit with the Robinson's and made progress there. We talked a lot about the Sacrament and showed the video on where Elder Uchtdorf compares us as members of the Church to the guy on a cruise, and he makes the point that we're sometimes living below our means. Anyway, we kind of got to the core of their concerns with the Sacrament, and we'll just suffice it to say that they are definitely working on it. They definitely have the Sacrament in mind and are working towards taking it, but they don't want to talk to the bishop about their concerns, as "it's none of his business." Hm.

I really do want to see more success as a missionary. I mean, I know the success lies in the invitation, or rather, my commitment to find, teach, and baptize. But it's hard to feel successful when you don't see that commitment come to fruition the way you'd like.

I don't want this to sound like a big whining session. But I guess it already does. I'm just letting you know how it's going for me. But what advice do you have? I just want to feel like I'm being an effective missionary. I must say, missionary work is a lot more fun when you're finding, teaching, and baptizing.

I really like to hear that about Walker. I'm really glad y'all are being there for him and for the Elders as solid member fellowship. That's really helpful. We need a lot of member help these days, and I'm glad to hear that my family on the other end is at the head of it, especially with two RM's on board. It's easy to understand why the Elders are excited to get him on date, but I agree that we need not kid ourselves when it comes to being prepared for baptism. His conversion will mean a lot more and will in turn serve as a motivator for him to stay strong in coming years if we let him take the time now to make it a true conversion.

Dad, I think we take our family for granted. Having been away from home for six months and having worked with far more dysfunctional families than ours, I have a greater appreciation for the Martin family clan, and feel I will be extra motivated to contribute more when I'm home. That's probably at least one good reason the mission experience is so valuable. Thanks for sharing your insight from church. It's important to remember that I am merely the vessel for the truth and light God wants for all his children. I am only the tool He uses to sift out the prepared from the unprepared. Thus, I need to be as well-oiled and functional as possible!

About the music, I actually found out that according to President Bonham, we're allowed to listen to Christian rock, "as long as it doesn't teach false doctrine." Haha, I love that guy. He's so awesome. But I am definitely looking forward to classical music. I love Dvorak, and I love horn concertos. It would be most beneficial, actually, if you could send the CD's because I can listen to them in the car as we travel. That is, if you're not going to miss them. I have PLENTY of Mo-Tab. And as far as Christian rock, there's the one album I've been wanting, called "Hymn". It's by a Christian band, whose name I cannot recall, but they do a bunch of covers of traditional hymns and the album is free (or was). Anyway, ask Josh Willis. He'll know what I'm talking about because he's the one that told me about it! And if there's any other inspirational Christian rock that you like, feel free to throw it in there. "Hello Hurricane" and album by Switchfoot is another one I seem to remember being pretty Christian-themed. And also really good.

Essentially, just do whatever you can, and I will be very grateful for whatever I get. Thanks so much!

I am definitely praying for little Liam.

Thanks for all y'all's prayers. I need 'em!

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Liam, Cancer Warrior (ATRT)

No comments:

Post a Comment