This week went so fast! We were pretty busy all week long. That's the way it oughtta be! A lot of this week consisted of service. Lots of service. Mainly helping people move. But hey, what are the Mormons for? Just kidding. We gave quite a few blessings this week too. That is what the Mormons are for.
On Monday night, we visited the Smiths again (young, less-active family headed by a return missionary). Their kids especially love having the missionaries over, but once they were in bed, we got down to business. We talked a lot more about why they don't make it to church, and how we can help them get back into that habit. While we works often and she has family functions on most weekends, one thing they fear is being over-committed to callings and whatnot once they reactivate. We committed Sister Smith to come to church on Sunday whether or not her husband was working. She wasn't in attendance yesterday. Any tips?
Semi-related side note: at the Smiths on Monday night, I sneezed wrong and ended up chipping my front left tooth a little. Talk about a freak accident. I'm devastated. Just kidding.
On Wednesday, district meeting went really well. It's very clear that the more time and effort I put into preparing for district meetings, the better they go and the more I can tell I am influencing the other missionaries in my district. Sometimes, it's tempting to try and wing it a bit, but that's when no one participates and it's like pulling teeth to keep the clock from ticking backwards.
On Thursday, we spearheaded the whole open chapel tour thing that was mentioned in the worldwide broadcast on June 23rd of this year. Our stake center was open from 12-8 and we stood watch in case people wanted to come check it out. We actually did give a few tours to a few nonmembers. I'm thinking these chapel tours will be a really good tactic, because this way we're allowing the prepared people to sift themselves from the rest by coming to us. It also really helped me brush up on my church tour skills. The last time I gave a tour was in Marysville with Elder Benedict! And that was a tour through the plan of salvation! In preparation for this event, I was given the assignment of organizing the church tour shift schedule. I had to have a certain amount missionaries present at the building from 12-8. But I had to work around missionaries' appointments as well as uphold rules from the white handbook like having at least three males when females are present, vice versa, and having a priesthood holder in the building at all times. Let me tell you, that brought me right back to my supervisor days.
On Thursday evening, we made our way to the home of Justin Canales, a less-active we had briefly chatted with a few times. Well, this time was different. We spent two hours talking to Justin and learning about him and his whole life story. Turns out, he's a super cool guy. Also turns out, he was married in the Temple and "did the whole Mormon thing." And "for 10 years, it worked." But for one reason or another, they were divorced and his life has been a shambles ever since. What's interesting is how willing people are to open up to and share information with missionaries. It started, I think, with "how did you find the Church" -- he was introduced through his less-active, then-girlfriend, soon-to-be-wife -- (that's a lot of hyphens!) and he talked on that for a long time. At one point, I asked, "do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?" and he went through another 20 or 30 minutes of life story without pause. He said the Joseph Smith story really hooked him. "Here was an average Joe [no pun intended] just like [Justin], with a really great question." Justin kept returning to the idea that he just doesn't "fit" into the Mormon church. Every man in the Church is a doctor or a lawyer or whatever and is well-to-do. Justin has a degree, but doesn't use it and he rents a basement from his weird coworker's mom. He ex-wife now lives elsewhere with their children and her new, "successful" husband. Over and over, he compared himself to other people, and didn't even realize it. At points, Justin was yelling and losing his composure. There is a lot of pain and hurt in this guy's heart. And anger. Not at us as the missionaries that stood before him, but at the course his life has taken, and ultimately, at God. If there is a God. He sincerely wants to believe there is a God and that Jesus is the Savior, but he doesn't want that belief to stem from fear. He wants to know it because that's what's right. With Justin, it's going to be a long, slow process. But after Thursday night, Elder O'Rullian feel and intense connection with him. Interestingly enough, after hearing our recap of Thursday evening, our bishop does too. And they haven't even met. Justin desperately needs the gospel back in his life, and we're going to help him out with just that.
Yesterday, the Lord blessed with three investigators at sacrament meeting! Mateo was there with his dad, Giovanni, and Tiffany and Tia attended in the Shoultes ward for a baby blessing. Our ward was super focused on missionary work, as that was what we were encouraged to fast for. There was definitely an outpouring of the missionary spirit. It's really exciting to see everyone get pumped about missionary work. Soon the referrals will be a-flowing! As I closed my fast yesterday, I received a confirmation that the bishop knows what he's talking about, as he is entitled to revelation for the members and missionary work in his ward. So it's important for us as missionaries to work hard to help him achieve his vision for the Seattle Hill ward.
We also visited Garrett, a man Elder Gasser and I contacted on exchanges a few weeks ago, yesterday. He told us he's already read a fourth of the Book of Mormon! But he insists he won't have any questions until he is done reading it... Haha.
I think that's about all for this week. We're already on week 6 of the transfer now. That's insane! I don't know where the time goes. I may or may not get transferred, but I'll keep y'all updated! Elder O'Rullian doesn't want me to get transferred at all because he struggled with his last companion, and well, like I've said, we are really great friends. He also misses home a lot. Like a lot. So that's been pretty hard for him, too.
Mom, I am sharing Dad's conversion story at district meeting this week. If you wanna go ahead and send it real soon, I might be able to come back later today and print it out.
Seth, when I read that blip about the chore app in Dad's email, I laughed right out loud in the library. So dang funny. That sounds just like you. I miss you, bud!
P.S. I saw Matt the Cat Guy again randomly. He asked me to email him the pictures Elder Julius took of us. Haha!
The picture attached is of me in a cool Russian hat that belongs to Brother Paskett, who took us golfing again last week. This was just hours before I chipped my tooth...