|He is the Gift|
Mandy is still doing well. She needs prayers from everyone. She is learning and growing bit by bit, but we feel she isn't recognizing the answers to her prayers that she is receiving or has already received. She's almost grown stagnant in that she's learned all the lessons and lives all the commandments, but hasn't been baptized and doesn't have a baptismal date, so she's kind of just in "limbo". This is where the fundamental of "teaching people, not lessons" really comes into play. We're trying to really discern what her needs are and what will help her to set a new goal for baptism. At this point, she's unsure about a lot. She feels she doesn't know enough or doesn't know for sure that the Book of Mormon is true or that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. So this week, we focused on helping her recognize how faith grows and it turns out that she related fairly well to Alma 32 because she herself is a gardener!
We're teaching another young man named Troy, who has recently escaped an ugly situation with his (now ex-) girlfriend of two years. She was extremely physically abusive and verbally volatile. And when he tried to do anything about it, she would threaten to call the police and his employer and lie to both to ruin his life. It sounds really funny, and he sees the comedy in it, but it's been a huge headache for him. Anyway, he finally got a protection order and she left, though he had to attend a court hearing on Christmas Eve to try and finalize things. The protection order was dissolved, but it looks like she's out of the picture for good. Now, Troy has become far more open and eager to meet with us and wants to progress. The whole ordeal with his ex-girlfriend has been emotionally draining for him, and he needs healing.
On Tuesday, we taught an investigator named Colleen, who has met with sisters for quite a while now, but will meet with us from now on since they closed the sisters' area (the mission is shrinking!) a few weeks ago. She is 75 years old and, well, let's just say she's a handful. She has hard feelings towards males in general (I think because of trials from her past) and she has always felt that elders are too pushy, too demanding, too callused, and too rigid. She made her expectations very clear from the start: she wants to time to chat and talk with one another every time we start a lesson; if she needs help with chores or lifting heavy things, the missionaries always help after the lesson; no being pushy or she'll close right up. On top of that, she has Mersa, which has prevented her from being baptized for several months now as she can't be in water with someone else while the infection is active. All in all, we love her and are impressed with her vast reservoir of wisdom. She's a charming lady and she seems to love the Church--she just isn't going to be told what to do.
It was quite enjoyable to see you all on Christmas, and it always goes so fast. But no worries, I shall see you all again shortly.
Dad, I actually remember hearing about that movie [Foxcatcher] in my first area from a less active member who was way into wrestling. He mentioned to me that it was still in the early workings---it's crazy how fast time flies!
It's good to hear the ol' Martin family DVD-givin' tradition is still alive around Christmas time. Classic.
I love you all, and I hope that your New Years is dazzling.
Seth, happy birthday. I thought of you on Saturday morning and it blew my mind that you're eighteen now. You're an adult! I was [technically] eighteen when I left home. Isn't that insane? You've grown so big, my wittle Schteph.
Mom, here's a happy birthday in advance! I love you so much, even though you're technically a senior citizen now. That's ok, friends have been asking me since the third grade if you were my grandma. Blame the platinum blonde!