I think I told you last time about our mission goals, but let me just refresh your memory. We want to find 400 new investigators as a mission from September 21st - October 1st. That is 10 days to find 400 people in the Washington Vancouver Mission who are ready to be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and brought closer to Him through the first covenant of Baptism. :) We were slightly panicked with that goal because something has happened every week we've been here that has prevented us from being any sort of successful. But we prayed hard and told Heavenly Father that we had the faith to find! We promised Him we would do our best! It is so clear to me that we really hardly have anything to do with the miracles involved in missionary work, it's all Him! All we had to do was get on our feet and walk around, smile at everybody, attend Ward activities, and go to our dinner appointments. Really! That's it!
On Tuesday night, we had an activity called "Tuesday Night Tours," which happens once a month and is where all the youth do their best to invite their nonmember friends to the church for a church tour and fun activity afterwards. It was great! Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Hardy, talked to everyone a little bit about the functions of the church and what we do on Sundays and throughout the week, and there was a wonderful turnout! There were 8 nonmembers there!!! After we talked about church and did an impromptu musical number (provided by me and Elder Brase), we had a "Minute To Win It" competition. We put ourselves on a team with two nonmember girls who are 13 and 14 years old. Sweetest girls ever! The Elders are actually already teaching the parents of one of the girls, but the other one, Eryn, we picked up as a new investigator! She asked lots of good questions and asked us to come over and teach her! Woo Hoo!
|"This is my 'I am so happy things are finally happening Selfie!"|
Dinner that night was fantastic! We ate with a sweet elderly woman who lives in a pink Barbie house. Really. It's the cutest thing ever! She lives with her sister (who unfortunately was out of town this week), her son, and her two great grandchildren. It's a strange living situation, but it turned out to be a complete blessing to us! During dinner, we discovered that her great granddaughter, Samantha, had not been baptized. Sam had just recently made the decision to turn her life around. She's been working hard in school, living up to her standards, and desiring to realize her purpose. She asked us if we could teach her and help her come back to church! It was amazing! All of these opportunities were being thrown in our faces because of our desire to find God's children and bring them closer to Him! It's astonishing!
Thursday morning, we met up with Liz from Lacamas Creek at Starbucks to catch up and see how she was doing. She has unfortunately taken a step away from the church again, but I'm not worried. I'm confident that when she is ready, she will be able to recognize how much God wants her to know Him and follow His commandments. President Uchtdorf spoke about it a bit at the Women's Broadcast on Saturday night. I really wish Liz would have watched it so she could understand the importance of church and the significance it has in strengthening our relationship with God. No matter what she decides, I will love her and be her friend.
That afternoon, we had our first lesson with our new investigator Alexis. She is the one who approached us at church last Sunday and told us that her mom had finally given her permission to take the lessons. We had a lesson at her fellowshipper and best friend Olivia's house, and it went very very well! We taught the Restoration and she was so excited to learn about every little detail! She was shy and sweet, but I could feel how excited she was to finally be doing the official stuff. She has been coming to church with Olivia since she was 8, she's been to girls camp 3 times, and she is teaching the lesson in her Sunday School class in a few weeks. She really truly is golden! It is such a special experience to be able to work with people who have a genuine spirit about them. Alexis is phenomenal! By the end of the lesson we had set her on date for October 11th. :) All we need now is to make sure she has her parents permission. I'm confident things will work out in Alexis' favor. She definitely deserves it. Like I said earlier, God rewards patience.
*insert picture of "boom" fence with caption, "We found this after our lesson with Alexis and committing her to baptism. We thought it fit the situation pretty perfectly. :)"
After that, we had dinner with the Trana's. I love them! This time, their son Nolan was there, and he is not a member. He's a sweet guy, but clearly not necessarily following the right path. His parents adore us, but I wanted to find a way to connect with him on his own level... So I used my eyes and noticed the game system still out and connected to the TV, with Call of Duty and Halo cases laying next to it. He had a friend over for dinner too, so I gathered the obvious: they had been playing just before we came. Long story short, I brought up video games, COD and Halo specifically, talked to them in detail about those games, and ended up transitioning into Christ caring about them. ...Kind of a weird connection, but it worked! Now, I'm not saying that Christ necessarily cares about video games, but he does care that Nolan cares about it! From there, Nolan and his friend Tyler brought up, "You have mentioned about 4 things besides video games at this dinner table that I, individually, care about. How could you have known that?" That question got us started about what Christ wants for them and that He often answers our prayers and shows us that He loves us through other people. We got a return appointment with them to help them find other ways to recognize God's love for them. And it was thanks to video games. :) Nolan is a former investigator, so he doesn't count as one of the 400 new, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that he is reinterpreted in strengthening his relationship with Christ.
After dinner with the Trana's, we had a lesson with a less active family, the Jenkins. Their 14 year old daughter, Isabel, was just baptized in March, but the two brothers have not been baptized. During our visit, I was talking to the dad about cars, when the littlest brother, Xander, heard us and came out to hear us talk about it. He LOVES cars, and was apparently super impressed that I knew what I was talking about (even though I'm pretty sure I didn't have a clue what I was saying...). He joined the conversation, was present for the spiritual thought, and said he wants us to come back and talk to him more about the Gospel. ...And cars. :P He is 11 years old, and super sweet. So that was another new investigator.
On Friday, we had weekly planning, and it was a pretty lengthy one due to our abundance of new investigators, so it took us all day long. The only breaks we had were lunch and dinner. When we came home from dinner, the Haskett's daughter Allison was hosting an "Origami Owl" jewelry party. Her neighbor Nicole was the one selling the jewelry and presenting it all, but nobody had showed up... So when we walked in, Allison asked us if we would sit and listen to Nicole practice giving the presentation. So naturally we said yes. :) We listened to her spiel, and as she was presenting the necklaces and the charms that go with it, she came across a little green shield looking charming with the letters "CTR" on it, and she didn't know what it meant. It was under the religious section of charms, but she had never heard of that before. We told her what it meant and the got a really good conversation going about our religion, what a mission is, and generally what we believe. Long story short, we set up an appointment with her to meet at her house and answer more of her questions.
In the end, we found SIX new investigators this week! We were very proud of ourselves. But also not, because it was clear that having the miracle of finding all of these prepared children of God was not our doing, but His. He put us in the right situations at the exact right times, and we were simply able to be an instrument in His hands. I am so grateful for the knowledge of this Gospel, and for all the times He has picked me up when I have been weak or nearing that point of giving up. I'm very glad that the long stretch of nothingness is over and that we have lifted ourselves up this week and began to see success. Life is GOOD!!!
Today, I am off to face my fear of volcanoes by walking around in some lava tubes of an active volcano: Mount St. Helens. They are called the "Ape Caves..." I guess I'll figure out why! I'm only slightly terrified, but if St. Helens decides to blow up while I'm inside it, know that I love all of you and I have a testimony that God lives! :) Hopefully, I'll talk to you all next week!
I guess I took all my pictures from this week on the same day? Lame. Sorry!
|"HeHe...Tiny trash can..."|
|"Is this not the cutest front yard accessory ever?"|
|"Clever way to get tough gel nails off"|
|"Pretty cool picture of the Portland Temple!"|