Well, this week was crazy busy! Sorry this is coming on Tuesday, but we had a half-mission conference with Elder Packer of the Seventy, so our p-day is today! More on that later though.
Last week, we decided it was our week to WORK because this week, we had the conference yesterday, pday today, and another misison Christmas Conference on Friday. then it's transfer week! :P so, this was our week to work! and work we did!... as much as we could... there's a bug going around... haha
We were very busy, and set a lofty goal for lessons, and only fell short by 1!!!! We were soooo close!!!! We also found a new investigator for us, and a new investigator for another mission. Funny story about the guy for the other mission. We were going through our area book, and were visiting this brother/sister combo we had as former investigators. No answer for the first few times we stopped by. Then, one day, we get the peephole (where someone looks through the eye hole, then walks away), then Mauricio comes out. We're pretty sure from what we heard going on inside that he was sent out to "get rid of the mormons." So, he got rid of us, and went back inside with a Book of Mormon and two pamphlets!!! We've met him a couple other times and found out he lives out of our mission, so we texted him one day asking for his address and for permission to send local missionaries to him, and he texted back. "I already found them. I'm going to church on Sunday!!!!" It was such a huge blessing to us to see the fruits of a finding effort we had that we might never have known about. It makes me wonder how many seeds we've planted that we won't find out about out here. It was awesome though. Elder M and I now have a reputation for being the Elders in the middle of the mission who do out-of-mission poaching (we've also given two referrals to the Richmond mission and one to the Baltimore mission).
This week also took us to new heights and depths. Heights meaning on top of people's roofs putting up Christmas lights and depths meaning.... I dont' know, we prayed a lot I guess, so on our knees is low. Though there is that one quote: "a man is never standing taller than when he is on his knees."
Funny story. We were knocking on doors the other day, and in between doors, we began quoting movies back and forth and laughing at ourselves. Elder M was throwing out a quote as I knocked on the door, and the quote included the word "girlfriend." He stopped midway through as the door opened, and I guess I wasn't ready. The first thing I said to the guy who answered was: "Hey, how's your girlfriend?" yeah.... haha. I recovered, and we got inside and taught a lesson, but it was a weird moment. Moral of the story: don't quote movies while tracting.
We helped another lady set up Christmas lights. She invited us to help her daughter, who was coming from Richmond, and we showed up, and she made it very clear that she did not work with people and didn't want our help. So, we helped her anyway! She told us she hated us because we ruined her carefully constructed paradigm that there were no good people on the earth anymore, and invited us to Christmas dinner before the night was over! haha. It's funny to see what a little love and service can do for someone.
The big event was yesterday's conference. Elder Packer (President Packer's son) and his wife came to visit and tour the mission and gave us our conference yesterday. The other half of the mission has their conference today. It was great! I wish I could just copy my notes and memories onto here, but I can't. Elder M , one of our Assistants spoke first. He talked a lot about becoming the best missionaries we can be. Two of my favorite quotes: "How can we expect to have progressing investigators if we are not progressing missionaries?" and "If you focus on results, you will never change, but if you focus on change, you will get results." Next, Sister Riggs spoke about charity, how important it is, and how to obtain it. It was really good, and helped me understand a lot about charity. Elder W, our other Assistant went next. He's going home this transfer, so he really wanted to share his favorite pieces of wisdom with us. He shared how we need something to help us keep our eyes on the bigger picture. He showed a picture of a Virginia road - beautiful and covered in trees, though looking exactly like every other road in Virginia. He then showed us a road in Utah - with a mountain rising high in the background that was visible from anywhere. He talked about how we need to build a "mountain" of testimony so that wherever we are in life, we can see the mountain and know where we are and which direction we're traveling. President Riggs followed and expounded a bit on how to use Moroni's promise in teaching and we did some practice teaching, and I really feel like I understand how to testify and let the spirit teach more about that promise so investigators will understand and exercise that promise. Next was sister Packer, who talked about the Spirit and the little things we can do to help keep it with us. She is a very good public speaker and I learned a lot from her. Elder Packer Finished us off before lunch and took the after lunch portion too, and just really broke everything down as to what our purpose is, how we use that purpose, how we teach and testify better, and just did it all. It was amazing. He answered a lot of questions, too. Both questions that were asked by missionaries and questions we had in our hearts. It was great.
Our Sister Missionaries were given a warning yesterday, too. They were told that EVERY ONE of them needs to be ready to train by next week, because we're expecting our first "fleet" of sisters to arrive this transfer (what was that about objectification of women? haha :P disclaimer: fleet was not my word ).
Five of the Seven Missionaries from my MTC district were at that conference, so it was fun to see all of them, along with the other missionary friends I've made since then. Everyone was giving me double-takes too, since they aren't used to me in glasses. One Elder, Elder S who reported the same day as me, though not to the same district, has declared himself my bully, saying it is irresistible to not harass someone with glasses. haha He's hysterical. Sister E caught up with me too, and the first thing she said was "you look different. I hardly recognized you!" I responded with the usual "haha, must be the glasses." And she immediately shut that idea down. "No," she said, "You just look older. More mature. It's like you're growing up right before our eyes out here." That probably made my day. So much as missionaries, we try to improve the work that we do and the people that we are, but we don't see that change in ourselves because it happens over time. It was very comforting to hear from someone I've known since day one in the MTC that I'm growing into the man I want to be. Slowly... haha I still have a long way to go, for anyone that knew just how mature I was before I left :P
Cool thought for this week. We were talking the other day, and Elder M and I noticed something. We may not always be entitled to receive visions of God the Father, or of Jesus Christ, but there is something spectacular that we can have. In fact, we are promised it if we will just live worthily. We can have the constant companionship of one of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. So are The Father and The Son. What a privilege it is to have the companionship of one of the three members of the governing body of the universe! Think about that for a bit. It blew my mind when I did. It's incredible.
Well, it seems that every day I wake up more tired and more grateful to be here. I love my mission!
Love you all! Merry Christmas!