Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Plant, preach, work hard and invite

Hello once again!

So Monday was interesting.  We went to Cabanatuan for P-Day, to withdraw our support, then we emailed, ate at an all-you-can-rice place, then got some shopping done.  We also found out what our investigators need to do to get married so they can get baptized, which is good too!  We didn’t get done everything we needed to.  Next time we’ll plan better for sure!  In the evening we went and taught some members and got 2 referrals!  Sweet!  We then went and taught the Solis family.  JR was feeling a bit down, I think because he is struggling with the Word of Wisdom.  We encouraged him and told him he was doing good!  We had a good lesson AND got a referral from them, too!  Then Tuesday came.  In the morning we went to a far out area to track down a media referral, the first one of those on my mission aaaand it turned out to be a member.  Darn.  Oh well.  My companion and I had a good laugh about how “prepared” she was.  In the afternoon we went door to door.  That was good for just about nothing.  Everyone rejected us, and most were not kind about it.  The nicest one was a Diyakano from Iglesia ni Cristo, but he graciously told us he couldn’t listen.  We eventually taught an old Methodist grandma, and she said she would listen, but she wasn’t seriously looking to find out if this was the true church to join.  Dang.  We went to Mariel, our golden investigator who is not married, and basically it’s gonna take a whole lot of time, effort and money to get them married, so we were a bit bewildered.  We taught Jared, but he wasn’t into the lesson.  The Ruiz family told us not to come back.  They were nice about it, but that didn’t help much.  We taught Mia, who always has a lot of questions.  We then taught Roby, who is really not progressing.  We gave her a reading assignment and if she doesn’t do it, I don’t think we can teach her anymore.  When we got back to the apartment we were pretty discouraged. 

That night and Wednesday morning, I was praying really hard to know where to go and what to do to find these people who will be baptized this year, but I wasn’t getting any answers.  I wasn’t feeling anything really and that was discouraging.  I felt like I no longer had a right to personal revelation.  Then the spirit finally spoke to me and it was something along the lines of, “How can you expect an answer from God when you have such weak faith?”  And it was true, my faith was wavering.  I re-read James 1:5-6, as well as a whole lot of other scriptures about how God is a God of power and miracles but he works according to the faith his children.  I did that until my faith and the spirit returned, then it was on.  In the afternoon we taught two sisters, Jasmine and Jenin, who accepted baptismal dates for the 31st.  BOOM.  We taught Mariel again, then Bien, and now his little brother wants to listen to us, too!  We then taught one of those referrals, who is a less active/part-member family and they’re super nice!  Joshua and John Lloyd Sabido are their names.  We also contacted our other referral, and set an appointment for Thursday evening.  We then met up with Elder Westover, because Elder Tufele is in Manila doing fingerprinting stuff for his exit visa.  We ate dinner and on the way home we met a girls basketball team, who had lots of questions for us!  They reminded me of Ashley and Anna and how they are true ballers!  Anyways, AWESOME DAY, and that’s just the key: FAITH!
"Doing Standard Work"

On Thursday Elder Westover gave the zone training which talked all about “real growth” and what we wanted to improve on in 2015.  Really cool!  In the afternoon we taught a contact of ours, Lyn, and she was receptive enough!  We taught Michael about the power of prayer, and then we had to go to Cabanatuan again to meet Elder Tufele, which was a little crazy, as he didn’t have a cell phone, but it worked out.  When we got back we only were able to teach one lesson to our referral, Grace, but her kid was absolutely crazy so I don’t think she understood everything.  Friday we were pretty punted, so we eventually went to a less active’s house and we taught a lesson all about sharing the gospel and asked her how we could help her in her personal missionary work.  She asked for a couple of pamphlets, because she had a couple of friends pass through her mind as we were talking.  Yes!  We’re following up on that next Tuesday!  We had another good lesson with Mariel and then we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Mia about the plan of salvation.  She said she had prayed to know and when she did she got goose bumps all over.  And when Elder Palabrica testified about the atonement—Man, that was one of the most powerful moments of my mission.  She committed to come to church.  Saturday morning we taught Lyn and some of her friends, which didn’t go so well, but we have a return appointment, so we’ll do better next time.  In the afternoon we taught Jared and Bien, and then we just were super punted again.  Eventually we taught Dustin, and then went to a viewing of a mother of a member who suddenly passed away.  The members gave a little service and I gave a message based on Paul’s teachings about the resurrection.  Afterwards we taught one more lesson.  

Then it hit me that it was the last chance to get people to baptism this year, because if they didn’t come to church the next day, they couldn’t meet the requirements this year.  We tried to go to a couple of our other investigators who had the greatest potential to be baptized, and they told us that they couldn’t come or they didn’t even come to the door.  We went home with our hands hanging low.  The promise of 4 baptisms wasn’t going to happen.  The only thing I could think of is that we didn’t do absolutely everything that we could have.  They only thing I could figure out is that we weren’t perfect, even though we've worked really hard. I really trusted the promise of President Clark that there were 4 people that could be baptized before the end of the year and if we came short I felt it must be because of my shortcomings.  That weighed down fairly heavily on me on Sunday. 

Good things still happened on Sunday.  We found and taught a less active/part member couple and we were finally able to teach the Solis family again!  But man, I was not in a very good place mentally.  I eventually talked with Elder Westover about it.  We first read the section of Preach My Gospel about being a “successful missionary” and he said that in his eyes I qualified there. Then he said that President’s promise was that there were 4 people that could be baptized, but these 4 people still had their agency.  We can’t force anyone to be baptized; that was Satan’s plan.  Until then I hadn’t thought about it that way.  We TOTALLY have had super spiritual lessons with way more than 4 people in my time here.  I know that the Holy Ghost testified to their souls, but for whatever reason, they said no.  All we can do here is plant, preach, work hard and invite.  And like my companion said, we’re here to help in any way we can, but we’re not here to fix everyone’s problems; that’s up to them and Jesus Christ.  We can only show people the way and do all we can to persuade them to walk that path, but we can never push anyone.  I still know this work is true, and I do know many more will be baptized in this area. We’ve just gotta work a little harder, fix the little things, and trust that Christ’s grace will be there every step of the way.  D&C 30:11 (And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.)

-Elder Christensen

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