We went to visit a less active, who is only less active because of health. She lives in a retirement community and at the door a lady was bringing groceries. We tried to help her but she didn't want us to so we just talked to her instead. She wasn't interested in a message from us but she said she'd tell the ladies in the lobby to listen to us. She proceeded to interrupt a group of ten people saying "These girls have something to say" It sparked conversation about religion among all of them. We gave each of them a card with our number and one lady afterwards told us she didn't want to change religions but she did want to learn about Mormons. So we went back the next day and taught her. Wow, was she prepared. But here's the heartbreaking part...This less active lady well apparently she's in our ward but only by special permission. It's her son's ward so she attends Westfield even though she lives in Carmel, so all those wonderful ladies in her apartment building aren't ours to teach. We had to give not one, not two but four referrals to the other sisters. Even though we were so sad we wouldn't be able to teach them (old women are our favorite) we obediently gave up our investigator and trusted that God would give us others to teach in our own area.
So this week as part of my training I've had to watch videos about using family history in our approaches. I kinda felt like I should take that approach for the following week. At first I wasn't really looking forward to doing it that way. But I did it anyway and have loved it! Turns out people actually are interested in their geneaology! Who knew? Using that method was a miracle in and of itself because it's a great conversation starter and got us a few names and numbers of people who are willing to meet with the missionaries!
We went to an appointment with a former investigator who I guess was really close to baptism but apparently the missionaries took a member with them who scared her and so she stopped investigating and started going to a different church. We got to her door and no one answered. We called and she said she thought we were coming the next day. We rescheduled with her but didn't really know how to fill that time because we were hoping to stay in the area because it was close to our next lesson. We stepped outside and saw a man sitting out eating a Popsicle with a little girl. We started talking about family history, then tied it to the church and he said he'd like to learn more. Then the little girl said so would my mom. She lives over there, come talk to her. She was interested too. Then we thought we'd visit a ward member that we didn't know that lived just one street over. They don't live there anymore, but a Hispanic family does. She's just a little younger than me and when Sister Hansen asked if she's ever wondered why there are so many churches on the earth she was like yeah I always have. It sparked her interest but she said she's really busy working two jobs and taking English classes. We told her meeting with us would be great practice for her English so we're hoping to set up an appointment with her. We talked for a while and when we left I said a prayer in Spanish. It was cool. Spanish is super cool!
One morning we set out to contact a referral. The referral was just a simple one we had got when tracting. After people tell us they aren't interested we ask if they know anyone who might be. The guy said the next door neighbor maria might be, but that she speaks spanish so there might be a language barrier. Well I said that's okay I know some Spanish. This was our third time trying to get in contact with Maria. We stood at the door for a while and finally I decided to write a note on the Spanish Restoration pamphlet and leave it at the door. As I was writing this note a man came up. He spoke NO English. I asked if he lived there. He said yes, so I asked about Maria. He said Maria was his 13 year old daughter. So I told him his neighbor said they might be interested in our message and he said yeah, I've met with missionary compañeros before, but they moved away and stopped coming over. So after talking to him for a bit, we set up on appointment to see him at the end of the week. Sister Hansen and I were pretty nervous about how it would go since she knew no Spanish and he knew no English. We asked a couple from our ward to come with us. They're from Puerto Rico so we knew they'd be helpful to us! The lesson actually turned out great! He was very open to learning and he said he would read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I spoke in Spanish most of the time and would even translate for Sister Hansen and then the Marty's would talk to him if Jose had trouble understanding me. I understood most everything he said. It was SO COOL! Sister Hansen even could follow a little bit. We were originally thinking we'd give Jose to the Spanish Elders since Sister Hansen wouldn't be able to teach but the Zone Leaders said we could teach them and the Marty's said that my Spanish is "awesome." We prayed about it and I think we'll at least try to teach another lesson before we'd give up on him so easily.
Sister Hansen said before this transfer she was sure that no Hispanics lived in Indiana but I guess it's working out since we seem to be finding some who will listen to us too. We went back to teach Bernardo and were planning on asking if his wife wanted to join us but before we could say anything he said he was going to go get his wife. He asked us a specific question of something that confused him in the Bible. At first we didn't really understand what he was asking but Sister Hansen took them to Alma and read a few verses that answered it perfectly. They don't really doubt the Book of Mormon. Our next step is to try to help them understand the apostasy better so they'll see the need for just one church that has priesthood authority. We hope we can get them to come to church too. They said they'd try but for Blanca it takes too much time to drive there-she just goes to the church across the street. And Bernardo likes to go to a Spanish Sunday School so he can understand better. We were hoping they'd be at church but they weren't. We'll probably introduce them to the Marty's soon. Maybe that will help.
Even though they were at church we did have an unexpected investigator show up. The less active mom came with her 3 kids (which we were expecting) But she also brought her best friend that has been over for the Family Home Evening Lessons. That was a great surprise! Turned out he even knew a member from business school!
That helped us exceed our goals for investigators at church and along with the other miracles of the week our numbers were way more than we expected. We started this area with 0 investigators and only teaching 5 lessons to people at their doorstep who really had no intention of learning more. This week we have 8 investigators and taught 14 lessons and got a bunch of referrals and potentials too (and that doesn't even count the ones we had to give away.) And I'm getting to use Spanish in those lessons. What a blessing!
On Thursday we were planning on seeing an "investigator" after dinner (I use quotations because she's very old and we're not sure how much she retains. She remembers us-and boy does she love us. She says we can teach her but then her attention span is so short that we can't teach much) Well anyway while we were at dinner and Sister Merrill mentioned how she took Mary Jo to the hospital the day before. Sister Merrill, the Elders and Sister Hansen and I all went to visit her. When we got there the room was so cold and uninviting. The Elders gave her a blessing, we shared with her a scripture and sang a hymn to her. By the time we left the room was warm and friendly. It's amazing what the Spirit can do. As we contemplated everything that fell perfectly in to place. it was amazing to see how God really is in the details and he will prepare things way in advanced so that things will fall into place when the time comes. For example, the Merrills have the missionaries over every other Thursday and have for months. We almost didn't go to dinner but made it work. And that's just part of it.
Hermana Howard did an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders so she came to stay at our apartment! It was so fun to see her and catch up with her! She's sure making a killer missionary! We even got to do our language study together, which was so helpful! Studying a language by yourself just doesn't cut it.
This letter doesn't fully describe how truly amazing this week was. Everyday was wonderful. Everyday was a miracle. I guess the greatest part of all is the fact that I finally feel like I belong in Indiana. I had such a good attitude at first about being here and just wanted to forget about my visa until it comes. But everyday someone will ask me about it so it's hard to forget about. I was starting to feel disappointed and like I'd be so much better off in Salta. But it doesn't matter now. I know I'm supposed to be here so I can learn something and being here feels right. I'll be excited to get to Argentina when it's time but until then I just won't worry about it.
You know, I don't know if we even actually had more miracles this week than last or if our eyes have just been opened wider and our perception is clearer. I hope you all look at your days a little more closely and find little miracle everyday.
As my Argentinan mission president signs his letters:
|My very own street!|
|Catching up with my MTC companion|