Email home #7, sent March 10
So last P-day, we went shopping for the rest of the day. And let me tell you something. Shopping as a missionary is the weirdest thing ever. It's probably weirder for other people to see, though. People with black tags roaming around the shopping mall. But it's still weird for me because it was like...normal life.
But I got a cool panda watch. It's beautiful.
It snowed a couple times this week. But the nice thing about Colorado is that even if snow piles up, it melts within hours. It's amazing. One day we went to crossfit at 6 in the morning and our car had a huge pile of snow on it but by the time we left the house again at 10AM, it was all gone. 360 days of sun! #OHYEAH
We had a potential investigator that we met probably our second week here. She was diagnosed with cancer and told us to come back during the weekdays. So we did. We prayed for her and we were so excited to teach her about the gospel because we knew it would help her through this difficult trial. Buuuuuut she ended up rejecting us. She just didn't know how to say no so she felt bad turning us away the first two times we visited her. My heart sank. It was painful to see her turn it down....Then I realized the new lyrics I wrote to that Frozen song had a whole new meaning to me now. Oh man, it was so sad to see her push away the message of the gospel.
An elder in my district said something interesting: the only thing that trumps the Atonement is agency, our own free will to choose to accept or not.
On the bright side, we visited the family with a baptismal date last Saturday. Vince asked, "What do I need to do to get baptized?" It was so amazing hearing that. He thought he needed to fill out some paperwork or something. Heh. But we just explained to him that in order for someone to be baptized, they need to show they're obeying the commandments of God including diligent prayer and scripture study, attending church, obeying the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, following the prophet...etc. As for the Word of Wisdom, Vince was all in. He said he'd stop drinking coffee and tea, though he doesn't drink that much anyway. As for Kathy, however, she drinks tea at least 3 times/day so she was a little hesitant. But we know that in obeying God's commandments, she will be blessed with the strength to overcome and to add onto the knowledge that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is by our side rooting for us on our journey back to Heavenly Father.
One of the things I didn't expect on a mission was inviting people to baptism on our first or second visit with them. It's crazy. Crazy awesome. It makes sense, though, so people have an ultimate goal to work towards rather than just going through the lessons.
Fun fact of the week (except not really a fact, just a fun experience): We met a guy while tracting who said he's an atheist just because he and his family never really went to church. (But I think the belief is there, he just thinks it's easier to say he's an atheist....) So then we asked him for his name. His name's Christian. He's Christian, the atheist.
Sunday night, our 8PM appointment cancelled so we decided to visit our favorite sister in the ward (yes, we have favorites...don't tell anyone). Sister Hoynacki had found a passage out of Henry B. Eyring's April 2013 General Conference talk (found in the May 2013 Ensign, titled "Come Unto Me") and we thought of this sister as we read that passage. So we shared with her the passage, which talks about how even if we're obeying the commandments and doing everything God asks us, it won't completely rid of the difficult times in our lives. Having God in our lives gives us the strength to endure trials, but it doesn't exterminate those trials completely. If trials were to disappear, that would defeat the purpose of life, which is to learn and grow and, ultimately, return to live with Heavenly Father again.
When this sister read the passage, her eyes began to well up with tears. She said, "How did you know?" Turns out, she was having a really difficult day that day. Her son would not talk to her because of a past issue that came up and she doesn't know what to do. She feels frustrated because she feels like she's done all she can to help him and raise him right throughout his life, but he's acting like this because of such a small issue.
Our 8PM appointment was meant to be cancelled that day so that we could visit this sister and remind her of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us so that we can place our burdens upon Him. "...and he will take upon them their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy...that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). He made that sacrifice for many reasons but one of the most important reasons is so that He could understand each and every one of us. No matter what our problems are, Christ has been through that problem Himself. In feeling guilt, shame, loneliness, inadequacy, frustration...He's felt it all. He understands you. He's by your side. He knows exactly what you're going through. This knowledge has especially helped me on my own out here on the mish and I know it can help all of you individually.
I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints only because I know everything it teaches and practices and lives is so true. I've come to know this for myself and I invite all of you to find out as well.
I love you, parents, and everyone else who reads this! I hope you have a fabulous week!