We got our third companion last week on Wednesday instead of Tuesday because of the storm that hit the east coast. President didn't want us all travelling in the storm. It was a pretty rough storm although here in Smyrna we only got like 2 inches of snow...wet, heavy, snow, the kind that gives bruises in snowball form or that would soak you if you were to make snow angels in it. Anyways, Elder Allred is from guess...... Riverton, UT! He is quite the character. Really spices things up in the companionship. He and I get along and the 3 of us have just been having fun. Our first day together we were walking down the street, and I was like "No no, stop, this is too much, there are too many of us!" It just felt like a wall of missionaries walking down the street. Takes Men in Black to a whole new level. I'd be intimidated!!
We taught our very first lesson together as a trio to Cardin, and it was just kind of weird. We're all decent teachers, but it will take some practice to work with each other. With the help of the Spirit we have improved a lot already. I also went on my first member split where I went alone teaching with a member and it felt bizarre being away from companions for more than 5 minutes. But we had a good lesson with a woman named Dehdo who had met with missionaries 10 years ago and was warm and welcoming. She is from Liberia and her husband is a pastor at another church. We found her by knocking near a less-active, so we've had some miracle finds in the recent past. We just hope that we can do our part to turn these into miracle conversions. The Spirit will testify to their hearts of the truth of our message and they have the choice whether or not to act upon that.
Speaking of, we met with Zack on Tuesday and he had just woken up so he was a little loopy. But we talked with him about baptism and Alma 7 which talks about the Atonement and where your heart needs to be before baptism. I was being a little impatient with him, but Elder Rabe would always bring the Spirit back into the lesson as he explained the need for repentance and the Atonement in our lives. It's not just Mormons that need the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it's all of God's Children. We simply cannot make it back home without Jesus Christ. Zack told us that he was considering getting baptized in the Catholic church....umm that's great, but did you not understand anything we taught you? The need for the Priesthood authority from God. He essentially wants something for nothing by getting baptized without actually changing his life. He had not showed up to our appt with him last Saturday and he told us Tuesday that he got arrested that night for drugs and DUI. Zack, we love you, but really? I asked him about the Spirit that we had definitely felt with us before in multiple occasions and at church. He denied that he had felt the Spirit or said that he just had felt good. I was speechless. I had grown to really love him and still do. But with him flat out saying he's not ready to repent and make these changes in his life, it was kind of a stab-to-the -heart for the day. Yes we recognize their agency, yes not everyone will see that this is the truth, but when you have that friendship and love for a person like that, it can be just heartbreaking. So that's the story with Zack.
Elder Allred and I went on a scavenger hunt for the less- active named Abe that we had met at Acme. It was a miracle to see the hand of the Lord literally guiding us from one house to the next until the pieces of the puzzle fit together and we found that he had purposely given us a phony address. But we found him! And in his Filippino accent he exclaimed "You found me!" We could tell on the inside he was like,"Darn it, the Mormons found me again!" Professional Stalkers. Check. We will see him again this week.
Jackie didn't come to church or the ward Christmas Party because she has been down in the dumps. She really wants to go home to her husband Bill and get out of the Rehab Center she's in. I don't know how much we could do about that, but trust that all things will work out. We found a man named Harvey and his wife Tinita the other day. We had gotten through most of the Restoration when Tinita walked in and showed an interest. Elder Allred introduced the Priesthood power of Sealing families here on earth and that really hit Tinita. She began tearing up as she told us about her mom and brother recently passing away. We asked her if she would like to learn about how she can see her loved ones again, with tearful eyes she gently nodded as she whispered "Yes. Yes." We gave her and Harvey a copy of the Book of Mormon, the Spirit worked His miracle by touching their hearts and preparing them to accept the invitation to be baptized by that proper Priesthood authority. Both accepted. We left feeling the Power of God move quietly, subtly, but indefinitely through the hearts of the children of men.
Just as Alma and Amulek experienced in the Book of Mormon, "angels are...preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word." (Alma 13:24) Such is the truth. I read a quote that the work of the angels of God and the full-time missionaries is one in the same. Some are seen, the others just go unseen, but we do the same work. How humbling it is to know that THIS is God's work.
Cardin and his wife Tynequah and 2 kids and his sister made it to the ward party. The ward was so welcoming and wonderful to them and Cardin was just smiling the whole time, the kids had a blast and it was a wonderful event. We had to set up more chairs and tables because more people than was expected showed up, a good problem to have! So yeah he may not get baptized while I am serving here, but I do not doubt that the Lord has so much in store for him and his cute little family.
I love you all and am getting excited to talk to the fam on Christmas! Remember to remember our Heavenly Father always. He will always love you. Always.
|Creative stocking made by our Zone Leader's mom|
|The Nesbit/Cook Family baptism from last week. Such awesome people|
|The Tripanionship- Allred, Me, Rabe|