So this week has been much better. We have been able to get in with more people that we were teaching and have had more opportunities throughout the week.
Thursday, we had a lesson with Quinn (Santa Rita) and then a lesson with Christopher (Desert Valley). This day was just interesting because we happened to have had one of the zone leaders go on exchanges with us aaand… yeeeeah, it was interesting. Let’s just say I have a massive pet peeve about going on exchanges and the person who is with you tries to take over the area that is not his to take over. Anyway, regardless, it was good.
Quinn is a very quiet and shy kid and so he doesn’t say a whole lot. He comes to church most Sundays with the rest of the family he’s living with us, but even though he’s at church, he’s not AT church (mentally). But anyway, we were going to teach him the Restoration and exactly how the Book of Mormon came to our hands in this day. So we start to head on over and we have about 10 minutes before the lesson starts and we’re already just down the street. So as we bike, we find one of the priests in the ward in the garage with the garage door open working on a school project. We asked if he would be available to come with us to a lesson just up the street right then and there and he was able to. So that was really cool. He (Derek) and Quinn really connected well and Derek spoke when he felt necessary to and answered any questions we would ask him very well, so he did really good.
Now, on the flip-side to that lesson, it turns out that our zone leaders split off to be in a trio with Elder Grayson and I and then the other went with Elders in the other District. And before the exchange they made a bet with each other that they would put someone on date to be baptized by the end of the day. So this Elder asks us before the lesson if we thinks he would say yes to baptism. And we said, “Well, he probably would say yes just to say, but that wouldn’t mean he actually would want to. He would just do it just because everyone wants him to and he doesn’t look at it as that big of a deal.” Regardless, this Elder decides to invite him to be Baptized and says, “If you read and pray to know if the book is true and it is true, will you be Baptized?” After a moment, he said, “Yeeeeah… um… sure. Yeah, I guess. Yeah.” And then the Elder said, “We’ve been thinking about it and praying about and agree that you can be ready by September 26th. Will you be Baptized on that day if this is true?” Okay, first of all, we did NOT talk about a date or pray about it and second of all, putting someone on date by saying, “If the Book is true, will you be Baptized on that day” shouldn’t count on the statistic for “On Date.” Because if you ask, “Well, if this is true, will you be Baptized?” Of course, they’ll say yes. But that’s on conditioned terms, that’s not a solid, “they will be Baptized on that date” which is the purpose of the statistic. But whatever, the Elder got what he wanted and won the bet.
So despite all that, the lesson was still good. The best part was easily that we managed to get Derek to go over there because we have tried to find a Priest to get over there for a while since Quinn is a shy kid and just doesn’t have a whole lot of friends, so this should help him a lot.
Then we had a lesson with Christopher, which went well overall. The end commitment was to have them read the Book of Mormon together as a couple (him and Katelyn) to start reading scriptures as a family and building that habit. Christopher’s just such an interesting situation though… I’m kind of irritated because he really should already be Baptized, but they just keep putting it off because they want to wait until they get married in October (and that’s a whole other story that I won’t get into)… *sigh* Anyway, the lesson went pretty well overall though. Christopher still has that desire to continue in the church and everything, which is good.
On Friday, we had a cool miracle. At night, we stopped by Chris Cooley and *SURPRISE* not only did he answer, but so did his fiancé Heather. That was HUGE. So we talked for a bit, asked if he had a chance to read the Book of Mormon much. Turns out he is now in 2nd Nephi, so that was cool to hear. However, it turns out he hasn’t been praying about it. So we emphasized prayer a lot. Then after talking about prayer for a while, we asked Heather about her experience of prayer is and then the subject completely took a 180 and turned on her. She’s been inactive for many, many years and has just been going through a LOT of struggles since her late teenage years. I won’t go into details about what happened and it is really irritating that it had to happen, but her overall testimony has been shaking in that she feels that God has and is punishing her for something she doesn’t know. Ultimately, I had to tell her, “God is not punishing you. What happened was the results of the actions of another person. That was not God.” and she broke down and just kept asking, “Why?” Why did this have to happen? When she was trying everything she could to be good, why? It was hard to get it through to her, but finally I just bore testimony of the Savior. That Christ had literally done nothing wrong. He followed God’s commandments with exactness… and that was followed by mocking, ridicule, being spit upon, and crucified, and to top it all off, he literally was abandoned when the Father withdrew His spirit from him. But Christ did that and went through all that because He loves us. Because He loves you. And He had to know how the rest of us felt, how we all feel. And ultimately, holding down these feelings is only going to damage ourselves. We need to lay our burdens at the feet of the Savior. It was a very powerful meeting and it was one of my favorite in my mission where I just felt the spirit speak through me. The words just came out. And it was cool because Chris was able to provide some insight in order to help as well. As the conversation continued, we eventually asked if she would like visiting teachers or if it would be already if we introduced her to the Relief Society President and she said she would need to think about it. But we have another appointment with them this Thursday evening.
It’s going to be tough trying to help them, but it is something that I hope can happen. He is very much prepared for the Gospel and she is desiring that relief that only the Gospel can give her, yet something is stopping her from doing it. I hope that things will continue to go well there.
Then towards the end of the night after checking out a new neighborhood development in our area, we went over to Circle K to grab a drink (plus, you come across some interesting people to talk to at Circle K by the end of the night, lol) and an employee at Venezia’s Pizza just behind the Circle K came in and told us to stop by right then and there and grab some pizza on him. It was about 8:25 at the time, so we had a little bit of time, so we went ahead and got some pizza and outside one of the employees was taking a break. So we sat down and talking with him for a little bit and before we could say a whole lot, he headed back to work. So we finished and a lot of other members that were there grabbed our attention and so we weren’t able to see the employee for a little bit and kept trying to find him again, but it seemed that everything was getting in our way. Finally, before we left, one of the employees was a member and we asked if she would give this Book of Mormon to him and say it was from us. She thanked us and said she’s been trying to find a way to give him one for a while, so we told her she’s free to add her testimony to it and sign it or whatever she’d like. And one of the members that was there offered to give us a ride home so we managed to make it back before curfew. So whether or not that will lead somewhere far, who knows. But it was kind of cool just that we were at that place at that exact time. Can’t help but think it wasn’t just coincidence.
The next day, something cool that happened was that we stopped by Bishop Ridd’s for dinner and as we were leaving asked if there were any other members or anyone he thought of that would be good for us to stop by. He mentioned the name of a family (the Kennedy’s) that we could have sworn have moved out already. But we stopped by anyway and there are two guys pouring cement. We asked if they were the residents and if there were any Kennedy’s. They didn’t know of any Kennedy’s and they’ve lived for just about three months. But we asked them if they needed any help and they kept saying, “You really don’t have to.” but we persisted and helped. We ended up helping them from 6:45 to 8:50 and along the way just talked about the Gospel. One of them it turns out, his mother was a member but they were never all that active growing up so he was never Baptized or anything like that. So he’s a little familiar with the church. He and his wife live at the house and temporarily the other guy (who is a long childhood friend) is living with them too. We asked if they were very religious at all and Chris (the owner of the house) said they weren’t, but that they might attend a church sometime in the future when they start having kids and raise them in a church. There were a lot of questions and discussions on varying different subjects, which was cool. We’ll be going by there again to finish the work and they said we are welcome to stop by anytime for water or anything like that. We plan on giving them a Book of Mormon when there’s less of a risk of cement messing everything up, haha, and we invited them to church (they didn’t come to church, but eh, persistent inviting I guess).
So it has been a good week overall. Things are going well. Hope you all have a great Labor Day and God bless!
Love, Elder Foxx