“Elders Quorum Is Like Spirit Prison”

September 24, 2012

That’s what one of the elders in my district told us the other day when we were asking if our investigator, G, was having a good experience during the third hour every week.
So, I guess that means he’s not.
Okay, so transfers were today and you all want to know where I am…Mom, your dream came true and I am in Orange, El Barrio de Santa Ana 10. I didn’t fully see that one coming. After staying in Garden Grove for so long, anything less than six transfers seems too short. It was an incredibly emotional week, but it’s all in the past and I think I am going to let it stay there.

Sister S is going back to Anaheim, after having been in Santa Ana 10 for only one transfer, and Sister B and I are going to SA 10 (where Sister B had been only a transfer ago), but in different areas. They are splitting the sisters’ area, so this ward will have four elders and four sisters. Crazy, right? My new companion is named Hermana L. She is great. She’s from Oregon and is really, really nice, so it should be a good transfer.
Sometimes, I think President stays up at night thinking, “What is the craziest thing I could do at transfers? What is something they really wouldn’t expect?” and makes his decisions based on that. And maybe some revelation, or something like that, too.

We had two lessons with D, the 14 year old, this week. They were both really good and she asked a lot of good questions and we brought awesome members and she accepted a baptismal date for October 14th. But then she didn’t come to church this week because she went to a born-again Christan rock church with a friend from school. So, hopefully she will come to church in two weeks after General Conference.
E and J, the couple from Puebla, dropped us this week. J told us the Holy Ghost told him that he shouldn’t read the BOM and wouldn’t listen when we tried to explain why it would be important to actually read from the book a bit before he actually decided that it wasn’t true. Alas.

We found another teenage girl this week, M. She is a junior in high school and goes to a church. She really wanted to learn more, but she
said her mom doesn’t like her learning about other religions, but that she was going to talk to her mom and try to get permission to meet with us, which she actually got. But then we weren’t able to actually meet with her this week, so hopefully the other sisters can find her next week.

We had a lesson with the mother of the less active teenagers we teach. She is always working and is rarely home, but when she is, she does her best to ignore us and usually refuses to sit down with us.

This week we had a lesson fall through and had a 20 year old recent convert with us and we decided to go visit the girls. The girls were all taking naps, but the mom was there and I convinced her to sit down with us for a few minutes. We didn’t know we were going to be teaching her so we didn’t have a lesson prepared, so I pulled out a random scripture and read it. It prompted a really good conversation between  the mom and the member. The member said a lot of things that the mom needed to hear and the mom opened up to us a lot. It was so great. The mom is the key to getting the whole family reactivated, but we haven’t been able to make progress with her because we never see her.

We had a district meeting this week about following the Spirit and the focus was on making sure you are constantly listening to the Spirit and doing exactly what He tells you to. Which is good, it really is. But, personally for me, if I were spending 100% of my time
stressing about whether the thing I was doing was exactly what the Spirit was telling me to do, I would get nothing done, and would end up in frustrated tears. I think more often then not, as we do good things and try our best to do the work, the Lord makes things fall into place as they need to be.

I wouldn’t ever have really thought to bring this 20 year old Peruvian college student to see a 45 year old Mexican mother of four. But we had a lesson fall through and we had the member and the mom was home and was willing to listen and it all worked out perfectly. We didn’t plan that by praying and studying and listening carefully for the Spirit, but it was better than a lot of the lesson we do plan. I’m not saying that praying and studying are bad, but I think a lot of what we do as missionaries may not directly affect the outcome of the work, but the obedience and preparation make us more eligible for the Lord’s help. Because when it comes down to it, it’s what He is doing that makes a difference, not what we do. Maybe this means I’m a bad missionary and I’m not seeing things like I am supposed to be seeing them, but this is what I think.

I also learned (again) this week more about what it means to rely on the Lord and tap into the power and strength that He has promised us. There are some days as a missionary when you think you just can’t do it. Another day is more than you can handle without bursting into tears (I mention crying a lot in my emails, don’t I?). But if you petition Heavenly Father for the strength you need to get through that day, or that hour, or that lesson, and then let Him help you, He will. He really will. It’s the coolest thing (am I allowed to call that cool?). I’ve also learned that there is healing power in the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. There is a lot of strength to be found there if you take the time to really study them and let them sink into your heart.

We had a lesson with G this week with our awesome ward mission leader, Hno Gr. I’m going to miss them both. We talked to G about baptism again and he said he just doesn’t feel that it is necessary. The ward mission leader pretty much took over the rest of the lesson and asked G a million questions about his doubts and his feelings. And he was able to keep G on track, which is something that we can’t do. It ended with the WML telling G that yes, G HAD received an answer, but hadn’t recognized it, and that he (Hno Gr) was going to baptize Genaro and dunk him 3 times to make sure it worked. It was really funny. And good thing it was with G because nothing really phases that man.

The missionaries had to sing in church yesterday. It was some random song in Spanish that none of us knew. It was a little rough, but not too bad. I haven’t had to do a surprise musical number since Garden Grove. It’s been a welcome break.

The Relief Society Broadcast was actually really good. I’m not going to lie, though, I’ll need to read President Eyring’s talk in the Ensign because I couldn’t really focus on what he was saying. The voice over was way too distracting. It was like a 60 year old, speaking Spanish REALLY dramatically. And put with President Eyring’s face, I couldn’t really buy it.

In other news, tell Todd and Janae that I met Elder Pace. It was a few weeks ago, but I forgot to tell you. He seems to be doing well. His trainer is from Colorado, so we know he is getting a good training experience.

I love you. Thanks all you for writing me this week.

Con amor,

Jesslyn

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