“I’ve had a lot of churchy opportunities lately”

Oct 1 2012:

Quote of the week: “You cannot in your present state understand eternity…That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences,’ little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven; the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why the Blessed will say, ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, ‘ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.” – CS Lewis, “The Great Divorce”

Good one, eh? I found it on a random piece of paper in the apartment this week.

We were in charge of the Sisters’ Meeting on Tuesday, which means we had to plan an hour and a half lesson to teach all the sisters in the mission on whatever topic we choose. We’ve been kind of preparing the last few weeks and had a lot of elements planned, but on Monday night, we realized that it didn’t really have a flow and there wasn’t nearly enough stuff to fill up that much time. So, we did a lot of last minute scrambling (I’d like to call it being led by the Spirit), and weren’t sure how it was all going to turn out. We wanted to all to be completely focused on the Savior, and it actually turned out really well, much better than we were expecting.

G is doing well. He is still reading and praying and coming to church faithfully, but still says he hasn’t gotten an answer. It’s all got to click soon.

We have some new investigators named E and J. They are really Christian, but pretty open. They have family that they really respect who are members, and that’s why they said they would be willing to learn more. They have a six year old daughter named S, who has some kind of mental handicap but is really friendly and happy.

This week was frustrating because we had a LOT of lessons fall through. Lessons where we worked hard to find members to come with us and went and picked them up, only to discover when we arrived at the appointment, that the person wasn’t home, or didn’t have time to meet with us. This probably happened about 10 times. This week. So, that’s really frustrating.

Something I’ve noticed: When we ask people how the Bible or their belief in Jesus Christ has helped them in their lives, 97% of them say, “good.” That is not an answer to that question.

We went on exchanges this week. I usually dislike exchanges because I’d prefer to stay in my area with my companion doing our work, but it is a necessary part of missionary work. This exchange was  reallygood though. An ASL sister, Sister J, came to my area. We found a new investigator named E. She is really into her religion, but still invited us in for a few minutes. We didn’t have much time, but we talked a bit about the Book of Mormon and invited her to read it and pray, which she did right then. It was pretty good. She agreed to pray and read every day and I tried to schedule a return appointment. She said, “How about you come back in a month. That will give me time to really study it and pray. ”

“How about next week?”

“How about in 2 weeks?”

“How about Saturday?”

“Okay.”

So, we’re going back on Saturday. They are a cute little family and I hope things will go well with them. The husband’s whole family are members, too. So, that’s really good.

We went to go find a potential, but he had moved, so we started talking to the two men drinking in the front yard. One man told us to go talk to his wife who was sitting on the porch. We went and started talking to her (L) and her incomprehensible brother. As we were talking, a young girl came out the front door and started staring at us.

“Are you church people?”

“Yes.”

“I have a question. If God is real, why doesn’t He answer prayers?”

Turns out, the girl, 14, is named D and lives with her grandparents, L and her husband. Her dad is in prison, she has no relationship with her mom, even though she lives just down the street, and her grandpa, who I think she used to live with, recently died. She prayed that her dad would get out of prison and her grandpa wouldn’t die, but neither of those things happened. We had a pretty good lesson with her. At one point, L’s kind of senile brother said to L, “Has she gone to confession? Tell her that the reason her prayers aren’t answered is because she hasn’t confessed her sins.”

D, who didn’t catch all of his Spanish, asked L what he was talking about and I used that opportunity to jump in and stop the conversation from going in that direction.

A few minutes later, L’s husband, eyes bloodshot and cleary very drunk, burst out the front door and looked straight at Sister J and I and started yelling. It was all really slurred so it took me a bit to understand him and I was afraid he was yelling at us. But, I realized he was asking us to teach D some respect, because she says mean things to him and doesn’t respect him. D turned around and yelled, “It’s because I hate you!” I can kind of see where both of them are coming from. It was a kind of crazy, but really good lesson. We are going back tonight.

We knocked into a lady and the first thing she did when she answered was ask us if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and we said no. Then she started yelling at us and saying that we should say what church we’re from as soon as someone answers the door. So, I told her the name of the church and she said, “That’s all I needed to hear.” Then slammed to door. That was a new one.

We had a lesson in Relief Society yesterday about keeping sacred experiences private. So that means that almost every woman in the room told a story about a time she had been helped by an angel/ one of the three Nephites.

There was a baptism last night. The ward mission leader called on me to bear my testimony. It’s getting a bit ridiculous. Every time there is a time in meetings where the person conducting asks to have someone bear their testimony, it’s always me. Without fail. It’s probably happened 12 times on my mission. Then he called on Sister B, who asked me to go up and translate for her. I’m used to translating from Spanish to English, but it’s a lot harder from English to Spanish.

Transfers are next week, and I’m scared, as always. The last week of the transfer is a 7-day anxiety attack for me. Just kidding, It’s not that bad. But I still always worry. It’s my best talent.

So, those are a bunch of dumb stories from the week. I love you!

Con amor,

Hermana Poulson

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