Excerpts 11/16/13

I've received a lot of spiritual support from the Lord this week from others and from personal revelation, so I've been very blessed. I apparently have continued to earn my reputation as the greatest missionary trainee ever, so that helps me feel really good! The best experience we've had this week was with John, a truck driver with a nice house -- he's very friendly and we've met with him a lot to do a lot of service, and he's had us play fuzzball with him and loved it. But he also has a really powerful drive to learn about this church, which is difficult because he has a history of heavy drinking, so I think his mind is a bit fuzzled and its incredibly hard to reason in a straight line with him, but he's driven to learn. We've been reading the Book of Mormon with him and he really enjoys it, and there's an old girlfriend who visited him one of the visits who he wants to get back together with who we also gave a Book of Mormon and read with. So that was all pretty cool. There have been some beautiful moments this week that have strengthened me, but not really related to the work so much as the Lord comforting me.

Excerpts - 11/7/13

From Michael this week:
It's been a regular week -- just visiting a lot of people. The most exciting thing was yesterday. We were driving down to church when we passed a larger fellow on the side of the road in a big camouflage coat, a backpack and a black lab on a leash. He looked like he was having the most miserable day of his life. Elder I. suddenly flipped a U-turn at the next light and we parked down the road from him, jogged up, and asked if there was anything we could do for him. His head had been bowed, and he looked up and saw us and said "Well, let me tell you..." and explained he'd had a job taking care of a military man's house, which provided him with room and board. But he got notice that his services wouldn't be required anymore, so he asked if he could have enough time to apply to another job. He finally got a promising one that required some extra time for paperwork, but the military man's wife didn't like him and refused the time so he got kicked out on the street. This was two days ago, and he had walked from where he was up to Maple Valley, getting a bit of assistance as a hitchhiker, till he sat down absolutely sore and just prayed that something could help him out here. And we showed up just as he finished praying. So. We gave him $30, and after calling the Ward Mission Leader got permission to take him to church with us so he could get someplace warm for 3 hours while we tried to figure something out. He was trying to figure out a way to get to Indiana where he has family. Normally he could get a bus, but they don't allow dogs on any of the buses around here. At church one of the brothers said he had a lot of flight miles saved up and he could arrange for a plane ticket to Indiana within the week. The Bishopric then started making some phone calls to see about shelter during that week. Anyway, things haven't quite come together perfectly, but the bishopric has taken over right now apparently and he'll be able to get out of here within the week. But church was fast and testimony meeting and it was such a powerful meeting, and each testimony seemed to build on the one before it about listening to the spirit, and it all seemed to be very instructive to this fellow. Same with the other two hours. We did give him a Book of Mormon when we first met him on the side of the road and encouraged him to read it. He says he's not all that religious but sure. And we'd said a prayer with him on the roadside and I was crying, and he keeps saying how thankful he is and talking about his life story. Anyway that narrative is a little mixed up but you get the idea. I really do love that man.
Oh by the way the weather has been surprisingly wonderful -- we are supposed to get rain by now but we've had rain only in the night and the days have more often than not been partly cloudy with a beautiful sunshine blazing through. Often you can see Mt. Rainier over the Autumn treetops. And the wet world sparkles in the sunlight. Yeah. It's getting cold though.

Excerpts for week of 10/28/13

Sorry - I'm running a few days behind!  But here's a bit from Michael's most recent letter:

We had exchanges this week, where Elder I and I split -- I went with an Elder P.  Great guy.  Great missionary. And we were out tracting, and his approach was to start by asking if we could do service (rather like Ammon among the Lamanites) and then to bring up if they'd ever met missionaries before, gauge what they thought of Mormons, and then with most of them simply hand them a mormon.org card and encourage them to look up the chat feature on there to ask missionaries church questions. But one house actually let us in as soon as they saw us: a young lady who acts as caretaker to an a woman in her 30s who had a stroke and is currently confined to a wheelchair. They let us in and we chatted and I thought for a bit "are these two members?" But knew they couldn't be because the caretaker was in a tank top and the other woman was drinking wine. But we shared the Restoration with them and handed them a Book of Mormon and it was the smoothest lesson I've had so far.

We've done a LOT of service, especially for an inactive member in a wheelchair whose had a medical history that could fill a bestselling book. He knows doctors; he knows how to tell a good doctor from a bad doctor by looking at them. He apparently was baptized without really a testimony, so we're trying to figure out how to teach him because he doesn't understand much about this church he still considers himself a member of. But he really likes us and the service we do for him -- so we're working on it.

I mean, we have a lot of investigators. It'd take me a while to got through them all. They're all more potential investigators really -- we're still getting to the point where they'd be interested or willing to actually take the discussions instead of just snippets of them and service.

And there was a baptism this Sunday evening!! Elder I and his last companion taught this one man and his two kids: a firefighter. And they were essentially a golden contact and were ready for baptism in two months. But I've met him for two lessons to help further prepare him and he asked me to baptize him and his two kids. So that was wonderful! And then we had permission to confirm them that same night so Elder I did that. It was a great experience and several non-members came and some less actives and the mission president! So a lot of support, and apparently the ward hasn't had a baptism for years now (even though they are super supportive of missionary work) so this was a great confidence booster for them.

Oh! And there's the ex-convict! He's like my favorite person ever! I love all my investigators, but something with him just clicked. He was a potential from Elder I and his last companion who really likes the church and is trying to change his life. He was once a drug dealer who would tell his clients not to take his stuff because it would kill them and Jesus didn't like it. So he's kind of an interesting person. He really, really wants to do what Jesus wants him to, so we're praying that as he prays and (eventually) comes to church he'll start to see that what Jesus wants him to do is join with this church. But he's a fascinating guy. Very nice. Calls our Bishop the "pastor" and knows him pretty well now. And we're his spiritual advisers at the moment.