So here's my week: we've been over visiting the P. family a lot, particularly the member wife. She is a fireball. Very strong spirit. Has blond reddish hair, wavy, a face very very weathered by a very very hard life and bad decisions. She's far too old for her age. A real tough woman. But I love her to death, I'm pretty sure she thinks of us as her sons in a way. She reminds me of a hardened Scottish lady. Taken it upon herself to mother us a little. Not in a weird way at all, but she likes to make us desert and talks with us a lot and tells us to be safe. We knock on her door and her four beagles that she rescued from various bad situations all raise a devilish chorus and she comes shouting and hollering at them and opens the door and all tired she says "Hey come in guys (huff puff)". We gave her a priesthood blessing one of our first meetings with her, for her health, because I was given the authority to do that from my Dad who received it from a line back to Peter restored to Joseph Smith. When I was done the room was peaceful and the husband and son and one of the teenage tennants there especially could sense it and came into the room seeking the light and they were all just glowing with peace and didn't want us to go, just talking with us. We go back by frequently. We're trying to teach our message to M. and gave him a Book of Mormon, but we haven't been able to see him recently.
Alright, here's the scoop! The full blown scoop! I'm in Lake Tapps, that's a lake in the Puyallup stake, I'm not sure about how many miles around but it takes about four hours to bike around the whole thing or so. Maybe less. And there are two islands in the middle, Tapps island and Snagg island, where the rich and hte richest live, respectfully. Our bishop lives on the very tippy tip of Snagg island. To get to either island we have to pass through security, so I always feel like I'm in a heist movie of some kind when I do it. The rest of the area is pretty rural. There's another island, inlet island. For the middle class ish. Sort of of. All the rich people live on the lake access and all the less rich people live across the street from them.
My companion is Elder G, about five foot seven and stocky and cool and calculating as James Bond as I've said. He's great. We do well. I'm actually follow-up training him but he's very very good so its not really training at all. He's taught me cool tricks like how to use a lighter to burn all the lint off my socks. You go "snap" at the bottom of your heel and the flames leap up all around your foot burning off all the lint and leaving your foot nice and toasty. Thats pretty neato and cool looking and I promise I won't do it in front of Mom.
The best thing has been whats happened at the P. home. The young man did sit in with us, and we explained about the Spirit that he felt and how He works and talks to us. He had one experience where he was praying that other people wouldn't suffer the same illness he was suffering at that time, and he suddenly felt warmth and peace over him and felt tingling all over. That's the Spirit. It comes in different forms at different times to say different things, but once you come to recognize it you know what is really the Spirit and what's not. Anyway we talked about that and we offered him a Book of Mormon to review and to pray about and to see if the Spirit testifies of it and he gets those same feelings telling him its true. So we hope he does it. I've never met a person who has said they've both honestly read and honestly prayed about the Book of Mormon and not gotten an answer. If you really want to know and are willing to change your life if you were to find out it was true, you will feel the Spirit.
We did a service project chopping up a tree. Used a logsplitter. Had some good memories there.
A lot of missionary work is driving around looking for people these days. I don't like those days. We're trying to help the members learn how to share the gospel in natural ways so eventually we only have to teach and baptize.
Why are individuals baptized? I've wondered about this immensely: its because God, knowing everything, has never told His children to do whatever they wanted. He's always asked they make a promise to Him to keep those commandments He gives them for their benefit. He does not give a commandment unless it betters us and protects us. So He asks us to give up our own wisdom in favor of His wisdom and promise to keep His commandments. Does this brainwash us? Of course not. The commandments don't dictate much at all about your hobbies, interests, style of dress, personality at all. Just watch the I'm a Mormon videos. You shouldn't have a hobby of drinking on Saturday nights obviously, but you could have a hobby of drinking root beer on Saturday nights if you really wanted to. Anyway. God requires covenants for certain things.
Anyway, I'm trying to talk about my week but I'm not very good at it. Details. Bleh. Stuff happened.
Sorry, I'm going to make sure I send you a meaty email about whats actually happening over here next time. I've been good though. Just figuring stuff out. I have so much to tell you though about Family History as a teaching tool and stuff: listen, you ask about their family, you get them to realize that their ancestors may not have had the knowledge they've had, that their ancestors depend on them for work to be done, they don't even have to understand what you mean necessarily, the Spirit of Elijah will begin to testify to them that they have a responsibility to their ancestors, and then they start looking in the church to find out what they can do, and then they get baptized with the Temple already as the ultimate goal. We're still working on it but its the new training starting to go around along with other things. Yes. So things are working out. We're figuring it out.
Note from Michael's Mom:
Michael was moved to a new area last week.
My new area is not much different from my last area actually, in fact it seems quieter than the last area and yet missionary wise its hoppin'. We've got several hopeful baptisms lined up this month and EVERYONE keeps telling me about how wonderful the ward is.
My companion is cool and collected and has been out for one transfer. I'm actually follow-up training him -- but he has to run the area basically because I don't know anyone. But he's very good, very cool-headed and able. Thank heavens.
Praying with faith. It works: my last district leader told a story about how they were doing office work and needed a dresser, so first they prayed that they'd be able to find one at the stores, because they were having no luck. Finally they got to a store and they said "Oh yes we have one" and brought it out, but it was way too small. So they prayed again and asked very specifically for a dresser with this size and this many doors, and they found one to the precise specifications. It was much better when they told it though. The principle I think is to pray specifically so that you know what you're looking for, because if you pray for general vague things Heavenly Father doesn't know where to put His energy because you yourself don't know what you really want.