hola hola this week was pretty good. It was kind of stressful coming back from eugene in the middle of last tuesday, we had our combined district meeting to teach on friday that we had to plan for and we still had to maintain our area and so it was definitely a tough balance. It was pretty aweseom though because at zone leader council we were talking abotu our baptismal goals for the mnth of may and how we were going to reach them and how many baptismal dates would need to be set and stuff like that. So in our temple zone, we had a little bit of a difference between how many people we thought we could help get baptized and the actual amount of people we alreaedy had. Basically we left saying okay, we need to find a ton of people to teach this week. So upon getting back, we pushed finding new investigators through our district leaders and we saw soo many miracles! In our zone we do what's called, a "miracle update" where anytime something awesome happens in somebodys area, they text it to the whole zone. SO this week we got like 4 or 5 texts about people setting baptismal dates and we found so many new investigators it was soo great! Even some of the misisonaries in our zone that have been having a hard time, saw some miracles and got them pumped up. That was fun to see everybody getting excited.
We were kind of having a downer week at first too which was frustrating. We ended up "benching" jessica and her little girls. It was really hard when we went over there and realized that we were gonna have to stop teaching her. Jessica's sister is so mean to her little girls and it just hurts so bad to see and hear the way they treat them. While we were talking to jessica we basically got it out of her that she wasn't ready to make this commitment to be baptized and keep the commandments. We had felt good about her in the past but then because she wouldn't come to church it always put a little damper on things. So this time we finalyl just said we'll let her go. I think "benching" people, or rather, stop teaching people, is harder to do than actually finding new people. It requires so much more faith to drop someone that you have built such a love for and a care, and it's soo frustrating when they just don't get the whole picture. Sometimes you wonder if you could've done more to help her see. As we left their home the two little girls, chela and lulu come run up to us and they would always give us little "high fives" and "pounds" and they do it all soft cause i always pretend like it hurts my hand and so they did that before we left and then said "bye edward" hah it was pretty sad but as we left her home, both elder k and i felt a reassuring confirmation from the spirit that that was what we needed to do. It was a good comforting feeling. But it still wasn't easy. We set out then to keep finding new people. We feel like tracting is extremely unaffective and are trying to work through members. one of the things we took away from zlc is this program called "collect the elect" and there is a ton of suggestions for just how to work SMARTER not just harder. I think that is the main problem in our zone that peope are doing work, it's just not the smartest. So we are doing a lot more work through members, formers, exchanges, recent converts, less actives, and just trying to seek referals from everyone. We foudn out that 70% of baptisms come from member referrals, i thought that was pretty interesting. But we started it today and are looking forward to it.
One of the bummers this week was actually our meeting that we taught on friday to our zone. We had to push this collect the elect thing, and another program called "by small and simple things" and just get everybody excited for it. Our problem i think was that we just lacked creativity. There was way too much instruction and not enough edification. It was super difficult to get people excited and i think it just reflected our preparation. We prepared a lot don't get me wrong, it was just too focused on WHAT we needed to teach instead of HOW we wanted to teach it. Maybe it was a humbling thing from Heavenly Father. Now we have to teach this wednesday again because our mission president is coming to do his LAST interviews of his mission. So they will be pretty fun but were kind of stressed again. It kind of shook my confidence teaching in front of our zone and now i'm nervous to do it again haha but i think it'll be fine and we got some better ideas this time to make it more fun. So that will be nice when it's over hahah.
Our saturday was amazing though! We were worried because with all the preparation for district meeting, we neglected our area a little bit. BUT, saturday was so bomb! We foudn 3 new investigators that day that were pretty solid and taught 5 lessons to new people in the afternoon. Then that night we went on splits with two members and taught 5 more lessons with members with us, and our new investigators seem pretty solid too. So we felt great after that night and it was a nice boost. One downer thing though was that this guy that we have a baptismal date with, he flaked on us and we didn't get to talk to him OR his girlfriend that doesn't want to get married. We texted him yesterday and he's like yea, susana (his gf) doesn't want to talk with you guys about it. So we don't know what to do. We fasted last sunday and then on friday again for him. I think i'm still struggling to align my will with Heavenly Father's beacuse this guy is super solid, and we were expecting a miracle, but clearly right now, it's just not supposed to happen.
Sunday though was awesome. We didn't have anybody we were expecting show but it actually might have turned out a little better anyway. two people showed up with a member that, one of them had come once, and the other was the first time. They are bf and gf so they aren't married, but they aren't living together either. THey also are planning on getting married in July. But we talked to them in sacrament meeting and were like "so are you members, or just visiting or what?" and they were like oh no but we are coming because that is our plan. And so elder K already started talking to them about baptism and stuff and they were like yeah, that's why we are coming now. So that was a huge miracle that was soo nice! It was such a blessing and i feel like because we are working smarter, we are being blessed for it. The only catch is that they can't meet much during the week becuase the gf works and goes to school and the guy just works a lot. We'll see whats gonna happen though. We are gonna meet with the member they came with tonight.
That's pretty much the week though. My time is getting cut a little short but i wanted to share a cool story that a recent convert told me about albert einstein but it was pretty cool and i wanted to share it. Maybe you've heard it...
There is a big classroom filled with students and the teacher asks them all, "does evil exist?" and the class says "well of course, it's all around the world" and then the teacher follows that question with another, "did God create everything on earth?" and the class replies again, "yes, he created everything." Then the teacher says, "well, if God is so loving and all powerful and perfect, why would he create evil in the world, that would make him the author of sin and bad in ithe world". The class was stumped and didn't say much for a moment. Then a student in the back of the room raises his hand, and says, "professor, may i ask a question?" The teacher responds, "certainly".
The student then asks the teacher, "does 'cold' exist?" and the teacher responds "yes". The student then responds and says, "incorrect, heat exists. Cold is just the name they give to the absence of Heat." THen he asks another question, "does darkness exist?" and the teacher replies again "yes of course". The student then shakes his head with a smile, "wrong, darkness is only the name they give to the absence of light, darkness itself does not exist." Then the student asks his last question to the teacher,"does evil exist?" and the teacher again nods and says yes. Shaking his head the student, responds, "no, evil is just the name people give to the absence of God. God is perfect and loving. Evil itself is not made by God.
I thought it was just a cool little story and kind of whitty too. It was albert einstein that said all that stuff and i probably made a few mistakes but it's what i remember. I just like the little message from it.
I learned a lot about accountability this week and had the image of standing in front of my Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, as i account for my actions, from my youth, young adulthood, as a missionary, and future father and husband, and i thought of what their reaction would be. Would it be one of smiles and love and gratitude even for me, even being imperfect, having done all that i was able to do, or would it be one of sorrow and sadness knowing that i am not worthy to receive all the blessings they have to give me. It was just a touching thought and we also have been studying the sacrifices made by the prophet joseph smith and got me thinking a ton. Our president said a cool quote that i liked, "I would love to sit in the way back in church, but that is not my lot in life". It really hit home with me. There have been so many times where i thought in my head, "man it would be so much easier to NOT do what i know i'm supposed to". Even serving a mission i have had that thought and i j ust think, regardless, we all would want to take the easier route, but we have not been given that responsibility. As members of the church we are asked to take the straight and narrow path, even if that means the path is climbing straight up a rock face. The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy but if i have learned anything from my mission, it is that it will be worth it. I am so greatful for the sacrifices of the prophet Joseph Smith. Section 135 of the Doctrine and covenants is really touching if you have time to read it and ponder over the sacredness even of a simple copy of the book or mormon. What exactly did it take, to bring that about. "it cost the best blood of the 19th century" as The prophet sealed his testimony with his death along with his Brother. That was touching to me as well that his brother Hyrum was with him even until their martyrdom in carthage jail. It made me think of Daniel, Zach, Tyler, and even Katie, or Jimmy, and Emily, as siblings and best friends, we will do what is required of us to build the Kingdom of God on the earth. While we'd prefer to sit in the back of church, that is not our lot in life :)
It's pretty cool that Heavenly Father trusts us so much with His work. I know that He loves us and that His son and our Brother Jesus Christ lives. I love you guys and miss you soo much. Last week was the best birthday present i could have asked for. Until next week!