Sunday, July 20, 2014

11 - Smile! ...the Rest of the Story

(Well, more of Smile's story anyway. LOL)

A Week of Trials and Triumphs

Oye. This week was well, eventful, but in some disappointing ways. We had many potential investigators drop us and we had two investigators who we had to put in formers because they no longer want to hear anymore from us. And we can no longer visit one of our newer investigators because she's living with her sister and her sister doesn't want us over. She was so sad, she wants to learn. We're trying to figure out a way that we can still teach her without stepping on anyone's toes... It's proving difficult. We're so sad about it.... And we had one person, the women who had the experience with us giving her the picture, who we were so excited for to come to church, but she faced health issues yet again and didn't come. And it would have been such a good sacrament meeting for her too! Darn it.  

However, Angel, our Spanish investigator, came to church! My first investigator at church! And he was able to meet some people in the ward who speak Spanish who will make great fellowshippers for him! We also were able to get in with the picture lady for the first time in a while! She's such a sweetheart. She's getting ready to retire at the end of this month so she's been working lots, so it's been hard to get in with her. It will be WAY more consistent in August. Oh, and we found a family too, but they believe very very strongly in the trinity, at least the parents. The first lesson was something else. We'll see how things go with them. We're going to try and stay away from the trinity subject and build a foundation on everything else and then address the trinity again. That's the plan.

Now... to continue with Smile's story.

Just Another Door?
After he opened up to us and dumped all these thoughts and feelings and experiences out, we left. It's hard listening to such misfortune, but cleansing as well, and awakens a sense of urgency to pray with more fervor. That's almost all you can do. We did give him a business card of someone in our ward though that might have a job opening. We really hoped something would come of that card. He was so appreciative of it, though felt horrible at the same time because he doesn't want to be just some charity case. He won't even let anyone give him rides to church for the self same reason. It's a little frustrating. Just causes this vicious cycle of being permanently stuck in a rut.

Then, poor Smiles. Just one thing after another. He called us earlier on the next Wednesday to tell us he was sick with the flu. Satan just doesn't give up...

We then had our first phone lesson with Smiles. We shared a scripture about hope, and he thanked us and told us that he had found some leads! One of them being from the card we gave him! And he called his mother to tell her the news before us and he told her about us and how we were helping him out and.... told Smiles that she doesn't want him converting over to Mormonism and that he should stay at the Lutheran church the way he was raised. "And my mother's never led me wrong so, I'm going to start going to church at the Lutheran church." ...sigh... Smiles.... Why... Though, he says he'd still read from the Book of Mormon to decide for himself what is true. So that's good. And we set up another sit down appointment. Also very good.

We went into the lesson, our game faces on. We had to come out of there knowing that Smiles understood that it is through his effort to read and pray about the Book of Mormon that he would receive his answer, and that if he focused on finding where he was spiritually he would have success in finding a job. We committed him to start from the beginning of the Book of Mormon, to read the introduction and title page and the beginning testimonies. We talked about faith and what faith is and he expressed the concern of being able to "accept the Lord into your heart" and how that was scary to do, that he's "not to that level yet like [we] are." AND, and, he asked us our thoughts on him going to the Lutheran church, which shows a lot. We told him to "follow his heart." AND during the lesson, it was so quick and slight, but he said if he finds out it's true "maybe I'll convert." He's open to the possibility. AND! during the prayer, he totally thanked us for our boldness, which was awesome because we were talking about earlier how we needed this to be a very bold lesson.

We kept with the every other week thing and we had a phone lesson the next week. He told us that he has decided to go to the Lutheran church and read the Book of Mormon and we committed him to read at least a verse every day. Because, he had NOT been reading. Smiles! Read! And we shared with him 2 Nephi 33:10-11, and... he then before we hung up told us he doesn't want to meet anymore... "that he's just got too much going on looking for a job and stuff" .... Smiles... why.... why are you so swayed, flip flopping from interested to not... and yet, he's one of our most reliable investigators! Even through this temporary time where we had to drop him and put him in formers! The irony. Though, he did express to us that he knew he could call us any time with questions and he promised that he would. And that is when Sister Easter felt inspired to ask:

"Do you have a picture of Jesus Christ?"
"No, but that'd be real nice to have."

The Picture We Gave to Smiles
And that is what prompted us making those pictures. Here is Smiles's custom made picture. Colored ink on paper at the library, Dollar store frames, and Sister Easter's crafty things, bam. And Tim also has been wanting a bible. He's wanted a bible to compare the Book of Mormon too and whatnot, one with the foot notes like we have, and so we doorbell ditched his picture and Bible a week or so later. It was awesome. I honestly don't know how well he can understand scripture? He's not very eloquent in reading, quite slow actually, yet he says, "it just flows out of me. I should read Shakespeare and stuff because with that language, it's just flow. It just comes so natural." ..It was very choppy when he read uh.. yeah, Tim's a weird dude. But we love him anyway.

And then......... guess what........ HE CALLED US!! And he told us that he READ the beginning of the Book of Mormon!!! "See, I told you I'd read it." And he summarized it all very well! That Joseph Smith saw the angel Moroni who appeared to him multiple times before he could translate the plates and yata yata, so he must have been summarizing the testimony of Joseph Smith in the beginning, but YEAH! SUPER sweet! AND he is making progress on getting a job! A highlight of that Friday or whenever it was!

And then.... holy cow... and then..........

Remember when I said like, two entrees ago, that there was an awesome thing that happened but I'll tell you Smiles's story later? Well. This is the awesome thing that happened.

It was Sunday and we were sitting down to study in the afternoon and right before we could begin, the phone rang. Smiles. We were excited for what this phone call would bring! We said our greetings with smiles on our faces. He lived up to his name. (The name 'I've' chosen to give him, but, still.)

"I have good news and a favor."

Do you know what the good news was???? HE GOT A JOB!!!! At Little Caesar's across the way, but HEY, STILL A JOB!!!! And do you KNOW what the FAVOR WAS!???? TO READ THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON WITH HIM OVER THE PHONE!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!! Oh my goodness, it was like, the happiest thing ever. And he read too, and he did very very well, wasn't nearly as choppy, I was very impressed. And just! AH! He wanted to read with us! And he really liked it and ah! And I MADE sure that he was GOING to talk to his employer to get Sunday's off. He said he was planning on doing that, but yeah! He doesn't have a regular schedule yet so we can't set up appointments with him, but whatever, YEAH! And he shared that when he got the job, when he told his son, that his son just picked him up in a hug and spun him around! And he put him down and looked at him and said, "now, you keep it, ok?" "Oh, I will." And just, ah, that story and father son bonding and.... AH! IT MAKES ME HAPPY!!!!

 When we hung up Sister Easter and I had a jumping dancing freak attack around the apartment. "HE GOT A JOOOOOB!! AAHHH! HE READ WITH US! FIRST CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON!!! WOOOOOOO!!! I'M SO HAAAAAPPPYYYY!!!!!" It lasted for like, a good two or three whole minutes. We were jumping around like maniacs. The things that missionaries do when exciting progress happens. It's great. 

Soooooo time passed. We didn't really hear from him, and we hadn't called him or anything, buuuut it had been enough time that it was time to try again. We called yesterday, but he I guess didn't have any minutes on his phone. So we stopped by yesterday instead and he's doin good! He's the oldest guy there by a lot and he gets pushed around a lot and he's not used to standing for long periods of time anymore so it's been hard... but he's pushing through. We didn't really teach a lesson. He was in a very very jokey mood. And he can do a very good Donald Duck and Goofy voice, we were super surprised. We did NOT expect that from him. He hasn't gotten the chance to go to any church from our understanding because of how tough work has been. But yeah, he's doin good and he says to just call before we stop by again to make sure he'll be there and yeah! So yay! Praying that things continue to go smoothly for him!

So yeah! That's the story. Sorry it's long, but you see why I had to tell the whole story? That exciting thing wouldn't be nearly as exciting without the full story. So yeah! Until next week!

PS.

Crazy "basement" Spider
Here's a picture of a spider. It was in the closet of a basement of a house that we were helping someone pack up. The hospital across the street bought out the land from the landlord and now the people who live there have to pack up and leave in a matter of a few days because their houses are going to be torn down and made into a parking lot... I just have to say... I'm kind of glad that this house is being destroyed because I wouldn't want to have to clean this house. ...Apparently, the family, a less active family, just gave up on cleaning completely when they found out. And they weren't the greatest at it in the first place and... yeah. We just threw things in boxes and wrote what room they were in and... yeah. That was an adventure this week.

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