Monday, August 4, 2014

14 - Thorns in our Investigator's Sides

This week was actually quite eventful, more eventful than this post explains.

It was a pretty great week if I do say so myself.

You remember back when I told the story of doorbell ditching the pictures of Jesus for people? Well this is the lady who it was really meant for who I never gave a name. Her name I will give her is Jane, the sweetest lady and so full of understanding concerning spiritual things.

Retirement Party for "Jane" at Miverva's
The TR Waiters Greeting Sister Easter for Her Birthday
She retired on Thursday and she invited us to her dinner reception at Miverva's and paid for us to come and everything. Super nice. She was really anxious about retiring before her 30 year mark (29 years 5 months and 5 days, but who's counting, to quote her, haha) because of multiple reasons. It's a big adjustment and she is a hard worker, but there are medical issues popping up now with her and her husband especially, and even her extended family that also live here that she needs to focus on. It'll be good for her to retire so she can give one hundred percent to taking care of herself and her family. We are so proud of her, and we foresee her and her husband progressing a lot more quickly in the gospel now that she doesn't have to work so much.

AND, it was Sister Easter's birthday yesterday on August third! We celebrated the day before though by going out to lunch at Texas Roadhouse.

Our waiter was trying way to hard though.

Six Sister missionaries, one overenthusiastic waiter. It was amusing to say the least.

The Bismarck Sister Missionaries at the Texas Roadhouse

I absolutely loooooooove going out to eat with friends. It's pretty much the best thing ever to celebrate your birthday.

You just laugh and laugh and laugh! And you 'can' do that at the apartment to, but then the other set of sisters wouldn't be with us seeing as you can't just go over and hang out as missionaries, and there's just something about being in a restaurant that just makes it better.

A "Care Package" for Sister Easter to have on her birthday!

I'm really glad that we got to go out for lunch on Saturday.

Oh, and she turned 22, kind of an older missionary age wise with all the young rush of girls with the age
change, and also has been out the longest, sooooooo an over the hill candle was needed. Courtesy of the companion. lol

What are Companions for?
To eat what the "birthday girl" can't!
She also ate too much, because the Sister's weren't very wise in budgeting how many rolls they ate, being as they just keep the rolls a comin' at the Roadhouse, and they are super good.

But, yeah, she couldn't eat her ice cream. But that's what companions are for!

And the Sisters even snagged the candle and used it later that night for a cake they made with the help of a member! Complete surprise to us! Super nice. :)

The only problem with eating lots in the middle of the day is you get really. really. .....really..... ....sluggish. Or, lethargic as my brother Noah would describe the feeling as.
...And it was hot and muggy.
...And we didn't wanna tract.
...But we had no appointments.
...But we didn't want to tract... sigh.
So we tried seeing less actives, and actually we got in with one, so that was good. She lived in a retirement home. I'll have to tell you about it later.

We were a little better after seeing those cute old ladies. Still didn't want to tract though. But we had to...... siiiiigh. And when we got out of the car... "What the-!? ..Wh-??" Sister Easter was looking up at the sky irritated and confused. "I just got wet!" ..What?? There were no clouds in the sky! or well like, one dippy little white cloud above us, and that's it! But then I felt something, and then we saw a few water spots appear on the car. It was raining. Right here. No where else. What?? So confusing! ..I guess we had our own little personal rain cloud for our down in the dumps mood of not wanting to do anything.
But, it's during those times of no wanting to do anything that miracles happen. Because Satan knows if he can get you to be idol right then, then it will delay the miracle. And indeed, a miracle did happen. ...

Behold, a sower went forth to sow; ...And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: (Matthew 13:3,7).

This story dates back to May 17th. I had only been in Bismark for three weeks. Now I've been here for about four months, to put it in perspective. Saturday May 17th was my first experience with exchanges. We are very privileged to live in the same apartment as the Sister training leader. It makes exchanges super easy. You just switch beds and you're good! Can use the same bathroom you usually use to get ready and everything, cuz yeah, exchanges are a twenty-four hour thing. They happen once a transfer one of the people in the companionship can work with the Sister training leader, who is Sister Christianson right now, and they can see how you're doing in your area and you can learn from them. And the other person in the companionship gets to work with the Sister training leader's companion. I love exchanges. It's great to switch things up.

Anyway, Sister Christianson and Sister Easter were working in our area while I was working with Sister Neilson in her area on Saturday May 17th. Sister Chirstianson and Sister Easter basically spent the whole day tracting. That was the day that Spanish speaking investigator and I was also super excited to hear about another great potential investigator they came in contact with. He was on his lawn playing frisbee golf and they went up to him and talked with him about the church and he said he was looking to go back to church. He confided in them that he had been humbled by getting caught in possession of illegal marijuana, and how it was dumb on his part and that he'd never do anything like that again. He believed there could be a modern day prophet. And when they gave him our number, they were about to leave when he stopped them saying, "wait, I should give you my number!"

I was so excited to hear this! Almost jealous because I wasn't the one to meet this guy! AH! He was super solid! Golden! I was so excited! We all were!

Except... he would never be home all the times we tried back. And he would never answer the phone... He did once, but idk if it was a bad connection or what but we couldn't understand him. And apparently we found out from his parents when we knocked on the door that he just worked a lot and basically his only free day is Saturday, or night rather. So that was good to know. But we STILL were having a horrid time contacting him. Until..

HE CALLED US!! AH! It was a miracle! And we were gonna set up an appointment! I don't know why he wasn't able to right then, but AH! I frantically wrote home that day because I just HAD to share in the excitement. And.. he did call us back. But we were in an appointment so we missed it. And... we were then back to square one. It was lame. ...

So another month passed. We still tried to call him occasionally. Sent him a text on the fourth of july. All that good stuff... And there were no real fruits from it... but weeks and weeks later on August 2nd, this day.....
We were trying to contact a less active in Zach's neighborhood. We didn't wanna tract.. sigh. But she didn't answer. Well... guess we were going to be tracting when...

This guy zooms past on his scooter: "Hi!" he calls and! Sister Easter turns to me: "It's Skater!" (Name has been changed. I call him Skater because he's 20 years old and he totally looks like a hippy/skater boy.) And he turns around and is like, "Hey! Did you want to sit down and talk or something still? You busy right now?"

So we went over and we TAUGHT SKATER!!! He's super prepared! Has been wanting to know about other churches and decide for himself! He says his parents have been mainly holding him back because they are devout Christian, no if's and's or but's about it. The restoration lesson was a lot for him to take in. We didn't get all the way through. But he said he'd come to church tomorrow! And that he'd read the pamphlet! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Best birthday present for Sister Easter EVER!!!

...But we got a text from him after he 'didn't' come to church on the 3rd. "Hey, after learning more about the Mormon religion I've decided to stay in the Christian faith. Thank you for understanding."
...This is a Christian faith. ......
This is the third explicit time where we have been dropped like this. They don't even know what they are declining. His parents talked to him, curled their thorns of bias around him and choked him...

...We are sick of people dropping us like 'this.' We won't stand for it.

We sent him a text back. Saying this is a Christian church and asking why he doesn't want to learn more. And we said the offer still stands for him to come to the young single adult break-the-fast meal at 4:15, that he still has friends here even if he decides this isn't the religion he wants for him. It was a nice message. Bold with love. No response back. We're still going to see him on Tuesday. He needs the gospel more than he knows. He's so prepared...

I know our paths crossed for a reason. And they didn't cross just to get him to go back to church. It was to teach him the truth, the fullness of the gospel.

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