Monday, June 23, 2014

16 June 2014

I've been reminding myself a lot recently that anything worth anything is worth anything. 

I'm so exhausted. Every minute of every day I am so tired. I feel healthy. Two years are catching up to me, I think. Mind over body, mind over body, mind over body...

We had a hard week. Actually, we've had a hard few weeks. We just cannot find solid people. We have done literally everything I have ever done or ever heard of and never done. I even got on my bike and biked around in 105 degrees! I got a flat tire. 

As I have written before, President Toone made a promise at the start of the transfer that every companionship could baptize this transfer. As of last week, every companionship in our zone was on track to do so. Half of them already have, the other half (minus us) had someone on date. 

Every companionship was assigned another companionship to pray for. They pray by name for those they are teaching. This last week we asked the zone to pray for us so that we could find someone. Before my personal study on Thursday, I got down on my knees and begged for someone we could find, teach, and baptize before I go home.

During my personal study I had a strong impression that we should alter our morning plans and spend an hour calling former investigators. We have two phones and thus were both able to call. We set up around five appointments after over fifty calls. 

The first lesson we had set up was with a woman who had only been visited twice,  years ago. We visited her and I was blown away by how powerful a spirit they had in their home. We had a great lesson and as we sat there teaching, I reflected back on the last two years. It has been hard, but it has been amazing. I don't want to be released as a full-time missionary. We taught this family and they all accepted a baptismal invite. We were very excited.

The next day was our monthly ward visitors center trip. We took the daughter-in-law to the visitors center. Her answers were just perfect. When the sisters asked her why she came she said, "I see so much happiness here. I want it." She loved the Joseph Smith movie. Afterwards she said, "That book...where can I get it? I love reading and I want to read it." Afterwards in another display she said, "This is what I want."

She accepted a baptismal date for June 28th. That's a mighty fine birthday present. 

On the drive home we sat in the back seat, ecstatic, as our investigator talked and became friends with the member. Remember, we taught the daughter-in-law at the older woman's home the day before.

The member asked where she could drop her off and the daughter-in-law replied, "_____." 

She doesn't live in our area.



That was a hard moment. We had to refer her over to the sisters in a different ward.

That was a very hard moment.

Yes, she is still going to get baptized and that is wonderful. It's hard to put into words why it is so sad to lose someone to a different area. There are no words.

That was a hard night. I felt tried to my last straw. I felt ready to give up. I felt like the Lord was trying to break me. And I almost let him.

I opened my scriptures and stumbled upon something that changed my perspective. 

 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
When people try to tell me that God doesn't answer our prayers, I immediately think to the many many many times He has answered me. 

That scripture taught me that although we have not baptized in some months, I can find joy in my efforts. We're doing absolutely everything we can. Isn't that enough? We've frequently discussed what else we could do and we do it. 

Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Last night was the last Mission President's Devotional of my mission. Elder Myler and Oscarson drove up from Yuma to perform a musical number. They go home with me. Elder Sylvester and I translated. It was another unique experience of being lifted above our ability. It was smooth and felt natural. 

That was the last time I'll see many of the missionaries here. We only had five minutes after it ended to say goodbye since we had another meeting with missionaries right afterwards but it was a sad moment. I was happy to see a family I had baptized in Mesa there.

Exciting news! The church has released an electronic progress report that is accessed through! Gone are the days of spending time writing a paper progress report for the ward council! Stake and ward leaders can access an auto-generated progress report at any time from any device! 

President Toone got a cool new Tahoe. It's the only car he fits in. The Traverse he had was way too small for him. I offered to give him our Corolla for it but he sad no.

On the 27th of June we will be going to the Gilbert temple for one last temple session with all the missionaries that go home with me! There are six of us. President and Sister Toone will go as well. Can't wait.

I'm honestly toying with the idea of being a car salesman. 

A miracle we saw last week was that every single less active that we visited and invited came to church! One family works all night on Saturdays and used that as their excuse. We were bold with the parents and they came on Sunday with a big smile on their face! 

We were also surprised by a family of former investigators that showed up to church! There is still hope for a baptism before I finish my mission! 

If I've learned anything on my mission it is that happiness and optimism are choices we make. In the midst of a trial we decide whether to overcome it with a smile on our face or a frown. We control what happens most of the time, so why don't we? Why don't we take our happiness into our own hands more often?

Love you all!

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