His first assignment in the mission field:
So, get this: My trainer is Elder Ty Johnson of Lehi, Utah [our neighboring city]. We are pretty sure we met during high school years but cannot remember when. And…I am serving in the Hamptons!!!!! And I’m living in a really amazing apartment in Southampton. Elder Johnson and I ran along the beach one day for our run and it was so awesome!!!!! I finally got to touch the ocean—so, my life pretty much complete. Hehe.
This past week has been a combination of wonderful and very, very humbling. Elder Johnson will have been here for 10 transfers by the time he finishes training me, so he knows the people out here super well. This has made it kind of discouraging when I am teaching a lesson: The people already respect him so much that they don’t really want to hear from me. To add to that, it is, also, a lot different teaching the gospel from the beginning and approaching people that are super straight forward. I remember how people told me that it was tough getting rejected “all the time,” and I have to say, I agree. I’ve met some amazing people, though.
I will try and highlight a few of the things that happened this week, because – quite honestly – there is too much to share. 😀
Tuesday we had a lesson right off the bat with *Sarah and *Dean, a middle age couple who are super awesome! We taught them about baptism and we are going to challenge them to prepare for a baptismal date (and we are pretty sure they will accept).
Over the next few days, I got to meet some incredible ward members: Luanne, the Junors, and a few others. Because so many respect my companion, Luanne has given us some amazing desserts, and we’ve been taken out to eat several times.
Wednesday, Elder Johnson and I knocked on an older man’s door and taught him the restoration. What was so notable about this situation is not that the man was super Catholic, or that he would answer a question for 30 minutes, but that when we were approaching the house, there was a dog. As we approached this dog, I looked behind me to see Elder Johnson was hiding behind the car. And the dog was nice. So joke’s on him.
On Friday, the Junors took us out to Wendy’s and as Elder Johnson was ordering, Brother Junor told him he was “ordering too much” (to embarrass him)….and it worked. It was SOOOO funny!!!! BUUUT it was his turn the next day to laugh at me when a 10 year old kid ran into the room during a lesson and threw a 2.5’ piece of wood at me. Haha! I had no idea how to react!! It kinda hurt, but I was just mainly surprised.
I have to say, Elder Johnson is a real power house though. Because the people respect him so much, they are often more receptive to message he gives them. While this means that sometimes I just need to sit back, what matters is that the Lord is working through him to bring His children to Him. Last night, we taught a family of less actives and a nonmember dad. The lesson was a family night held at a member’s house, the Wallaces (an older couple with a son name Greg who’s staying with them). The lesson was powerful and *Tim – the Dad – said he would try once again to quit smoking. The whole experience was quit incredible.
Oh yeah, yesterday I also taught Sunday School. I was told that they needed me to teach the night before, found out what the lesson was the next morning, and had 10 minutes to prepare. Quite honestly, the Lord taught the entire lesson – I just let him speak through me. There was a lot of participation and really good points made during the lesson. After I finished expounding on one point, the Spirit of the Lord would prompt mel what we were to talk about next and in the end it all tied together REALLY well. I am just soooooo grateful for the Spirit,
Today we have been out and about, trying to see what is wrong with Elder Johnson’s iPad, doing laundry. However, while we were at the Apple Store, I was able to talk to a man named *Mateo that was sitting next to me. I’d been feeling kind of down, not really feeling like a good missionary (I know: I’ve only been out a week). However, I shared a message of the gospel, (for whatever reason I shared the church’s video “Because of Him”). As he watched, he started to cry. Apparently, his mom had passed away this last Easter. I comforted him, shared that God loves him and had sent us to him in his time of need. I pointed out that this was the first time we had ever come to this Apple Store, it being an hour away from where we live. He mentioned that he hardly ever was in this mall, as well. I feel so blessed that the Lord would trust me with this opportunity, something both he and I needed. I got his phone number and gave him ours and he agreed to meet with missionaries that lived in his area. Truly, it was amazing.
The gospel is true. God is there for us. Something I have realized while being out is that Christ is closer to me than I think it is. As I’ve cleared my mind and heart, I remember that Christ’s message is simple and plain. Therefore, His communication to us will be the same (2 Nephi 31:2-3 I think). By doing this, I have grown closer to our Savior. People we have talked to ask why we are “out” and our message is that God loves us and He wants all of His children to return to Him someday – He truly loves us. This General Conference, for the first time, I tried to think of things from God’s perspective and I realized how real He is. He is more than God: He is our Father, our Heavenly Father. To some this may seem like common sense. However it has really made the difference for me.
I love you all so much!!!
*Note: I have changed the names of investigators in order that their personal journey remain personal until they are ready to share.