Well Hello again!
Note to self: never make a whole cobbler and let it sit around the house for a week. You think out of all the things I learn on a mission self control would be one. However, I have to say that blackberries off the side of the road taste much better than any store bought berry I have had. Maybe it's the spiders that usually come along with them, or maybe it's the fact that they were free. Actually scratch both of those, they are just better! Picking them however is not as fun.. did you know they are weeds? Or should we say thorns haha. I'm sure It was a great show for those driving past to see 2 girls in skirts bending off the side of the road, trampling through thorns and trying not to fall into them. But we thought of a great analogy. So just hold on tight and brace yourselves. We have found that "every rose has it's thorn" (name the song), the thorns were painful and sometimes we thought not worth it, but after when we ate the berries we realized that regardless of the small battle scars it was worth going back and getting more.
This week started off a little thorny. We had 3 investigators in the beginning and by Fri. we had 1. It was a little discouraging thinking that we keep finding all these people but somehow they weren't ready for the gospel. It is hard not to blame ourselves and think about all the ways that we could have taught better or if we were the reason they didn't understand how true and important the gospel would be for them. However, as sad as it was to move on, I knew we needed to, and I couldn't let myself believe that any of that time with them was wasted.
It was hard to go back out and keep the faith that God would place someone who was prepared in our path. However, I knew that I could either be sad and stay that way, or I could keep going and make sure that something good did happen. (PS this is where is gets good.) So we went to dinner one night and the family was more than rambunctious... they were fighting and sorta didn't know when they had crossed a line. By the end the dad desperately asked when we could take one of the older daughters on splits with us. We told her we had a lesson that night and we would love if she would come. She really didn't want to, but grabbed a skirt and came along. She made sure we knew that she didn't want to say anything. We got to the lesson and it was maybe our 3rd lesson with him. We had invited him to read 3rd Nephi and he had said at the beginning that he didn't have the time to do that. So we decided that instead of teaching him how to multiply before adding we would read with him. We started reading and it talked about Jesus Christ teaching the people in America his gospel and how to be baptized. It started out slow due to his language barrier (oh ya, he speaks Chuukeese) and I was thinking about how bored Nancy (member) must have been. After a little while a man walked around the corner (ps we were outside on their smoke couches haha) and looked really though. He had tattoos all over, he was wearing a wife beater, and was coming to take a smoke break. However since we were there he asked if he could join. Of course we said yes! Sister Bothwell handed him a book of Mormon and he started reading along with us. After reading vrs. 29-31 about contention and how it was of the devil he started asking a lot of questions and getting really involved. He asked how he could avoid those angry feelings and he was really interested in what we were teaching. He somehow told us that he stopped going to church 4 years ago and stopped praying because his dad died. As we read on we asked how they felt and they both said they believed it was true. I couldn't believe what was happening! I don't know if I've ever been so excited nor happy. At the end of the lesson we had planned on asking Norman (not real name) if he would be baptized. I felt strongly to not just direct it at Norman but just ask. We invited them to be baptized Aug. 25th (because everyone knows the 25th is the best day of every month). It was quiet for a min. and then they both nodded their heads and said yes. John (not real name), who had joined us ten min. before asked us how he should prepare. We told him that he would need to meet with us a little more, because there was still things to learn and that he should come to church. We asked when we could come over next and he said "how about mon-fri, each day next week". I could not believe what was happening. We then told them that they needed to pray about it and make sure that this date was what God intended for them. We asked them to pray and they fought back in forth for a little bit over who would say it. Then I asked John since he hasn't prayed in 4 years if he would say it. He was reluctant but after I told him I would tell him what to say and he would just repeat he bowed his head. I started to pray and to our surprise, John and Norman both repeated. Nancy was in tears. The spirit was so strong.
I think it was one of the best experiences I have ever had on my mission. It was so worth it to go back out and to teach with my heart might mind and strength.
I love you! Thanks for all you have taught me