This has been one of the most packed weeks of my mission! I couldn't pinpoint exactly why, but I feel like we've been able to get a lot of things done, find some great new investigators, and have some crucial lessons with some of our other ones! I don't remember if I've mentioned Thai and Kayla before, but we met them three weeks or so ago, by randomly knocking on their house. We saw Thai had a nice car in the driveway, and decided to go talk to them! He opened the door for the first time, and wasn't super excited to see the "mormon boys", as he called us, knocking on his door. 😊 But, he was willing to come outside and talk about his car to us. We ended the meeting with offering him a Book of Mormon, which he didn't take, and setting up a return appointment. That appointment happened on exchanges, where Elder Calder and Elder Ketchum taught Thai about the restoration, and were introduced to his girlfriend, Kayla, who lives with him, near the end of the lesson. Elder Ketchum and I, not on exchanges, went by again, and finished teaching Thai the restoration of the gospel, even though Kayla wasn't there. As soon as we finished the lesson, Kayla got home, and expressed how disappointed she was that she missed the lesson! We offered Thai a Book of Mormon again, and that time he accepted it! The Lord was softening their hearts as they heard our message, so they would be willing to act on the invitations we have and will extend. It's been amazing to see their desires change, and their entire outlook on life, as we have met with them and shared our message.
Another person that has heavily influenced my life is Herb Orman. I've mentioned Herb in my previous emails home, and how prepared he is to be baptized, and become a member of the church! He has a strong testimony of the gospel, and knows it to be true. We're continuing to help him be ready for baptism, simply by explaining all the lessons, and by making sure he's living according to the gospel standard. Of all the people I have met so far, he has been the most prepared to hear us! We had a lesson with him this past Saturday evening, where we taught him the Law of Chastity, temples, and auxiliaries and quorums/priesthood, and he was so grateful to us for helping him continue to learn all about the gospel, and prepare himself to make the covenant of baptism. His whole countenance has changed so much since our first contact with him, and it's incredible to see how he desires to have the priesthood in his life, and desires the gift of the Holy Ghost so badly, he's moved his own baptismal date forward! He's moving it from November 25th to the middle of next month! He's the most genuine seeker of truth I have ever seen investigate the church (yet!) 😁
We went on a couple exchanges this past week as well, which made the days fly even quicker by! I was with Elder Bowen, who's a familiar face from Monmouth, this past Tuesday here in Lebanon. We had a fun time talking with people on the streets! :) One experience from then sticks out: we were street contacting as many people as possible, and felt inspired to knock on a particular house. We knocked, and waited for someone to come to the door. A lady opened it, and in a cheerful voice said hello. She realized who we were as she was greeting us, and as soon as she saw the tags, quickly expressed her interest...by closing the door rather quickly in our faces! 😂
I also exhanged companions with Elder Pectol and Elder Calder on Friday, to Saturday, and went to the other area with Elder Calder. We met a couple (really, more like all of them 😉) ...interesting people walking the streets of downtown Lebanon. Exhibit A: towards the end of the night, we saw a lady across the street, on her cell phone, who we decided we were going to cross the street to contact. We navigated across the street, and approached her, to say hello. We explained we were missionaries, and invited her to take a picture of Christ; one of the little pass-along cards, just in passing. She mumbled something underneath her breath, so we were all like, what? She mumbled it again, so we were all like, "what?" for the second time. Needless to say, this repeated a third time before we got closer to her again. 😁 The comment she made was "oh, you have a picture of Jesus? Really? This I gotta see." In a sarcastic tone. Elder Calder and I made eye contact with each other, and barely resisted rolling our eyes. She was weird. 😊 Her big thing was our pass-along cards with the pictures of Christ didn't actually portray Him, and appealed to a generic, white audience (she was VERY white). She was making a...I think it must have been a sour face--yes, a sour face at us as she told us how inappropriate our pictures of Christ were, and how we should get rid of them, and it shouldn't even be allowed that we give them out to people, because of how vile and mis-informative they were.... We just smiled, and agreed with her, and tried bearing our testimonies of the Savior, and how yes, we don't actually know what he looked like, and yes, we know you think you know everything. She referenced a couple of times the fact she went to a Theology school, how that made her right, and how she remembered when she was "once like us", and didn't know anything. Needless to say, we were still resisting the eye-rolling... mostly. 😉
Little experiences like that-where I have laughed from the randomness of it, to the extremely spiritual and uplifting, have seemed to all occur this past week, in great abundance.
Last night our car battery died, when we were outside the church, syncing our area book! It was crazy! We tried restarting it and everything, to no avail. We left our dead car at the church, and walked home to meet with one of our investigators. On the way, we met a guy named Jordan in our apartment complex, who told us he's looking for a church to start taking him family to! We set up a time to meet with him in a couple weeks, too! It was a sweet experience to see how the Lord blessed us with success as we tried our best to be diligent!
If you didn't already know, we had transfers happen this past Friday/Saturday, and, I'm getting transferred!! I'm headed to Salem, to be in the Salem 5th Ward! I'll still be in an English area, and follow-up training Elder Johnson. That means he finished the first 6 weeks of training, and I'll be with him to finish his training! I feel sad leaving Lebanon after only six weeks, but there's work for me to do in Salem!
Something I read in John chapter 8, verse 12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Christ is the light and life of our testimonies, too. When we focus on Him, we are like the five wise virgins, and have enough oil in our lives to keep enduring to the end.