Missionary time has officially set in. The last thing I remember is writing my last weekly email last week! Time flys by so fast when you're doing something you want to be doing. Funny how that works. As I've been continuing to see our investigators in white, I have come to realize how important it truly is. It shifts my whole way of thinking about them from a very selfish, temporal viewpoint, to a glimpse of their eternal potential as sons and daughters of God. I've noticed this way of thinking has allowed me to be more engaging in lesson and street contact situations, and I've noticed my desire to share the gospel with them is now because I want them to have the joy and happiness I've found here too. I feel like I'm starting to "forget myself and go to work", like President Hinkley described, and that's why as I look back at this week, it was a blink of the eye. I'd also like to mention that we mowed so many lawns this past week! Holy cow!
On Tuesday I had an exchange with Elder Bowen, and due to miscommunication, we ended up having a leadership meeting that day. That meant that we drove to West Salem, and I went on a split with two other elders in our area while the district leaders met with the Zone Leaders... so I went on a split on my exchange! It was a fun time :) Then we spent the rest of our exchange visiting less active members, and something that struck me was a couple of these people acknowledged that they were less actives when we asked them if they'd been to church recently. It was hard to see their acceptance at something that was obviously important to them at one point, but has since been removed from the front of their priorities. It made me grateful that I have my priorities straight, and that I understand how the gospel blesses me personally, and recognize the specific blessings we receive from regular activity in the church.
Wednesday we had an awesome lesson with Monica and Alan! Well, mostly with Monica, but Alan was in the house semi listening. One thing Elder Vega and I are realizing about them is they are very open about what they do know, yet are confused about how the Bible says to do certain things, yet they don't do them. Monica told us they're Catholic only in name, and she's very open to learn more about our church, since she knows she's not in the true church. If that made any sense. :) We had a great conversation with her, introducing the church as a whole, and explaining our role as missionaries. Then, she asked a specific question about baptism, that we were super excited to talk about! She's shaping up to be really solid, so we're starting to get excited for them!
Thursday we had weekly planning— 3ish hours of planning with two 19 year-olds who can't sit still ;)— and then helped the other Elders mow an older members lawn that was as tall as us again! We fought a blackberry...group? Cluster? As well. There was a tree mixed in with the blackberry vines at one point, but has since been so choked out and killed that the only alive parts of it are the leaves, which are falling off anyway. Let's just say I'm not sure who looked worse after uprooting the vines, us or the blackberries. :)
Friday and Saturday we spent a lot of time in West Salem finding investigators and less actives. We went looking for a guy named Hector Sandoval, one of our less actives, and he was having a garage sale! It was super fun to look at all he had to sell, and he actually gave us both a computer game even though we can't play it now... :) Fun times. ;)
This has been a week of seeing people as they truly are. As sons and daughters of God. Brothers and sisters who I want to be happy through the gospel of Jesus Christ like I am happy. That had given me motivation to do the best I can while I'm here, and look for those who are actually prepared to hear the gospel at this time.