We're headed into summer here, and I'm not crazy about it. It's been getting up around 80 degrees again and the humidity is starting to climb. The good news about heat/humidity is that people let us in more often out of sheer pity. Also, we heard this week from a few people that we're due for a hurricane this year. Bring it on!
This week has been a week of finding. I mean we find every week, but that was a huge emphasis this week. I'm gaining a big testimony of finding with faith. Houma has historically not had a ton of success with Hispanics, at least for the sisters, because there are a bunch of Hispanic single men who are here working, but not a ton of families or women. Sister Alder and I decided that we were going to find Hispanic families if it was the last thing we did. We prayed a ton and then just went out and started finding. You know what happened? In our first 20 minutes of tracting this week, we found THREE new Hispanic families that are interested and want to have us over! And then later in the week, we found another crazy promising family. I know that finding isn't always going to provide results like that, but it's definitely a tender mercy that the Lord is blessing us for just rolling up our sleeves and doing some good ol' tracting. I'm so excited to see these families progress, and to continuously find more families so that we can keep our pool active.
Another miracle that happened this week is that we were visiting with one of our recent convert families and they had a friend over that has been to church with them a couple times and has sat in on a couple lessons in the past. He hasn't ever shown a ton of interest. As we were walking out, he came up to us and said, "You know I've been going to y'alls church for a little while now and I've been thinking about getting baptized!" And we're just like "AHHH WHATTTT AHHHHH!!!!!!!" We set a baptismal date with him right there and he accepted. It was crazy!! The date may have to move because we forgot about general conference, but still, he wants to get baptized!!! Most of the time we have to work crazy hard to get people to progress, but other times miracles are just handed to you, and I know that's evidence of Heavenly Father's love for us.
The next day though, we went over to start teaching Johnathan (the friend) the lessons, and the recent convert’s 18 year old son flipped out. He has severe Asperger's and if we don't play by his rules... it's bad news. Not sure exactly what we did this time, but he just went off about how we broke all these rules like coming over not on a Thursday and so much other stuff. Sister Alder and I were just stunned, but through lots of silent prayers and using words that were definitely not our own, we were able to calm him down and be friends again. We just testified like crazy about how all that we do is out of pure love and that we're willing to work with him to keep all his rules so that he feels comfortable. We talked about how much we love them and that we would do anything for them. He finally calmed down and said that we could still keep coming over and we left on a happy note. Here's the craziest part: Johnathan was there for this whole thing. At first, I was terrified because I thought if the son ruins this for Johnathan I'm going to be ticked.... but as I was saying a million prayers in my head, I just felt peaceful and I felt so strongly that this was what Johnathan needed. As crazy as it is, that argument and our testimonies of our motives was exactly what he needed because then there was no question behind our purpose as missionaries. After the lesson, I told that to Sister Alder, and turns out she had the exact same feeling! God definitely works in mysterious ways.
Then Saturday night was the most heartbreaking moment of both me and Sister Alder's missions. So we have this recent convert family and they are just the most amazing people! They were baptized last August and we visit them every week. They've been progressing so well, and they're in callings, and are just awesome. We got a text on Saturday asking if we can come over to their house that night, which was weird because we normally go over on Thursdays. We went over and the dad said, "We have something we wanted to talk to you guys about.." and our hearts just sunk. He told us that they weren't coming to church anymore and that they were going to start looking into other churches because they just felt overwhelmed with everything they were asked to do. He said he still had some doctrinal questions he hasn't been able to accept yet. We literally were in shock. We just sat on the couch and couldn't say anything. The mom was devastated and it was clear that she didn't want to leave, but that she didn't want to argue with her husband and cause issues there. I wish I could describe the heartbreak. I've never felt like that before in my life. It wasn't heartbreak for us, it was sadness for them and for what they would be missing out on. Again, we were praying a ton in our hearts to find the words to say, but nothing would come. I felt at peace though weirdly, and I felt like they would come back someday. The worst part was when they gave us back all their manuals and Gospel principles books and stuff like that. They kept their scriptures, but everything else they gave back. It was awful. We just went home after that (this was at night) and didn't even know what to do. We felt at peace that everything was going to be okay, but we were still just devastated.
Then, Sunday was the best day of our missions. So they didn't come to church, which was sad, but after church we get a call from the dad. He told us that the Bishop and one of his counselors had just come over and they talked things over and decided that they were going to keep coming to church. For now, they aren't going to have callings so that they can just focus on church, classes, and learning without the extra stress. He asked us to keep coming over on Thursdays too! Oh my goodness. I wish I could explain the complete joy we felt! I knew they would come back someday, but I didn't know it would be the next day!! I now understand what Alma meant when he told his son, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" (Alma 36:20).
Being a missionary is just an emotional roller coaster. I'm learning that it's okay to be devastated and heartbroken sometimes because it means that we truly love the work and the people. We just can't let heartbreak stop us from keep on keepin' on!
I absolutely love being a missionary. I love every part of it. The goods, the bads, all of it. I wouldn't trade a single second for anything.
Have the best week ever! Go share the Easter video with absolutely everyone you know. It's the easiest way to be a missionary!
Les quiero mucho!