On Tuesday we had a stellar district meeting. It was literally about everything we were planning to teach the next day at the zone training. So inspired! We talked about increasing our love for God, having that as the motivator for our obedience, and how that relates to our purpose as missionaries. We are definitely becoming a district family, and it's pretty great. Even when I have to remind myself that elders are still teenage boys at times.
We saw Lorraine. She has such a good heart. She's still working on quitting smoking, and she's getting better. We helped her clean her room, and serving others totally increases our charity towards them.
On Wednesday we had zone training. One of the Niceville sister companionships taught on our missionary purpose, then a set of elders from Defuniak taught about inviting others to baptism, two elders sang a primary song a capella that was beautiful; then the zone leaders and Sister Saunders and I taught about having pure desire, how to achieve our desires, and how to thrive on the mission versus just surviving. It went really well! We had a potluck lunch afterwards. And once it was all over, we felt a gargantuan weight lifted from us and all the stress melted away and we were suddenly more organized and not feeling like chickens running around with their heads chopped off. :)
That evening we taught Joe the Restoration! He totally felt the Spirit, but he kept saying how much he loves his Methodist church and the church family he has there. When we invite people to listen to our message, to read, ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon with sincerity and intentions to act on the answer they receive, we really are inviting them, once they receive a witness from the Spirit, to change their lives completely- to walk away from many things that are comfortable and familiar to them, to stop many old habits, thoughts, beliefs, actions, behaviors, and to immerse themselves in an entirely new culture with its own language, good habits (really the commandments), people, etc. And we confidently invite people to make these changes in their lives- which can be new, uncomfortable, and lonesome for a moment. Not to mention that Satan increases the strength of his personal army on them ten times. And why do we do this? And why do people accept the invitation, choosing to go through with this path full of sacrifice? Because- they have felt the Spirit, receiving their own witness of truth, and because what comes in return is incomparable and infinitely more than compensates for any loss; real, pure and lasting joy, peace, forgiveness, cleansing, understanding, light, direction, strength, support, and love- not to mention all that is required for personal salvation- all made available because they now have the keys to unlocking and utilizing the greatest, most remarkable, and precious gift ever given to man- the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So pray that Joe will be able to recognize an answer from God that the Book of Mormon is true. And that he can recognize what lies right in front of him. And Willy. And James. Because "eternity hangs in the balance." And it's our job to help people see that. Wow.
On Thursday we taught Tanya who was home with her baby. She and her husband are Catholic and have two cute kids. We taught the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit was very strong, and she seemed to understand and like it well. At the end, she said she thought it was nice, but that she has beliefs contrary to all Christianity that she will never change. We talked about them, and what God has revealed concerning those things. Then we asked, "If you received and recognized an answer from God that these things are true and that these are His laws, would you change your beliefs about them?"- No. She said no. If God told her that the couple of things she believes in are contrary to His laws, she wouldn't do anything about it. Even if her salvation and happiness depended on it. We left feeling the deepest sadness for her and for what she was turning down. I wonder if she really understands what she is turning down.
We had dinner with the Fetters that evening, which brightened our mood. Then the Niceville 2 sisters came for their exchange. On Friday I was with Sister Delgado. She is awesome! She taught me a lot about trusting in God and having confidence, which really proved to me that our being together for the exchange was inspired. We spent the day in Laurel Hill, which is about 15 minutes away in the country boonies, and we didn't get to see a lot of people, but it was a fun day. A former investigator Rick agreed to meet with us regularly, and he still wants to get baptized!
On Saturday we visited people in first ward, since we kind of covered both wards, and got some return appointments. Sunday was wonderful- Quan came to church for the second time!!! He is becoming good friends with Luther and Weston, who also invited him to Young Men's and basketball night last week, both of which he went to! The elders said he gave lots of comments in priesthood class, and testified of the truth of the Book of Mormon!!! Yayyy Quan!
I love y'all! Have a blessed week!