This week was one of the more interesting weeks in the mission. The Lord has a way of proving us to see just how far we will go so that we ourselves can understand the strengths of the conscience and spirit our God has given us. On Tuesday, Elder Sanchez and I decided we needed to find more people to teach. Luckily for us, there are people everywhere to teach. Unluckily, there are less of them that want to be taught.
Lesson learned: Finding work is easy. Finding solutions is difficult.
So we put our sporty, invisible door-knocking gloves on and went to work. The first house was a woman who came to the door, saw our faces, and ran to hide. The second door was a member of another religion who more or less told us to get lost and sealed her gentle plea by slamming the gate behind us. We decided to just start talking to everyone who passed us by on the street. The first man we approached put his head down, his hand up (a subtle and reserved way of saying, “don’t even talk to me,”) and accelerated his pace. The next was a young man who told us that he was busy and didn’t have time to talk. We knocked on a few more doors and watched as our “really busy” friend came back from the market with a lollipop and a packet of cookies. Needless to say, our spirits were about rock bottom (a really rocky spiky bottom) and we were about to leave the street with our tail between our legs, but we decided to knock just one more door, just to be…well…diligent.
We clapped at the gate (because doors and door bells aren’t really a thing here) and waited for a good 15 seconds before a face appeared from the unlit front room. It was a young woman of about 25 years of age who looked like either, A), she hadn’t slept in days, or, B), had been through a friday night fight with a drug problem and lost. We mentioned our names and that we were missionaries of Jesus Christ. She didn’t give us time to say anything else before inviting us in to share our message. At first, I was a little bit hesitant, given the circumstances. But, something told me (and my companion) to come back. We called a perspective elder to come back to the house with us.
When we sat down, she started telling us her story – how she had always been looking for answers, how she had been frequenting a local church, how she still felt hungry and incomplete in the church she was visiting – that she had so many questions and still so few answers – and that, recently, her best friend had died and instead of showing support, the congregation she was part of gave her the cold shoulder and told her that her friend was lost forever because he never accepted the gospel or Jesus Christ.
We whipped out the Plan of Salvation and got to work. We explained where we came from, why we’re here, how her friend was not lost forever because there was still a way for him to learn about the miracle of Christ’s sacrifice, and that there was a way for her to see him again. She mentioned that, in the moment we had knocked on her door, she had entered into one of the darkest moments of her life. That she had been lost in thought on the things her church friends had told her and had been wondering if life was worth living. In that moment, she said a silent prayer and heard our clapping at the door.
We left her with the plan of salvation and an invitation to read, pray, and eventually follow the answer she had already received through baptism. We marked a date to return and…it didn’t quite work out. Her mother, the owner of the house, (who, I might add, has never met or spoken with us) had said that she never wanted us to return. So we’ll try to mark a few times to explain the gospel to our friend in this upcoming week.
There are so many lessons I learn every day, and this is certainly one of the more remarkable ones. Diligence and obedience bring blessings. God often asks that we walk by faith until it seems there’s no more hope, then shows the miracle he had been saving all along. And, well, the Plan of Salvation is awesome.
We baptized another young woman this week, Ellen. Her baptism was awesome. She has been reading the Book of Mormon every week and becomes stronger by the day as a result. Almost all the youth in our ward showed up for her baptism. The whole ward is getting more and more excited about missionary work as the weeks go by.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” If you haven’t struck water yet: The well is deep. Keep digging.
Two weeks ago, we had our normal Fast and Testimony meeting. The youth all shared their testimony about how gratifying missionary work is and how much they loved doing visits with us. The spirit and love felt in a missionary lesson is indescribable and sometimes I forget how different it is from the average day as a non-missionary. It seems that the best way to become a better missionary is to be a missionary – leave with the missionaries and do visits. At least once a week. Or at the very minimum, once a month. The perspective and spiritual strengthening gained are worth far more than the 2 hours Facebook, email, or reading time spent leaving with them.
I wish that every member would ask me two questions when they saw me in the chapel –