We have had kind of a hard week. It's always hard to remember how hard exactly, because in the moment you feel so done and tired but then looking back it's always "that was a great week." Haha I guess it works. We had a TON of stuff fall through, but at the same time we had some really good experiences. Also, I get lost a lot. We don't have a GPS and I do pretty well when we go places that I know well, but when we go to find less actives and stuff like that, we spend probably twice the amount of time and miles. It has been by far the most frustrating thing about taking over the area.
There were so many people that didn't answer their doors this week. Some of them even ask "who is it?" and then still don't answer!!! It makes me so mad. We have been hitting dead ends with finding new people, so we've circled back to the part member families, prospective elders, and children of record. We haven't had any luck so far, but it's a work in progress. We have a lot of potential, but nothing is moving too fast yet.
We had exchanges this week, so I ended up staying in this area and Sister Anderl came with me. So cool story, we were actually in the same ward our freshman year. We didn't know each other really well, but recognized faces and know a lot of the same people. It was cool. Taking over completely, Spanish and all wasn't too bad except that a lesson fell through so we ended up knocking a ton. But it made for some funny stories. One old black guy called Sis Anderl sweetheart, one lady opened and said "are you Mormons?" which is always kind of a scary question, and then said she went with daughter once and they sang to her and brought her bread #sacramentmeeting? and then promptly told us she had to go and then shut the door. One guy, Tony, looked legit afraid when he opened the door and said "what is this?" and we said we were missionaries, he said "...well...I've never done anything like this before..." and we said we share a message about Jesus Christ, and then he had something on the stove or something. To finish off the night, we met Brian. It's interesting that you asked me about gay couples. I don't know what you're talking about with the handbook change, we have zone conference on Wednesday so I'm sure it will be addressed. But Brian was actually probably the coolest, nicest person I've met knocking. We almost fell off the porch when he mentioned his husband. He was really interested in what we had to say, and we invited him to check out mormon.org. He was really chill, I hope that if he ever hears anything like Mormons hate gays, that he remembers that we had a chill, intelligent, friendly, fun conversation. It's such a hard topic. I think like any objection, we always refer people back to the Book of Mormon. Which sounds weird, but let me explain. If you know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, then you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and if he was a prophet, then all of his successors were as well, and therefore, everything they tell us is also the word of God. Therefore, read the Book of Mormon, know it's true. Like a lady in our ward told us yesterday, if you don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, no tienes NADA. Martin, our newest recent convert is struggling because he doesn't have a really strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. He says he feels empty, which is bad, and we couldn't figure out why. Yesterday at coordination meeting, Victor, another recent convert of a few years, said he felt the same way after he was baptized because he wasn't reading his scriptures. It's a real thing. The Book of Mormon is so important and so true. I just started reading it again, this time in Spanish, and its cool how it feels the same even when I have to look up words:)
Hna Warmbier and I learned this week that talking to everyone doesn't necessarily mean teaching everyone. A lot of what we do is just let people remember what they felt when they talk to us. So we have been good at at least saying hi to everyone this week.
Along those same lines, we were doing weekly planning at the library, and the security guard came over and started talking to us. His family are all Baptist, but he has never been super tied to one religion because "no one could answer (his) questions." We asked him what some of those were, and literally every single one we could have answered. We left him with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Converting the world one library security guard at a time.
Totally random note: we got our dishwasher fixed this week. Best thing ever.
So a good experience this week was with Fabiola's family. I know I've talked about them before. But this week, we met with them and we read with them the story of the stripling warriors. The boys love the stories from the Book of Mormon. Also, Santitos loves the Primary songs that we sing, so we printed one for him and he's been practicing. So cute. But this last lesson they started asking awesome questions about temples, eternal families, and the qualifications. So we think they are ready to start the lessons again. We are really excited about the progress they made. So that was the awesome part. But here's the thing. They are convinced their house is haunted. And from their stories, I might be convinced too. I really didn't believe in scary stories like lost spirits, moving dolls, seeing things... until this week. Even now I don't know what to think. The Elders had an experience with a family in our ward that is really scary. Their little girl has been seeing a black figure without a face, basically described a son of perdition (according to the Elders, I don't know where they got their info), and the family is really (understandably) freaked out. The Elders went over to scope it out, and apparently had a pretty weird experience, like unreasonably cold rooms, weird feelings, things like that. I don't know how I feel about it. In Fabiola's house she was telling pretty freaky stories too. Like their five yr old girl seeing people that no one else can see, hearing crying and footsteps when no one is there, seeing faces, creepy stuff. I don't know. Hispanics are know to be more superstitious and believing in this kind of stuff, but Hna Warmbier suggested that it's because they have a "gift" or "blessing" of some kind that has always let their people be more inclined to see supernatural type stuff. Have y'all heard stories? I know I've heard of more than one missionary casting out evil spirits. I'm skeptical, but at this point I've heard enough that now I'm wondering. Plus I don't want to say that I don't believe because then I'm sure to see something scary and I definitely don't want that! What are some of your thoughts? I don't really know what to think.
Something that we do know is that reading the scriptures, praying, and especially singing make us not scared when they are telling us scary stories. We are discovering more and more the power that music has to bring the spirit. I hope you all still play and sing Primary songs and hymns. I have never appreciated them so much as in the last few weeks since we've been using them in our lessons (and since we've heard so many scary stories). Part of me is laughing on the inside, the other part is weirded out. soooo...
Anyway, after that little episode, we are going to dinner with the Zollingers this week! I'm excited! I'll send pictures.
I love the pictures from everybody. I wish I could be there to watch Ryan play or to hang around with Sara and Lauren, or to chill in Texas with Morgan and Shelley! Too much fun! I am really enjoying Minnesota, it hasn't gotten too cold yet, today is actually in the low sixties. We are going to Goodwill in a bit to see if we can find any more winter type skirts and sweaters. I got a bunch of tights last week, just in time. They've been nice. I think I am basically set for winter, minus some good mittens/gloves. I have no idea where to look. Where do you even buy mittens?
Feel free to send me letters and emails throughout the week, I love even just getting random pictures.
I love you all!