What week am I even on?
Anyways, Hello Brothers and Hermanas!
Just a fun thing that happened this week: my American pride was boosted this week because of the USA v. MEXICO game. USA was 2-0. So it was really hard to teach anyone on game day because all the Mexicans were so sad. None of them could really pay attention to the lessons; it's really quite funny how seriously engrained soccer is in their culture. But WOOT! -- Go AMERICA!
I was privilege to go on an exchange with an AP: Elder Peterson who also lives in Highland ;) He is so awesome. He has a loving, kind, humorous, hardworking personality. I really learned a lot from him ...how to pray more earnestly, study, contact, act, teach, just everything. He really taught me how to apply the scriptures during our lessons to investigators. He could literally make something up on the spot, and the investigator would respond really well to it! So cool; I can't wait until I become that personable with people. He was the living embodiment of a missionary. I loved my time with him. I hope I can grow to become as hard working and energetic and capable as he is.
Elder Jensen and I went crazy on our contacting this week. Contacting is where you meet someone, share a message, and invite them to do something. Just walking up to somebody doesn't count. We contacted nearly every soul we met, regardless of where they were. We talked to people who were on 3rd story balconies, people that were across the street (bahaha, we would literally run and chase after them....hey....the gotta know that church is restored, right!?), in their cars at stoplights, just everywhere. One day we contacted 103 people!!! That's super high! Usually it's like between 20-30. Our weekly goal was 94 ...but we finished with 227! :D Woot! We ended up getting about 3 new investigators -- and we still have 5 more lessons to teach that came from those contacts -- so we could still get like 6 more as the week goes on.
So you're probably wondering about our investigators. As of now, we have 12. Jorge y Daniela, Ofelia, Florencio, Gabrial y Brian (su hijo - son), Florena, Lois, Belen Cervantez, and the Barba couple.
So Jorge y Daniela are really progressing. Daniela is still a boss and does everything. But she (rightly so) is waiting to be baptized as a family, meaning Jorge is our real challenge. But he is really, really, really fighting hard. He doesn't drink on the weekdays now! :D That's incredible! And on the weekends, it's only about 4-6 beers. That's sooo much better than where it was at a month ago. He is also seeing the improvement for himself. He just got a new, better, and higher paying job ...so much so that Daniela no longer needs to work her 2 jobs! :) So incredible! This is just proof that as you strive to live the commandments, God will bless you and your family. :) Also, since we bought him a Grande Libro de Mormon 10 days ago or so ('cause he can't read small print), he's read all the way up to Mosiah 5!! Woot! So astonishing! It really is increidible to witness the changes that take place in a person's life as they seek God. Our only goal now is to get him to knock off those last couple of beers ...which is going to be super hard, so pray for him. :)
We actually had a cool experience with this family. We had an appointment with them, but couldn't get in because they live in a gated community, and they weren't ansering their phones ...when randomly, one of the parking gates started to open up. We decided to wait until the car that opened it entered or left......but no car came. We were like "Oh! that's for us!" and we slipped in. No car ever came! How cool is that! :D The gate just opened! And then we went and taught our lesson. :)
Ofelia expresses tons of faith, and has accepted a baptismal date. But we're afraid she is more concerned about bragging about how spiritual she is than actually being spiritual. She hasn't hardly kept any of her commitments. We've met with her multiple times, but nothing is changing. Sadly, I think we may be forced to drop her :( But hopefully she'll come through before it's time for us to move on to other investigators.
Florencio also has a baptismal date. Sadly, like Ofelia, he's also not keeping his commitments. :( He knows Jesus is good and all (says that a lot), but doesn't understand that Jesus also expects us to do things. We are thinking of dropping him, but are going to have one final power lesson with him in hopes of motivating him to really find out what he wants for himself.
Gabriel was a man we contacted about 2 weeks ago. He was very open, and invited us over. We tried to teach him and his son Brian the 1st lesson, but his suego (father-in-law, named Pedro) is a huge lesson highjacker. But Pedro is super tight (actually, he's a member with the priesthood, just inactive). Pedro was a professional soccer player for the US team and is loaded. He is probably the coolest guy I've ever met. We just have a hard time teaching Gabriel with Pedro there ;) Anyway, we were able to teach only about half the lesson -- just shy of the Restoration part -- but it was still powerful. We left them with a Book of Mormon, and I think they both loved it. Gabriel is kinda lazy, and doesn't read often; but I believe both he and his son will be baptized. I say that a bit optimistically since we actually haven't had but one lesson with him. Then last week we did service for him (painted his house). And this week he's been sick. So tonight we have an appointment to guage where he and his son are at. Man.... their father-in-law, Pedro, is so cool. I'm just saying. This guy is awesome.
Florena was a referral from the White Elders (we call them white because they are Ingles/English speakers). Her son unfortunately does drugs; so she was curious how our message could help their lives. We taught her last Friday, and the Spirit was really strong. We really focused on how the Gospel changes and uplifts lives. She was crying after the first vision. :D She really felt God's love for her at that moment. We invited her to be baptized, but she replied that she was already "baptized Catholic" ...but this is a small minor problem. She'll be baptized. :) We just have to still explain Authority to her. Remarkably, she has actually already read the BoM, and she knows it's true. And if it's true, then the restored Gospel is true, and so this will be easy. :) She really knows it's true. :)
Lois was also a "white Elders" referral. He's a really open-minded guy. We taught him on Friday. He has 2 adorable kids, so we really focused on how the Gospel/Restoration blesses families. He didn't cry or anything, but you could tell he was absorbing all of it! He committed to read and pray, so we'll check up next Friday. Actually, just yesterday he drove by us and yelled and waved his hand out of the window. :) That really made us excited and happy since it shows he likes us :)
Belen Cervantez is the wife of Juan Cervantez. They actually live in the same complex as us. The household includes Juan y Belen with their kids, and Juan's sister. Turns out Juan and his sister are actually members, they've just been inactive for the last 10 years. We had a really powerful lesson with all of them. But the Spirit changed our lesson twice! We initially planned to teach the restoration, but then were prompted to talk about families ...so we talked about our families and how we have seen the Gospel bless our families' lives. It was touching. Then we were prompted to testify of the truthfulness of the church. It was so powerful. The most powerful lesson I've ever taught. Elder Jensen told his story of how he came back to the church after his experience in the Sacred Grove. His dad took him there and he was just overwhelmed with emotions ...so much so that he couldn't talk. The only thing he was able to say was "I want to go on a mission." His Dad already had the papers filled out. All Elder Jensen needed to do was sign them, and he did. How incredible was that! The family was so touched by that; it really connected with them because they too were re-investigating the church. And hearing a testimony about returning to church really touched them.
I then shared my experience with the BoM and the temple. I told them about the day I was going to become a missionary; that morning I had only one chapter left to read in the BoM. And so I decided to read it in the temple. I was alone (in the Celestial room, but I didn't say that) as I read that last chapter. I then closed the book, bowed my head, and sincerely prayed to Heavenly Father if the book was true. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and love. I was told that I was in His house, with His book, and was a member of His Church. As I told them my story, they were touched. Every one was teary eyed. Everyone felt the power and truth that had filled the room.
And then something miraculous happened. Just after our lesson, literally everyone got calls or texts that said that they didn't have to work the following Sunday morning. Huh!??! ...now they could go to Church! :D Woot! I'm confident that was not just a coinencidence! God wanted them back and wanted Belen to feel the power of His presence at church. All came the next morning except Juan ('cause he's a little lazy). But Belen did! And she said she loved it! We have 2 more appointments with them this week, so we'll talk to Juan about coming and invite Belen to be baptized.
Although the work can be hard, it is worth it. Although times are tough, I just need to remember what Christ did for me. We share his message, and that is something I will never be ashamed of.
God loves us, sent His Son to die for us, and only wants us to return to Him. It is a happy message. It's a true message. It's God's message. I am so happy to be out here to enjoy the labor. It's enjoyable because it's the work of our Lord. His work, his Church, it's true. Christ died for his Church, and Joseph Smith died to restore it.
I'll endlessly strive to honor their deaths and bear Christ's name in my chest and on my heart. The Church is True, I believe it more and more each day. I love it out here.
Love Elder Clemons