Ok, not really, but seriously. When I was getting ready to come out here on my mission, I was like "yeah the south it's not gonna get cold at all whatever" and people told me that the main thing is that the cold in the south is different because it's so humid here and so it's a "wet cold" and in all honesty, I didn't quite believe them. Until, when I walked outside and almost died. It's weird guys, I'm telling you. The thermometer might only read 30, but what that really means is 30 minutes till you FREEZE TO DEATH. Ok so I'm exaggerating. But even everyone here is like "wow this cold spell is really weird, it never gets this cold here, my goodness it's so cold" and in fact some of our members assured us that if we didn't get ourselves some thermal underwear, we were probably going to die. That's basically verbatim. The worst part is that it doesn't snow - it just rains ice, which is colder, not pretty, and you can't make snowballs out of it. So it's like a lose-lose situation all the way around. But then apparently it's supposed to be all bright and sunny soon enough. Louisiana weather seriously does rival Colorado weather for randomness.
So earlier this week we were visiting this less active man, Gail, who lives in a nursing home and has a powerful testimony of the church and loves the missionaries and who also regularly has a cup of coffee while we're there, and tells us that it's his only vice, but that's okay because he gave up smoking and drinking. Yeah. So we decided to go in and just hit it hard with Word of Wisdom. So we start talking about keeping the commandments and everything (that's always how we teach the Word of Wisdom - by first talking about keeping the commandments which is always harmless and everyone agrees that we should obey God and follow his commandments and not kill and steal and all that, and then BAM we just Word-of-Wisdom them after they've already told us about important it is to them to keep the commandments, because at that point you've got them trapped) and so after we've finished going over the Word of Wisdom he goes "oh, so it's a commandment now? Hmm. When did they change that? In my day it was just a suggestion." Haha! And we were just like "nope, not a suggestion. COMMANDMENT" so he sighed all heavy and was like "FINE. The coffee here is nasty anyways." Oh Gail.
Also, remember Ed? The level-three-Mormon-Ed? Well this week he made a comment to Sister Johnson about her YW temple medallion, which he said was a medal and that she must be pretty high up in the church. He then looks at me and goes "Sister Enright?" and I was all "yes, Ed" and then he told me that "Enright" was a good leader name, and if I ever "made captain or president in the church" I had the best name for it. Haha, good ol' Ed, calling me Captain Enright. I had no problem with it, actually, since most people here prefer to either forget my name, tell me it's weird, or call me "Sister Engritch," no matter how many times I pointedly introduce myself as Sister EnRIGHT.
Another story this week came from our Hour of Power, when we tracted into this guy Oscar, who was super friendly and talked to us for a while. And then, after we invited him to come to church, he looks at us all serious and whispers "black people can go there?" and we were all "of course!" and he, even more confused, said "but there ain't no such thing as black Mormons" and we were all "yes there are" and he keeps shaking his head and goes "I dunno, I always thought they were something like leprechauns or unicorns, you know? There's no such thing as black Mormons." So then Sister Johnson bore powerful testimony and he got all excited and was like "huh, well yeah! Crazy, I guess they're not just mythical then!" and told us that he couldn't come to church, but he'd be there soon, just to see if we were telling the truth. And then he went off for a long time debating with us whether or not Tim Tebow was a Mormon, which - in case you're wondering - he's not. The debate was settled by Google.
Random stories aside, let me be serious for a minute.
This week I really learned about the reality of Satan. That sounds awfully foreboding, but allow me to explain. Satan is REAL. We tell this to our investigators all the time because we know that as they start to really do what is right and draw closer to God, they are going to face opposition. It's just true. Someone told me once that things are harder for those doing good, because why would Satan be spending time on those he already has doing what he wants them to do? It's those people who are searching for and finding Christ that he will work on, because those are the ones that threaten him. And that is SO true. Right now we have 2 sisters who are actively preparing for baptism, who are super excited for it and who have such a love and passion for the gospel, and both of them faced serious trials this week. One of them, her boss told her that she pretty much has to work Sundays now or risk losing her job. He working Sundays now keeps her from coming to church, which keeps her from being able to be baptized. As she's dealt with this, she's come to realize that she has to make priorities in her life, and has told us that maybe she just needs to find another job, even though that would face serious strain on her family. So there's one example of the opposition these people face. As for the other sister, her mother was rushed to the hospital in Houston earlier this week. She returned home maybe four days later, and then the next morning *her* mom (so our investigator's grandmother) was rushed to the emergency room. In both of these circumstances, the trials these women are facing shows me the blessings God must have in store for them, if Satan is really trying that hard to keep them from receiving them! Moral of the story: when things get hard, what is most important is that you keep doing GOOD and having FAITH. With both of these sisters we've just had to assure them that, in the end, God is FAR more powerful than Satan ever will be, and if they just have the faith and determination to follow God NO MATTER WHAT, they will ALWAYS come out on top.
Thank you all so much for your prayers! I love you all, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!