It's practically Christmas! I can't believe it. Quite seriously. I still keep writing "October" on our teaching records, which is just confusing to everyone. Maybe if it would snow that would help, but for now I'll just have to count on the Christmas-light wrapped palm trees, our tiny collection of MoTab Christmas CDs, and that GIGANTIC blow up snowman down the street to keep me in the Christmas spirit.
Seriously it's like as big as my house.
So a few stories for you. The first one is a Duncan story. He always gives me the best stories to send home.
So we go over there earlier this week to talk to Duncan about how he's doing giving up smoking - since, you know, he has committed to having completely quit by the end of the year, which is, um, basically here. So we go in and we're talking some and we ask him about how he's going giving up smoking and he says "not good" and tells us he's back to smoking 2 packs a day.
As you may imagine, we weren't too thrilled about that.
We asked him why that happened, and he says that it's because he's stopped praying. I guess it's a good thing that he recognizes the crucial role of prayer in helping him quit, but if makes it a bit more confusing as to why he's stopped praying. So we asked him, and he kind of takes a deep breath and looks very deep in thought for a minute as he ponders whether or not to tell us the story. Side note, the entire meeting up to this point, Duncan will be leaning forward on the table all slumped over and then catch himself and sit up like ridiculously straight. And then he'll start to slump and then pull himself up, and the whole thing was a little different for him, but we figured it's Duncan, so...yeah. Anyways, finally he says: "I've been praying to be successful, you know, with not smoking and going to church and getting a job and everything. Just successful." And we're all "uh huh." And he goes "well, I got my answer." He then takes a deep breath, and says "God told me that I need to sit up straight, and if I sit up straight I'll be successful."
So we all kind of sit there for a minute, and finally I said "and so you're not praying because God told you to sit up straight?" Duncan nodded, and told us that that had seemed like such an "off the wall" answer from God, that it had confused him and so he had stopped praying. So we nod some more and Sister Johnson looks over at me with this expression of "what the what?" Definitely not something addressed directly in the scriptures - "what to do when God tells you to sit up straight" - other than sit up straight I guess, you know, obedience. Finally we went with the story of Abraham and Isaac, and how Abraham's instruction to sacrifice Isaac had been an "off the wall" answer too (not quite the same as sitting up straight, but we were just going on the Spirit here) and how pretty much Duncan should just trust God and have faith and not give up praying or anything just because he'd received a strange answer to a prayer. And he agreed and recommitted himself and also made Sister Johnson and I painfully aware of our own poor posture with his frequent readjustments, so that by the end of the lesson we were all just sitting ramrod straight in our chairs. It was great.
Oh Duncan. He's my favorite.
So we have this investigator Lisa who is stoked to be baptized but who works every single Sunday and just can never come to church. This is a problem we run into a lot actually. So we met with her earlier this week and were pretty forward telling her that if baptism was what she wanted, she needed to come to church, and that if she was really committed to coming to church, God would provide a way.
So get this.
Lisa came to church yesterday. She was there for only an hour - not even, really, just the bulk of sacrament meeting but not even the whole thing. She had come straight from work, still in her purple scrubs and everything. It was Sunday, so her supervisor wasn't there, so she had gone to take the trash out...and didn't go back, instead she hurried to the church and stayed for as long as she could get away with.
Yup. That happened. We asked her about it and she told us that she knew that she just needed to come to church, and that the worst thing that would happen was that she would be fired, but that if that happened at least she'd be able to come to all of church. Talk about commitment! Not sure we should necessarily be encouraging that sort of thing, but in this little instance I just think it's brilliant. Lisa was willing to risk a lot just to get to church - it was that important to her. And I know that because of her sacrifice God will bless her - by allowing her to get away with sneaking out of work every Sunday, if nothing else. Ha! Our investigators are the best. Favorites.
Earlier this week we got a mormon.org referral. Mormon.org referrals are from people who go online to mormon.org and request a missionary visit or request a Book of Mormon or whatever, and then we get a little text with someone's name and contact info and pretty much we drop whatever we're doing to go contact them, even though a good percentage of the time they have been like prank referred by their friends (nothing like being mormon-missionaried) or they're already mormons or something fun like that. But anyways, so we go up to contact this referral whose name is Rosalyn, and we knock on her door and after she's answered and we've done your basic small talk door approach, she asks us if we have the book. So we show her a Book of Mormon and ask her how she came to request one. And here's the story.
It's pretty great.
So several weeks earlier Rosalyn had been at the hospital in New Orleans with her daughter, and the person who had sat with her had been Mormon, and that was basically the first time Rosalyn had heard anything about the Mormons, and even then it was just a very casual brief "hey I'm Mormon" without any teary testimonies or invitations to be baptized or anything like that. Several weeks later, Rosalyn is home again, and she has a dream. She told us that she remembered essentially nothing of the dream, except that from it she knew that she needed to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. She woke up and went and told her husband "I need that book!" and he all confused had asked her what book and she said "it's called the Book of Mormon." So she went to her computer and looked it up and came across mormon.org, where there's a handy dandy "request a Book of Mormon" link. And then, tada! We show up on her porch with a copy for her. That, dear friends, is a miracle story if I've ever heard one. Let me tell you what my favorite part of the whole thing is. The dream about the Book of Mormon obviously is quite amazing (nothing like some divine-interventioning to make a missionary's day), but what was it that enabled Heavenly Father to send her this dream and get her the Book of Mormon? It was that woman in the hospital in New Orleans. Some random member of the church who wasn't shy about her faith, and who in a harmless conversation about her church planted a seed that Heavenly Father was able to work with. *That* is what missionary work is all about. Does that woman in New Orleans know that some random lady she talked to at the hospital would have a dream about the Book of Mormon after hearing about Mormons from her? Of course not. But when we do our part to be missionaries in whatever tiny way we can, God can do miracles with our efforts.
I hope you all have an AMAZING week. Thank you for your prayers and for your love and for feeding the missionaries in Colorado. You should give them Christmas presents too - I'm assuming that if the whole meal-magic thing works (you feed them, we get fed) it should work the same with Christmas presents, right?
Sister Bayley Enright