Merry Christmas everybody! And family, I hope you guys are living it up without me! Having a blast, drinking many many martinellis :)
Well, without further ado. Monday we taught our good friend Michael. His sister wasn't there, and it was just him and his mom. We shared a little DVD with people singing I am a Child of God. We weren't planning on sharing it, but it popped into my mind so I decided, ah what the heck :) so we did! At first we asked if they wanted to help us with a dispute we've been having. Because in this song, different people take turns singing different lines. And we were in disagreement as to who the best singer was. So they agreed to help us out, and without telling them ANYTHING about who we liked, Michael chose the same guy as me. Booyah Grandma :)
Tuesday we went back over to Michael's house in the evening to give his sister a blessing before she went in for surgery! Lol, wisdom teeth, chill :D. That was fun, but we also had zone conference which took the majority of the morning and afternoon! The zone leaders drove us, and because they have a car, they needed to be there at 8, so they showed up at seven thirty, and dropped us off at our dinner appointment at 5. So yeah, long time in a conference! We learned a lot and did a lot of teaching. The one thing that set it apart from other conferences is we learned about and how to use our new proselyting tool, our new Online Proselyting tool that is. Yup, my mission is now a Facebook mission! So, when I get on facebook, don't freak out, I'm not going apostate or anything! We spend an hour everyday (Tues-Sat) and we answer questions, confirm appointments, and even teach lessons! It's pretty cool, but obviously some things need to change. There are guidelines as to what to have picture and post wise, and how our interactions go, so there is a lot of "clean-up" going on. But I'm not deleting anything, nothing I had was bad, just not necessarily helping me accomplish my purpose as a missionary. So I've been hiding things like crazy. It's really weird, but I'm trying to be obedient, so their guidelines as what to hide may seem odd... the roughest part is, the want School Dance pictures hid. There's a variety of reasons one could use to explain it, but why it's rough, is because I hardly posted any, but got tagged in a million haha, so I have to hide each one individually! But don't get offended if a picture of you disappears, it'll be back! And you can still find it on your timeline! If you have any questions about it, and how I'll be using facebook, let me know :)
Wednesday we had an investigator handoff! Basically, some Elders in this mission had been poaching. What that means (hilarious) is that they were teaching a guy who didn't live in their area, and while they plead innocent, we know that they knew he wasn't in their area, but they were still trying to tell him to come to their church, and all this other stuff... Idk what was going on! They received him as a referral, but didn't want to pass him? I have no clue! But Robert (the investigator) came to our ward and exposed them. Then after weeks of ignoring our texts asking what was going on, they told us they were having a handoff lesson on Wednesday at their church. What that entails is that all four of us elders are there, and we teach him, and he gets to know us a little more. But he wants to meet with us at our church (it's a lot closer haha) so that was good. But, they were supposed to stop teaching him, buuuut, nope, they were going to bring him to the visitors center on Thursday, and decided to leave us out of it, but as we were leaving Robert asks about it. Whoops! Haha, so Robert invites us a long, and we went to the Visitors Center Thursday night for the little Christmas concerts they do every night. Weeeell, it was 100% in spanish (all the Spanish Elders were performing, well, a lot of them anyways). The member we brought with us served in Panama, so he had the time of his life listening in! I just noticed how much their O come all ye faithful sounds like Latin instead of Spanish :) It was good though, and we got to talk to Robert about a lot of things!
Alright, now to the highlight of the week!!!! Whoo-hoo! We are teaching this older couple. The husband is 88 and was just baptized back in September. The wife is 68, was not baptized with him, but had a date for this pastSaturday. We went to teach them on Friday. Shared our little Christmas message, but felt like something was missing. Jeanne, the wife, has Chrons Disease (spelling?) and it makes her incredibly sick, and she loses weight like crazy! I'm not an expert, so I won't pretend to tell you what it is, you all can use google, I can't haha. But anyways, it was what had prevented her from being baptized then, and up to that day. But as we sat there and shared that Christmas message, we knew that we had to talk about priesthood blessings. We had discussed it before going in, and there is a great Mormon Message that explains just a glimpse of what they can do. It's called Sanctify yourself, you can find it on mormon.org. So watch it :) But anyways, we talked with her about their priesthood again and asked if we could share this little message (btw, her husband is working towards getting the priesthood, so it's not a new concept) so we shared this message. Man! Powerful! I've seen it a lot but this time was electrifying! And that sounds cheesy based on if you've seen it, but really though, all the hair on my body stood on end! It was crazy! Afterwards we discussed how the Priesthood is something of service, and that we hold it, and described a priesthood blessing. I had this overwhelming feeling that she could be baptized Saturday afternoon, I knew that she could do it! I knew that if we blessed her, she would be alright. So what did we do? We asked her if she would be willing to get a blessing, and she said: "Can I get one now?" We would have had her hometeacher do it and be there with us that day, but they were working :P So don't get too mad at us, we had already tried! But the Spirit in the room was so strong! For the first time since I've been companions with Peterson, he decided to anoint her head with oil. I had done the annointing the other times we had used oil, and always felt like I should. This time, Jeanne didn't care who did what, so Peterson asked me which one I wanted to do. I wanted to anoint, that's the easy ordinance, but i couldn't say it! It wouldn't come out! I felt like I needed to give the blessing! Take that as you will, but it was a very powerful experience! We blessed her that she would be able to be baptized Saturday, (whoa, it came out of nowhere, most of what I said just came to my mouth, if I don't know what to say, then I know I had better close, because it means the Lord has said all he wants to say to her at that time, so anything else I add is just fluff). It was incredible! When we finished I shook her hand and said: "I can't deny this feeling I have inside, you can be baptized tomorrow" It surprised her when we first brought it up, but this same feeling had settled inside of her! So, we told her to call us in the morning and tell us how she was feeling, and we left! We were on our way to Dinner, but Peterson had this feeling to stop in and visit one of our very good friends Mary! We went over planning on wishing her a Merry Christmas, but what we found was not what we expected! Mary is a great individual, extremely sarcastic and hilarious to be around, her husband has been gone for over a decade, and the woman has been through so much with her kids :( Her story is one of trials! Well, when we knocked on the door, we expected to see her usual bouncy self, but she was not doing very good. Not at all. I asked her if she was OK, she said no, and then told us what was wrong. It's not going to be very beneficial if I go on and tell you what she said, but there was a lot going on, and a lot of pressure on her, a lot of pushing, and a lot of stress. It was not good. The nature of all of this and all Satan was doing to her, had her convinced that she wouldn't be to Church until she could figure everything out. She was getting ready to quit. We paniced inside! But we were loving and supportive, and encouraged her and listened to her. As the conversation died down, and it seemed like she wanted to go back inside, I had a feeling. See, with the blessing over and Jeanne's, it was Peterson who was in tune and followed that prompting. Now it was MY turn. I spoke, and out of my mouth came something much more elegant than this, but here's my best way of trying to remember, I told her "as a representative of Jesus Christ, and as Elders in the Church, we hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, which tool allows us to serve the Lord's children, will you let us serve you now and give you a blessing?" Ok, that sounded cheesy, but the actual phrase that came out of my mouth was really cool! I didn't even think of it! (Missionary work is insane I tell you!) But she told us that we could. And because I had "followed the feeling" I was the one to give her the blessing of comfort and counsel. Well, I haven't known her very long, and don't know her very well either, but as soon as I laid my hands on her head, my emotions went nuts!!!! There is no way to effectively describe the wash of emotion I had, I felt extremely sorrowful, I was so full of love and empathy, it was like I could feel what she was going through, but not, I don't know, either way, through this blessing, the water content of my body dropped significantly if you know what I mean, and with the current condition of the air and it's effect on me, my voice was super low too. Oooooh chills! At this point I can't remember what was said, but it had a profound effect on her and myself, and my companion. One thing I remember was that I quoted her, and one of her phrases she says: "Make your request, do your best, and let the Lord do the rest". Well, at this point, as weird as it sounds, I know I didn't quote her, but whoever was speaking through me was ;) If you get my meaning! The blessings of the Priesthood are amazing, and the service you render while using it are priceless and precious. It is often a stressful thing to hold, but because I love helping people so much, it's times like those that just spiritually pump me up. After she gave me a million of her tissues, and the both of us were on the verge of crying again (her and myself, and who knows, maybe Petey too :) ), we left!
And guess who came to church again on Sunday? Yes that's right! Mary did :) The Lord was effective in being able to comfort and console her and show her what she should do. Our prayers (and hers, and the wards) were answered, and she came. Man oh man! What an experience!
However, a slight downside, guess who didn't get baptized on Saturday? Yup, Jeanne. Haha, but, at first that made us extremely sad and anxious, we looked inward and freaked out: "we did something wrong, we were x, y, z, etc.!" But nope. The feeling I had Friday was just as valid as the one I had Saturday. Friday I knew she was ABLE to be baptized on Saturday, but upon waking upon Saturday, I knew she wouldn't be... she called us at 8 a.m. ish and said that the Baptism was ON, yup, she was going to be baptized, she felt great and was ready. Well, we go and fill up the font (yes, we had reserved it a week or two ago, knowing that this was her date) at 1 p.m. The baptism was at 4, Sister Carstens was going to go pick Jeanne and her husband up and take them to the baptism. So we were there for almost three hours when we get this call from Sister Carstens. Jeanne had cancelled. Supposedly she had called someone and told them it was off and then left saying that she wouldn't be back til after Dinner. Odd. It was very discouraging, and very sad, but my feelings proved true. I knew it wasn't due to health. There is an outside reason that I think the Spirit has been slowly telling us since that day, even in our interactions with her, and she wants to try again for the 4th, because of her story of what happened. O.o oook Jeanne, hopefully we figure out what it is you need to learn before then! The Lord still has something he needs to give her/teach her first, and we have two weeks to figure it out :)
On the bright side though, our good ole Buddy Nolan is being baptized this upcoming saturday, and that one is set in stone, unless suddenly his father turns away from being against the church to 100% with it in a few days, which is ideal, so we have been hoping for that, but either way, on his 18th birthday, he's being baptized, whether by his dad or someone else, it's happening... So, that'll be dramatic!
So, last but not least, I'm not sure If I mentioned the Grinch song. Ha! I'm writing a parody (well finished writing last night) of You're a Mean one, Mr. Grinch. Yup, it's called, You're a mean one Elder Grinch. So not much change there, but the whole song is pretty hilarious, and guess who convinced me to perform that today in front of the whole mission? Yeah.... peer pressure... They printed me off the lyrics, and got me a karaoke track of it... The track didn't line up with the lyrics that well by the middle, so we decided to just do it A Cappella and I'll throw in my custom sounds effects ;) They even got Peterson a Grinch Tee-shirt, so we have to figure out his act with it as I sing this song. They loved it when I practiced last night, so hopefully it will be pretty good. If they hate it, then I feel bad for my next companion hahahahha, but it'll be hilarious either way. YOLO, or as they say here, YOMO (you only mission once), not sure if that's true, but whatevs! Both are false haha, so that'll be cool!
Last but not least I want to thank you all for the Christmas gifts, and cards, and packages, and letters, and emails, and every other little thing you've done for me. Don't panic though! I am in the process of writing you all back and thanking you all, but it's a slow process with all this stuff that's been going on, but it will happen! Slowly but surely :) Thank you thank you thank you! It's totally made my Christmas :) I wasn't expecting anything at all, but you surprised me! May the Lord bless you all for your service! :D
Well, that's my week in a nutshell, how's Christmas for you all?