Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One Month Mark! November 11, 2013

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Ah! Finally made it one month. Seems like it's been a de-cade since I've seen any of you, but it feels like it's been days since I came out here.... Time travel paradox? Am I now traveling the speed of light? Because that would explain it....

Well let's see... Well, first things first, after I emailed last week, we had a lesson with the less-active but now active family we meet with every monday, but our dilemma has been getting the 14 year old son, Michael, to stay for our lessons. Michael hasn't been to church for years, and he is against it now for some reason, and we don't know why. I'm pretty sure it's because he thinks it is "stupid" but as he gets older, he'll realize how non "stupid" it really is. But, as you know, in preparation for our lesson the previous week, we had fasted and prayed that his heart would be softened that he would stay for the lesson, but also as you know, it didn't work, and it was super discouraging. We had geared our whole lesson towards him! But the spirit was there, and guided it into the hearts of the other people there, and the lesson evolved to their needs. Well, we figured out what we needed to do: Michael's getaway point had been the prayer. Once we asked if we could open with a prayer he figured it was time to leave, so what we decided to do was this last time, to open with a prayer before we walked through the door, and then close and leave with a prayer and see how that turned out. And guess what happened? It didn't turn out. We knocked on the door, and then I said: "EEK! We forgot to pray!" So Elder Peterson quickly offered a little prayer and once the lock began to turn we both said amen and looked up with smiles! It was gold from then on out.

This family has been taught all the discussions, and as a less-active family, they don't need to be baptized lol, so after teaching the discussions, what do you do? Well, our lesson 2 weeks ago was on the atonement, and all that other vital jazz I mentioned in my last email, but for this lesson, we decided to use an object lesson that would keep his attention, but still keep the Atonement of Jesus Christ in, because that is the M.I.T. as I've said before (the most important thing). So let's think for a moment, what OBJECT lesson do I know that involves the Atonement? You're right on the money! The Parable of the Paper Cross! So we went in, spoke for a while, and then Michael got up, and we panicked inside, but he has agency, so we didn't say anything, but just kept conversing with the rest of the family, well, HE COMES BACK, with some candy. Whef. He gets up again, and goes the other way. NO! But he comes back with more. Whef! But in this last get-up, Elder Peterson provided the transition into our "lesson" that wasn't a "lesson" by saying: "Speaking of love, Elder Wilkinson has a story for you" and just within his reach was a piece of printer paper. The LAST one on the Printer. it was meant to be I tell ya. Well, I tell the story. Michael is there, on his computer, but he looks up occassionally, chuckles, and has comments. WHAT?! He's paying attention? I don't think he was doing anything on his computer, he just didn't want to appear interested. But man oh man! I have taught that lesson at least a million times this week because it can be used for anything in the gospel, well, 2 times this week have been more powerful then ANY other time I've ever taught it. This one I taught that night, was definitely one of those. It hit the mom really hard. She and were both almost crying, it was incredible, the testimony that was borne by both the missionary in the story and my own added to it was amazing, I didn't know I had such words in me! It's because, I didn't. I don't. That was one time I can say that everything just flowed from my mouth. The principles taught were simple, plain, and true, and the testimony even more so, but with the same amount of power. haha, I almost just bore testimony again, man this missionary thing is really beginning to mess with my head ;) lol, not mess, transform!

So, he stayed, and after we left we walked in silence until the apartment was out of earshot, then we started celebrating for the whole ten minute walk home. YES! Even quoted Finding Nemo: "No eating here tonight" But it probably should have been "No leaving here tonight" or something cool.... ha, oh well. It was a terrific night! Lots of stuff fell into place. I had practiced teaching it to the people we had dinner with that night before actually teaching it to the Michael's family, and that time was pretty good too! Again, it touched us all. What a powerful story! Dad, thank you so so much! Everytime I finish telling it, they ask me where I learned it, and I tell the story about you as a missionary for 3 weeks, the stake activity etc. then I talk about how you and I did it as Home teaching companions, and how you eventually taught me, and how I had been trying to figure out a way to use it as a missionary, but boy I say boy, it is a great testimony re-kindler. Oh, and with Michael staying for the lesson AND the closing prayer, that beats out ALL progress the missionaries have had with him for 3 YEARS! He hasn't stayed for a lesson in 3 years. Whoooooo hooooooooooo!

Anyways, the next day, we taught Tyson, and he set a date for baptism. We taught Lesson 3: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and related it to Cliff Diving. No, no leaps of faith as it turns out. But more trust in what knowledge you gain from your surroundings among other things. Tyson led that discussion, I merely brought it up and tried to tie it in, but after asking him a question, he ended up relating the two, and startling everyone in the room once we figured it out. We talked about the Holy Ghost (the fourth point in the lesson) and that was cool too, as he described it to us. WOW! it was amazing! And he set a date for baptism. This "setting a date" is an act of faith, and shows the Lord you want to do it, and puts pressure on the both of you to get your answer by then, but by setting a date, the promise is the Lord will help you be ready by that point. The only thing that makes this not a gold situation is he is not married. He lives with his girlfriend (who is a member...) and their 3 kids... ha, so we have quite the lesson to teach :P That'll be fun... But overall, great!

Let's see... So on Tuesday, we had an appointment with Daryl, our almost investigator we met that is currently living with a family that we are reactivating and is doing amazing! Well, that was supposed to be at two, but we received a call from his friend that we teach that Daryl was in the Hospital, and we would have to re-schedule. Gasp! What happened? Well, it was nothing serious, just something that happens with his blood when he's sick for more than a week, because when we had met him he had had the flu and we could hardly hear his voice. Well, we called him on wednesday to re-schedule, and asked him if he was feeling alright. He sounded fine, and really wanted to re-schedule, so, we agreed to meet on Thursday night at 7. Well, that night (Wednesday) we realized that we had another appointment at that time, so we called Daryl (8:30-9 ish) to see if we could push his appointment half an hour. Well, he picks up the phone, and I proceed to start saying: "Hello, sorry to bother you" When out of nowhere he blows up at me! It appears that I had bothered him long before I called. And he proceeded to become very mad at me, and told me that he wanted to drive nails through my skull, haha what? Lol, he told me to never call that number again and threatened me a few more times, then told me to "stop talking" but it was a little less nice than that haha. Well, that was my first experience with that! But rather than get mad, I just told him sorry, and and kept saying "yes sir" "sorry sir" And that just made him more mad, I think he wanted a fight... But I wasn't going to! It was very discouraging and a little scary. Soooo we didn't end up meeting with himThursday, or the family he's living with on Friday, and we were going to wait until the Bishop talked to them, because he had already had an appointment scheduled with the family on Sunday, so we were going to see what that yielded. Weeeeeell, they didn't show up, and they have us scheduled for dinner tonight. But we don't really want to be around this super bi-polar guy haha. So, we will see how this all works out! While at first it crushed me, I gained something from it. That week I had had a HUGE confidence boost. I felt like I could do anything, talk to anybody, and say anything, and I think it started to go to my head. I got a little cocky, well, after this beat-down, for some reason the ONLY thing I could think of was that the confidence I had gained, had been because of the Lord, and now that I recognize all good things come from him once again, my ego is in check, but I now have more faith and I still have the confidence, but more in the Lord than myself, which is the way it should be. So that will be a fun story to finish and see exactly what the heck is going on over there. So stay tuned, for another episode! blah blah, what a soap-drama ;)

We've had a couple of people yell at us from cars too, and yesterday (Sunday) we had people close doors within seconds of opening them. Yeesh! So now the real mission experience has started, my beginners luck has worn off haha.

There was another family we teach, but the wife is a member, and the husband not. We do service for them every week, and this last week we built them a gate, because we are helping them replace a fence. Total flash-back to Karma's fence in the home-ward. Anyways, the wife just admitted she was a member a couple weeks ago, she has been denying it for decades. Even with the record was in front of her she told the bishop "she was never baptized" but since I've been here, I've seen the change. Cool huh? Wellll, maybe. She has some interesting ideas, and may have been baptized, and may come to church, but she claims to be something more, and knows more truth than the church. Trying to teach her gives me a headache, some of her ideas are so far out there. But (here ya go Rebekah) "bless her heart" she is great. She got upset when we were talking about God when we mentioned his body. She doesn't believe he has a body. Oh boy, there we go, but it didn't go. We don't argue and use scriptures to prove points, because that won't do anything but have the Spirit go for "a piece of cheese" as I used to say. So, when we actually get around to teaching, we share small and simple truths that we can agree on, as we teach her husband. Idk what goes one when she decides to teach us, I just don't say anything, Elder Peterson can talk with her, anything that comes to my mind would probably just make her mad. Yeesh :) It's good though, and they have come a long way, and are still traveling.

Oh guess what? A family took us to McDonalds for dinner one day, when it was a fundraiser for an elementary school that all the kids in the ward go to. guess where it was? Yup, within a 100 yards of Jessie's house. The same McDonalds I had been to many times. Oooooh boy! It stressed me out! Ya see, I don't get homesick really. I may miss everybody and stuff, but it never makes me sick and roll around on the ground holding my stomach and stuff, and I don't think seeing Jessie would make me home-sick, but rather I'd find a friend that is helping with hastening the work! It's like when I saw a missionary I had known from back home that is serving out here. Except seeing Jessie would be a lot cooler :), when I end up in your ward Jessie, I expect a lot of referrals, and you to come and be our member present in a lot of our lessons ;), and Eric too! Don't think you're off the hook here boy! We oftentimes need a priesthood holder for the lessons we teach. so get ready for that haha.

So, funny story for you. We were walking in between appointments, and we had the option of taking the long way, or the short way. Which would you choose? It's obvious, but based on the context of this story, we both know the long way is the way we SHOULD have gone. This "short-cut" went through this forest, and there was a bridge, and it could have been flooded because of all the rain. It wasn't very big, and it saved us ten minutes that would have made us late, so it was good. But anyways, the bridge was not flooded! Barely! The water was just a hair under the bridge. Talk about timing. Well, the whole situation reminded me of Slenderman, and was kind of eerie, so of course, the story I tell Elder Peterson while walking is a completely made up story about my Taekwondo days. Ha ha! And he was talking about his previous companion Bateman, from Alabama. The reason I tell you what he was talking about is because right as we set foot on the bridge, the water explodes next to us. Oh man! We both jumped, and freaked out. What had just happened? A huge splash had occurred right next to us. We stopped and looked into the water, but thinking of Alabama, Peterson was thinking of gators, so he was really panicked. I thought I saw something in the water (it was dark) and I thought it was coming at us. So I'm getting ready to fight or flight (my natural instinct is fight btw) when suddenly the water blows up again. By that point, I had realized I was in a suit and had my scriptures, no way was I fighting this little whatever it was. So, I told him: "Let's go" and we took off, and got out safely haha. We thought it was a bunch of kids chucking boulders into the water, but based on our first reaction, they must have been stoned out of their minds not to have laughed. I started laughing at our reaction, and I love scaring people, so anybody in their right mind would have laughed too, so who knows what was going on, but we weren't and will not take any chances, so guess what way we went back with? You're right! We went back to check out this river again, but snuck in to look for kids. Oh come on, don't be ridiculous, of course we went the long way, that was all lit. We are missionaries for pete's sake, and we have things and people worth living for :) No need to lose my bag and my quad because I'm too lazy to walk. But really though, we had been walking aaaaall day, so my feet had had it, which is another reason we went through there in the first place. We had taken that way before in the daytime, and will continue to do so, but at night is just toooo freaky :) Meddling kids playing tricks! That's what I would do if I lived around there.... So funny! Total AFV moments galore!

Well, we're beginning to wind down, but we had stake conference this weekend, and after eating dinner yesterday, the mom of the family we ate with gave us a pep talk on her neighbors, and what we should say to them, and how she had been fasting and praying for them aaaaaaaaaaall day, and that they were prepared. She told us what to say when they opened the door and everything, but didn't want us to use her name. Guess what happened???? Yuuuuuuuuuuuup, they both closed the door before the ten second mark. ouch! We have decided not to tell her until she asks us about it, because she was so excited! We have no idea what went wrong! Did our full bellies chase away the spirit? Or were they just not ready yet? One guy didn't even say a word to us, just beckoned to go away then closed the door in our faces. The only thing we managed to say was: "There's a bird crammed into your roof" He opened the door again: "What?" He comes out and lo and behold, there was a bird crammed into his roof. He says: "Oh for heaven's sake" goes back in and closes the door. Odd. Oh well. That's just the way the rocks rolls sometimes.

Oh! I can't believe I forgot to mention teaching Craig the Parable. Oh my gosh! That was probably the most powerful one yet! The Spirit was so strong, and his wife's eyes filled, mine were filled, and I wiped them away. If I thought the arrowwoods was good, holy smokes this blew everything out of the water harder than those rocks thrown at us did! Anyways, that reminds me of the package. Thank you mom! The blankets are greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat! I haven't gotten cold once! And it is just like the gray one I brought out with me! But like double the size. I can't wear it like a cloak without looking dumb haha, but it is amazing. It is so soft :D

Love and miss you all!

-Elder Wilkinson

Oh, ps, why didn't anybody tell me the Cheezits had letters on them? Once I figured that out I spent forever finding letters to spell things. Totes felt like a 2 year old again. That's why I just said totes, it's the 2 year old vocabulary in me ;) Anyways, have a good day ya'll!

So, remember when I said that my singing voice is improving? Yeah well, guess who got signed up to sing in sacrament meeting in 2 weeks.............. yuuuuuup. This kid. That'll be fun. Pray that it goes well? Anyways, have good lives :)

-Elder Wilkinson

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