#postconferenceblues #isitalreadyover ? Wasn't General Conference amazing? It was another powerful weekend full of bold counsel, uplifting, hope, and encouragement. Once again I had personal questions that I wrote down and prayed about throughout the week, and as they always are during Conference, they were all answered. Some of the answers I received were resolved in unexpected ways, but the Lord knows what is best. I won't go into full detail of the questions and answers provided, but a few of my favorite talks included Russell M. Nelson's, Richard G. Scott's, Dieter F. Uchtdorf's, and David A. Bednar's--only to name a few! It was all incredible. :) I know that President Monson and each of the church leaders were called of God to address us all according to the world's, and our very own personal needs and desires as well.
On April Fools Day, I asked for it--to have more funny moments stand out. Surely enough, that prayer was answered. :) (I think part of it was the joke on how oblivious I was with a miracle that was right there in front of us.) That day was incredible--more teaching opportunities came along my and Sister Nielson's way. We had been so desperate to find more who were yearning for better success, listening hearts and ears, and more chances to share His word. The Lord compensated through His infinite love to show that not although there were some very difficult situations to handle and work out, there were also more good opportunities to come (and maybe a good laugh as well at some irony.)
In my journal at the end of the day, I was describing the best parts of the day. I described those we met and the messages we shared with others in more lengthy detail, even if they weren't interested. After these longer stories, I wrote, "Sister Nielson and I also met a man at the library today, who said we could share more with him!" That's all I wrote. Ha-ha I'll get to that soon. :)
After feeling good after a lot of success on Tuesday, Sister Nielson and I joined a member family for hibachi food at a Japanese restaurant. When we sat down at the U-shaped table around a large cooking setup, our assigned seats were right next to a nice-looking family. I was thinking about how great of a teaching opportunity this could turn into. (Also, my seat was closest to theirs and the family we were with and Sister Nielson couldn't hear our conversation too well.) As the waiters began to bring out the soup and salad, the mom of the family asked us what church we belong to (as they saw the black name tags), which we responded, and they didn't seem to be familiar with who were were. Once the member we were with cleared that we are Mormons, she nodded. Then, she asked what we do as missionaries and what we teach. At that point, so much filled my head that I stumbled over some words, but gave a basic summary of the Restoration. As the mom and I continued conversing, she spilled the news that I almost had to do a double take on...
There I was, teaching a family of Jehovah's Witnesses! (I was wondering if they would be receptive.)
The family really was sweet and considerate. Luckily they weren't aggressive or anything like that. As the mom and I continued our conversation, she began sharing her beliefs and what their church teaches about what they believe God's kingdom to be and what will happen to us all as I continued to listen. They emphasized how " they teach exactly what's in the Bible and stick with the Bible" but it made no sense at all as to what I know to be true from the Bible.
We all enjoyed the cooking show, then I began to tell about Heavenly Father's plan for each of us individually--why we're here, how we lived with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ before, as he then chose to atone for our sins and transgressions when He would come to earth, the Creation and Fall, our earth life, what happens after we die as we go to the Spirit World, the Resurrection--when our bodies and spirits come together in its perfection before we meet God again, and how we'll be judged and placed into one of the three kingdoms, but how we're all striving for the Celestial Kingdom where God will dwell and our families will be together for all eternity.
The mom and 13 year old daughter listened the whole time as I used the small diagram in Preach my Gospel, (and it was one of the only days I carried it with me.) The daughter seemed to take interest about the part of how each of us has a purpose to live with God again when that time comes, and how the plan all centers on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as it enables us to live with Him again.
Once the mom asked if we believe this because of what's in the Book of Mormon, I explained how the Book of Mormon clarifies what's unclear in the Bible, and how it's another witness of Jesus Christ. As soon as I said that, we all continued to eat, but there was silence from them. Dead silence.
Sister Nielson, the member family, and I all continued to talk and eat. When the family left, we bid friendly goodbyes.
Okay...I thought that was the greatest part of the day, but it wasn't.
Now remember the man I mentioned who "we met at the library, and he said we could share more with him?" On Tuesday Sister Nielson and I were working on Digital Mission online proselyting, and this man named Darryl thought Sister Nielson and I were librarians as he saw us hopping back and forth to read over each other’s comments before posting them. He asked for help with his Excel document, which I was able to help out with since I had a little bit of experience with it at work before the mission. We told him how we were missionaries for our church, and then when I needed to take a break, Sister Nielson was boss at obeying the prompting she received as Heavenly Father urged her to talk to him. She told him how he seemed very nice, and explained more about what we do, as we teach of Christ and provide answers that people cannot find anywhere else. That was when he said he would like to meet. :)
We met with him on Friday, as we hoped for the best, wondering how in the world it would turn out. We based some questions and our discussion off of "How to Begin Teaching" in Preach my Gospel, but knew the Holy Ghost would definitely have to guide it along. As soon as we arrived at the table at the library where he was sitting, he greeted us friendly. We noted immediately the articles right in front of him from Real Life Answers that he found, all marked with notes he made. He had the pass along card Sister Nielson gave to him, a briefcase, planner and more set right there.
We hardly had to say much. Darryl jumped right in. He told us his background, the struggles he's gone through, and how it's sparked an interest about religion in him, which he had never experienced before, as the idea of God strengthened him. We explained how God is not a powerful, almighty idea--but his very loving Eternal Father of his spirit--guiding his life along.
Darryl wanted to continue to heal and not step away again, and he knows he needs religion in his life but has been searching for what's right. He kept saying how open he is at this time. He wanted to know what our church is, where we meet, and what it teaches. He asked what we do as missionaries, wants the lessons, wanted to schedule them out (along with a church tour before he attends church next Sunday). He also offered to have all the lessons taught in a week because he is ready to learn. Right as I was about to mention how he'll want to keep commitments as he learns more, he asked, "What commitments will I need to make?"
I couldn't believe everything was happening as it was right then! Was this real?! I had never experienced anything like this, and it was very difficult to not look like a goon smiling from ear to ear.
He asked about General Conference's times and where to watch it since church wouldn't be held this Sunday. We also gave him a Book of Mormon with an index card that had "Questions of the Soul" (from Preach my Gospel) he could look at and pick which ones stood out, and refer to the scriptures given as answers. However, he wanted to read them all.
I am still bewildered. It would be impossible to express how merciful the Lord is. With all of the discouragement that we faced shortly beforehand, Heavenly Father was watching. He helped turn one of the most difficult times for us into a very memorable moment that may lead to something more incredible.
Honestly, I feel like one of the three Nephites was sent to us to give us a boost. But I have to be real with myself and know this is a huge blessing from our loving Heavenly Father.
A few other things that happened this week:
I hit my hump-day mark on April 3rd. :) The mission has been going by slowly but very quickly at the same time.
A police officer died for unknown reasons on his motorcycle right in front of our apartment complex. They don't know if it was from a heart attack, brain aneurysm, or what. It's been hard to see and it's affected a lot of people in Plymouth and Boston, but the whole town has come together to show their respect and honor for him.
I found success holding a chicken!!!
We celebrated Sister Nielsen's 21st birthday.
|Sister Nielsen's Birfday. Now she can driiink...water!|
|flat tire fixed (thanks to Good Samaritan)|
Well I better get going. I love you all very much.