Mom's Note -- Up to this point all names in Jessica's blog have been shortened to initials to protect the privacy of others. I've heard bad stories of investigators and inactive or less active members being harassed when their names were found on missionary blogs. However, since this can get to be very confusing to the reader, I've decided to shorten only the names of those investigators or less active/inactive members from now on and go ahead and use other names in full. I hope this helps a bit.
On another note, I'd like to ask for your prayers for Jessica. She had a lot of dental work done before her mission but has still been in pain ever since. She's going to a dentist in California, trying to get things figured out, but right now she wakes up almost every night in tears because of the pain. She could really use all of our prayers. Thank you.
I just realized I left my brain (my planner) in the truck, so this letter will be quite different than most. I'll write the highlights that I remember.
We had a great opportunity to go tracting on Tuesday. I just love meeting people & testifying as to what we believe. Even when they aren't interested, I still feel the Spirit as I testify. We did meet this really great girl who is a Junior in high school. She said she has a friend who's a member & said she'd be interested in learning more & accepted a Book of Mormon. I called her a few days after & she said she'll be busy until school is out so to call her in a couple weeks...we'll see where that goes!
Wednesday we had interviews with President Hobbs. This is the second one I've had since being in the field. I always get so nervous to talk to President & I don't know why. It was really great, though. He asked me what I wanted to talk about. I told him how something has been missing since I've been here in Phelan & I think I figured out what it is. The week before in zone meeting, one elder quoted President saying: "When you stop contacting, you stop being a missionary." THAT'S WHAT IT IS. Contacting! I hadn't done it much at all since being up here & I miss it a lot. But I told him about how we went tracting on Tuesday and he encouraged me to figure out ways to find. Because that is our purpose. It's great to help the members & less actives in your ward, but a missionary's purpose is to find those who are prepared to receive the gospel, teach them & baptize them.
He said "Phelan is different". hahaha. It was funny how he said it. It really is different. We have to be creative in the ways we find here & lately we haven't been creative. So that is our challenge! All in all it was a great interview.
Wednesday night we had a lesson with C. We planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation, but only got to the Fall of Adam & Eve & she had sooo many questions. We gave her 2Nephi 2 to read.
One thing we've been working a lot on this past week is asking EVERYONE for referrals--member, less active, non member, investigator, grumpy men, etc. We've been doing pretty great with it. We take turns asking. Working through members is how missionary work is supposed to be done. In a perfect world missionaries wouldn't do the finding, the members would! but no one's perfect, so we're trying to work on that.
Sunday morning before Sacrament meeting we got a text from C saying "Not for me. I don't want to be Mormon anymore. Blessed to know you" NOOOOO, C!!!! We wanted to scream. We tried asking her what happened & if we could come over & talk with her, she said "no". But we're not giving up that easily. But as of now, there is no baptism for June 6. I think I'm cursed. Every investigator I've had that's close to baptism cancels. I might go my whole mission without a baptism. Luckily, I don't gauge success on the number of baptisms....but still!
Sunday was one of those days..... C cancelled her baptism, awkward lunch/dinner with a couple of families, appointments cancelled, etc. We spent 50+ miles with nothing to show for it. We decided to visit the H family at night & even they weren't home! So we decided to visit their horses & ended up teaching their horse the Message of the Restoration. At least he accepted a return appointment! hahaha. I recorded the lesson on my camera ;)
So yesterday was a really great day. We had a ward Memorial Day breakfast combined with another ward. We also played softball. It was fun. I got a little sunburned. Then we took a little nap at home. Then we did some shopping and went to the zone activity at 2:00. The zone activity was super fun! We played ultimate ball, which is like ultimate frisbee but with a small football & you shoot it into the basketball hoop. Then we played savage ball, which I'm not to good at, but I can keep up with the elders...kinda.
Here's an interesting experience we had with tracting last week...
We knocked on this lady's door who had a few crosses in her yard. Usually that's a sign of a great Christian home & you'd expect whoever opens the door to be friendly & nice. But this lady was the total opposite. She opened the door & we said "hi" & told her who we were & told her we have a special message about Jesus Christ. We told her that His church has been restored to the earth today through a living prophet & through him we have more of God's word to His children in another book of holy scripture called The Book of Mormon. She proceeded to tell us what we believed in. It's funny how other people tell us what WE believe & it's never correct.
Lady: "You believe you gain salvation through Joseph Smith. HE WAS A MAN!"
Our response: "No ma'am. We do not believe that. We believe that ONLY through Jesus Christ we can gain salvation. We believe Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet in these last days just as Abraham, Moses, & Noah were prophets."
After about a 10 minute discussion with her practically telling us we are terrible people & that we believe in a false religion, I said "we hope you have a great day" & walked away & she said "wish I could say the same to you..." It actually hurt me to see that this woman who claims to know Jesus Christ truly doesn't know Him at all... Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love, hope, gratitude, faith, obedience, charity, etc. Shouldn't we all strive to be more like Him each & every day? He is the only source of pure joy in this life & eternal life in the world to come.
His gospel is such a HAPPY message. That's why I love being a missionary. That's why I've never been happier in all my life. Even when you meet the rudest kinds of people. Being in the Lord's work brings so many blessings.
"Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice but a continuous commitment and way of life." - Dallin H. Oaks
xoxo Sister Viraldo