Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's a New Year

Well, it feels like it has been a month since I have last written! A lot has gone down this week! So, let me first and foremost say happy New Year! And now that that is done, let me tell you about the New Year/ Christmas miracle we had. One of our investigators, Rebecca, has been taking lessons since the start of April and has been really actively involved in the church. She hasn't been baptized though because her husband Daniel was apparently really against her having her name on official Church records. He was so against it that until this week we had never met him. Whenever we came over he made sure he was gone and apparently he wouldn't even make eye contact or look at past missionaries if he happens to run into them or something. And the last lesson we had with Rebecca before the New Year she said, "This is never going to change. I have asked and asked for months and I will never be able to be baptized so why bother." Well, Rebecca and Daniel have a tradition of going on a trip for a week after Christmas and this year they went to Salt Lake City. On New Year’s Eve we received a text from her asking us to dinner the next day. And she said "we would love to have you.”  So, of course we said yes and we were all curious about the whole we thing. We had never met Daniel before so we didn't know what to expect or what would happen. Well, let me tell you.
 We went over the night of New Years and just as we suspected, both Rebecca and Daniel were there as well as an YSA member friend of Rebecca's. Everyone was really nice and we said a prayer and started eating. So, about 10 seconds into the meal we get the shock of our lives. As you all I'm sure have deduced by now, Daniel had indeed changed his mind and was fine with Rebecca getting baptized (we were super excited and her date is for the end of this month) but, here is the crazy thing. Daniel told us that on their trip they went to Deseret and that while he was there he started listening to one of the lectures aka talks by someone. He said that for some reason, if seemed really good to him and that it felt really true and somehow it felt like more than that and he wanted to know more. So, he basically bought out Deseret. He went back there every day of the week long trip and all he listened to in the car was different talks from different people. He showed us the huge stack of audio books and talks he had bought and he told us that he really liked this guy named Henry Eyering and had we ever heard of him (guess what, we had!). They went to temple square and talked to the missionaries there and he asked us a million questions and asked for a list of other people he could start listening to. It was crazy! Amazing but crazy. I have never in my life seen someone change so quickly or have so much enthusiasm and motivation to learn. I suggested that he read a book by President Eyering called to draw closer to God and he pulled it out and was like "This one? I finished it already!" (By the way, family, have you read that yet because it is legit). We committed him to start the Book of Mormon and pray about it and we are meeting with him tomorrow!
   We've also had a lot of success talking to people about making spiritual goals. The New Year (when people were home or would let us in) has really been a good time for them to reflect and realize that they want to be better and make more changes in their lives, especially the less active members we have been visiting with.
 We had zone training this week as well oh and we had dinner at the Bishop's house this week. The layout of his house is almost exactly the same as Grandma Till's was so that's kind of weird. Also, when we came over he yelled upstairs for his two sons to come down to eat. So were were standing there I hear "Rick! Carl!" Rick comes downstairs but is alone so he yells again "Carl! Come on!" I was trying hard not to laugh at the good fortune of their names. Before we went to the Bishops we had the joy of spending forever at the auto shop so that we could get a headlight replaced. Not only did we learn how long it takes but we also learned literally how many mechanics it takes to change a Chevy Malibu light bulb. The answer is four of them and two and a half hours. While we were there we also met a man who was really, really into pumpkins. He talked to us about them for at least forty minutes....
 By the way, did I tell you all that Sister Stokes sleep talks? Like at least three times a week. The other night she sat up in bed and was like "Hey! Hey! I need a piece of paper! It's really important! I need one right now!" So I hand her one, she writes something on it and then goes back to sleep. In the morning I discovered that she had in her sleep chicken scrawled "Don't be afraid to share your testimony with everyone!" Well.... I mean that is important. And I guess it's a good thing that her dreams are gospel related? I don't know, my dream last night was that I was trying to get into Disney Land but they wouldn't let me in because I couldn't find my driver’s license.... interpret that as you will I guess.
 As far as awkwardness goes this week, I would have to say the biggest things would be when we had dinner at the part active part less active family that we had Christmas dinner with. Like I said, we have been talking to people about setting spiritual goals and as an example been using our spiritual goal of studying the characteristics of Christ more. So, we teach our dinner message and then extend a commitment because you know, that's what missionaries do. So we say, "Will you commit to setting more spiritual goals this year to help you come close to your Heavenly Father?" or something like that. And we get dead silence and a lot of stares. So after about 10 seconds of that we promise them more blessings and ask them again and we get more stares. Finally someone says sure, or maybe or something and we're like "Ok! Great! Bye!" and get our sorry selves out of there before they start telling the little girl to gather up stones like in The Lottery. Speaking of literature, every time we go to the retirement home that we volunteer at here, which is at least once a week (it's called The Beehive. Guess where it was founded...), I think of that story The Summer Kitchen.
 Well, I feel like there were a few more things I wanted to say but I'm running out of time and starting to feel like I'm getting carpel tunnel so I'll just leave you with a scripture to describe the situation we find ourselves in here. 3 John 1:13. Just substitute paper and ink for I don't know... keys and monitors or something. Well, hope everything is going well! Thank you all for writing and I love hearing from you all. Even Brandi who apparently doesn't love me anymore because I haven't heard from her in weeks and she is failing the only job I gave her to keep me updated on what is going on in the real world and I'm having to find out weeks later though back channels. Anyway! Love you all!


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