So sorry if the e-mail ends up being a bit short, I had to write kind of a long one to our hero President Miller so I'm a little short on time.
First let me tell you about John, the coolest investigator since sliced bread. I think I told you a little about him last week, we met on base and his friend from Utah referred him to us. He went to Church last week and we talked about the Gathering of Israel. Well, we were supposed to meet with him on Tuesday but he and his friend ended up getting into a car accident. Everyone was fine but, it kind of messed up the plans for the day. We rescheduled though to meet with him on Friday and it was great! He told us that he has really bad anxiety sometimes because of being overseas and so he was really worried when he got into the accident because he didn't have any medicine with him or anything. He also said that he friend (who was driving) got really mad and started getting mad a God for what happened. "How could you do this to me?!?" etc. John said "I was thinking about how we were talking about missionary work in church and to share with people, so I told my friend that she should read The Book of Mormon. I admitted that I hadn't read it yet but that I had heard a lot of really good things about it and had a good feeling about it." And then he said that after he shared that everyone started to calm down and he was fine even though he didn't have anything for his anxiety with him. What the! Who is this guy? That's actually the second time though I've had an investigator say "I just had this feeling that I should share this spiritual thing so then I did." Man, I wish I was cool enough to not only recognize but to act on promptings like that! And then he went to the YSA dance that night, the church clean up the next morning and the activity after and took off work to go to church the next day. So, here's the problem, he's moving in a month! Ah, the curse of the YSA ward. So, we'll just have to work fast right?!
This week we also had dinner with a recently reactivated member. He told us that when he left the church as an early teenager President Hinkley was still the alive. And then when he started coming back to church President Monson was the prophet. He was telling us how he kept wonder "Whatever happened to the Hinkley guy?" until finally someone told him. I don't know, it was funny when he told it, ha ha. The other crazy thing though is that we were talking about where we were from and Sister Bowen told him that she was from Nevada. He said "Oh, I know someone from Nevada, we used to work together. His name is Aaron Thomas." Ha, and I was like "His name is what?!" But, turns out that it's a different guy. So Aaron Thomas I know has a doppleganger running around Nevada somewhere.
We had a bit of a set back with a few of our other investigators. One of them didn't understand the Word of Wisdom and then was mad that we had to move his baptism date and another one "Wants to be baptized, but isn't sure if he wants to be Mormon" but hey, set backs are just another day in the life right? Oh the up side, we had a good pass off lesson with a girl named Anna. She has a coworker who is a member of the church and when she asked him how he keeps his skin so soft he told her because he follows the word of wisdom. When she asked him what that was he said to ask the missionaries and here we are, teaching about the word of wisdom, and other things... Ha, strangest referral ever but hey, it works.
Oh, I have also learned the Souper Salads is a very disappointing place to eat. It is pretty much the salad and soup version of Pizza Pie Café. I strongly suggest avoiding it, if you get the chance. Also, Chubby's is a fantastic place to eat if you get the chance. As far as I know, it only currently exists in El Paso but, if you see it you should go.
As far as a thought for the week, something that is good and bad about a YSA ward is that it has a good number of recently returned missionaries in it. That's good because it means that people are missionary minded and are willing when they can to come out with us. It also means though that we hear a lot of "Well.. when I was on my mission, we did it this other way!" So I have been thinking recently about stewardship, revelation and the order in which Heavenly Father does things.
We had one member pull us aside after church and tell us that we were doing our job wrong (according to her) and that if people in the ward (including her) decided to be less active it would probably be our fault. Interestingly enough, that's actually the second time on my mission I've had someone say something like that to me, although for different reasons. So, maybe that means that I'm really an apostate missionary driving people away from the church, I guess that could be true, but probably what it means, is that we need to stop and think about stewardship, and who has not only the right, but also the duty to say something like that. First of all, not a random ward member, but someone who has keys to missionary work and the stewardship over this area. So, my companion, the ward mission leader, the bishop, the stake president, the district leader, the zone leader, or the mission president.
But, I think the same thought can be extended to how we view all church callings. As part of sustaining leaders that means that we also sustain and respect their stewardship. And as part of magnifying our calling, it means that we will do all that we can to help and recognize those that fall into our stewardship as well. Of course that doesn't mean that other people can't have good ideas or help, or anything like that, but it does mean that they are not entitle to revelation on how things should be done. Which means that, in the end, the decision has to come down to the person who (as long as they are living right and doing all they can) has the right and obligation to receive revelation, make corrections, and make decisions for that area.
Anyway, a long and rambling thought but hopefully it makes sense!!
Love you all and talk to you soon!