Let's start with last Monday - Monday night, our investigator Paul calls us. He calls alot, and usually just to talk... but he's a great guy and needs lots of love and support right now. Anyway, he calls and I'm talking to him. He tells me about all these things that he knows aren't right but that following Jesus Christ is right, so then I ask him, since he knows these things are true, if he will be baptized. And he says yes! He was SO excited about it! He knew that it would be a wonderful blessing and he was just so excited! We had to go to an appointment right then, so he said he would pray for the people we were going to teach and that they would want to come to church because of how wonderful it was and everything was really great. Then we get to our appointment - which was with Don's neighbors that he referred us to because they are going to through a hard time right now, etc. Just as we pull up, so does someone else. A family gets out of the car and goes right up to the house we were about to go up to! They went inside, and we're sitting here awkwardly wondering what to do, because obviously our appointment just got company. Just then, Don comes walking up to the car (I have a picture of this, because he was bundled up so funny I couldn't resist) and startles us a bit, but he said he had talked to Jeff and Melissa and they were planning on us coming over, so to "get going!" We knocked on the door, and they let us in - and then ALL 4 of the adults sit down with us! The kids all went to their rooms to play, and Jeff, Melissa, Jennifer and Scott all stayed and talked with us. They had some awesome questions and seemed really interested in coming to church. Jennifer and Melissa even said they would try to come to the RS activity Wednesday night. So from one referral, we got 4 new investigators (TWO families!), and we got someone on date for baptism. All on a preparation day. It was awesome :)
And then the rest of the week happened... Jennifer and Melissa didn't come on Wednesday. And they didn't come to church either. Paul cancelled our appointment on Saturday and didn't come to church on Sunday. Cierra didn't come to church on Sunday. Kasey didn't come to church on Sunday. So we went from thinking we would have 7 or 8 investigators at church plus Cierra's mom and aunt, to having 3.
This week wasn't terrible though, in fact we had some really great appointments. We just also had quite a few disappointments... Mostly everybody falling through on church was the biggest thing. Well and Paul getting all weird over the weekend... but we had and AWESOME appointment with Rose this week and a really great lesson with Cierra which her mom joined at the end.
Rose has started listening to the Book of Mormon on CD while she drives to and from work (and Don just said that they were listening to it while running their errands on Saturday too). We went over on Friday and basically she just wanted to double check her understanding of what she had heard so far. She was amazing! Don was speechless (which NEVER happens) and Sister Stewart and I were just in awe at how much she had listened to and how much she had gotten out of it. It was really cool. They're not on date to be baptized yet, but it really is only a matter of time. I think the only hang-up right now is the Word of Wisdom. They need to quit smoking, but I think even more than that, it is a matter of understanding WHY we aren't supposed to drink coffee. They know smoking is bad for them, but they don't see what the big deal with coffee is. It's hard because Don KNOWS Joseph Smith was a prophet, and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and I think Rose is really close to that point, but they still haven't quite gotten that if Joseph Smith was a prophet and said we shouldn't drink coffee, then that should be enough. I realize that they have to come to that point on their own.
Bummer about Nate's pneumonia! Awesome birds of prey stories! And that's super funny about Elder Thomas with the cups. hahaha. I got Sue's package today! It came on Tuesday, but I had to wait until today to pick it up, since the post office is out of our area. By like 10 feet mind you, but out of our area nonetheless...
Cierra is doing great. She was going to come to church on Sunday, but slept through her alarm :( We had an awesome meeting with her on Thursday though. We talked about prayer and she's just awesome. Every question we ask, she has the greatest answers to showing how much she understands her relationship to God and the importance of following Him. Then at the end, her mom came in and sat down with us while we watched some mormon messages. Sister Stewart has a DVD (which by the way, if you can find those DVD's at Deseret Book, I would LOVE them! They are great teaching tools. She has the one with "My New Life" as the last video so if there are others that would be a good place to start... though that one would still be good for when we're not companions anymore) with a bunch of them.
Anyway, Tina likes them, so we watched a couple and then had a really good discussion about forgiveness. 7 months ago, her sister, Samantha, was shot in the head by their mom's husband. It is a complete MIRACLE that she survived. She said that she is no longer angry about it, but that she's still not ready to forgive him. But I think where she's at, is a form of forgiveness. No, they haven't forgotten about it, but they have moved on. There are still suffering from the affects of it, but they are moving on with life. They are helping Samantha with her recovery, and they are a stronger family because of it. Tina and her fiance were going to get married last summer, but then this happened and they are now waiting until Samantha can be in the wedding - standing. Because soon she will be able to stand on her own again. She has made some incredible strides in her recovery in so short a time. This family is AMAZING. We also asked Cierra about baptism again, and she said that she talked to her mom about it, and at first she was pretty against it. But after they came to church, she opened up to it quite a bit. One of our members knew Tina from work - they knew each other well enough to recognize each other at least - and Cierra said that after talking to Sister Dodd, who told Tina she herself was a convert and that joining the church had "changed her life", that she was much more willing to consider Cierra getting baptized. That, on top of the fact that she has been joining us for the mormon messages the last few times, gives us hope that soon we will be able to teach them as a family. Cierra was really awesome too in switching from "student" mode to "teacher" mode when her mom joined and it was cool to see her sharing her testimony a little about these things.
And Mario came to church again! We weren't able to meet with him this week, but he still came to church! And he stayed for Sunday School this time. It was really cool, because the lesson was on baptism, but Sister Smith was focusing a lot on the repentance part - which is somehow I think what Mario needed, even though he totally doesn't have any big sins he needs to repent of or anything. (Mario is the one who when Sister Brown and I first met him, basically told us that he believed in and was living the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity) Anyway, we're going through the lesson, and Sister Smith says something about having a firm testimony. Mario raised his hand and asked if she could "elaborate on 'testimony' " which then led to the whole class having a really great discussion about what it means to have a testimony. Most of the people in there were converts and so it was cool to see them all working together to help Mario, and remembering what it was like for them investigating the church. Hopefully that was what he needed to be confident that he can join the church without knowing everything - but that he knows enough. We'll find out on Thursday.
Don cut our hair this morning and it was really fun. He is so funny and it was just great to be able to give him that joy of being able to practice his trade again. I'll send a few pictures that the other Sisters took.
I love LOVE LOVE you!
Your littlest one, your missionary, your Sister Ali