Hola mi familia!
This week was crazy depressing and sad, but it had an unexpected twist at the end. This week has definitely been one of the most interesting weeks of my mission. I feel like most of it has been a trial of my faith, and of the faith of Elder Anderson. We have had over the last week, many of our investigators that were progressing drop us. Teresa, whose dad was murdered and who was golden, changed her whole countenance when we taught the Word of Wisdom, and she told us she would never quit drinking coffee and smoking and said she wouldn't be baptized. TaShanna and Abby her daughter are dwindling. Abby could be baptized as soon as she comes to church two more times, but Tashanna is telling everyone different stories, and she isn't letting Abby go to church or mutual, and she is lying to us and to the ward. Jeff, the boy Pres. Toombs interviewed, was set for baptism on the 31st of this month, but just yesterday he slipped up and the Olsens might not be able to have him anymore. Ricky and Erik Garnica cancelled on us three times this week. We went tracting for about 8 hours in the last three days and all of the appointments except one no-showed (not super surprised, but it just added to the discouragement). I had been feeling immensely discouraged and wondering what we could be doing differently yesterday. Nothing was working out, and nothing we were doing seemed to change any of that. I had been trying to set a good example of a full and hard-working week for Elder Anderson, but it seemed like nothing had an effect on any of the investigators or potentials or key indicators. I was feeling inadequate, sad, unproductive, and I felt like I wasn't setting a good example for Elder Anderson.
Yesterday, finally we had a return appointment with one of the people we tracted into earlier in the week, and this 80 year-old man we had met let us in. We talked for a while, and his wife Rita was there. Then she asked us, "Well what can we do for you gentlemen?" We then told her what our purpose was, and she asked if we were Mormons. We said yes, and then she talked about how her son converted to Mormonism a while back in Seattle. We asked her if she had ever talked to him about what he believes, and she said once or twice. She told us that she grew up religious, but then got away from going to church, and she said she wasn't sure how she felt about organized religion. It was at this point that I felt very guided by the Spirit in speaking with her. It seemed as if the promise of just opening our mouths and them being filled was fulfilled right then. I started talking to her about the organization of the church, about its divine roots, and its authority. I told her about how it is the same church Christ set up, and it has been restored with apostles and prophets. After that she looked stunned. She then asked, "So you're telling me your church is different than all the other ones?" And we told her yes, we were God's true church once again on the earth. We then testified of the Book of Mormon, and gave here a copy, and she was excited to read it. We set up a return appointment with her, and it seemed as if she was Heavenly Father's way of telling me: "Ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer. For I will lead you along." (D&C 78:18). I am so grateful for that experience.
Well, Elder Anderson is a great missionary. He is ready to go, ready to work, and ready to teach. I am grateful for his willing heart and his faith. In tracting this week, Elder Anderson has been doing great! He has great faith and the Spirit with him. I have been amazed to see that even though each approach he does isn't the most eloquent, comfortable, or polished, the people respond to him and invite us back. I have learned from him this last week that it doesn't matter at all how charming we are at a door, or how well we express ourselves. What matters is the faith we have that the person behind the door is one of our Father in Heaven's children ready to accept the restored gospel. The district I'm in has the potential to be one of the best districts of the mission. The problem has been, not all of them have lived up to their privileges and their potential. The feeling I have of responsibility for these elders and their areas is amazing, and I have never really felt this before. I have so much more respect for the leaders I have had now that I experience a tiny fraction of what they feel. I hope that in some way I will be able to influence these elders for the better. I am so grateful for this gospel, and for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I love the work. It's crazy every day, but it is so amazing in every way.
Elder Logan Bryan
Pic 1: Posterity Picture--Elder Washburn, Me, Elder Anderson
Pic 2: Elder McKay and Me with the Blanchards