From: Jessica McKay <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Baptisms and Cuban Food
Date: April 22, 2013 10:49:55 AM MDT
I have never had a week like this. I feel like I say that every week. But honestly, we are reaping bounteous blessings right now.
I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Beuchert (“Be-you-kurt”). Don’t worry. It took me two whole days to learn how to pronounce it correctly. She’s brand new from the MTC, so she’s where I was three months ago! The only difference is she was only in the MTC for 12 days. Our ward was pretty surprised that I am training already. Well they weren’t surprised that I was training, they just remember me coming out as a brand new missionary to the Andover ward, and it’s only been 11 weeks since then (I had one less week of training because of a funny transfer schedule) . Look how far we’ve come 🙂 Sister Moon was called up to Lees Summit, just outside of Independence. She’s training a new missionary as well and will probably be serving in the Visitor’s Center again. She was sad to leave Andover, but was excited to train again by the time she left. I had to say goodbye to my “mama” as I became a new “mama.”
We have had a crazy week.
Linda is getting baptized on Saturday! How exciting is that?!? We are so excited for her. So Sister Beuchert’s first week in the field and we have a baptism to plan. That is SO different from my first week in the field. We didn’t even know who our bishop was. Now I get to introduce my new companion to all of the wonderful people I’ve developed relationships with and that we’ve been teaching over the last few months. Linda was one of the first ones she met. After our first lesson with her, Sister Beuchert could understand why there is such a soft spot for Linda in my heart.
The day before we had transfer calls– last Tuesday, we went to see Dick. We had had a difficult appointment with him the week before because we brought a team-up with us who was very argumentative to Dick’s views and opinions, and ended up damaging the relationship we had with him. He was a recently returned missionary and I guess felt like he knew exactly what to do, but unfortunately he said some things that did not help strengthen Dick’s faith. We could tell our bond had been severed slightly because of that bad experience. So we went back to see him on Tuesday in full faith and hope of mending our relationship and continuing to teach him. When we arrived, however, the first thing Dick said to us was, “I don’t want this to hurt our friendship, because I consider us good friends, but all this talk on religion has got to stop. I don’t agree with your prophet and I won’t listen to any more of it in my house.” We were shocked. As we tried to understand this sudden decision, we asked him about lessons we had been teaching him. He still believes that the things we have taught (we taught the restoration and the plan of salvation) and that the parts of the Book of Mormon he has read are true, he just couldn’t accept a living prophet because he didn’t feel we needed one. He seems to think that we believe that we have to go through the prophet to get to God, and this was largely in part of the team-up we had last week. I will honestly admit that I was a wreck during and after that appointment. So was Sister Moon. We have grown to feel such genuine love and care for Dick and his deceased wife Bets that our hearts were severely wrenched when he made that decision. Missionary work is not easy for many different reasons. Our eyes were opened during this experience to a little bit of what Heavenly Father feels when His children knowingly reject Him.
But: I am not giving up on Dick! He has never even heard or read teachings of the modern prophets and apostles and doesn’t understand what he’s closed himself off to. I asked him if I could bring him a copy of the most recent conference addresses with my favorite parts highlighted and marked for him to read and he said that would be alright. So as soon as I get a copy of the ensign, we’re going back to see Dick. Until then, he did say he would continue to read the book of Mormon, because he finds it interesting. He left the door open just a crack to the gospel. All is not lost in Zion!
Wednesday we spent part of the day inside so Sister Moon could pack her things. Then that evening we went to Linda’s to spend our last night with her. Thursday was transfers! We went to visit Jackie Brown/White that morning. She found out the beginning of last week that she has a brain tumor and she is not doing well. Please keep her in your prayers. The transfer bus came at 12:30 and I picked up my new companion and we started our first day as a companionship. (I got cleared to drive our car last Monday, so I’m the official driver now)
Friday was a wonderful day. We found two new investigators and a new service opportunity at a nursing home we accidentally tracted into. We felt the spirit guiding us the entire day to where we needed to go and where we needed to stay. We also witnessed some people helping an old man who had fallen on the pavement as we were driving, so we pulled over to help. Sister Beuchert called an ambulance while I helped him with a cut on his forehead. He ended up just fine.
Sunday we experienced a miracle. We went to contact a referral received from one of the young men in our ward and saw the whole family playing outside. We honestly didn’t know who we were contacting, we just knew the house number. So we walked up to the middle of the driveway and began talking with them and asked if we could share a message. To our surprise, they said, “Sure!” and gave us some camp chairs to sit on and they (the entire family!) sat on the steps in front of us. This was the first time Sister Beuchert and I have ever taught the first lesson together. In fact, this was Sister Beuchert’s first time teaching the first lesson to a real investigator. The Spirit was so strong that we were able to bear our testimonies in a way that touched their hearts. They all wanted copies of the Book of Mormon when we finished teaching. We gave away 5 copies and found 6 new investigators in a 35 minute period. They all wanted to learn more. Michael, the head of the house, said to us, “I want to read that book, but I also just want you to know that you made my evening.” We are going to their restaurant (they’re from cuba and serve cuban style food) for dinner sometime this week by special invitation 🙂 Please pray for the Gonzales’ as they read the Book of Mormon that they will be able to have their heart’s touched and desire to learn more. Whatever happens with this family though, I know that we were able to help them feel the Spirit, who is the true teacher.
We found out today that Sister Beuchert’s family fasted for us yesterday. Fasting is powerful. Finding the Gonzales family was a huge blessing.
My new companion is very special. I can tell she walks with the Spirit and has great faith. I hope one day people can feel that when they are with me. If we have the Spirit with us, it is a confirmation that we are accepted by God and that we are walking in His ways.
Love you all, and have a great week!