Something SUPER exciting this week was that we had 3 of our investigators come to church yesterday!! It was SO awesome. So it's actually the Ramirez family. We were teaching them a couple of months ago, but they just wouldn't keep any commitments, so we dropped them for a while. But then last week during the missionary broadcast their names kept coming to both Hermana Tolliver's and my mind AND we both had a strong feeling to bring Mark Shipman with us. So we called Joselin (the mom) and set up an appointment to visit them on Tuesday. We brought Mark with us. He just got back from his mission in Colombia about a month ago and he is such a good teacher! It was so cool because even though their concerns were still the same and our solutions were still generally the same, Mark was able to level with them in a way that we hadn't been able to and created a really great analogy. So with the Ramirez's, their main issue is that they've thought about baptism a lot, but they just feel like they need to know more and more and more. Earlier in the conversation Daniel (their 16 year old son) had come home from being at the gym and his parents told us about how he has lost over 100 pounds in the last year. We were shocked because he looks really good right now and we asked how. Joselin said she took him to the doctor who referred them to a child therapist and a nutritionist. After that he just started to change and go to the gym more, feel more confident, etc. So after they talked about wanting to understand more logically about the Gospel, Mark compared the experience with Daniel's weight loss to their family's experience with learning the Gospel. He asked Joselin why she chose to take Daniel to the doctor, and not just to a friend who happened to know quite a bit about healthy living? She said, "Well, because the doctor is a professional. Maybe my friend knows a lot but she's not a professional. She doesn't know everything." Then Mark said, "It's exactly the same way with the Gospel. Us as members and missionaries know quite a bit about God's plan, but we're not the professionals here, only God truly knows everything. The missionaries have taught you all the missionary lessons a few times, and you've received a lot of mental information and understanding. Have you actually prayed to God to know if it's true with your heart?" They sat there for a moment and said, "Well, no, actually." Then Joselin expressed that it was hard for us to understand them because the three of us all grew up in the church. After she talked about that, I shared a personal experience of my own conversion. I said that "Yes, I have grown up with a lot of knowledge of the gospel and the church because of Sunday school classes, primary, and seminary over the years, but it never meant anything unless it got into my heart." I told her about the moment I was actually converted and then we shared Moroni 10:3-5 with them and they promised to pray and to come to church!! AND THEY DID. It was wonderful.
Moroni 10: 3-5
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
Some other highlights this week:
Thursday we got to go to the Doctrine of Christ training! It's something that is done every transfer for trainers and trainees in their second transfer of training, so I've been to it three times now (once with Herman Luevano, once with Hermana Hull, and once with Hermana Tolliver). It's still amazing every time and I still learn a lot. Something else fun was that we got to ride up to the meeting (in Quincy) with the Lewis's! It was great having some one-on-one time with them and getting to ask President for advice on our area. Sometimes it's really hard being a pioneer! We also got to ride back down from the meeting with the Assistant to the Presidents and one of them is a brand new Assistant to the President and just last week he was serving in the Englewood branch (one of my old areas and the most thriving Spanish area in the mission). So we picked Elder King's brain for ideas and tracting tips. So far it's all going really well and we're trying to apply it, even though we only have a few members!
After the Doctrine of Christ training on Thursday we finally got in with a potential (now actual) investigator named Maria. She also wants to come to church but is SERIOUSLY shy! It's crazy. She also gets embarrassed easily, so she was overwhelmed at the idea of meeting so many new people at once.
Friday we had 2 great lessons--with a new family that just moved in to our group (hallelujah) and also with a new investigator family. We actually made up a cool cup object lesson for the restoration. I don't have a ton of time to explain it all right now unfortunately.
This was SO FUNNY! Hermana Tolliver lost one of her tags the day it was really slushy because all the snow was melting, and then then next day we went back to the same apartments and she found it but it was frozen into the ground!
Doctrine of Christ training
I love and miss you all!