So, first off, in case you were wondering... Elder David Archuleta's missionary email is NOT in the regular missionary email format. If you try to email him using the standard formula, it doesn't work. Definitely a bummer for those of us who are trying to send him a nice, encouraging note and let him know how much we love his Christmas CD. And that we love it so much that we listen to it in May.
The weeks continue to fly by at a frightening pace. I had my first experience this week with investigators on probation, and let me tell you, it is heart-wrenching. People who are on probation or parole can't get baptized until either the whole legal situation is figured out...either that or they need to get an exception from the First Presidency of the Church. We have this incredible investigator Adam who is so ready for baptism in his life and who wants/needs it so badly. He's had a really hard past and he understands how this baptism can help bring the relief from guilt and past mistakes that he is looking for. He also recognizes the peace and hope that have come into his life since we started meeting with him and he's excited about continuing to progress down that path. BUT, unfortunately he's on probation. He had an interview with President Anderson this week and President is going to forward a petition to President Monson so that Adam can get baptized. It will probably still be at least 2 months until we hear back, though. :/ So until then we'll keep teaching Adam and helping him prepare for that baptism. But UGHH it is KILLER just having to sit here and wait, especially when we know how much he needs the guidance of the Holy Ghost and how much he wants to be baptized!
Speaking of Adam, we had a super epic lesson with him at the beginning of the week. We brought Brother Greenberg, one of the counselors from the branch presidency with us. We were teaching the Word of Wisdom and it was important that Adam stopped smoking. The spirit was super strong during the lesson and Brother Greenberg actually TOOK his ashtray, his lighter, and his empty pack of cigarettes away ("out of sight, out of mind!"). He then committed Adam to say, "Brother Greenberg, I will never smoke again!" and Adam said it! Ahhh super cool! And he just STOPPED smoking. Cold turkey. Super amazing! So that was definitely the most epic lesson of my mission.
I also had one of the most powerful lessons of my mission this week. We were teaching Key, who is someone we've been working with for a looong time. Totally knows everything we teach is true, knows he needs to be baptized, but won't come to church. On Friday we taught him and just watched him "struggle in the Spirit" like they talk about in the scriptures. It was an incredible experience to watch him as the spirit worked in him, testifying to him (again) of the truth of our message and especially that he needs to be baptized. There was one point during the lesson when he had a concern and I turned him to part of the introduction of the Book of Mormon. After he read the short paragraph, he put the book down and tried to come up with something but instead just said, "I'm speechless." It was an incredible lesson! Oh Key, I just love him with my whole heart. I want him to join the Church so badly. He'll get there for sure...but I hope it is SOONER rather than LATER! He didn't come to church again yesterday. :/
Being on a mission has also helped me to recognize even more the reality of Satan. He is so real and he really does fight against us. We are in a war! And unfortunately sometimes he throws some pretty powerful punches. We have an absolutely incredible investigator who was trying to come to church yesterday. She went out to her car and not only was she out of gas, she also had a flat tire! The only money she had was a check, so she went to the bank to cash it to get money to buy gas & fix the tire. She finally gets that taken care of and starts heading to church using the GPS on her phone. 7 minutes away from church, her phone dies! So she lost the GPS AND she couldn't call us! Gah! She texted us this morning and was so sorry she didn't make it, plus she said, "It really seemed like something was trying to keep me from getting to church yesterday!" That's right sistah, something WAS trying to keep you from coming! Satan SUCKS. But luckily we already know who wins the war. And we know whose side we are on--the Lord's side! And no matter how many flat tires get thrown at us, the Lord will always triumph! And we are building a temple just 20 minutes down the road from me that will lessen Satan's power even more!
Yup. Being a warrior for the Lord pretty much rocks.
(aka "warrior woman"...it IS what my first name means, after all)