If you've seen the Disney movie "Enchanted," you know her. She's Giselle. Poor thing, I tease her whenever someone turns her down and she goes "Ooooh!" just like Giselle on the movie.
To be honest, though, we are REALLY struggling to find. It's never happened in my mission before....we just literally are not finding any solid people. And when we do find people who we get excited about, we never see them again. And obviously if we're not finding, it means we're not teaching, etc..... We've had to be extremely creative in our finding efforts this week. We are literally utilizing every resource possible! We dug through the area book for formers (and definitely saw some cool miracles with that!), we went to UM campus this week with a member to look into getting a booth set up where we could hand out pamphlets/answer questions/give out pass-along cards, and we've especially been working a ton to get member referrals. We both feel really strongly that the Lord wants us to start working with the members and that he really wants them to step it up. In my mission, I've never really tried too hard to get member referrals because we've always been able to find people based on our own efforts. But both of us have really felt that this is the way the work needs to be going and that until the members start hastening the work with their friends and family members, we will continue to struggle to find.
As a result, we have been talking to all of the members about introducing us to their loved ones. The members truly are amazing; every last one of them is having weekly missionary experiences and sharing the gospel with those around them. They just get nervous about bridging the gap and actually introducing these people to us. Most of them aren't sure how to go about it, either. All week long we have been answering questions about things they can say to their friends in order to bring us, the missionaries, into the picture. Yesterday at church we actually ROLEPLAYED in front of the elders' quorum to show them how easy it can be. And thankfully, our efforts are paying off! Last night we had an INCREDIBLY powerful lesson with our ward mission leader & his non-member sister. It truly was one of the most spirit-filled lessons I've taught on my mission. All of our lives were changed. Sister Clayton and I came out of that lesson and we both looked at eachother and said.....THIS is the way the Lord wants his work done! It needs to be through the members. That is why the prophet and apostles keep BEGGING us to be member missionaries and to share the gospel with our friends. I finally GET it! There was such a powerful spirit during the lesson because of Andrew's pure love for his sister and his strong desire to have her be a part of the gospel. And because of that, WE were able to immediately love her and all of us, her included, were able to feel our Heavenly Father's love for her. Aahh! It was awesome. I wish I could express to you what it was like to sit in that lesson and watch both of them get teary-eyed as she started to experience feelings she had never felt before and couldn't quite explain. I am totally converted to member referrals!So we are really excited to start getting the members on board. Throughout this process, I'm really having to learn to trust God and especially his timing...and it's good for me. :)
This week, working with the members so much has also taught me an important lesson. Obviously, I know that my mission doesn't end when I go home....but I'm finally beginning to realize that when I go home, my mission is really just starting. Elder Torres once said something really profound to me. He said, "A mission is a role play for the rest of your life." This week I realized just how true this is....a mission is really just the MTC for the rest of our lives. My best missionary work will begin when I go home. I am here, in a spiritually-satiated environment for 18 months in order to learn how to be a missionary, not to complete my mission and then just leave everything I learned on the shelf. It is vital that I take these skills I learn and put them to use for the rest of my life! I am determined to go home and continue to share the gospel with those around me. After all, that's what God needs. He doesn't just need 18-month or 2-year missionaries, he needs lifetime missionaries. As I realized that this week, it brought a huge sense of relief with it. I am still in denial about my mission winding down, but coming to this realization helped me recognize that it really will be okay. My mission definitely isn't going to end when I take off my nametag. Rather, I'll be finishing my mission "training" and I'll be stepping into the real mission.
Well, here we go...another week in the exciting land of Miami. Keep praying that we'll find golden YSA who are ready to be baptized and who are preferably NOT in love with my companion.