Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010, Week 67

Good Afternoon Everybody!

This has just been one great week for me. A giant test of my faith, but everything worked out great. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I should start off with, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I can not believe that it is that time of year again. We are hitting all of the holiday seasons now. This transfer I will have Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then the beginning of next transfer is New Years, but that's never too fantastic when your on a mission. Well for this Thanksgiving we are going over to a members house in the afternoon. Their names are the Maynes. They are awesome and love having the missionaries over. We are going to have dinner at around 3 o' clock. Then we are going to go over to the Gonsalves family for 2nd Dinner. And then last but not least, we will probably go over to the Browns, the recent-convert Samoan family at night. In the morning we are going to do some service for people. We wanted to go to a homeless shelter and serve food and other things like that, but they are all full. I guess people only want to be charitable on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So instead we are probably going to rake some leaves and other yard work. That is if the snow melts away. Yes, it did snow in Vancouver. It really isn't bad at all, but people are just going crazy. They drive like turtles because they aren't used to driving in the snow. I guess on the east side of the mission, like in the tri-cities, it snowed about 7 inches. Crazy! It is getting real cold too. I broke out the warm clothes again and bundle up each time I leave the house.

Oh so my new companion is Elder Burgin from Kaysville, UT. He is awesome! He was actually my district leader in Pasco for a while. He has been out for 21 months and goes home next transfer. President is just sticking me with all these old timers. That's okay because I am able to learn a lot from them. He is definitely different from Elder Prawitt, just as each new companion has been different from the last, but we work well together and are doing great. He is hilarious and is always joking around.

So let me tell you about the miracle week that we had. In our weekly planning we set goals for how many lessons we want to teach, new investigators we want to find, people we want to have a baptismal date, and people to get baptized, etc. Well we have been teaching Ian as I have talked about for the past couple of days. His baptismal date is November 27th. That is this week. He has a lot that we haven't taught him yet and we weren't sure if we could do it, but we decided that we wanted to work towards it because it would be good for him to have it this week instead of pushing it back. Ian is just doing awesome. He loves coming to church and meeting with us. His wife, Nicole, has been really closed off lately and has stopped meeting with us for some reason. She has never come to church and is really worried about change and what people will think of her. So we stopped by Ians house and had a lesson with him. We taught him of the Word of Wisdom. He said that he already has quit all of his addictions. We told him we wanted to meet with him more often, like everyday, so we could help prepare him for his baptism. Then next day we talked about tithing. Oh boy tithing. Ian and Nicole are going through a BIG financial crisis right now. They are working with an attorney over something and may have to sell their house. Money is just a big deal right now and we knew that tithing would be a big obstacle that they would have to overcome. We taught Ian the importance of paying tithing, why we pay, what its used for, and the great blessings that come from it. We talked about how it is an act of faith, a way to show Heavenly Father that you are putting your trust in him to provide for you, by keeping his commandments. Ian's whole appearance changed from his usual happy and excited face to a look of worry. He said, "Oh I didn't know that tithing was a requirement for getting baptized." He said that he knows it is what he should do, but the problem is that he didn't know what Nicole would think. Nicole handles all the financial stuff. Ian was really worried. We told Ian to talk to Nicole about it, to explain his feelings and beliefs and then to pray for help. The rest of the week Ian was in our prayers. On Sunday we fasted for him. We didn't even announce his baptism in church because we weren't sure if he was going to be able to be baptized. Ian, of course, came to church on Sunday. He had a great time and learned a lot. After the meeting we asked him if he talked to Nicole yet. He said that he had. He said that he was just so worried that he kept on praying and praying for Gods help. When he talked to Nicole, she understood and allowed him to commit to paying tithing when he gets baptized. He also said that this has been incredible for him. Ian's boss has been extra nice to him for some reason. On Friday Ian's boss gave him two $50 gift cards to show his appreciation for Ian's hard work. Ian was interviewed on Sunday and passed with flying colors. He will be baptized this Saturday. I am so happy. The Lord truly provides. Ian said that the only condition now is that Nicole doesn't want us to set up any more appointments without her being there. I think that's great. It sounds like she wants to be involved again and hopefully she can follow her husbands footsteps.

On Sunday night we were planning for the next day. We are struggling trying to find people to teach right now. Most of our investigators are just falling off the radar like crazy. They either are going through something that makes it hard for us to meet with them, or they don't want to commit to do anything. We just have very few people we are actually working with right now. I have been doing a lot of finding. Finally, while we were planning I thought, "Man, I am just so sick of tracting on doors and getting rejected all the time. Is it okay to pray for God to lead us to someone who actually wants us to come, who is actually praying for missionaries to knock on their door?" E. Burgin and I discussed it and decided that we were going to do it. So that night and all of the next morning, we prayed for it. We went out to find. Every house we tried they just were not interested. The wouldn't even talk to us. Out of the whole morning and afternoon we talked to 1 person who would actually listen, and that 1 person was not interested. We finally decide to go somewhere else. We tried a potential investigator and no one was home, so we decided to knock a few more doors to find that person we were praying for. We see a house at the end of the street and we feel we should go there. When we knock on the door, a girl opens the door. She says, "Oh Elders! It has been a while since I have seen elders." She said that she used to meet with missionaries all the time. Her husband is an inactive member. She grew up with her foster parents who were LDS. She would go to church and went to a couple years of seminary in high school. She said that when she reads the Book of Mormon she gets such a peaceful feeling come over her. For the past couple weeks she has been getting a feeling telling her that she needs to go back to church, she needs to read her scriptures, she needs to pray. She has been getting these feelings for a while now. She wanted to go back to church, but didn't know where the church was. She had actually been praying about it that day. Then we knock on her door. She is going to come to church this Sunday. She said that she wants to get baptized. She knows it's true, there were just some things in the past that held her back from getting baptized in the past, but that have now been resolved. How amazing is that?

My testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers specific prayers was confirmed and strengthened this week. Two amazing experiences that I wasn't so sure would happen, but decided I would try, were answered. I have always known that Heavenly Father listens to my prayers and He comforts me when I need comfort, but this week I know that if we actually ask Him for things and then trust in Him, He will give it to us. How incredible is that. My scripture for this week is 3 Nephi 18: 19-20 where Christ is teaching the people how to pray. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and is aware of my righteous desires and hopes. I'm thankful that I'm not alone in this battle against life. I have been studying about the Savior recently. Not any thing different, but just the Savior. He overcame all things. Trials, temptations, and even death. It fills my soul with hope to know that through him, we can overcome everything too. Whether it be a test of faith in living a commandment, financial problems, or having to push through to improve the area you are serving in, if we put our trust in God we will overcome everything. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for right now. Enjoy that turkey dinner.

Elder Garrick

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