Last Wednesday, I went to the chapel and met my companion, the spectacular Sister Montgomery. She is an awesome missionary. She really has a desire to learn as much as she can and cares about the people she teaches. She has dyslexia, so it is really hard for her to read from the scriptures or Preach My Gospel. (However, it really has not affected our teaching at all. I have barely ever heard her stutter over any words when we are reading a scripture to a less active or investigator. Just watching her has really taught me a lot about the power of relying on the Spirit). I was assigned to the University City 2nd ward. Sister Montgomery has served her whole mission there so far (4 months), so we were able to jump right into teaching! I soon found out UC 2nd ward is almost completely made up of really young families (I think about 3/4th of the families consist of a husband, wife, 2 toddlers and one baby. No joke) and it is pretty difficult to get investigators to church, because they feel too old. So, most of our time has been devoted to visiting less active members, street contacting, and forming relationships with the members (which is VERY important, because, since we do not go tracting, we have to rely on the members to find potential investigators).
The first day was pretty challenging for me. None of the potential investigators answered the door and most of the less actives told us it was a bad time and sent us away. One less active straight up told us to leave him and his family alone. Because we really had no one to teach, we spent a lot of the time street contacting. Which I loath. Stopping people on the streets is so uncomfortable. We stopped one guy pretty late at night (around mormon.org calling card. He looked at the card and then looked at me and said, "Why do you believe this?" It is a pretty simple question and I gave a prompt answer, but afterwards it stayed in my head. Why do I believe this? Why am I out here, when no one is investigating, no one is interested, and no one has gotten in this area baptized in months? I went to sleep discouraged.The next morning, my companion and I went for a run at . As I ran, I said a prayer in my heart, pleading with Heavenly Father to give me direction and comfort. When I finished the prayer, a line from the Living Christ came to my mind: "He (Jesus) went around doing good, yet was despised for it." As I continued my run, I thought about this scripture a lot. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and Redeemer of mankind, was rejected. He was beaten and killed on dubious charges for teaching a Gospel of goodwill and happiness. People have agency to choose. The Spirit can work miracles on a person, but only if they are willing to take the first steps, to have the desire to improve and to change. And I realized why I believe this Gospel. Because it is true. It is real. Joseph Smith did see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. The Gospel was restored by the authority of God. And the Spirit can manifest to any heart that is willing to listen and it can strengthen any who doubt.) and asked him if he knew anything about the Book of Mormon). He responded in the negative and we taught him a little about the Restoration and gave him a
The next few days were a lot easier. We met a couple people street contacting that seemed pretty interested. One was named Mat. He is Chinese and attends the University of San Diego. He has been church hopping and really identified with the story of the young Joseph Smith going to the Lord asking which church was true. We got his address/ phone number and want to teach him sometime this week (if he is interested, we will have to redirect him to the Singles ward missionaries though. Bummer). We also taught a guy named Chet, who left the church when he was 19 and has since taken up smoking and drinking. He seems to have a desire to come back, but can NOT keep his commitments. Frustrating. We taught him a lesson yesterday on Jeffrey R. Holland's talk, "The First Great Commandment" and asked him to ask the question "Do I love God more than all of this?" every time he is tempted to drink. We'll see how it goes.
I also got to talk to one of the members, who went to Taiwan on her mission! She gave me some advice on learning Chinese in the states (she had to wait for her visa too). Another sister visited Australia and gave great advice on the culture.
Note on my visa: It probably won't come in until the end of this transfer () or the transfer after that ( ). They sent me an email asking me and my family member not to call and check on it, because that could cause the process to take even longer.
Spiritual thought: I started at the beginning of the Book of Mormon again and I just finished 1 Nephi 8. In verse 38 of that chapter, it talks about how Lehi "bade them (his sons Laman and Lemuel) to keep the commandments of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them." When reading this verse, I was really reminded of the importance of following up. Never cease teaching investigators or family members! Be constantly reminding them of the blessing of keeping the commandments and following the Lord.
I'm running out of time! Just know that all is well! Sorry if I was not able to answer a lot of emails; I did read them all and I am so grateful!