Thank you so much for the emails! I loved hearing about the crazy Pratt reunion (I was dying laughing at the tree story...typical Pratt family) and am really....interested to see what the shirt looks like haha.
This last week, we put a huge focus on members. Since our mission is non-proselyting, we are told to work with the members to find most of our new investigators and receive referrals. The only problem? Not a single member in our ward has given any referrals to the missionaries in more than two months (despite the missionaries' frequent pleas). We have been trying to change that by involving members in the teaching process of less active members and trying to gain the members' trust as much as we can. One of our ideas: Since there are a lot of members in our ward who are really stressed with kids, pregnancies, etc, we printed out conference talks and visited some of them with cookies. The families really appreciated it and one of them agreed to give a Book of Mormon to a friend from work! Score!
We are still teaching Edmund, the investigator that came to church the last month. It seems like he is really liking what he is hearing, but he never asks any questions or really answer any of the questions we ask him, which is getting frustrating. Yet, he is keeping all of his commitments and coming back for more lessons, so something is bringing him back. Last week, we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was really there. However, at the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would commit to baptized and he said he still wanted to know more before making any commitments. We told him to pray about it and he promised he would. Meeting again...wish us luck!
We also met with our new investigator, Liz, yesterday and she is doing awesome! She read a chapter from the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2) and wanted us to go over it with her. She asked some completely fantastic questions about the Atonement and you could tell that she had put a lot of effort into her reading. We clarified some of what was being said in the chapter and she said it all made sense! And she agreed to go to church this week!
We finally met up with an investigator we met two weeks ago, named Mat. He is from China and we taught him about the Restoration. I got to tell him the First Vision in Chinese (I had memorize it last week. STRESSFUL, but it went well). He agreed to try to read the Book of Mormon and said we could meet again.
All in all, the mission is going great! Except for last Thursday...Sister Montgomery and I went out to eat at a pizza restaurant with a family from the ward. We were pretty hungry so both got the combo (2 pieces of pizza each). What we didn't know is that each piece of pizza were bigger than our heads. We ate so much; it literally hurt to walk afterwards. When we got back to our apartment, we spent a half-hour of our time before bed doing ab workouts to try to burn it off. I don't think I will ever look at a piece of pizza again (unless it was made by Mary and Michael).
I loved the package I got from the Telfords!! Thank you so much. I must admit, I squealed when I saw the box of otter pops. Flawless merriment. And we ate the crockpot meal for dinner yesterday, a VERY welcome variation from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. However, in my cooking adventures, I have found out how to make something rather delicious. We bought a ton of berries and we put them on our pancakes. They are called....woman cakes :) (since their small size, limited toppings, and my lack of pan-flipping skills prevent them from coming close to Michael's mancakes).
During personal study, I was reading in Mark 5 about Jesus' travels in the country of the Gadarnes early in his ministry. Shortly after arriving in the area, Jesus ran into a mad man with a legion of devils inside him. The man lived in the mountains, dwelling in the tombs nearby, and would often cry out and cut himself on stones. The townspeople, who no doubt wanted this man to stay away from their ancestral tombs, had tried to capture him many times before, but no one could keep him locked up. He broke chains and ropes and so they left him there, in the mountains. Jesus casts out the demons from the man and sent them into a herd of pigs, which promptly ran into the ocean and died. When the herders of the swine saw this, they ran and told the rest of the city, who asked Jesus to leave their city. As Jesus was leaving, the man who not long ago had been filled with demons begged Jesus to let him come along. The man's reasoning makes sense. He has nothing left for him in the town. He had been crazy for so long, the people probably still feared and ostracized him. He had no occupation, livelihood, or anything else that could tether him to the city and he wanted to follow the man who had saved him from a life of pain and madness. Yet, Jesus does not let him come with Him. Jesus, who invites all to come unto Him and follow Him, tells the man to stay behind, to "go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done." When I read this, I remember thinking "What friends can this man possibly have? What home? And who in the city would ever listen to this man?" But back to the city the man went and he began to tell people about the miracle the Lord had performed. And amazingly, people listened to this man. It says in the scriptures that "ALL men marveled" at what the man proclaimed. Sometimes, at the times that we think we are doing everything we can to follow the Savior and come unto Christ, He will tell us to go another way. He will tell us to do something that seems too hard, too embarrassing, too impossible. But, as we follow his commandments, He will give us strength and power to do what He has asked.
I love you guys! Have a great fourth of July! Mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!
-Sister Sarah Bennion