This week has been so crazy, I can’t even describe it, but I’ll try!
So really quick, on Monday, like I said last week, we had a super awesome day at the temple with Barbara and with Elder Woodward and even though we had to drive all the way up there ourselves (miles……), it was so worth it! Tuesday, we had a great Web-Ex with President and Sister Miller. They talked about the attributes of a successful missionary in depth. They cross referenced the points listed on page 10 with other parts of Preach My Gospel and encouraged us to do the same. They said the measure of success is how happy you are. Elder Woodward always said that if the work is bad, but you are happy, everything is good. But if the work is good and you are unhappy, nothing is good. So it was super good! After the Web-ex, we had a member present lesson scheduled, but Abby had to keep pushing back the time, so the member had to go back up over the bridge, but we had a great lunch at Casa Vallarta with her! When I come back, or if you ever come to Cape Cod, stop by Casa Vallarta. Seriously. But eventually we got to meet with Abby and had a good lesson about the Restoration, but we are still working on getting to know her parents, otherwise it will be really tough for her to progress, so if you could pray for Abby and her parents this week, that would be awesome!
Wednesday was awesome! So Monday night, we got a call from our District Leader, Elder Turley, and he told us that interviews with President would be on Wednesday at 9am at the West Bridgewater Building! So we had a training by the APs, Elder Nixon and the new AP, Elder Jelk. They talked about Self Mastery and how it is so important in the work. Being able to be Spirit over Body and Mind over Matter is a skill and a blessing that is crucial. They also asked us to fast on Sunday for Self Mastery, but more on that later…my interview with President was awesome!
We talked about member trust and how we can be more productive in our area. He encouraged me to read a case study in PMG under the Importance of Members section that lays out the pattern for success very plainly. He told me that in order to get the members more involved, we have to do a little pre-work. You have to bring people to church from your own efforts so that they can see that you are a serious missionary who knows how to get the work done. That has been a huge goal for us this week! And also more on that later…After interviews and lunch with Elder Riches and Girardeli at Little Sami’s, a Brockton favorite, we had a lesson with Barbara! She taught us the beginning of the first lesson, and we taught the end. She understood so much of it and we were so excited to see that! We are hoping to go over this week to help her with her garden, enter more names for her to bring to the temple, and hopefully go over the Plan of Salvation again!
Thursday was full of Weekly Planning, service at the Library and then that evening, we went to the Falmouth Bike Lab. Elder Woodward and Elder Davidson got the bikes that we have now for free at the Bike Lab, so we went there to work on them some more and get them tuned up. My bike needed the tires pumped up, the seat tightened up (since it has been squeaky for over a month and a half), the front brake tightened, and the gears needed a look over. Turns out it’s a green Brooks Raleigh, which is a pretty classic bike. It was made in England and has something called a planetary gear system. The gears are inside of a cylinder on the back axle and I guess the cylinder turns at a different rate than the back wheel itself, so that was cool to find out! It took us two hours to get everything tuned up on our bikes, but we finally got home with working bicycles..for then….
Friday was great! We had district meeting, and then we all went to BK (Burger King) in Falmouth. While we were walking in, Elder Jacobson was talking to a guy just outside, but then we all went in, so he followed. Once we got inside, the guy came in and asked us a few questions, and we just kept the conversation going. Pretty much all of us in the district piped in at one point or another to add to explaining who we are and what we do. We got his number and are going to call him and see if we can meet with him this week!
Later that night, we had another miracle! We stopped by a LA’s house and they weren’t there, so we stopped by another LA (less active member), Wendy Smith. She wasn’t home, but her husband was. We got to meet him and he was very friendly and welcoming. He said that they were married in a Mormon chapel and have gone to church a few times, but because of work, have not come in a while. She works on Martha’s Vineyard, but will be more open soon, so we want to visit them soon and help them to come back to church and possibly get sealed in the temple!
After the Smiths, we went back towards Donna’s house. She said that she is super busy for the next couple of weeks, but the Spirit was telling me that we needed to stop by. We knocked on the door, and her husband Everett answered. He was super excited to see us! We talked to him for a few minutes and then Donna came to the door. She had just gotten home but we were able to talk for a bit and now Everett knows we want to come back over! Donna has seemed busy and we didn’t want to push her, but we are hoping that they will be able to find a time to have us over again. If you could pray for Donna too, just that we will be able to meet with them and they will see that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t just another church. They are so amazing and we want them to have the best, meaning living together after this life as a family and with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
On Saturday, we visited Brother Peters and had a good conversation with him and then as we were biking out, there was a lady taking out her garbage. We stopped really quick and explained our message and who we are. She seemed interested, and so we gave her a card and told her to call us! She said she wanted to come to a service, so that could be cool!
We went home for lunch and Elder Jacobson had a talk to write, because he was asked to give a 20 minute talk the second week in the Branch! So we tried to do it at home, but it got distracting, so we decided to go to the church. We biked up there and when your tires are all filled up, you feel every bump and crack on the bike path….that wasn’t as fun….so we started biking and you remember how old my bike is? Keep in mind it is also super heavy, like the bike I took to college for a year, so it is hard to pedal. We saw this intense guy biking with a huge beard and the whole pro biking outfit and bike. We passed him on the left and said hi, and he just laughed, because we were dressed in white shirts and ties and I was passing him on my brick of a bike! He said he was a pro biker in his earlier days, but wasn’t too good, but he bikes for fun now. We actually followed him for most of our ride and kept up to him. We shaved off five minutes from our usual time, so it was pretty good! We got up there, tired as crazy and sweating like pigs, but alive. Elder Jacobson finished his talk and I updated the Progress Record like crazy, which is the record of what we do each week for the Branch Council, or the leaders in the ward, to look at once a week.
We finally finished that up after about 3 hours, and then decided to go home. We didn’t know what to do, so Elder Jacobson decided that we should tract. We were about to leave when I had a feeling that we should go next door to the church to a lady that Elder Woodward had met and introduced me to. Her car wasn’t in the driveway, so I wasn’t sure, but followed the prompting anyway. It turned out that her car was in her garage on the newly painted floor that must have just dried! The Lord knows what he’s doing! We knocked on her door and she was excited to see us! We talked for a bit, but she had dinner inside, so she had to skedaddle. I felt the impression to go and talk to her again and invite her to church, which was weird and I didn’t really want to, but I did anyway. Elder Jacobson was like,”What? Tell me what’s happening! Communicate!” which I still need to work on with promptings like that, but we went back to her door and thankfully she was right there near the door. We invited her, and she wasn’t able to come because it was 9/11 and her Dad’s birthday, but she knows that we extended the invitation! And you never know what can come from experiences like that.
After stopping by her house, we went down the road to Olofson Rd, which is right past one of my favorite street names ever, Scraggy Neck Rd, to knock doors. We got favorable rejections at both! The first lady listened to us, and then politely declined, but we were able to talk about her front walk with bluestone, which kind of looks like Arizona flagstone, so that was awesome. After her, we went to another house and the lady opened the door looking happy, looked at our nametags, and promptly waved her hand in a negative motion and closed the door. It is really tough when people shut you down when you get to “We share a message about Jesus Christ”. It is tough because people out here don’t really want to change. They are set in their ways, but as Elder Jacobson says, that is the opposite of repentance. It is ok because we do know people that do want to learn, but meeting those who are rude in that way and are so set in their ways just makes me sad sometimes. I’ll bear my testimony in a bit, but here is the story I’ve been waiting to tell!
SOOOOO…we biked back to where the road meets the bike path, and got onto the path. Not 200 feet in, I hear a big WHOOOSH behind me. I yelled behind me to Elder Jacobson,”You ok??” I got off my bike and his back tire had gone totally flat. Not just sorta flat, but all the air had left the tire. There is no way he could ride it back home. We were five miles away from Falmouth at 7:30 with a blown tire.
In this past week’s experiences, I had seen tons of miracles with finding people to teach, which is one of our objectives here. So in like manner, I knew that the Lord, Jesus Christ, watches over each and every one of us, and pays special attention to his missionaries, so a miracle is bound to happen right? There was a guy who passed us and almost crashed looking back at us, but we yelled that we were going to Falmouth, so I was sure he would give us a ride once he got back home, but he didn’t turn around again. We kept walking and talked to a couple who had supposedly met with the missionaries before, but didn’t seem interested anymore.
We talked to another guy who knew about Brooks bicycles and talked for half an hour about the planetary gear system, so we finally left him with a card and kept walking. There were actually a few groups of people who passed us, and we even went into someone’s backyard, knocked on their screen door and asked for a ride.
It was frustrating, and on top of all of this, Elder Jacobson had to go to the bathroom. We called a member, but they didn’t pick up, and we even called Abby, realizing that this could be a perfect opportunity for her parents to be introduced to us, because who wouldn’t drive two nice young men with bikes 5 miles back home? Well, Abby’s parents weren’t near by and her grandma ended up asking us not to call her home anymore…so all of this building up caused a lot of stress……..we finally got to Chapoquit Rd. in West Falmouth, which is near where we meet Abby, and I was trying and trying, but nothing was working. I told Elder Jacobson there might be a place open for him to use the restroom, up at the intersection, but he just turned back after a bit.
I had tried everything! Prayer, knocking on random people’s doors, we had talked to people on the path, calling reliable people. Nothing was working, so I was pretty much done. Elder Jacobson then helped me have a humbling moment. “It’s not that big of a deal!” “We are a few miles away from home, people would think we’re crazy to ask them for a short ride. It’s not that bad! Let’s just keep walking!”
That was tough on me, but I realized that the Lord doesn’t always deliver us from everything because we expect it. Yeah it was dark and we had a while to walk, but it wasn’t raining. People weren’t mugging us. We had lights. It was peaceful and nice weather. The moon was out. We were walking after 9pm outside on a great night! When is that going to happen on your mission?? (Mission rules say that they should be home by 9 PM every evening to report to their district leader.) It was tough, but we saw the upside of it. It was fun! We called Elder Turley (district leader) and recorded a video that I’ll send, we called Elder Woodward and had a great time. That night, our feet were dead and we were almost dead by the time we got home. We had already started our fast for Self Mastery earlier, but when we got to our house, on the picnic table right near our house, there were three unopened bottles of water! If that wasn’t a blessing, I don’t know what is! We felt peace in nourishing our bodies, so we drank about a bottle each. As I fell into bed that night, right at about 10:30, after walking for three hours, it felt so nice to finally rest.
The next morning, we got up for church, and stayed for all three hours, but by the time the end of church came, with the walking the night before, the fasting, and everything combined, we felt the real meaning of the word exhaustion. Mentally and Physically, we were both Absolutely Dead. Somehow, we managed to make it home and felt peace in breaking our fast a little early. I then proceeded to drink some water and immediately started sweating. If we hadn’t have drunk the water the night before, we would have been crazy dehydrated! Then, almost dead, we both spent the next hour nourishing ourselves with good food (protein, sandwiches, oatmeal, water, etc.) and with quick energy (ie. Sugar). Finally after about an hour and a half, we felt able enough to continue with the work.
We stopped by Brother Peters home and gave him the sacrament and he said,”Give me a second, I have food for you.” We had gotten some food from him before, but this was unreal. He gave us probably $40 worth of food ($40 is Elder Davis’ weekly allowance for all of his expenses…) that he would not be able to eat before he would be moving. Brothers and Sisters, this was a miracle. The Lord trusted that we would overcome the night before and he richly rewarded us for our diligence and the patience that we gained.
The Lord’s timing is sometimes interesting, but he always delivers. My testimony of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has skyrocketed this week. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can save us. Some people love God, but they don’t understand everything that he says. By living the Gospel of Jesus Christ In It’s Fullness, we can live with our families again, we can be cleansed of our sins, and be worthy for more blessings than we can imagine! It is so amazing and requires a lot, but that requirement is what keeps us happy.
Not keeping the Law of Chastity may seem ok for the moment, but it just causes heartache afterwards. Not keeping the Ten Commandments may seem ok for the moment or may give us an advantage, putting us above others for a time, but it will come back on us like a big wave. By Keeping the Commandments that God has given us and being humble enough to change for the better, we can qualify for blessings that are past comparison. God loves you so much. Just follow Him and obey what he has told you to do and you will be happy. I love you all! Just remember that the only difference between missionaries and church members is that we have been set apart to Preach the Gospel for a period of time. You can have amazing blessings and see the Lord’s hand in your life, too. All you have to do is live the Gospel.