Sunday was fantastic! I talked about the temple last week, but I wanted to talk about a miracle that happened in between the dedication and moving furniture. We didn’t have anything to do, so Elder McIntyre said, “Ok, I’m going to open to a random page on the directory and you point to a person and we’ll go see them.” So I point and then a guy named Br. Kiesel comes up. We went up to his room in an assisted living care facility, and he was super cool! He was baptized about 20 years ago, but fell out of activity really quick. He is blind, but is very knowledgeable and really talkative! He expressed to us that he had been wanting to get in contact with us recently and that one of his favorite CDs to play was the one the missionaries had given him of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We are going to go back this week and see if he would like to come back to church, so stay tuned! We also visited a sister in the ward who we will talk more about for Friday 🙂
Monday was fun as always! There is an older lady in the ward named Julia who lives in New Britain and we went to her home for dinner. She made us a big pot of chili and gave us each two pieces of fruit, a cookie and a scone for the road! She is a very sweet lady and we can’t wait to go back and see her again!
Tuesday was a fun morning…we knew we were volunteering at Blood Drive, but we couldn’t remember if it was at 8:30 or 11:30, so we scrambled to get ready really fast and then ran downstairs. In our apartment complex, there is a set of computers at the top, so we can update reports and look at our ward map from there. We asked the lady for a key, but she said it wasn’t open till 10am. We told her the circumstances and she said that the stricter guy was coming in really soon for his shift, so if we ran upstairs and then back downstairs in 10 minutes, that we could use the computers. We waited for the elevator for 3 minutes, which didn’t help, but finally got on, rushed up and down, and got the keys back to her right in time! The Drive was at 8:30, so we ran to the south side of downtown to help and made it about 5 minutes late, which for the circumstances, was a miracle. We helped in the canteen area and had a fun time talking to people and actually answering some questions about ourselves. It was at a high school, so most of the kids were seniors, and one of them was actually a recent convert from the Spanish Branch! We talked to him about being Mormon and his feelings about missionaries and maybe being a missionary. I don’t know if that conversation helped him at all, but he wasn’t ashamed to own his religion, he even told his teachers that we were the missionaries from his church! Hoping the best for him! We got to teach Ricardo that afternoon too. We talked about the end of the Plan of Salvation, considering the Spirit World, the Resurrection, Judgement, and the Kingdoms of Glory. We spent about 45 minutes explaining that to him. It was a very doctrinal and question filled lesson, but it was good for him! It seems like whenever there is a really good lesson like that, it isn’t only good for them, but it’s also good for you (the missionary)! That afternoon, we drove into North Hartford and went to the library there. About a week previous, we had gone in and the librarian had noticed we were missionaries and told us to come back another time and we could talk to her about us and her experiences with the church. She had lived with a member family for about a two weeks and actually went to the Hill Cumorah Pagent at one point! We didn’t get to see her interest level in learning more, but she gave us a tour of the library and asked us to leave our phone number, so you never know.
Wednesday was kind of a rough day. We were going to see Ricardo out in Windsor, but when we asked for permission to go out of our area to see him, our district leader, the honorable Elder Tebbs told us that since we were over our milage limit by a little bit, he wouldn’t be able to let us go out of our area to see him. He promised that if we were obedient to the milage limits and refrained from driving until the end of the month, that blessings would come. Being built as a new missionary on the foundation of obedience, I understood and so did Elder McIntyre, that the Lord would provide for us. We didn’t have a ton to do on Wednesday, so for most of the afternoon, Elder McIntyre worked on the member book, highlighting the people we knew, the less active members, those who had moved, and transferred information from the other member list. I made a map on our google mail account of those who are approaching baptism age, unbaptized members, and prospective elders. It was a long process, but it’ll pay off when we are planning days by area! That night, we went out with a newly married couple, the Woods, to see a lady named Aliette, who is a media referral, and to meet her husband, who is a pastor. It was an interesting visit. He was super cool, but throughout the entire lesson, he was trying to have us help out with his church and even come to Haiti and help teach music in his ministry there! We taught as much as we could and left them with a Book of Mormon, so you never know what will come out of it! That’s really been the motto for this week.
Thursday was Thanksgiving! We made a walking path from our house to the Smurthwaites, the members’ who invited us for dinner. We walked about 5 miles and met a couple of fun people along the way! It was super weird for the beginning though, since Park Street is usually really busy, the fact that no one was there was really weird. It was probably the combination of cold and Thanksgiving day, but it was dead. We had fun though! You get to know the area a lot better when you walk. We had a ton of fun, but our feet were dead! As we were walking to the Smurthwaites, we saw that we were going to be late, and we still had about half a mile to go. A thought popped into the back of my head right before we crossed the street,”What if a member was here and they offered a ride to us?”. Lo and behold, a silver Honda Odessey honked at us from across the intersection, so we waited and it was the Biggers! They gave us a ride to the Smurthwaites and we made it RIGHT ON TIME! So our dinner at the Smurthwaite’s was a lot of fun! The Webers (Brother Weber is the first counselor and comes out with us every Sunday) and a couple from the Bloomfield Ward who are from Holbrook, AZ were there too! They had seafood plates from pre-dinner snacks and then, as is customary, had a bunch of food for dinner! Mashed potatoes, ham, turkey, yams, salad, cranberry sauce, etc. it was all there! It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving. The the wife from the Bloomfield ward teaches orchestra in a nearby high school, so we talked about music, and the Webers kids take lessons too, so that was a cool reminder of home, as well as talk about Arizona! It was a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday! After that, we started walking, but had the most solid investigator, Jacob Locke, pick us up to go to his house! Jacob can’t be baptized till February, but comes to church, pays tithing, comes to Gospel Doctrine, always has the missionaries over, and I think he actually went to a lesson once or twice with the missionaries! We had a great time at his home and actually met his father who lives nearby. He wants his dad to come to church, but his dad is really stubborn, which is good, but it is holding him back a little right now. We taught about Fasting and Tithing and right as we were about to go out the door, the Spanish missionaries walked in! We stayed for their lesson on the sacrament (Have one person draw a picture of their sibling, talk about things that bring us farther away from Heavenly Father, scribble over the drawing with a Frixion pen, or heat sensored eraseable pen, until the person is completely covered in “sin”. There is something that can help us be clean again. Put the drawing over a heat source, like a burner, candle, or even by a lighter, and the scribbles disappear! The cleansing power of the Atonement heals and cleanses us by partaking of the sacrament and repenting) and then Jacob drove us home too!
Friday we walked some more and saw some Less Actives. We had a dinner appointment in West Hartford, but we were early, so we dropped by the Benshoffs’ house to say hi! They welcomed us in, gave us some snacks and we shared the Light the World message with them. I love being able to share that message as much as possible. Seeing the video warms my heart every time, and eventually it might get old, but right now, I love it with all my heart! We answered a few questions on what to get kids going on missions for pre-mission Christmas and headed out. The Hernandez family had us for dinner and we shared the sacrament message and they were all dumbfounded on how it worked! It was a really fun night with some great members and their families. That day at District Meeting, we had a lesson on contacting by our own efforts, namely talking to everyone, and we did lots of role plays on how to start conversations with random strangers. It was a ton of fun and a challenge that built all of us and really helped for that day. I honestly needed that training and it allowed me and Elder McIntyre to be able to talk to a bunch of people the Lord had placed in our path to be able to talk to. The Lord does move us around like chess pieces, but it isn’t for his own doing, it is for our growth and support. He loves us and places us in the path of those whom we need to talk to each day to bring light to their lives and for others to bring light to our lives.
On Sunday morning, we walked to the Elders’ Quorum President’s house and he gave us a ride to ward council 🙂 Church was good as always and Elder McIntyre taught all of Gospel Principles by himself! That afternoon, we went on splits with Brother Weber and visited a good amount of people. Visits with members always turn out better than just missionary visits! He also showed us some Norman Rockwell’s that he had in his house! That evening, we went to dinner at a member’s home and got really full off of enchiladas and gluten free cupcakes with peppermint frosting. They were super good!
This is in reference to the Atonement and Ressurection of our Savior, but is a reminder to us to always remember that we have the sacrament to rely on. Take advantage of it and really put meaning into it every single Sunday. No matter what happens, we always will have the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Walking my soles off,