Note from Mom...I got a phone call from the mission office informing me yesterday that my missionary #2 has once again dislocated his shoulder and was in the emergency room getting put back together. Extra prayers are in order in the hopes that the shoulder will remain where it is supposed to for the rest of his mission (okay, for the rest of his life would be even better!). On the upside, though, it was nice to hear compliments about my wonderful son. The mission president's wife had nothing but good things to say about him.
So, my week this week was pretty good, especially considering it was a transfers week. Apparently those are the weeks that generally have a slight dip in the progress of the work. The Missionaries need to adjust and whatnot.
We helped the Assistants move funiture into the new apartment out in Montgomery. We now have 3 sets of elders in our ward. The ward members are quite excited about that. One of the members out here, Bro W invited us to his house for his Christmas traditino of having the elders come and decorate cookies. It was awesome! We had a great time, and it was especially great since I missed out on making all the Swedish goodies this year.
We visited a couple of people in the afternoon, one of them a recent convert and the other was an investigator. Once evening rolled around, We taught D R and his brother M. We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, and surprisingly, M was relatively quiet and just soaked everything in. Both of them were very involved in the lesson, and engaged in what we were teaching. In Previous lessons, M would tend to ask a bunch of questions, and a lot of them didn't reallly relate to what we were talking about, but this time he had been reading from the Book of Mormon, and was much more receptive to our message. The Book of Mormon is amazing at softening hearts, and enlightening the minds of those who read from it. There is another great example of this in later on in the week with another one of our investigators.
Later that night we were able to drop by a couple of our investigator's places, and drop off some of the cookies we had made a bro. W's house the night before. There's nothing wrong with going through the stomach to soften the heart right? We're hitting from all angles here. The Book of Mormon, our testimonies, and cookies? They won't know what hit them. :)
We were able to stop by and see A, one of our investigators, she wasn't feeling too good, but we wer able to teach a short, but powerful lesson about the plan of salvation. I think that is a direct result of the Spirit being able to be present in our lessons. Whenever he is not present, our lessons are horrible. Whenever he is there, the teaching part might be horrible, but the end result is amazing. The spirit is the real teacher in missionary work, he can get to the hearts of people so much better than we can. That's why testimonies are so important because they bring that spirit.
Later that night we stopped by C, and gave her a Joy to the World pass-a-long card. She put it up as a decoration on her tree. :) Yea! We'll come by with a Joy to the World DvD sometime this week.
We went over to see E after studies were done in the morning. I have to admit, I was a little wary because our previous appointments with her had been pretty crazy, and she didn't really seem too interested or engaged in the conversation. Which is weird because she's been to church 3 or 4 times which is more than most of our investigators.
When we got there, we knocked on the door, and when they let us in, we saw E coming down the hall with her Book of Mormon in handa ready to go. Good sign! Last time we'd met she'd read through chapter 3 of 1st Nephi. When we asked her about how she'd been doing with her reading, she told us she'd made it to chapter 7 which was incredible progress as it was more than double the amount she'd read in the last 3 months. She then asked us how to pronounce the name of one of the people in the chapter. She kept saying that it was something like Sherman. We looked at Chapter 7 of 1st Nephi, and sure enough, there was no Sherman. I was pretty sure there were no Shermans anywhere in the entire Book of Mormon. We searched around for a little bit, and decided that she must be talking about Ishmael as that was the closest thing to Sherman we could find.
We asked if we could just start reading with her where she left off. She agreed, and also mentioned something about a Vineyard in the previous chapter. I'm sitting there thinking "Vineyard, what vineyard? I just read through 1st Nephi and there's no Vineyard in chapter 6. Is she reading the same Book of Mormon I am? Where is she getting this from?"
Needless to say, we were quite confused. Come to find out, she was actually 100 pages further in the 7th chapter of Jacob, not Nephi. the Sherman Character she kept talking about was actually Sherem, and she had just finished the longest chapter in the Book of Mormon about the Parable of the Vineyard.
We were blown away. The most she'd ever read in between visits was maybe a chapter. This was some serious progress. But not only that, she was so much happier that she used to be, and she seemed so full of life. She understood what we read about, and the doctrine we taught. It was an awesome lesson!
Later that night we were able to visit L and his Girlfriend T. They recent had a baby who had some health issues, but seems to be doing fine now. We started teaching a lesson, but we also ended up helping them set up a playpen. They were incredibly grateful, and T was crying after the prayer because we asked for a blessing on her baby. It's amazing how simple things help people so much.
We took the J family on a church tour. The pictures in the Church Building are awesome! They help teach doctrines and stories from both the bible and the Book of Mormon so well. We had a Christmas social later that night, and a lot of the members of the J family made it, and E did as well! yes!
We had studies last an extra long time today because of Church, and a musical fireside we went to. We didn't start proselyting till 7:45 or so. We stopped by D. We knocked on the door, but no one answered. Last time we came, the Dughter answered the door on the other side of the house first, so we decided to try the other side. When we came near the porch, we heard some music playing on a radio. We couldn't see very well because it was pretty dark. Apparently D couldn't see us very well either because we startled her when we came closer. She was glad to see us, but really couldn't meet with use for a while. Her grandma had passed away, and she'll be gone taking care of the funeral and whatnot. We told her that God loved her and her Grandma, and explained a litttle bit about the Plan of Salvation. She started getting somewhat emotional, and she told us she thought God sent us to her so that she could hear that. Once again, it is amazing how just small and simple things that we often take for granted really impact the lives of people. Just knowing that God is our loving heavenly father is and incredible gift.
Love you all! I can't wait to call home on Christmas!
Elder Brayden Connole
Wow this was probably one of the CRAZIEST WEEKS ever!
So idk if i´m gonna be able to get everything in. We had a baptism! Well 2 but one of them was 8 year old Y, whose brother we baptized a couple weeks ago. She got baptized with her grandma, T. The 8 year old baptism doesnt cound for the mission but it certaintly counts in the eyes of the Lord.
T is about 65 and doesnt know how to read very well. As a matter of fact, her first language is Quechua, and her second is spanish so sometimes she didnt understand everything that we talked about. We were working really hard with her to get her to feel the spirit and follow what she feels. She would really pumped for her baptism one day and then fall into the dumps the next. That was happening for a long time until we figured out what her biggest problem was...SHE DIDNT WANT TO GET BAPTIZED IN COLD WATER! Lol oh man so we told that there would be warm water for her baptism and and then she was good to go all week. She had the bishop baptize her and her granddaughter and after the actual service she told us "I am really a Christian now" :) Awesome! we were very very happy for this baptize because we had been working sooooo hard with her and she finally accepted it and now she is a member. I´ll send pics next week
So yeah other than that this week was full of splits with the missionaries going to the rescue on some of them and succeeding a couple times and then failing a couple other times.
R is having a lot of troubles getting over his smoking problems, and then he tells us that we dont know what its like to give us 50 years of smoking and drinking. Which is absolutely true but I do know how it feels to change from being one person to another. I opened up Alma 5:12-21 and just told him that he needed to experiment a change of heart. and to experience that he needed to pray like crazy and manifest his faith. That was a I hope that that gets him to start really praying and making changes. I know that he won´t be perfect and he may fall again but he needs to just trust in the Lord some more and experience a change of heart, becuase if he feels a change of heart his whole atititude will change and he will do things for his own iniciative to change
So yeah I am excited for Christmas this week and being able to talk to everyone. and I love you all
Elder Patrik Connole
Disclaimer.. Please feel free to read what interests you on the blog and disregard the rest. My feelings will not be hurt if you don't read every word I write. LOL :) My goal at the forefront currently IS STILL... to get settled in to our new place, so things may be a little hit or miss for a bit. My plan--and perhaps it will work exactly as planned--is to return to the blog world for "real" by the time the new year rolls around.