This coming week we have someone from our Area Seventy coming to talk to us. His name is Elder Charles and he's from England. We feel pretty lucky because we get to meet with him 3 different times-- he's doing a fireside in Zagreb, doing Zone Conference here the next day, and then is coming back to Zagreb for church on Sunday and doing a special meeting for all of the members. Really, really neat. We've known he was planning on coming for a while, and I think it will be a really great experience to have him come and talk to us. Somehow I was asked to play the piano while he's here... I have no idea how that happened, but I'm most definitely going to try to get out of that. I am not the person for that job, haha. It will be a great conference and everything that we're doing this week is based around his visit.
So, probably the biggest highlight of this past week was that we committed two of our investigators to live the word of wisdom! One of them has decided to be baptized. It was so exciting. I was so nervous while we were teaching them because they both are such heavy smokers. G, the one who I was worried about has not smoked in 4 days and M, the other one is having a harder time, but he's going to start cutting back from 4 packs a day to 2, then to 1, and just kind of wean himself off of them. We gave him a ton of candy that he can eat instead of smoking cigarettes, and he thought that that would be really good. I'm so proud of both of them! They are stellar and really are the salt of the earth.
So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin... I don't know if I should even try, haha. We just had so many wonderful experiences and just felt really guided by the spirit. I'll share three of the ones that I was really touched by:
1) We were walking to teach M about tithing and we were with a member, and I just kind of stopped. I felt really strongly that we shouldn't teach him about tithing or even bring it up. They said okay, and we went into the lesson, and he was having a really hard day and needed to feel encouraged that he can change his life. He asked about if the fact that he has depression is a result of his sins. We talked to him for a long time about his feelings and it was not because he had done something wrong. We watched the talk by Elder Holland from this past conference and it was really good for him to hear. Really neat.
2) We had a lesson scheduled yesterday with a young girl who used to be an English student. We found her record in our area book, and an hour before our lesson we were invited to go help out a set of senior sisters to help teach a less active member. There was no reason why we should have rescheduled our lesson to go sit in on another lesson that was pretty far away, but I felt like we should. So, we set up an appointment with the young woman for another time. Apparently the sisters had been having a really hard time getting ahold of this member. Her daughter, who normally translates for them, wasn't able to come, so we walked in, and they were all really struggling to communicate. Something they weren't anticipating. Sister W and I translated between them and it was so great. We read from Mosiah 18 together and it was a really spiritual experience for her. I shared that story that Mike shared when he wasn't reading his scriptures and was in a bad mood, and Tammy asked him something to the effect... "did you read your scriptures today?" "No." "Well, that's why you're in a bad mood!" Our member laughed and said, "that's so true." She said she would come to church next week and would have lunch with us afterwards. So good.
Just a side note about this woman. I am so, so impressed with her. She has no money, and lives in a shelter with her daughter. She goes to a soup kitchen for food and she was one of the happiest people I've ever met. She just laughed and laughed while we were talking. She has saved up money and has gone back to school to be a lawyer and she is just so wonderful. I told her that my mom was a lawyer and that you really loved your job. She wants to see a picture of you, so I'll show her one of us at the baseball game next week when we meet.
3) A lesson with D (another less-active). She really needs a refresher on the importance of keeping our covenants, so that seemed like the natural thing to teach her and we were going to use a talk from the General Relief Society meeting. As we were walking out the door on our way to teach her, I just felt like we should actually grab a different talk, one about happiness called "Beautiful Mornings." We read it together and she just really opened up about everything that she was experiencing (she's 31 and both of her parents have passed away) and how she just wanted to be happy again. We talked to her about happiness and how it's something real and that we can have right now. It was really powerful and she recognized that she needed to come back to church and feel of God's love for her again.
I feel like often times, we have feelings throughout the day that are actually spiritual promptings, but we never will actually know that they're promptings unless we heed them. These ones that I had this week were probably not life-changing or really loud feelings, but they were quiet impressions. I know that they were given to us to be able to help the people that we're teaching in all the things that they're experiencing right now.
K and K have been two other really sweet surprises. They keep wanting to meet with us. I think when they realized that we wouldn't meet with them unless they were going to act, then they started to try and experiment on what we were saying. K will randomly say, oh yeah, I'm coming to church on Sunday. Wonderful, wonderful. We're going to keep working with them.
We need to get going but here are two quotes that I read this week again and I loved, again:
I always think about Elder Uchtdorf when I feel that I'm not taking the time to be with the people I'm around. "Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life. Is it? I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished. I can’t see it. Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time." We can get really busy with such silly little tasks out here. This time goes by so quickly and every month I look back and cannot believe another month has gone by. This is something I have to keep working on again and again, but this week I tried to re-focus on taking the time to be in the moment with the people that I'm around.
Mom, I love you. You are my angel. Thank you for all that you do and for your wonderful example. I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful week.