Oh my golly gee willikers! What a week! I feel like I say that every week, but that's because every week is a new adventure! I'm so grateful for everything. It's been amazing.
Our week actually started off pretty shaky. We had so many scheduled appointments, golden investigators, opportunities to teach, and almost all of them fell through.
There was one couple who came to our church building, asked a member what we believed, and enjoyed what they heard! They invited us back to their home later in the week. We stopped by and shared a quick message, but when we asked if they wanted to learn more, they said they were terribly uninterested. Our hearts were broken, and we returned to our apartment.
As you can tell, the sorrow from the lack of interest of this couple discontinued to phase me after I shoved a few handfuls of Cheerios in my face. Sometimes it's all you can do.
However, the week slowly began to improve. Sister Roberts and I made it a goal to have as many lessons as possible, visit as many potential investigators as possible, be as on fire as we possible could! Even though lessons fell through, we had so many back-ups. Heavenly Father even gave us a few surprises! Little miracles started popping up here and there and it was so wonderful to be able to recognize them.
For instance: There was a member we were trying to get a hold of for 4 months. She was never home, or never answered her door. We were ready to give up, but decided to try one last time before we gave up all hope. Rang her doorbell. Waited. Knocked on her door. Waited-She answered!!?! "You Sisters want to come in?" "Yes, we do!" We taught a lesson to her and her 5 year old son, and she spent a lot of time talking to us. Life has been so difficult for here these past few weeks, and just having someone to talk to was relieving. She invited us to come back to share more with her, and we are so excited!
We had some really interesting experiences walking too. We walked in the more humble part of Hemet and were expecting to see scary thugs and robberies and all kinds of iniquity, but the community was safe, friendly, and charitable towards one another. We met a man and he is a modern-day Jean Valjean! He was in prison for (almost) 19 years, would've lived his old ways if it wasn't for a kind older gentleman who gave him a chance and asked for his help with running his store. He proved himself a good man, and the gentleman soon passed away... But he left his store and all he had to the man who had a change of heart. Now Valjean (his real name is Efrain) owns four stores, owns five homes (four of which less fortunate families live in), has a good reputation, loves his fellow man and God... What a guy! We'll be visiting him this week soon!
That same day we as we walked, we were finishing up and headed to the car. I noticed a man standing in his yard in the direction opposite of where we were headed. I had a prompting to turn back and talk to him before we left. I expressed this feeling to Sister Roberts, and we agreed to go back. We spun on our heels and went forth. We smiled and complimented him on his pit bull, and started talking about what a blessing dogs were. Once we mentioned Heavenly Father, he said, "We're not going there today." He looked down and seemed troubled. I asked quietly, "Is everything alright?" The man's lip quivered and his voice broke as he told us that his son's best friend had passed away the previous evening. "It was supposed to be his 13th birthday today," he said. We all stood there crying together. Sister Roberts bore her testimony that he was in a better place, that we'd all see one another again. Though he wasn't interested, we planted a seed. A seed of hope, faith, and love. We pray that his heart, and the hearts of his family will all feel the love and comfort from our Father in Heaven.
Sunday was a stressful day. We sat in sacrament meeting, saving a whole bench for the Macias family. We looked left and right every so often trying to find which door they'd enter in, but after the sacrament had been blessed and passed and they still hadn't shown up, we gave up and sat in utter sorrow. Sister Roberts made the comment that she knew it was too good to be true, and we both were so sad all throughout the meeting. As the closing prayer was said and we started the walk to the Gospel Principles class, three familiar faces ran up to us. "Sisters! We're so sorry we're late!" The three Macias daughters gave us all hugs and we were astounded! Sister Roberts looked at each other with open jaws and thankful hearts as they explained that they woke up late, but knew they still needed to come to church. The whole family had sneaked in the back while we weren't looking! They took notes during the meetings, and that night during their lesson, they expressed that they wanted their baptismal date to be moved closer because they could hardly stand waiting much longer! They told us how much they love to read about the Book of Mormon, how everything in it made sense! They told us how amazing and true everything we're teaching them is and how their faith in Christ has strengthened them as a family. Sister Roberts and I fought back tears for most of the lesson. How amazing is this work! How wonderful is it that Heavenly Father is allowing us to be a part of their conversion! I love the Macias family with all my heart. Their love for Christ and His teachings is staggering. They are so amazing.
One more miracle before I end! We teach a part member family every week, and they usually make us pies, cookies, lasagna... Food! There's a single father and a son who've been baptized, but a 13 year old daughter hasn't been. So there we are on our way home for the night when they call us! Avalee, the daughter, told us that they had a surprise for us. I thought it would be another pie, and after two back-to-back dinners, pie isn't too appetizing. She asked if we could stop by that evening, but it was pushing curfew, and we knew that if we went over for pie we'd be there for 20 minutes. We said we could swing by the following Tuesday, and she was content. But her father got a hold of the phone and told us that it'd only take 5 minutes, and that it'd be worth it. Begrudgingly, we headed over. We were greeted by the family on their driveway, and Avalee was giggling up a storm! "Are you ready?" she said. We told her that we were, and she shouts, "I want to be baptized!" We shouted for joy and jumped with her and sang with her and were so excited!! The sweetheart told us that she wanted the missionaries to know before anyone! We are so excited for her and for their family:)
The news of Alan Rickman's death brought sorrow to our hearts. We have a shrine to him in our apartment. Viva la Rickman.
I love all of you! Hugs forever!
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
- Martin Luther King, Jr