This week was really awesome! Last Pday we went out after 6 and taught two lessons. One of which was a couple we had tracted into the Saturday before. They are looking for the right church, are very open to our discussions, and are actually trying to figure out if the Book of Mormon is true! Tuesday was a fairly regular day as far as missionaries go. But Wednesday was more exciting! We went to an animal shelter called CCAPS (No idea what that stands for haha) with a Part member family. We went to go help out and ended up walking some of the dogs! We made a terrible mistake when we showed up in Proselyting clothes... Those crazy dogs ran us around and after tromping through the swamp of Magnolia (because of the rain) we were well covered in mud haha. The Mom picked out a little and extremely adorable puppy and I got to name it! (if you were wondering it was Mordecai :) I like puppies! Anyways Elder Hainsworth and I are going to try to go back to the shelter every week and do service for them because they reaaaallly need help :p That night we drove down to Monroe because the next day was Zone Conference. It is a meeting that involves an entire Zone of missionaries. Ours is probably about 30 big. The week before the missionaries in charge of the zone called me and gave me three songs to learn to play at this meeting! So it was nice I finally had something to get me to learn some more hymns. The whole meeting was really good. I didnt mess up to bad as I was playing the piano and I got to hear some really good messages.
The one that really brought the spirit into the room was given by our mission president. He talked about a few weeks of discouragement that he felt. He has really been putting a focus on our faith as individuals and as a mission and we have been promised better success if we do increase our faith. In the month of January he felt that he had really strengthened the missions faith as a whole but we didnt come up with a lot to show for it.
His discouragement was brought to an end by a Book of Mormon story found in Alma chapter 8. Alma had gone to the city Amonihah. Previously he had been in a city where everyone was opening up to the gospel and ready to be baptized! This city though was starkly different. He got thrown out of the city and was upset and worried for these people. But he thought there was nothing more that he could do so he continued on to the next city. In that journey he is visited by an angel who basically tells him that he shouldnt be discouraged because he is doing everything he possibly can for these people and that is really what our success should be measured by - our effort. The angel then told him to go back and he was able to convert one man, named Amulek.
This story really explained how I have felt since the beginning of my mission and that I know that it doesn't matter what happens as long as I put in the effort! "E" who I mentioned last week, is still very interested in the church. He understands what he hears and he takes a really logical approach. Just as I do! So it's nice to be able to explain exactly how he needs it every single time. On Saturday we knocked on doors for three hours in an even smaller city called Stamps. We ended up meeting a man who had recently gotten out of prison for theft and drugs. He seemed to regret most of what his life had turned out to be and he wants to get closer to Christ. Later on we met a woman who I swear (I shouldn't do that) was 4 feet tall. I felt like a freaking tower next to her! That day was also the best day to find change on the ground haha I found 80 cents, best day yet xD.
Sunday was probably the best day of the week though. Only "L" ended up coming to church but we were able to have a very spiritual discussion with her and a member about who Christ is and how he was chosen to be our Savior. Later we met with a girl at the college from Louisiana. She actually had a lot of good questions about religion and we were able to answer them before she had even asked! So that was a really awesome experience.
Every Sunday night we go to a Presbyterian church for dinner that they serve to college aged people. After trying 3 different kinds of soup and more than enough corn bread Elder Hainsworth and I were kind of sitting in a food coma. The Pastor came and sat down to chat with us like he ends up doing most weeks. Pastor Mike is a really nice guy. I've enjoyed getting to know him and some of the members over here even know him. But in this particular conversation he told us how the upper ranks of the Presbyterian church are run. He started with how much more liberal the church gets as it goes up. He continued to tell us that the pastors and preachers would soon be able to marry gay couples together. Now don't get me wrong I'm not going to force someone not to do something, but they are planning to change the definition of marriage that is very very clearly stated in the Bible. Pastor Mike ended our little discussion with how messed up the world was becoming and how he thinks that the entire Presbyterian church is becoming apostate. Woah! Would never have expected that from a preacher. We weren't able to talk to him about much as he is very prejudiced against the Lds church but maybe one day he will open up and see that we are trying to do our best to follow Christ's example.
As I continue on my mission I see over and over again how much I have been blessed by God and how my prayers are answered every day. I know that I feel the Spirit as we teach random people. I know that God is there. I know that Christ's atonement for us is what enables us to be better than we would be and that it allows us to be cleansed from sin. I know that the Book of Mormon is God's word and adds to our understanding as mortals of who God is and what our purpose in life is. I am so grateful for all of this knowledge and I hope y'all have a blessed week :)