|Elder Burt and Elder Willden|
1) Oh...That Makes Sense- But let me start with an entertaining story from my last few days back in the office. I may have mentioned in the past Maria, on old less active lady who lives alone and we occasionally visit to keep company. The one that now has a helper who has potential to be baptized. We always thought she was going kind of crazy, due to her slurred speech and apparent Alzheimers.
Well, we arrived this last Saturday and started to talk, and I saw a bag full of empty beer cans on the couch. "Are all of these yours?" I asked. "This isn't that much," she replied, "this is just how much I've had today!" There were about twelve beer cans in the bag. Apparently she wakes up at four in the morning and drinks a couple, then doesn't stop all day. Suddenly everything makes sense. We discussed the harmful effects of alcohol and encouraged her to stop.
2) Going in Blind- As I said, we arrived in the area knowing absolutely nothing. But we got right to work getting to know the members, visiting past investigators, and running around working as hard as we possibly could. We were hindered just a bit by the number of baptismal interviews we had to do, one of which required a day-long field trip and a round-trip of five hours by bus. But hey, I'm not complaining. All of the missionaries here in Ipatinga are very excited and we're ready to see a month full of miracles.
Very fortunately, the members here are extremely excited (largely due to the prospect of becoming a stake.) All are willing to go on visits with us, bring their friends to church, etc. This is showing me what it means for missionaries and members to work together, the sheer power that has to work if everyone does their part.
3) Running- A particularly good experience happened here in the area on Friday, As I mentioned, we were running all over the place working as hard as physically possible to visit everyone we could. As Friday was coming to a close, we had to go to the furthest outskirts of our area by foot to meet with a recent convert who had called me on the first day, asking to meet with us. When we showed up at the agreed-upon point...he was nowhere to be found and did not answer his phone. So there we were, at the end of the world at 7:45 at night, knowing nothing of the area. And I had to use the bathroom.
After a quick pit stop at the gas station, we started making our way back, and while looking at my notes I'd taken on possible visits, I found one that was more or less on our way back. So I decided we should probably go there. We found a less active and his son at home, and we were very well received. The son was returning to activity, and had experienced a large number of doubts over the course of the day that left him feeling very alone and wondering on the truthfullness of the gospel. Our visit was an answer to prayer, and both the father and son were at church on Sunday. The son, Rafael, is going to go on visits with us all of tomorrow afternoon. So I guess all of that running did some good after all. Though it also may have had some negative effects on my immune system, as I was rather sick on Saturday and could hardly drag myself out of the house to help out interviewing the sisters' four baptismal candidates. But hey, I'm better now and miracles happened!
I love this work so much. I love devoting myself to serving the Lord and teaching people about the gospel. This church is true. The Lord is our great eternal head and is leading this work, of this I have no doubt. I love you all. Keep up the good fight. Stay tuned for next week, because the amount of miracles is going to be ridiculous.