Unrelenting fits of insanity of circumstances marked the past week. It was fascinating to say the least. "B," our most solid investigator, was passed on to missionaries in a ward nearer to her home so that they may finish teaching and baptize her. We taught a practicing gay couple the law of chastity in their home. Our investigator who was to be baptized confessed to us that he is on probation. Therefore... no baptism. , a less-active member and an investigator texted to say that the church isn't for them. Another investigator did the same yesterday. And, despite or perhaps because of all of this, it was a great week. The work is steadily increasing and investigators are beginning to be more solid. The ward council trusts us now and bishop asks for our advice when it is needed, trusting that we will make the right decision and provide "boots-on-the-ground" input. Whenever we lose an investigator to outside pressure or dwindling interest, another one falls from the sky. Truly we are seeing miracles.
One such miracle occurred on Monday. We received a name from our bishop to go see a less-active member. We walked up and, instead of finding one less-active member, we found four. All of them want to come back to the gospel and love the doctrine but have had negative experiences in the past and are infected by the vitriol of an excommunicated older member who lives with them. Their main complaints center around members not living up to what the gospel demands of them. One man stopped coming to church because he had not been home taught in 8 years and figured he would come back when someone finally showed up. They have forgotten that Christ's gospel is perfect, but that people are not.
So let me take a moment here to extol the virtues of home teaching. DO THY HOME TEACHING. In the words of Abinadi, "Yay, ye know I speak the truth, and ye ought to tremble before God." There's just not an excuse and it's too important to neglect. These people are God's children and when we stop home teaching them, we make them question if they really are valuable to God at all. How dare we.
We had some hilarious occurrences this week as well. We went to contact a referral and found his mom home instead. She proceeded to instruct us on how Mormons are Satanists and demanded that we read the Bible at some point in our lives. We asked her if she would like us to bring her a Bible so she could have an extra. She declined. So we offered to serve her. She said no. So then later that day we went to the house of a less-active named Patricia. We knocked on the door. A shirtless man answered. "Hi, is Patricia here?" "Nooooooooooooooo." "Does she live here? "Noooooooo." "Did she used to live here?" "Nooooooooooooooooo." I glanced down in time to see "Patricia" tattooed across his chest. He closed the door. Further investigation required on that one.
Finally, is the baptism of an investigator in the Osborn Ward who I began teaching long ago. We met her while she sat on a staircase and she will make a covenant with a God to whose existence she was once opposed. "S" is the name. She's the one I rapped the song to. I'm so excited.
For Thanksgiving, I am going to have dinner at our ward mission leader's house. The remainder of the day will likely be spent walking the streets of Phoenix, asking people what they are thankful for. I'm excited.
It is roughly 65 degrees here and people are wearing coats and gloves. I think it's hilarious.
Thanksgiving kind of crept up fast, but I really must say that I am so thankful for all of you. My family, my friends, my ward family, and strangers who find this blog. I'm thankful for your kindness, your love, your patience, and your understanding. For your mail, for your questions, and for the things I have learned from each and every one of you. Man is the sum of the experiences he chooses and the people who choose him, so thank you all for choosing me. I would choose you all as well.
As you sit around your tables and spread your thanks, remember above all else to be thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing brings hope to the downtrodden and freedom to the captive than the assurance provided by communion with God through earnest prayer and sincere seeking. Jesus was more than a man, more than a prophet, more than a worker of miracles, more than a statue, more than a role model, and more than a teacher. He was the Christ, and because of that, we may all live pursuant to perfection. And for that I give thanks.
If only we understood. If only we understood that everything, everything is pursuant to making the family of God an eternal family in all senses of the world. If only we knew what we believed. If only we believed what we knew. If only we WANTED to follow the commandments. If only we saw people as solutions rather than as problems. If only we slowed down and stepped back. The world is full of busy people, unkind people, uncaring people. It takes courage to be humble, patient, grateful, and prioritized. To live a life turned towards Christ and to be converted, from intelligence to a converter of intelligences, from needing grace to bestowing it, from imperfection to perfection. Imagine. Imagine.
And then do.
Because there is nothing else. Imagine perfection and then seek it. Imagine divinity and then find it. Imagine kindness and then give it. Imagine a child of God. And then be it.
You all are loved. In an eternal sense by the Eternal. Ponder on the gift you are offered.
I will as well.
Love and thanks,