Monday, July 6, 2009

Justice and Mercy

Family,

OK, first and foremost: I went to the judge to contest my ticket and he TOTALLY dismissed the whole thing! Woo-hoo! So it's not on my record, I don't have to pay $140. It's a wonderful thing. Most people who went before us were only in there for literally a minute, but when we went, we were in for about 5-10 minutes because he was more interested in us as missionaries, what we do, where we're from, etc. He was quite amiable. Thank you Judge Bobby Contreras! After he dismissed the ticket, I stood up and shook his hand and said, "Thank you for showing us mercy." As I was walking out, I thought to myself, "Geez Louise, Sister Burt, you have been studying too much about the Justice and Mercy of God..." :)

Oh and remember how I told you I talk in my sleep in Spanish? Apparently Sister Osborne said that I was quoting scriptures in my sleep...in Spanish. She said she woke up one night and I was saying, "De cierto, de cierto, os digo..." which is equivalent to "Verily, verily, I say unto you." Haha, I can't be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth in the middle of the night...

So there's a Gold's Gym by our house and they have this empty lot next to the gym by the parking lot where they just built this crazy, Army-style obstacle course: tires, wall climbs, balance beams, ropes you have to climb under...it's pretty intense. And so I've pretty much become the personal trainer for the 3 other sisters. I was doing the P90X workouts (I just have the workout sheet and my stretch cords) every once in a while, then Sister Behrmann wanted to join, then when Sis. Osborne came, we started getting up early and running like crazy. It's pretty much awesome. I call myself "Tonya Horton" which is a female version of Tony Horton--the host of P90X. We all get up at 6 a.m. every day and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's we run about half a mile and then I have all these CRAZY hard cardio workouts that I've created that involves using the tire runs, wall climbs, suicides, squats, lunges, all sorts of things that I've picked up over the years. Sister Behrmann actually has trouble walking up stairs because our last workout was so intense. Then on the other days, we all do one of the P90X weight workouts. It's amazing and I love it. We all feel SO good.

Anyways, we've learned a good lesson these past two weeks about Boldness. We had an investigator--named Pete--who was coming to church with his wife and family, ward activities, etc. He still didn't really have a testimony and the only reason we were teaching him is because his wife is a less-active member from about 10 years ago and really wanted the church back in her life. So long story short, she got our number and we started teaching the husband. We got through the majority of the commandments and taught Word of Wisdom. We came back a few visits and he still wasn't living it. Sister Osborne then was really really bold with him (he speaks English) and told him that if he really wanted to live it, we could just take all his beer, coffee and alcohol to get rid of the temptation. He didn't like that idea, but she kept pushing and pushing and finally, I had to step in and just drop the whole subject. We set up a return appointment and left with a prayer that brought the Spirit back. We came back for our appointment and no one was there (a first because they always keep their appointments). We left a note and called, but to no avail. We kept stopping by a few times during the next week. One time we knocked and definitely heard the kids inside playing and saw a teenage boy (perhaps a relative) look at us through the glass an give us a glare. So...after trying and trying to get a hold of them, we had to drop them. I guess we were a bit too bold AND overbearing, to the point where we offended him and he wanted nothing more to do with us. It's interesting because when we were talking to him about the Word of Wisdom, he said, "Well, I like to do things my way. I moved out of my dad's house at 15 because I didn't want to live his rules." As he said that, I thought to myself, "If you can't keep your dad's rules (which were probably easy things like, "Your curfew is midnight), how can you expect to keep the rules or commandments of God?" But, he just wasn't really ready or into it. He wasn't really developing his faith through prayer and reading the scriptures.

So that was Sister Osborne's experience about being too overbearing, but then the next week, I had mine. We were teaching this family (Reina & Modesto and their kids) and at the beginning, the father was DEFINITELY not interested in listening to a thing we said. I kept inviting him to listen and finally he did. Reina had a baptismal date and really enjoyed listening. But she never read and it turns out that Modesto was reading in the Book of Mormon. We came back for a stop-by visit one day and Reina wasn't come, so we just talked to him for a bit. He was saying things like "I want to search and find out what is the true church", but then at the same time repeating numerous times, "I'm Catholic." He speaks Spanish, but that didn't stop me from being really really bold with him about really searching for his answer and actually PRAYING to know (which he wasn't doing). We talked a little bit about authority and he said, "Well the priests have authority." I told him that a prophet is called of God and has that authority and read a few scriptures that talk about Christ's church being built on a foundation of prophets and apostles. I asked him, "Does your church have apostles?" And he said, "We have priests." And I told him that priests are NOT the same as prophets or apostles and that Christ's church ALWAYS had these and still does. We talked about a lot of other things and then left. We came back for our real appointment and Reina was all awkward and told us to come back. We came back another day and Modesto told us that he didn't want to hear a thing that we said and didn't want to learn more. We got Reina to come out (because Modesto was being all awkward and just ambling about outside avoiding us) and she was all teary-eyed and said that she was busy right now. Essentially, to make a long story short, what we got from her hints and sad faces she was making is that the husband said she wasn't allowed to listen to us anymore or have us teach her either. It was really sad. So, apparently my "Boldness" was also overbearing. So that's 2 strikes for Sister Osborne and I for investigators who had baptismal dates AND...as a result of our "Boldness"...are no longer our investigators or on speaking terms with us.

I was talking to an Elder about it and he said, "Don't be offended or feel that they are rejecting you, because in reality, they are rejecting Christ." That kind of made me feel a little better, because it's true--Pete didn't want to live the commandments and therefore was rejecting Christ and Modesto isn't open to change and there for is essentially condemning his family too. It's really hard, but it definitely is a lesson learned. I need to find the balance of just being a nice, friendly missionary who isn't pushy and a bold, confident one. I consider myself quite bold, so I prefer that approach, but apparently I've been doing it a bit TOO much.

So, it's a bit disappointing, but we "Keep Moving Forward." (If anyone has seen the awesome Disney movie "Meet the Robinson's" they'll understand where that quote comes from). But it's true. Don't let the past get you down. It's like with repentance: Heavenly Father doesn't care 1/1000th about what you've done in the past, as much as he cares what you are doing NOW and in the FUTURE. So yes, I may have been a bit too bold, I may not have been perfect, but He doesn't care as long as I've repented of that and am trying my best to be better now and in the future.

Anyways, I love you guys. You are all amazing. Glad to hear that everyone's 4th of July was fun. Ours wasn't very eventful: we had to be back in our apartment at 6 pm and then we ended up just studying for the next 4 hours until bed. Haha, we're missionaries, what can I say.

Have a great week!
Sister Burt

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