Monday, August 17, 2009

"They may look like angels..."

Family!

Hey, how's it going? Things are great here in Beeville. Just working as hard as ever. Yes, I got the package (thanks!) and the Wal-Mart giftcard (even better!). I've decided that for my birthday, all I want is just a Wal-Mart giftcard for me and my companion to get pedicures at the Salon there. Never thought I'd say that I'd want to get a pedicure at Wal-Mart, but here I am.

About a month before my mission, I finally realized that I have the WORST sense of smell--that my nose i always clogged and I just plain don't smell that well. When I realized this, I attributed it to the fact that I was hit in the nose with a softball when I was in the 7th grade (and got a sweet black eye in the process). I guess that since that moment, my nose and sense of smell never was the same. And since that's been about 10 years, I've just gotten used to it. Well, it's actually been sort of a blessing because apparently Texas would not win "Better Homes and Gardens" award for "Best Smelling State." A lot of times my companion would say, "It smelled SO bad at that house. It smelt like urine" or "Oh my gosh, I had to hold my breath over there." And of course, I never had any idea. So I'm glad for that I guess, but definitely after my mission, I think I want to go to an ENT Doctor and maybe get it checked out. Until then, it's a blessing. Haha.

I love working with Sister Bustillos. My favorite is when we are speaking in Spanish (which is very rare, maybe once a week) and the people stop us and say, "I'm confused. How come you're white and speak Spanish and she's Mexican and doesn't speak any?" :)

But our convert Victor is doing awesome. He passed the sacrament this weekend went out with the Elders twice. The Elders said that when he came with them, his testimony was really powerful and he loved it. When asked, "How did you know that this church was the true church?" he responded, "Well, I know that if Jesus were here, this is the church he'd go to. And when you are in church or Priesthood meeting and you are surrounded by so many worthy Priesthood holders of God, you feel the Spirit so strong." Wow. Pretty impressive answer. Elder Kohler agrees and said, "Yeah, also considering our Priesthood meeting and lessons are the most BORING in the whole church because they just read straight from the manual." Well, at least Victor can feel the Spirit. That's all that matters.

Here's an interesting story that all started with a contact. We were driving to an appointment and Sister Bustillos saw this woman watering her flowers. She really wanted to contact her, so she hopped out and started talking. I thought it would be a quick contact, so I stayed in the car. Well, as she was talking, about 5 seconds later, I saw a group of young guys walking towards us. My car was parked in the middle of the street, but no one was around so I ran out and contacted them. They seemed like a bunch of no-good hooligans, but one of them actually accepted a return appointment. By the time I finished talking to them, so was Sister Bustillos and we both had gotten return appointments through our contacting efforts.

Well yesterday we went back to see Elijah, the young kid. We parked by his house, said a prayer, and right before we got out, Sister Bustillos asked what our backups were. I told her that I wasn't going to tell her what our backups were (because first, she had them written in her own planner and second, I had faith that Elijah would be there).

We knocked on the door and this big tall man, with a huge tumor on the side of his cheek opens the door. A bit intimidating, I suppose. The first thing he gruffly said was, "Who are you?" We tell him the name of the church. Then he says, "MORMONS! Nope, NOT interested." I quickly jumped in and said, "Well, we're actually here to see Elijah. Is he home." "Nope, sorry girls, Elijah is NOT interested either." Then he slams the door in our face. We sort of sat there for a second--a bit shocked--but then I knocked the door again. In my head I was thinking, "We had an appointment with Elijah, not this man." After knocking, I hear, "It's the MORMONS" being yelled from inside. Then out come Elijah and starts apologizing for his dad. He said that he still would want to listen. So we sat down and started talking about different things and about the church. We sang a song and he was in shock the whole time, "You have the most amazing voices," he said. It's funny...I don't think I can quantify HOW MANY times I've heard that on my mission. Me? A good voice? I really do have to stop myself from laughing every time I hear it.

Midway into the lesson, his dad storms out and then as he's walking past us says, "Don't you listen to them, Elijah! The worship Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. And they'll tell you that Jesus and the devil were brothers." First off, wrong. And second, I never really thought that the doctrine of the devil being a son of God too was that controversial. He tromped over to his truck and the whole time he's still yelling things at us like, "I'm from Arkansas. Do you girls even know about your religion? I live just 30 minutes from where you killed all those people in that massacre. That's sick; you call yourselves Christians." He finally drove away and we went right back to talking--first, clearing up some of the things that the father had said. Elijah didn't have a problem with it and kept apologizing for his dad and the things he said. We told him not even to worry about it; we get that every once in a while, but it won't shake the testimonies we already have about Jesus Christ's restored church.

We had finally taught the Book of Mormon and were about to leave when the dad rolls up in his truck. He slams the door and comes up to us pointing his finger at the Book of Mormon that Elijah now had in his hand. "Don't you bring that trash into my house! These girls may look like angels, but they teach the doctrine of devils." Whenever the dad would say things like that, I would just bare testimony of what I knew to be true. "Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?" "I'm Christian!" he yelled, "I don't need to read that Satan book!" He went inside and then Elijah decided to put the book and pamphlet in his car to keep his dad from finding it and burning it. We committed him to a return appointment, said a prayer, and then left.

We went and sat in our cars for a bit and started making some notes in our planners before heading off to the next appointment. Then I pulled a U-turn in the middle of the road and started driving past Elijah's house. But even before we drove 5 feet, I saw a Book of Mormon lying face down in the middle of the road. We were really confused. How did that get there? Was that one that fell out of our bags before we got into the car? I got out, picked it up, and realized that it was the same Book of Mormon that we had given Elijah minutes before--it had our names written in it and the little green sticky that marked the chapter he was supposed to read. Sister Bustillos wanted me to go back and knock on the door and give it back to him, but I felt opposite. Instead, I just ran to Elijah's little blue car, opened the driver side door, and put it underneath the front passenger seat. Then I ran back to the car--because the car was still parked in the middle of the road--and we started driving away. As we drove away, we started discussing how that had gotten there. We were so preoccupied with writing in our planners that we didn't even see what happened. We decided to park a little bit farther away and see what would happen. And sure enough, as I was looking at his house through the rear view mirror, out storms Elijah's father with Elijah and two of Elijah's friends. The dad tears open the car and starts looking all around inside. We were too far away to find out what was being said, but apparently the dad was wondering where the book went. The Restoration pamphlet was still on the ground and he picked it up and stomped on it. After about 10 minutes of arguing and looking for the book, the dad goes inside.

This whole time, Sister Bustillos and I are completely shocked about what's happening. I'm watching it all from the mirrors and Sister Bustillos is turned around in her seat, holding onto the headrest trying to get a better look. We see Elijah walk away with his friends down the street. We turn around, find them (we made sure that the dad couldn't see us), and then ask them what on earth happened. Turns out the dad got mad and then threw the book at our car. Then when he looked for it again, it was gone. Elijah originally put the book in his glove box, while I thought he put it under the seat. The dad never looked under the seat, but Elijah saw it there and just said that we must have taken the book back when we found it in the middle of the road. We talked a little bit, reset the appointment to meet at a members home, and left.

But it so interesting to see how Satan works in stopping this work. How he screws peoples views and opinions of the church, eventually turning it into a bitter hatred. I felt sorry for his man, hoping and praying that one day his heart would be softened. But I'm grateful for Elijah, who stood up to his dad and continued to listen and talk with us. I know that all investigator's face opposition, but wow, that was INTENSE opposition right from the very start. He said, "See, that's what I don't like about my dad. He says he's Christian, but he doesn't follow it at all. But I see you and know that you do, say, and follow what you believe." By their fruits, ye shall know them.

--Sister Burt

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