Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can I Be Your Boyfriend?

Yikes, I’m sitting under an AC vent because this was the only computer open…and you know how I feel about being cold. Yikes, it’s chilly! Let’s see if I can handle this for the next 30 minutes.
Wow, another week has flown by. Yesterday was actually super fun, we had a Zone Activity and played soccer at this Park and Rec field. I know, it’s not that big of a deal, but after having been in Beeville for 6 months, where it took an hour to drive to Zone Activities (which is the reason why we’d never go), it’s pretty exciting. I’m not going to lie, I had sort of a bad attitude when I heard we were playing Soccer because that was the one sport where I just had no skills (Sis. Ami was a bit bummed too because she’s in the same athletic situation as me). But, it was SUCH a blast! Actually, just being able to run around for 2 hours and chasing people and such, was so exhilarating. I miss proper exercise…
Ok, I know this is random and weird, but the strangest thing has happened to me recently. My eyebrows have turned (partially) blonde! I’m SO weirded out by it because they’ve always been brown for the past few years, but they’ve turned this strange goldeny/bronzy color. I don’t get it. Oh well, I think I’m the only one who notices. And yes, I know that’s random.
So when I got here, I asked Sister Lopez for the Referral sheet. She had no clue what I was talking about, so I asked the Zone Leader, Elder Reilly, and he said, "Oh crap!" (He’s super informal...), "I have that from December and never got it to you. Ok. So we finally got it and I was surprised to see that there were over 5 sheets of uncontacted referrals! Some of them were even from April! I definitely gained a testimony about contacting referrals from Sister Call (among the many things I learned from her), and so right away I set to work on contacting them. It took a lot of organizing and figuring out things, but we set a goal to contact them all as soon as we could.
So creeper story of the week: I was filling up our water jug at a water mill (the water here is not drinkable, so there are these water stations one every corner) and I decided to contact this late-30-year-old man in his car while my companion was sitting in the car waiting for the water to fill up. He happily accepted me and I started talking to him about how families can be together forever. “Do you have a family?” I asked. “No,” he said. Hmm, apparently I didn’t follow the Spirit on that one, bad tactic. He then asked me if I was “Married,” and for some reason I said yes, but then corrected myself. “Oh cool, do you have a boyfriend.” Oh great, I know where this is going. I fibbed and said that I did have one in Arizona where I’m from, trying to emphasize that, “Yes, I’m not from here. I’m a missionary.” I kept going and switched gears to the Book of Mormon (That’s pretty universal, right?). He was keenly listening, but then at the end said, “Well, the reason I asked you if you had a boyfriend was because I would be your boyfriend.” Ok, conversation done. Haha.

Well, these referrals have turned out to be a huge success for us! Some were hard to contact: for example, some said, "Only home Saturdays," so we'd only be able to visit them on that day, but then come Saturday, we'd be so busy with other appointments, that we couldn't see them till the next Saturday. But we never forgot about them and kept on working for it. We found a lot of new investigators from these referrals. Even though I was embarrassed to visit these people who had requested items or missionaries MONTHS ago, we still did it. I thought that they would have forgotten about it, but all of them still remembered. We stopped by one woman, Gloria, "after 2" as the referral requested and instead we met her "friend." She asked a lot of questions, but refused to give us her address. We came back another day and she said, "Alright, you got me, I lied, I'M actually Gloria." She turned out to be SEARCHING and SO open to us--after we were able to get past the semi-rough wall that she put up. She kept saying during the lesson, "Wow, I never knew any of this before." and "I really want to know if this is true." Another woman was a referral from the Elders and graciously invited us in.

One of the Referrals was a "Jose Luis Rodriguez" who was only home on Saturdays. The referral said he lived in a yellow house off the main road. We pass it all the time, but never visited. Finally, last Saturday, we did. Turns out the yellow house is just the office to a trailer park that is SUPER hidden between from busy streets. Sister Lopez didn't even know that it existed. It's pretty run down and poor. When we went to the office, turns out there isn't any Jose Luis who lives in any of the trailers, but the office manager gave us the name of a Francisco Rodriguez who lived in #18. Well #18 was pretty abandoned, so we took President's advice and started working the area around it. The Lord gave us the referral for a reason: even though the referral may not be the prepared one, someone around them is and the way the Lord gets us to them is through the referral. We started working the trailer park and immediately talk this woman. Then we taught her mom in the next trailer. By the end of our short trip there, we had 5 new investigators, most of them related because this whole family lives in the same trailer park.

But probably my favorite experience from this family that we met almost before we left. We started knocking trailers and were going to do the right side first, then move onto the left later, or if we had time. No one was really interested in this side of the lot, but I saw 3 girls playing outside on the left. So, obviously these little girls aren't home alone, so we crossed over and knocked on their door. The little girls welcomed us and brought us straight to the door to talk to their moms. Immediately these two women answer the door and one starts asking us questions, "Are you the ones who don't drink coffee? Why do you do that?" We started asking her questions, but they fired question after question at us, and not in any sort of contentious sort of way. They really wanted to know. Quite soon after, their two older teenagers came to the doorway and started poking their heads out. The son said, "So can you listen to music in your church?" and the daughter said, "Is it bad to dance?" Apparently, they go to Christian church and the pastor preaches against worldly music of any kind (even classical) and dancing. This obviously was a big doubt and pressing issue on their minds because we would be talking to the parents and randomly the son would say, "Ok, so back to music." or she'd say, "So dancing is ok?" It was funny. I think I heard them ask that question reworded differently about 30 times. But after 45 minutes talking to them, we found out that they are cousins with the 3 other investigators that we just found 30 minutes earlier. It was pretty cool. They didn't actually live in that trailer, but a street away; they were just visiting ANOTHER cousin (who was also present for the conversation). It's neat to see how the Lord really does lead us by the hand. And all this came because we went to contact a referral.
Well, I’m glad to hear that everyone is well. Let me know how everything is going. The church is true, missionary work is hard, but worth it.

Sister Burt

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