Monday, April 19, 2010

Front Page News?

How's everyone doing today? Sounds like it was a busy weekend in Arizona. Thanks for the ipod delivery with the conference talks. We're already loving it! It's super excited about the Suns (I'm not going to lie, I used to ask around and find out how they were doing. I hope they do well and then SMASH the Lakers when it comes down to it!)
To answer your question about the Provo, UT mission about Nick Wallace (tell his family Congrats from me!). That is actually an AWESOME mission. It not only covers Provo, but I think all that is south of it. At first when I used to hear people get called to Utah, I would think, "Ew, lame. How boring." But it's actually so superb. Our mission president told us that the missionaries are SO busy there, that they hardly ever have to "knock doors." All of their lessons and investigators come from referrals from the members. The members are amazing and make a huge difference, they help in all ways that members should be involved in missionary work. It's actually the highest baptizing mission in the world. So, I'm sure he'll have lots to do.
Anyways, new alert!...actually, it's quite literal. Stop the Presses! The other day, I was just sitting around thinking about how we could think of some more creative contacting ideas--because, quite honestly, knocking doors is the least effective way to talk to people. So I was sitting and pondering what we could do and I was reminded of a part in chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel that lists some ideas. The one that said, "Go to the local newspaper to see if they can print an article about your missionary service." BINGO! I thought it was a great idea. I've read that part a ton of times before, but the timing was never right. What would make Sister Farr and I different than any other missionaries that have been riding around Raymondville over the years? Well, that's exactly it: we're Sister missionaries. Sisters haven't been here in town for a long time (if ever!), so one of the first things people say to us is, "Wow, I didn't know that there were girl missionaries. How long have they been doing that?" So, after proposing the idea to Sister Farr, we stopped by the Raymondville Chronicle to test the waters and see if we'd get a bite. And boy oh boy, did they bite. Actually, one of the first things they said was, "There are girl missionaries?" So that led us into the discussion about why we wanted to run the article. Well, he told us to write something up, so I brainstormed and got permission to go to a member's home on Sunday to type it up and email it to them. This morning, right before we emailed, we stopped by the office to go over the article. The editor/owner, Paul, loved it and, impressed by my writing, asked, "Do you want a job as a reporter?" It made me laugh. He said that he wasn't even going to change a thing about the article. So, come the Wednesday edition (the Raymondville Chronicle prints only weekly), our article--complete with our picture--will be printed! I can assume that one Wednesday, you can go to www.raymondvillechroniclenews(dot) com and you might be able to read it.See, good things come to those who do what the scriptures teach us. When we have a problem, we first need to: ask in faith, study it out in our mind, be prepared to receive and follow revelation, and then go ACT in faith. Just as Joseph Smith asked, "Which church should I JOIN?" (rather than just, "What church is true?") and then he went to "ask in faith" (meaning to go and do), was he able to receive an incredible answer that changed the history of the world. I'm not saying I'm expecting this article to be world-changing, but at least it will help get the word out about the church.
Well, I don't usually like to count my chickens before they hatch, but....we are having a baptism this week! We are very excited. Lucy is so prepared and ready to take this big step in her life. I mentioned Lucy in previous emails, but everything we have asked her to do, she has accepted everything we've taught her: word of wisdom, chastity, tithing. No problem. It's shocking at times about how prepared she is. So we'll be stopping by every day this week to continue to teach her and help her prepare for Sunday.
Last week, we were contacting in Lyford and we met a man who was one the way out. He was not really interested (how could he be when we didn't ever get a chance to explain who we were?), but we set up another appointment for him Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Now, church finishes at Noon and usually, it takes a while to leave because we have to talk to investigators, set up appointments with members, etc. I remember thinking that this would be a hard appointment to be on time. We never set up appointments in Lyford directly after church because around 1 or 1:30, we have to drive to Lasara (9 miles from Raymondville) in the opposite direction) to eat with the Lopez family.
As we were driving to the appointment, I was still thinking, "He's not even going to be there. I don't think he's going to remember. What a waste of gas and time to drive here when we could have just stayed in Raymondville and done some legitimate contacting." Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't "murmuring in my head," just mulling the situation over. We pulled up to the house on the other side of the road, right as he left in his car (we were late), but then again, so did about 2 other cars (Sunday's a big family day). We sat there and we decided to go knock the house (maybe that wasn't him). Right as we did, I turned to the left to see a man in an electric wheelchair, hidden under the shade of some trees. He was a little ways off, but I decided that I might as well, "talk to everyone." While I went to talk to the old man, Sister Farr ran across the street to knock the door. As I approached the man, I realized that he was stuck in the mud (we've had an incredible amount of rain this week and the ground is so muddy and gross). I asked him, in Spanish, how he was doing and if he needed help. He tried to move his wheelchair, but he was embedded in the mud and couldn't move. I looked around and it appeared that the house he was at, was abandoned and no body was around. I began to wonder how long he had been stranded there. I asked him and he replied, "A while" (I'm still not quite sure what that means). I tried to push the back of his chair, but it and him were so heavy, it wouldn't budge. Finally, it moved a bit forward, up and out of the mud, but then he moved it back on accident into another muddy area.
I called Sister Farr over and we both tried to push, yet still, no luck. I got down low and my head was right next to the bag of empty beer cans that he was carrying--I just about went ill from the smell. I looked at the controls of his wheelchair, which he kept punching every once in a while. As I watched him do this, I realized that the battery of the wheelchair was completely drained. How were we going to get him out of here? I said a prayer in my heart and the pushed the buttons myself. Finally, it started moving for a bit and we pushed it as far as we could. In order to prevent him falling back into a sticky (or rather, muddy) situation, we pushed him around the trees and onto the main highway road that we were parked on. He made it and started trekking off in another direction, without a backwards glance. We started walking to some other houses, when I looked back and noticed that he was at a standstill in the middle of the road. I ran up to him and, of course, the chair ran out of juice. Now really, what were we going to do? We can't give people rides in our cars. As I was talking to him, immediately after a suburban passed and then slowed to a stop. "Yay. Help!" I thought. A woman ran out and said, "Papa." Turns out it was her grandfather. They were able to help him and get him home. They thanked us for helping him and we went on our way.
As we were walking away, I realized then, why were were in that spot in Lyford, at that exact time: to help a man in need. I don't think if we would have come by, that anyone would have seen him as he was stranded a ways back on the lot and under a bunch of trees. He didn't accept the Gospel, but I've learned from Sister Farr, that sometimes God puts us in certain people's paths to help them in their moment of need. We are answers to prayers, even if we don't recognize it. God didn't put us in his path knowing that he'd be baptized, but God put us in his path to help him. I'm grateful for the Spirit and that by following it, we are always led to do good. It will never lead us astray.
This week made me wonder if maybe this is what Clark Kent feels like: full-time reporter, part-time life-saving superhero. It's a good feeling.
Sister Burt

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