Monday, June 7, 2010

World Record Church Attendance

Thanks for the email and such! Yeah that sounds good about the Disneyland trip on the 1st-5th of August. That sounds like a super fun trip and Dior and kids should come too! Make it a whole family event! :)
Tell Steven "Happy 22nd Birthday" from me! I don't have his address or anything, so I guess this will do. I am sending something for Dad for Father's Day, so I'll include his part too.
I think my mission is beginning to mirror itself. During the first two months, I had the HARDEST time sleeping. Once I hit the field, I was fine. Now, I have two months left and, again, I'm having the HARDEST time sleeping. I usually don't fall asleep till between midnight and three. Yikes. So, I took some advice from Elder Guillen and I'm going to start taking Melatonin, some sort of vitamin that is a natural sleep aid. I need my sleep...
Well, update on some of our investigators. Theresa from a few weeks ago has been hard to catch, but her daughter was put in the hospital because he appendix needed to be removed and so we sent the Zone Leaders over there to give her a blessing. They also shared--very boldly--about the Book of Mormon and how it's convincing evidence from God that this is his true church. We're seeing her tonight. Marcos came to church yesterday with him wife and kids! They were excited to come, but had to leave after the first hour because she had to work a half our later and he didn't have a way to get home. But he's excited to come back this week and stay for all three hours so that he can get the real effect of it. So cool. We're hoping to set a baptismal date with them tonight.
But this week was an incredible week! From Friday on, we were streamlining from place to place. During those days, we found some very prepared people who came to church and we taught lessons with members present. We had so many people that wanted to come to church, that we spent 2 straight hours on Saturday, procuring rides for all of our investigators. Our our work paid off well and we had 14 people at church, but only of those 8 of those were investigators (the other 6 were an investigator's children, who all are above 8, yet we haven't really been able to "officially" sit down and teach the kids and make them investigators). Two of those investigators who we found on Friday, even went up and bore their testimony. It was incredible. I really felt that the Lord is beginning to pour our blessings upon us that there isn't "room enough to receive it." I'm not boasting, but I'm going to continue to do my best with all these people so that they all progress to baptism and don't fall through the cracks just because we have "too many people to see."
First off, is Eva. Friday, we went to an appointment with a flaky former investigator who always sets up appointments, but never is there when we come. We arrived and--figures--she wasn't there. We started heading back into the car when I said, "Why don't we just knock this street?" It was a short little street that we had done a while ago, but nothing came from it. Maybe there was someone there this time who hasn't home when we came the months prior. We started knocking and had no success until the 2nd to last house. We knock and this woman opens and immediately says, "Sit down." She gets some chairs outside and we sit and talk. Her name is Eva and she's had a really rough life: drugs, been in prison multiple times, abuse, 8 kids, married 5 times and a widow twice. Now she's clean and ready to change--very prepared. Before we left she said, "You know, I saw you two in the paper" and then later I saw you on your bikes and I turned to my kids and said, "Look! Look, it's the girls' from the paper!" But said to myself, "I really hope they stop by my house." Well a few days later, her prayer (in her head) was answered and we came by. She came to church, brought 6 of her kids, loved it, felt "really comfortable" in the church and even went up and bore her testimony! In between classes I was talking to her telling her about how the Elders were having a baptism after church. She asked, "How do you get baptized?" (wow, I just had a flashback of the Joseph Smith movie and they're translating the plates and Oliver Cowdery says, "How are we to be baptized?") I wasn't sure if she was asking "What is the manner of baptism?" or "How can I be baptized?" So...I gave a lame answer because someone else was trying to talk to me at the same time. But later we came back and I started the lesson by asking, "So, you want to be baptized?" And she said, "Yes." So that pretty much led the lesson and she accepted to be baptized on the 11th of July (actually, I accidentally said 13th, thinking that that was a Sunday, so we'll just have to correct that later).
The next person is Christina. She's very similar to Eva in a way. They actually live one street apart. Christina was an investigator from back in February and March. She saw us at HEB during the week. Yes, Sister Farr and I sometimes go to the grocery store to randomly get things for investigators or emergency type stuff, but don't worry! We always have permission to do so. But its' funny, every time we make a random trip to HEB, it always ends up helping us with our missionary work. HEB is the hub for everyone (everyone needs food, therefore whether you are rich or poor, you go to the grocery store), so it's a great chance to see a lot of people. Well, we were going and as we were walking in a woman yelled to us from her car, "SISTERS!" We went over and it was Christina who had moved so many times since being in the trailer on Durham that we no longer kept track or bothered her. Well, she finally came up to us 3 months later! We tried to set up a few appointments, but she was always gone. Finally, Friday after planning, an appointment fell through and I was just led to her house. We got out and she waved us inside. She told us that she is really stressed because she had to go to court on Monday (today) to see if she could get custody of her two sons. Immediately, I talked about "coming unto Christ" and fasting, by sharing Omni 1:26. She was shocked. "You know what?" she said, "I have been thinking about fasting for a long time, but I never told anyone about it. I know that God has been answering my prayers by sending you and working through you." She accepted to be baptized and came to church on Sunday--she also bore her testimony thanking God that we stopped by on Friday when she was so down and depressed thinking that all was lost. She is great and we shared last night about Faith and it was a great lesson. She's pumped to be baptized and really wants her boys back because she wants them to start growing up in the church.
Last but not least, Guillermo. He is a Spanish-only speaker and he is SO cool. He is really struck by us and always tells us that we are "buena gente" or "mujeres virtuosas." He sees the Spirit in us and tells us that he feels it every time he talks to us. This is one way he knows that what we share is true. We found him in the home next to an investigator, but he doesn't really live there, he actually lives in Lyford. We started talking to him and he was legitimately interested in the church--astoundingly so. He actually came to church back in 2004 and has a Book of Mormon; he remembers the headphones they use for the translation. Well, it's been REALLY rough getting a hold of him. He lives in Lyford and we always seem to have miscommunication about the time or place. We finally taught him outside of the place he stays: he lives in the guest house of these really rich, snooty people. We stopped by, taught him and later came back to daily contact him and see how he was. The owner and her husband were outside walking on their property and yelled at us that we couldn't go back to his little house because it was their property. We left her a little note for him, but he wasn't happy. We came back the next day and he was outside working. We talked for a good 10 minutes and then "she" came out again and yelled at us, "I already told you! Get off my property! I don't want you people here. I mean, I already have to deal with people like him!" It made me really sad about how mean this woman was. So, yes, Satan clearly doesn't want Guillermo being taught. Things always get in the way that's neither of our faults. Yesterday, we had an appointment with him at the park, but we thought he meant the park in Lyford. Turns out he meant the park in RAYMONDVILLE! So we missed each other.
Last night, we were one contact short of our goal and it was 9:05 pm. I decided to go home rather than get that last one. But as I was heading home, I rerouted and decided that we could get that last one. I decided to swing around the ball fields where some baseball games were going, but that didn't feel right. So I headed over to the HEB gas station for some reason and parked, talked to a man filling up on gas, and drove away. This whole time Sister Farr was talking to Guillermo, who had missed his appointment a few hours earlier. As she was saying, "Bye", I was pulling out from the gas station and onto the main road. I looked right to check if all was clear and realized that as she said, "Bye" the man 10 feet away on the pay phone said, "Bye" as well and hung up the phone. "That's Guillermo!" Sister Farr hopped out, backed me out and we talked to him for a bit. He doesn't have a car or phone, so he drives his bike from Lyford every day and apparently (we just discovered) he has been contacting us from pay phones (hence the reason his number is different every single time). I was grateful for the Spirit's prompting and that I followed it, even though I wasn't quite sure why or where I was going. I know that when we follow the Spirit, we get led exactly where the Lord needs us to be. It was a great opportunity to talk with him and answer any doubts or concerns, and also to bear testimony in person. From now on, his lesson's are at the church building. No more miscommunication. No more mean landlords. No more preventing him from receiving the blessings of the Gospel.
I love you all! Happy Father's Day Dad! Happy Birthday Steve!
Sister Burt

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