Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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As mom reminded me I need to update with more information on the area and companion. Hna Nielsen is from Michigan, and was studying art at BYU. She is the second of 8, the oldest girl. And we get along great! I am hoping to stay full-field next transfer so that we have the possibility of staying companions! We live in an apartment, which is weird to not have upstairs roommates, and sometimes I miss living with members. I can send pictures of it when I send the memory card. The area is north of the temple and our ward covers 3 stakes. Our specific area covers one stake completely, then has about 2 blocks of 2 other stakes.

Well we have had some interesting things happen this week, to say the least. On both ends of the spectrum from good to bad. I'll start off with the bad... We have a few investigators in this one apartment complex. Hna. Nielsen said that before I came the manager had told them that we can't come there and knock doors. They had insisted that we don't tract in that complex, we only go to those that have invited us... so despite her we kept going. She had said that it is private property and that we aren't allowed to be there, but as missionaries who deal with this a lot we knew better and kept going. Last week I finally got the privilege of meeting Blanca. We were at an investigators apartment, waiting for her to come out of the kitchen. We actually were planning on dropping her and were just there to get her permission to teach her son, who is interested. We stood there waiting and waiting for her to come, both her son and her "husband" said she was coming. Instead, along comes Blanca from the office. She told us that she had tried to be nice but had no choice but to kick us off the property. We kindly but firmly insisted that we had the right to visit people that had invited us, but she insisted that we didn't and said she would call the police. She also took the mission office number and said she would call and speak to them, because she has talked to many missionaries before (she doesn't understand that both the English and Spanish sisters go there, or that we get transferred...) We left because even though deep down I wanted to argue with her I luckily remembered that I am a missionary and I should not (I don't even think she is a citizen, maybe just a resident, because she isn't American natively...) We figured out later that we think the investigator called her, because she knew right where to find us, which is frustrating because we would rather people take the time to just tell us personally not to come back, rather than make there manager lie about the legality and make it so that we can't visit our other investigators there. I called the mission office and confirmed that we were legally allowed to be there if invited, so we will end up going back one day, but not til after our frustration cools off. That is a hard balance to find as a missionary. I know that as ministers of the gospel that we have authority to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, many people (especially ones older than us) do not understand or believe that and treat us condescendingly. I find it hard to balance between being bold and confident and being kind and respectful.

However, the good things of the week far outweigh the bad. On Tuesday, we got a call from the stake president over the stake our area is in and he said that he had a referral from us. He had just set apart a missionary and his whole family was there, including his non-member grandmother. He spoke with the grandmother (through the grandson because she only speaks Spanish) and asked her how she felt and if she wanted missionaries to come teach her more. He set up an appt with her for us to come over last Saturday. I can now say that for the first time in my mission I have met what people call a "golden" investigator. I don't think I have ever met anyone more prepared (well, more prepared when we first meet them) as Laura. We went over and she was waiting for us. We asked her about the setting apart and found out that all of her children and their families are converts to the church, the longest for no more than 3 years. She then proceeded to tell us that she has wanted to meet with missionaries for a long time now, because she has seen the affect the gospel has had one their lives. She has been to all of their baptisms, ordinations, talks, testimonies, etc, and knows that it is true. However, she wanted to wait for her husband so they could take the lessons together. He isn't (for right now) interested in learning about the gospel. After the setting apart, Laura decided that she couldn't wait any longer and that she would take the step of faith to invite us over. She knows that her husband will one day accept the gospel if she starts down that path. She pretty much bore her testimony to us every time we asked her a question, answering with how she already knew that the things we taught we true. She is such a sweet little woman, and we are so excited to be teaching her!
Thelma and Jessica are also progressing well. We made a plan of salvation game that we played with them last week, and they both have great questions. Jessica always asks if we can come back "tomorrow." They even went to church this week! They didn't go to our ward, but the went with Refugio, her brother-in-law. Then Sunday night they came to the Mission President fireside, where recent converts bear their testimonies and tell their stories of finding the church. They again came with Refugio and his family. I am really excited for them and we have seen the wonderful changes that the gospel has brought in just these few weeks. Thelma is more confident with herself, and understands more the importance of her decisions and her happiness. She is letting the Atonement heal her heart from the hurt she has been through. And she understands the importance of also letting the Savior help her forgive those who have hurt her. I am so excited for this sweet little family!

Well, that is all that time is allowing for this week. It seems like every transfer goes by faster and faster! Have a great end of February!

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

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