This was an interesting week. We've spent all week walking! Hours and hours! Lots of fun. Even in the snow storm that hit! That doesn't stop us though.
The miracle this week happened on Tuesday. After district meeting (which went really well), we had an appointment with Susan. Susan is a Jehovah's Witness. Her 18 year old son, Kadeem, is a recent convert of about 2 years, and her 21 year old son, Jermain, has been coming to church with Kadeem the past few weeks. Susan is divorced and has a messy situation with her family, and she lives alone. Jermain and Kadeem live alone in an apartment, and they don't have the nicest things to say about their mother.
Susan met with missionaries years ago and wants to again. So we taught her a first discussion and invited her to be baptized. She accepted! We set a date for March 18. It was an interesting appointment. I'm not extremely thrilled either, because in that lesson I did not once feel the spirit and I didn't feel like she did either. Maybe it was just because I had a headache from some sort of weird reaction I got from drinking almond milk (I'm fine now J ) or maybe the spirit hasn't really taken root in her like it needs too and she wants to be baptized for the wrong reason. Only time will tell. But I will not baptize somebody unless I know for sure they have felt the spirit and have been converted at heart.
We also met again with our investigator, Melanie. when I was on splits with the Zone Leader. We don't know what to do with her! We had a spiritual appointment with her and the spirit was there FOR SURE, and we pointed it out, but she said she couldn't feel it. It seems like we can see the spirit working with her, but then as soon as it hits her she chases it away with her rationalizations and doubts. It's sad! She demands signs for answers and refuses to pray because it feels silly. She lives an adulterous life with her boyfriend and I thought that testifies of the scripture in Matthew 12:39, haha! But no honestly, Melanie is awesome, she just might not be prepared quite yet. There is a seed planted, but she nourishes the noxious weeds around it rather than the good seed itself.
The latest news with Monica is that she is still smoking and is extremely upset about her pending baptismal approval. I read the story in Alma about how the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were so converted at heart to the gospel that they were willing to do and give up anything for it. They buried their weapons of war and volunteered themselves for slaughter to the Lamanites. Monica is not willing to do anything for the gospel. She won't make the necessary restitution if the approval is denied, and she won't stop smoking. She is caught up in herself. She wants it done her way, right now, rather than accepting and conforming to Christ’s way and time. Missionary work is so hard because no matter how well you explain something to somebody, and no matter how strong the spirit is, sometimes people’s hearts are just so hard that it bounces right off. I pray so hard for Monica and we really love and want what’s best for her. I hope she will allow the spirit to teach her what she needs to do, because even if the baptism gets approved, with the attitude she has right now I don't know if she is ready. She needs to have more than a change of behavior, she needs a change of heart.
So as you can probably tell, there are stressful situations with our investigators. But the work moves forward and we never quit. We meet with Adam and Joanna tonight, the people from Nigeria, and I am SO excited! I love this work. I love the hard times and the awesome times. The awesome times are better, of course.
Thanks for your love, support, e-mails, and prayers! I love you all! Have a good week and don't forget to pray.
Elder Russell Williams