The time is flying by, and obviously I only have a short time left to be out here. But we are staying as busy as ever here in Centralia, and I wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, this last week we've taught more lessons than any other week we've had together. And if all goes to plan this week, we will even top that. The Lord is definitely blessing us for our hard work and obedience—the two simple keys to a successful mission.
We were finally able to teach Lisa and Jerry the Word of Wisdom, and we brought Sister Street along with us. Of course we were a bit nervous about the lesson, because Jerry smokes so much, and there is always a cup of coffee by his side. But Jerry has received the Holy Ghost on multiple occasions and he knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet. When we taught him the lesson, his first reply was, "Well, I've got some things to work on then!" He has tried to quit smoking many times with no success. Jerry and Lisa are very poor and they have no heat or running water. Luckily the weather has been in the 60s most of the week. They mentioned that they are freezing at night, and so Sister Street went out and bought them these really nice comforters.
When we went back to teach them again, there was a note on the door with the copies of the Book of Mormon. It read as follows:
"Dear Elders, after much thought and prayer, especially reading of the scriptures, we have come to the conclusion that we are NO LONGER interested in the Mormon faith. My husband Jerry is spiritually at peace with being a Lutheran as I am with being a Baptist. Please do not waste any more of yours or our time with concurring visits. We no longer want the Book of Mormon in our possession. Please do not return to our property or call us for it will be considered harassment and the police will be called. Do not knock on our door any more. Your services are no longer needed. Sincerely, Lisa Anderson."
One of the hardest things as a missionary, for me, is to teach people, develop a friendship and a love for them, and then in the blink of an eye they never want to see you again. Now of course I know that they are rejecting the message and not the messengers, but that makes it even more sad. I would much rather have them accept the message and reject me as a person! So it has been hard.
We are not sure why she wrote that. Jerry is the one who has been keeping all his commitments, who has shared his testimony with us that Joseph is a prophet, and who believes and knows the things we teach are true. Lisa mentioned in the last lesson that she wasn't able to read. She "didn't have time". So we are thinking that it's just Lisa. She hasn't felt the spirit like Jerry has due to her lack of effort. It was after we received this note that we got the blankets from Sister Street. We set them on their porch with a note saying that we love them and they are always welcome at church. Later, Lisa sent us a text apologizing for the harshness of the letter, she asked us to pray for them, and she said, "don't give up on us". Maybe she is bi-polar? I don't know. She just got a job at Walmart and we actually stopped by this morning and I bought some Oatmeal so I could take it to her register and talk to her. I could tell she was very uncomfortable and felt a bit awkward. I told her I am leaving next week to go home and I would love to just swing by and get a picture with them so I can remember! She said that was fine, and we are going over on Thursday.
I believe with all my heart they will be baptized eventually. We are not sure what is going on right now but it will all work out. We just press forward and keep doing our best.
We met another man named John whom we tracted into. He lives in a pretty nasty house. I've gotten a lot more used to cockroaches crawling on me while we teach though. J We taught him the Restoration and we set a baptismal date with him for December 29th! He, along with many others, are coming along. There is no need for discouragement with all the success we are having. We also taught our investigator Mark, and he loved it. He came to church yesterday and asked us, "What are the requirements to become a missionary? Is there anything else besides having to be a member of the church for a year?" He wants to join, but he doesn't want to set a baptism date quite yet.
So that's about it! Life is good! Oh and just a funny lesson we had yesterday...it was with Brother Farthing, who is 90 something years old, and his neighbor Carl, who is also old. Both of them are almost deaf. I had the privilege of reciting to Carl Joseph Smith's first vision at the top of my lungs... "I SAW A PILLAR OF LIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" ..... "Huh? What?" "A PILLAR OF LIGHT! EXACTLY OVER MY HEAD!!!!"............."…say what now?" Haha, it was so great.
I love and miss you! One more full week to just tear it up.