This week was absolutely amazing!! I have so much to say and so little time to tell you all about it! So lets get right into it!
Elder Mora, a BYU folk dancer, Elder Williamson, Elder Harris
Elder Mora is 19 and from Kansas City Missouri. He is such a stud! He came out not knowing very much about the Gospel and not knowing how to ride a bike. Now, he has such a strong testimony and bears it to EVERYONE he sees. And he can ride a bike like a champ! He is such a great companion. He always lets me know I'm doing great and we work so well off of each other. He finishes his sentence or gets lost with his words and looks at me and I can pick it right up just like I was starting the sentence myself! He is Mexican so he speaks Spanish really well and is teaching me some too. This also means that he is not afraid to talk to anyone because whether they speak English or Spanish, he can talk to them! We also have the sign language missionaries over here in the East and they have a class every Thursday morning for us missionaries to come learn sign language! I know how to say, "Hello, my name is Elder Harris. We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Out church has special missionaries that know a lot more sign language. Would you like to hear more about Jesus Christ." And little things like "Cool story bro" and so on. Just little things here and there. I absolutely love it here! Now lets talk about our investigators.
This week we hit SOE's! (Standards Of Excellence). We have 4 baptismal dates, 2 came to church and both are now progressing investigators, found 3 news, had 5 lessons with a member present and taught 21 lessons! I haven't hit SOE's since Casas Adobes ward 4 1/2 months ago! Our 3 news are C.C., Katherine, and Rea. All 3 of them are girls.
C.C. is in her 70's and smokes A LOT!!! She is super smart and knows all about our church and has already read the Book of Mormon. Turns out that C.C. has insomnia and so she sleeps maybe once or twice every few months. This gives her a lot of time to read and so she read through our Book. She said that she already knows that it is true and that she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. She told us the whole restoration story before we had the chance to tell it to her ourselves! She said that if she was going to join a church someday it would either be Mormonism or Orthodox Jew's. She says that they are really close to each other but I don't know if that's true or not. But she hasn't lied to us yet! In fact she is very out spoken and said that once she was in the middle of a church service and stood up and told the preacher what she thought of him. People were telling her to sit down but she just stood there and told him what he was saying wrong and how he needed to change or he was doomed for damnation. She also told us about her past. She has been in several federal courts and in one of them she attacked the judge with a bowie knife. They still don't know how she got it into the court room or where she pulled it out of but it was against him stomach and she was ready to let loose on him. It was a pretty crazy story. Then she said, "That was just one experience I've had with judges. I have 8 stamps from different federal judges that all say I'm considered Armed, Lethal and Dangerous. I always have a knife within arms reach and know how to use it better than any man you can dream of." Here we were sitting in her house and she was telling us this and i didn't really know what to do. Then she said, "But I would never hurt a man of God. And I know that you guys are from God so you don't need to worry about anything. If anyone messes with you, just say you know me, and they will leave you alone. No one messes with me." So that was comforting to know! Man, I've missed the ghetto so much! :)
Katherine is 25 and used to be Lutheran. She is now agnostic atheist which means that she doesn't know if there is a God but won't say there is one. She became this way because the stories in the Old Testament scared her and she didn't see why God would let that happen. So now she just says that there isn't a true church and that is about it! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that she would love to read it. She then invited us to come to one of her atheist get togethers. She says they have one every Friday and this week was drink godlessly and next week was caffeine gloriously or something like that. We said that we would try to come to the one next week. She said that they love when people come who aren't atheist because everyone has skewed views that people who are atheist basically are Emo's or listen to Screamo music all the time. Not true. So we might attend that meeting next week. There will be no bashing and no preaching so we wouldn't really be able to fulfill our purpose that I know of. So we'll see what happens!
Last but greatest of all is Rea. Her real name is Robin Elaine Ahng. She is 55 and been through the worse things than I could possibly imagine. We were in her apartment complex Saturday night and saw her door was open. We both felt prompted to go over and talk to her. She let us right in and just started telling us her life story. At the age of 4 she realized that he parents didn't love her because they beat her senseless almost every night. At 9, her sister convinced her to go into a mans house to get some candy from him and he used her in the worst ways. He sister sold her to that man. It happened again at a club when she was 13 because of her other sister. At 15, she was living on the streets fending for herself. She met a guy who we will call Matt (just to protect his privacy I guess). Matt seems like he is the greatest man alive. He plays guitar and drums and sings amazingly. He is kind and honest when you first meet him. But when you get to know him, you learn otherwise. For 10 years, she was beaten, cheated on, and tortured horribly. She finally got a divorce then he convinced her to give him another chance. So they got re-married later that same year and then split up for good after another 5 years. She then met David, the love of her life. They were inseparable after that. She loved him and he loved her. It was meant to be. But Matt didn't like David because it made Rea happy. So one day while David and Rea were at home enjoying each other's company, Matt broke the door down and shot David 8 times in the chest. Rea went into shock and when she came to, the paramedics were there and told her that they couldn't save him. He was gone. She looked at him and he was white, cold, and his eyes were milky. The paramedics said that Matt called in when he came to visit her and saw David on the ground shot and she passed out next to him. Matt falsified the police report and the police wouldn't let Rea change anything on there because they said she was mentally unstable. This was 3 years ago and Matt still roams free. He stalked Rea till about 2 weeks ago when he was picked up by Federal Marshals outside of her apartment because he hadn't shown up to court for a speeding ticket. Rumor has it that he is now in rehab. She sat there for a little then cried harder than she had before and said, "I just wish that God would take me now so I can be with David again... I would do it myself but then I wouldn't be with David cause I would be in Hell. I just want this all to be over." When we met Rea, she was in pieces. She didn't stop crying for the 2 hours that we were there. We didn't say a single word till she finished her stories then said, "God really did send you didn't He. No one has ever just sat and listened to me and that is all I have asked God for for 5 years now." We explained that we were sent from God and that we had a special message from Him to her. That He loved her more than she could ever imagine! We talked about the Book of Mormon and how Christ died for all of our sins AND OUR SORROWS!! That was Saturday night when we met her. We went back yesterday and she was Smiling! She said that she had never felt the Spirit of God until yesterday when we came over. Not only did she feel it when we were there, She felt it after we left and all that night. She told us that she stayed up till 7:30 in the morning reading from the Book of Mormon, the Ensign we left her, and from Psalms. She said that she was done with her drug addictions. Now that she knew Christ and knew that God really was there and loved her, she wanted to be there with Him. She told us that she would be okay from now on and that she had forgiven Matt and her parents and her sisters. What a change in just one night!! I am the luckiest missionary in the entire world. I saw how the Spirit can truly change somebody. It was just as amazing as the conversion story of Alma the younger. We were her angels that showed her the right path. She is also an answer to my prayers. I knew there was someone out here that needed me and she showed me that it is true. God does hear and answer our prayers. He did with me and He did with Rea.
I love it here in the east! We play basketball every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings with guys from the ward. We also play rugby Saturday nights with our zone.
I read a quote in this month’s Ensign. It is in the talk "Trials, Tribulations and Trust in the Lord". This is the quote, "I have learned much from a book titled Why Did This Happen to Me? by Ray Pritchard. He says: 'Sometimes we will face things for which there is no earthly explanation. In those moments we need to erect a sign that reads, "Quiet: God at Work." Meanwhile, hold on, child of God. Keep believing. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Let God do His work in you. The greatest tragedy is to miss what God wants to teach us through our troubles.'"
"Quiet: God at Work." This goes hand in hand with your quote dad. God knows what he wants us to be and how we can become that. We may not agree at first but when we finally show him our faith, we become mansions!
I wish that I had more time but I have to get going. I have used my whole on this but it is worth it. I want you to know that I am safe and I sound. I love my mission and I wouldn't give it up for anything!
Yes I know Elder Makin! I love him very much!
Yes the Drop Box worked. :) Thank you! I love the pictures!
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! Remember that God is always watching our every move and is very mindful of what we need. Just ask in faith and you will receive.
~Elder Kyle Harris