This week was awesome! Eugene has been progressing super well and we're teaching his mom (Deborah) too. This week Eugene's anti-Mormon sister visited for a few days and apparently constantly bashed the Church while she was staying with them when Eugene told her he's going to be baptized in December. But Eugene and Deborah stuck to what they know is true! Deborah told us later that she doesn't think it's right to criticize another's beliefs no matter what. Deborah also told us that she loves the Book of Mormon and knows that it's true because it teaches about the same things that are in the Bible! Eugene came to the employment meeting and we later taught him and Deborah about the Word of Wisdom, since Eugene has something to work through before he's baptized. I'm so excited for them both! We invited Deborah to be baptized (she hasn't heard about the Restoration yet) and she said she'd already been baptized, but we taught her about the priesthood in the short time we had and we're planning to teach her about the Restoration in more depth next time :)
One night we felt like we should knock on someone's door so we did and this lady opened the door and said "Sisters! Not elders? Come on in!" At that point we figured she was either a less-active member or a former investigator. When we stepped in, the first thing I noticed was the abundance of wooden triangles in her apartment. Sister Cheyne asked about them and the lady said something about how the triangles were how she communicated with the aliens and UFOs. She said a TON of weird stuff and then her grandfather clock started chiming and something must have been wrong with it--either it was extremely out of tune or she had done something to it so that it sounded awful, and this is more than the "slightly overplayed and out of tune piano" kind of awful. Before that we were kind of hoping she was just pulling a prank. She said so many other strange things and I hope one day she'll be open to learning about the restored gospel!
We were able to teach Dewanda again! We stopped by at night and she told us it was the perfect timing because she had just gotten home from work and was about to head to the store, but she invited us in for a little while and we taught her about the Restoration! When we taught her about the Prophet Joseph Smith's First Vision, she said she felt the Holy Ghost just like she does when she reads the scriptures! We invited her to be baptized and she told us she's been baptized before but feels like she needs a restoration of faith for herself, so she'll consider it and pray about it!
I had the wonderful privilege to attend the baptism of a guy named Mariano that Sister Gonzalez and I street contacted close to where Dawn and Lonnie live. We referred him to the Spanish sisters and they taught him and he's progressed wonderfully! It was amazing to see the changes he's made in his life!
Later I was on splits so that Sister Cheyne could go to the temple and the member I was with came with me to visit a new investigator named Alex that was referred to us. He wasn't home, but for some reason we walked around his apartment complex and then saw some people that we street contacted who turned out to be Alex and his girlfriend! Thank goodness for that divine intervention! Alex told us he can't wait to learn more and we passed him off to the YSA missionaries.
One time we went to a neighborhood and parked to visit someone who wasn't home and then felt like we should take the car to our next plans, even though they were just up the street and around the corner. I felt like we would miss someone if we took the time to walk. So we went to our next plans and no one answered the door and then we went to the neighbors' house and met a lady named Olga who said she was just heading out the door to pick up her kids! We taught an extremely brief portion of the Restoration and gave her a pamphlet and then she left to go get her kids. I'm so glad we caught her!
There's an amazing member in one of our wards named Brother N. His calling is in the Elders Quorum presidency and he is awesome! He called us after a correlation meeting that he came to and told us he just had this huge desire to get the members working in unity with the missionaries, which started when he was looking at the home teaching reports and saw how many of the members weren't trying their hardest to fulfill their callings and responsibilities. He invited us to speak in opening exercises for Elders Quorum, which we did. He is so awesome! We went over to his house the next day and he gave us a ton of solid referrals and then said, "Why are we just talking about this right now? Let's go visit them!" So we did and oh my goodness words cannot express how happy this makes me! This is the level we're trying to get all the members to be at!
One day I decided to drive (I'm usually in the passenger seat taking care of the phone) and I missed the turn to the apartment complex we were going to that usually had the gates open, so I turned into the next entrance and the gates were shut and we didn't have the code because they're different for each entrance. We looked for the code on our list and it just said to use the other entrance. The problem was that there was no space to turn around like they usually have after the box thing that you put the code in and this complex was off of a very busy road. The only options were to have Sister Cheyne get out and back me onto the road when it was clear or wait until someone else used this gate instead of the main one that was open and risk getting our car smashed since there was absolutely no space. So Sister Cheyne got out and after I backed up and got the car into a safer spot, a guy walked past and Sister Cheyne talked to him--he's really interested and has always wanted to meet with missionaries! Sometimes the strangest things happen so we can meet the right people.
After that experience we arrived at the apartment and saw a guy outside so we went out and talked to him. His name is Austin and he told us he just moved her a few months ago and has been looking for something more in his life!
Another day we had an awkward amount of time left between the lesson we finished and our appointment for dinner since we were riding our bikes and we had an appointment immediately after dinner but not in the same place. We worked it out and went to our plans in an apartment complex and I felt a constant prompting to visit the person we had planned as backup, so we went over to his apartment even though it was way in the back of the complex and we would definitely be late for dinner, since we would be walking back to a different complex. When we got there we met Chris, the guy we planned as backup, and he told us he was an atheist and wished he was agnostic. That's not something you hear ever day! We asked him why he said that and he told us that he wanted to believe there was a God and be happy, but he couldn't see anything showing him that God was there. We taught him then and we're planning to go back this week!
Then as we were walking from Chris' apartment complex to the complex we had dinner in we needed to cross a main road and were quite a ways away from the crosswalk. I prayed that we would be able to cross relatively quickly after pressing the button and the we saw a lady cross the same street, so I figured it might take a while for us to cross when we got there. The lady came up our way and we talked to her briefly and then when we got to the intersection we were able to cross immediately! Thank goodness! Then, still on our way, we street contacted a lady named Rebecca who was heading inside with some grocery bags who told us she just moved here from Connecticut to find a job. Her husband is serving in the Army and is currently deployed. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she said she was looking forward to finding peace through it!
Yesterday we had appointment with a new investigator named Steve whom we found a while ago and when we knocked on the door someone named Lois opened the door and said she was confused. We asked for Steve and she got him and then they both came outside for our lesson. We began teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and then Lois asked if we wanted to come inside and Steve protested, saying he loved it outside. Lois said we must be cold (guys, it's still in the 80s here! I love it!) and we went inside with her while Steve stayed outside for a bit with the member we brought named Miles. Lois is so cool and fun to be around! A few minutes later the guys came in and we continued our lesson. Steve asked us how the trinity works and we told him we didn't believe in it--he was happy to learn that! Lois asked a lot of good questions, but by far my favorite was "How are you so happy?!" So we taught her that happiness for us comes through understanding God's plan, living the Gospel of Jesus Christ (especially by repenting) and by studying the scriptures, praying, and coming to church! We invited them to be baptized and they both said they want to be! They are so awesome! Their baptism will probably be a ways out because there are some Word of Wisdom things to work through and one of them needs to be divorced from someone who is in jail and then they can get married, but they're totally willing to do it!
Guys, I love the gospel so much and I know without a doubt that following Christ's example and living in His way is the only way to be truly happy. Thank goodness we get to share the gospel with everyone, whether we're full-time missionaries or not!