It's almost, kinda, barely, officially Spring here! Oh wait.....the rain outside just turned to snow....nevermind. Back to January.
Ok, so actually it's beautiful outside right now. I can't believe how much sun we've had the past couple of days. It's still a bit chilly, I'm still wearing a scarf most days, but that's mostly just to block the wind while we bike. Elder D LOVES biking, so we basically bike everywhere now, even when it might be more effective to walk. But that's just my opinion.
Monday, I had a really wonderful experience at a less-active's home. Elder L and I went to just share a short spiritual message with this family who he had spent a great deal of time working with. We thought it would be best just to share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how it's helped us. That's the message we share, with some variation based on circumstances and the Spirit, with every less-active - The Book of Mormon blesses us and our families. If they get back into the Book of Mormon and receive again the witness they once had, no other concern really matters. That is the power of this book and the plan through which it was brought forth. I took the chance to talk about 2 Nephi 31:20 - the scripture that has become my family's motto, and how that has united us so much. At the end of the lesson, this less-active mother talked about how wonderful it was that our families both seemed to be so strong and faithful, and that it rarely, if ever, felt that way in her home. We bore testimony of how the Book of Mormon had been the center of our families for so long, and that it was a key to being happier together. We then committed this couple to read the Book of Mormon together every day. We'll see this week, hopefully, how it's been going.
Elder D and I had a great first week together overall. It got off to an almost completely hassle-free start with only one crisis at the train station. Elder L got on the train fine, but Elder D had a bit of trouble getting his bike off, and the train people weren't very happy about the 30 second delay. Sorreeeeeee. Sheesh. I did get to give him a nice welcome to P-Town dinner that night though, with my own chicken alfredo from scratch (yeeeppp, don't even use a recipe anymore).
One of the best pieces of advice Elder L gave me before he left was: "Don't stress." I really learned a lot about how to do that this week. One night, I was trying to come up with a good plan for what to do the next day. I was racking my brain forever, but nothing came. I prayed, nothing came. So finally, a little frustrated, I just started writing down ideas in my planner. Tract here. Tract there. Visit this person. Visit this member. etc. Then it suddenly hit me. Like a slap right to the face it was so obvious what we were supposed to do! So I wrote it down. I prayed that night for specific driection about how to conduct that appointment with this member so we could review with her the needs of the people we had been jointly praying for. Everything became very clear, and the next day everything went smoother and better than we had planned.
The next day I had another experience similar to the one above. We were walking from one place to another, with a decent plan, but perhaps not the right one, because my heart just wasn't in it. I prayed in my mind the entire walk to find a better thing to do. Then, out of nowhere, the answer came again in the same way! It was wonderful. We went to visit another member who lived not too far from where we were, and with whom we had been praying for the same people as in the story above. She happened to pull into her driveway JUST as we walked up to her home (which is perfect timing because she lives alone and we can't go inside without another man but that's not a rule most missionaries have followed in the past so we always have to explain it over and over to members and it's a bit of a distraction at the door sometimes). We had a brief discussion with her about how we could help these people, and out of just a five minute discussion came the plan to invite them all over for FHE at this member's home so they could feel the Spirit again. We volunteered to share a spiritual thought as part of the FHE. As we were leaving, she mentioned another friend of her's that we could pray for, and she ended up bringing that friend to church this past Sunday!
To sum up, the past two stories have really helped me to realize that we cannot ever force the Spirit. It will come when we are ready and open. Stress always inhibits the Spirit, so don't stress! Also, at least for me, the Spirit typically speaks when I'm in motion, not just waiting around for the answer to be given and for every detail to be set in place.
Okay, to be honest, if any of that sounds like it has a slightly more serious tone, it's because I try to write as many of the success stories in my email as possible in such a way that I can just copy and paste it into my letter to President and I don't have to spend time re-typing stuff. Lazy, right?
Here's the fun part of this week. We got locked out of our apartment. Bummer! Wait? how is that fun? All that means is a bunch of embarrassing phone calls to get someone to come open the door, and a couple hours wait to be able to get in. Unless you do it my way. We went outside and found a decent looking stick. I came back in and shoved it through the mail slot in our door, then managed to lever the stick into position to pop the handle and pry open the door. I felt pretty proud of myself, especially because I stayed calm the whole time. It did hurt a little bit, though. The mail slots have these teeth on the inside designed to essentially prevent people from doing, um, exactly what I did....yeah. So to get the stick into the right position and rotate it, I kinda just had to bite the bullet and man up to the pain, but really besides some scratches and a small amount of swelling it wasn't really that bad.
We also had a great chance to serve some people this week. They were just out raking leaves in front of their home, so we offered to help. We had a great time chatting with them, and, even though they weren't interested in our message, they thanked us for the help and said it "warmed their hearts to see two young men who are just so good." Those are the moments that make me feel like a true representative of our Savior.
Love you all so much. Have an awesome week. Pitäkää hauskaa! [Have fun!]