The biggest highlight of this week was a visit from Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy, now serving in the area presidency in Europe. For those who don't recognize the name, he's the one who spoke about "the sting of the scorpion" a few years ago in general conference. He was incredible! He's quite young to be a general authority, and he's very, very humble. Elder Murray [who is from Scotland] even liked him, even if he was from England, ha. He for a short time had an assignment in the Northwest US, so when I told him I was from Portland he asked, "oh which stake?" And I blanked. Family, I honestly wasn't sure which stake I was from! Sad, right? I think I finally told him the right one, and I blamed it on the fact that my parents had moved a couple times while I had been gone. I got to take a picture with him, which was nice. Elder Ingersoll and I are convinced he'll someday be an apostle, so I'll have one of those pictures people always like to show off. Sweet.
I loved the conference, overall. He was a wonderful teacher. He spoke a lot from his own experience and talked about the missionaries who had taught him when he was baptized at age 26. Mentioned a lot of good things about maintaining the image and matching the message we preach. But more inspiring than that was when he told about three years later, now serving as Branch President, and the missionaries came to his door to meet with him. He said that when he opened the door, he literally almost took a step back because he could feel, tangibly, the power coming from this missionary companionship on the other side of the door. He talked a lot about the miracles this young missionary performed just because he "didn't know how to say no, and he worked with a branch that just didn't know how to say no." They decided to double the size of the branch that year, and they did it, essentially because they were all too young and inexperienced to see the potential obstacles. Kind of ironic isn't it? I liked the way he talked about the power we have when we decide something. He said some things that match what Elder Clegg and I have concluded after a few discussions. That is that, in essence, you can decide to be excited and passionate about anything. Even tracting. I wonder if I really underestimate the power of agency.
Unfortunately, Elder Kearon also quoted Elder Holland saying,"It takes a truly inspired conference to last past Tuesday." (or in our case, since that conference was on Thursday, past Saturday). The real test is finding a way to maintain that inspiration all the way to the end. And really, past the end of my mission, to be honest.
This week was a great one in terms of teaching, as well. "P" a man who really just wants to find happiness in his life, told us he had a long discussion with his wife about it, and he has her full support if he wants to learn more about this church and build his faith. (I really hope that support lasts through the tithing discussion). We met with him three times this week, and all of them were spectacular! We asked him to read 2 Nephi 2 for one lesson to prepare to talk about why we're here on earth, and when we asked him in the lesson what he thought about the chapter, he said, "well, I think what it's saying is that we all have our agency, and it's our choice to decide whether we're going to choose good or bad." Thank you, my friend, that was our lesson for today, we'll see you on Friday. I love this man! In Sunday School, we talked more deeply about the Atonement and how to use it in our lives, and he was sitting there marking up his scriptures and loving it all. Sadly, we've learned that he lives in the Haaga ward boundaries, so we're going to need to transition him there and let those missionaries begin teaching him, but he's such a good man. I really hope he'll be baptized, no matter where it is.
"A", another man that missionaries have been teaching for a long time, also made a great step forward this weekend. Saturday, we talked with him about fasting to have the determination to live the Word of Wisdom. He wasn't quite sure if he could, but he was so close. I'm not sure what more we can do, but he agreed to fast about it with us. He was like, "oh yeah tomorrow is fast sunday." He's not even a member yet! But, he did say that he had a dream once where he got baptized in Neitsytpolku, at the chapel, and it's summer now.....
Life hasn't been all fun and games, we've had some people be pretty rude to us downtown. One guy shouted some nasty things to us out his car window as he drove past, and Elder Clegg had a drunk man follow him for a long way shouting at him for not giving him any money. One time, though, I actually thought I handled it pretty well. The tram was packed to capacity and Elder Clegg and I were standing in front of a chair. A woman with her dog got on and said, in a less than polite way that "hey there's a chair there, so if you guys don't want to use it, I will." He and I hadn't even noticed the chair that folds down out of the wall of the tram. So, we make room and she sits down and I decide to ask her how she's doing that day. She takes one look at the nametag and says, "oh, you guys are a couple of those 'false doctrine' preachers." To which I just smiled back and said nothing, not in the mood to fight today. After a few seconds, we happened to make eye contact again and evidently her first comment wasn't enough for these two boys, so she said something that roughly translates to, "You guys are far away from God." I just looked down, smiled again and said, "Look, Ma'am. I'm really sorry we didn't see the seat there." To which she just laughed, and we got off the tram at our stop without anything more said.
Anyway, I love you all, gotta go. Hope everyone has a great week!