Try and Keep on Trying!

I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.  I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.  I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.  I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.   Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.  Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.-Psalms 142

February 23, 2015

Dear Parents, Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I am sorry that you have been sick and battling illnesses. A lot of people have been sick and cancelling on us. It has snowed, been cold, rained, and the snow is melting now. It should get colder. Or it could not.

I have told you the majority of Tuesday. We accessed computers at a computer lab at another set of missionaries apartment. We were able to drive once the roads were cleared and they were cleared during the day. In the beginning of the day, he got up, late, because he knew the roads were not cleared. Got ready, only to go back to bed. We could have easily walked to this set of missionaries apartment, no problem. But, with Monday and walking, I doubt that he would have liked to walk some more. It is just one more mile to walk. 

So, Tuesday, I struck my deal. Well, he was not going for it, because "it just didn't work for him." I told him to try and to keep on trying. I kept on pushing and he finally agreed. And then we planned, though he did not write it down. That night, I learned that we were having exchanges (actual exchanges) with our zone leaders. I was the one to leave to go to the different area.

Wednesday, he got up a bit late, but earlier than normal. He got ready and the zone leaders delayed. I needed groceries, so we got groceries. Then, I went off to the zone leader's area. I should add that our zone leaders are Spanish missionaries, so they are assigned to the Spanish branch that encompasses the Richmond Stake. Seeing as I know very little Spanish and I did not have Google translate with me, I could not do much. But, it was a lot of fun. Yes, I did not understand most of what what was going, but I picked up on a few words. We tracted into a Spanish family that was watching soccer. Before we began, we prayed, but it was interesting, the family had us stand up to pray and the stood up as well. The zone leader told me to say the prayer and he would translate. Well, before I knew it, the head of the household was saying a prayer, so I thought I would be courteous and then I would say the prayer. When he got done, everybody sat down, so I did not pray. The lesson talked about eternal families, temples, prophets, and some argument about the Spirit. That is what I caught. By the end, we again stood up to pray and the zone leader said the prayer with two other people saying their own prayer at the same time. I could hear distinctly each voice and I thought, "Man, this is like my schizophrenia project and the simulator." I was severely confused by all of it. We had a wonderful dinner with the branch president. I told them I was Hispanic. The wife of the branch president looked at me and said she could see it somewhat, but I looked really white. Yes, that is true. We tracted again that night and found a man who let us in. The zone leader translated my testimony of prayer for him.

Thursday, we had an early morning lesson and then, we exchanged back. We had district meeting and after lunch, we helped out at the health center with Bingo. We tried seeing a few people. We had a successful lesson that night, because we were in unity. We shared an equal amount, which was great. I have to mention that he seemed a lot happier that day. He showed that he could plan as well and that we could work together.

However, and this is the strange thing, when I went to check on him at 10:30, I could tell that whatever it was, it was back. He was sitting there eating chips and I could sense that he was back. It seems odd to say, but that is the only way I could describe it. Thankfully, it was not fully back, whatever it was. Unfortunately, I did not catch it in time. (As his parents we truly feel that something serious is going on with his companion beyond simple laziness. We can only hope that leaders beyond the young missionaries recognize something is terribly wrong here. However, we do not have the expertise to say what it might be.)

Friday, we had a lesson with a potential and now he is an investigator. It was a successful lesson, though I had to push to say what I needed to say. It was not as united as the day before. We saw the ladies in the dark house that we read the Book of Mormon with. It was a simple lesson and we made some good discussions on it. We saw this other recent convert who cognitively can understand things, but does have difficulty in some ways it seems. He was recently baptized, but he still goes to his other church, partially due to his father being opposed to the Church and partially due to its familiarity. We were able to get that information out of him. 

Saturday, we did the progress record and we did some form of weekly planning. It was more of a companionship study, but it helped for a coming lesson at least. We had dinner with this family, a young couple with their two little ones, who recently moved into the ward. The oldest kid, a three year old, kept asking me for my name and I told him and pointed to my name tag for reference. Well, by the second time I did that, I made that startling realization the kid could not read. Yeah, I felt bad for my own ignorance about children. It was funny the kid's brother, who is a year or so old, was playing with my bookbag. The oldest, thinking I did not see this, stated, "My brother is playing with your purse." Thanks, kid, I realize your brother is playing with my "purse." We had transfer calls that night and my companion is being transferred. Something I should have stated from the beginning, but at least I did and did not forget. Well, this mirrors Appomattox in a slight way. I was a bit apprehensive about leading the area. What do you do? You feel like you personally failed in an area, or at least you were not able to do much, but at least a little. So, I prayed.

Sunday, my own day of Pentecost. There was a rich spiritual outpouring for me that day. I learned about kindness and love from the ward conference we had yesterday. The bishop talked about unity and the stake president talked about what to do if you fall out of the boat, meaning the importance of scripture study, praying, and church attendance. The rest of the day, I felt even more confident in my self; we had two good lessons with people that day, one of them being our investigator who sticks to the Bible. I struck a deal with him (odd, I know) that when we read the Book of Mormon with him, to settle any conflicts that he might see with it (if it contradicts the Bible), then we will go out of our way to figure it out and to resolve the conflict. He had a problem with "A Bible, A Bible, we need no more Bible," but we were able to discuss that. I felt that my prayers and actions were guided by the Spirit. I am confident that as I turn to the Lord with leading the area, all will be well.

Two other things. One, at dinner, the older couple we were with talked about how their daughter was attacked by a dog on her mission. It was a gruesome account. Felt like mentioning it, because, mother, you are not alone in accounts of dog attacks and dog fights. Plus, I find it an interesting coincidence of these two stories.

As for Goochland, some members there feel neglected and offended in some ways. The ward council has heard all about it, know the situation, tries to help, but it has gone nowhere. The ward mission leader has gone through it again and again. So, I am back to, "Okay, what am I to do?" I think if we can help the Goochland become spiritually self reliant than that would be progress. Gayton Ward then has to ensure they complete this by reaching a hand out. If we make the first move, it would be good. Then, we can know these people as investigators and bring in fellowship in the claim, "We need a ride due to our mile limitations."

Tout va bien!


Elder S. Todd

1 comment:

Sister King said...

Bless his heart. I too had a companion (in fact, a few of them) who refused to study with me. Life is difficult when you are in the mission field with someone who is not willing to follow the Mission Rules. If I may, I would like share what happened for me.

First, it started at MTC. I believe I shared this with your son before, but in case I did not, I'll begin here. My companion came into the field for the wrong reason. She refused to go to training classes, was rude to all other missionaries, refused to pray, and kept trying to run away from me.

When we were assigned to our first district, she refused to be my companion, thus I was alone for awhile. Which is totally against the rules. I prayed while at MTC and finally went to our President with my problem. Bless his heart, he said, "Treat her as you would your first leperor." I had to blink and then said, "What did you say?" He smiled and said, "Just love her."

I had prayed, prior to my calling, and told Heavenly Father I would be willing to go to a Leper Colony and serve the rest of my life, if He felt He could use me. No one, and I do mean no one knew about that. Thus, when President Durrant said that, I knew the Holy Spirit was with him.

Each time I had a "interesting" sister assigned to me, I prayed and prayed to resolve any issues, and one was sent home, due to a "not so good spirit" which was in her. My very last companion, bless her heart... One afternoon, I was in my room, kneeling and begging Father to stop sending me those who refused to serve. I kept hearing "Be Still." I again whined to Him. Again, I felt "Be Still, and know that I am God." So, I put my knuckle in my mouth, and said, "Yes, Sir."

Just then, I heard a soft tap on the door. It was my companion. She apologized for what had happened, and we had a good talk and a good cry together. From that point forward we worked well together. I am pleased to say, the Elders were able to baptize a few people before I was released from that assignment.

When you have a tough companion, pray with all your might, and Father will answer your prayer. Being patient is not easy, but it is sure the best way to go.

Keep on Keeping On! Hugs from an older, elder sister.