Teach Me As If I Were New

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Mom and Dad/Dad and Mom,

I am so happy to hear that Tappahannock is now a ward and that things are progressing for them. It has been something they have been looking forward to for a while. Thank goodness for the missionaries that have served there, particularly Elder and Sister Van Orden. They are an amazing senior couple who went above and beyond. They tracted together, which is something you do not usually see with senior couples. 

Speaking of senior couples, we have a new senior couple that now takes care of the cars and housing. They are Elder and Sister Sopp. When I got the newest newsletter of the mission, they stated where they are from: Hanford, California. I looked at the ward directories for the Hanford Wards and they are from the Hanford 2nd Ward, same ward as the Obersts. Small world. I cannot wait to meet them.

I "sandboxed" the recent
(our own family genealogy) discoveries and tried to put things together. Well, I found a possible birth year, possible parents, and when he (Seth's Great Grandfather) entered the military, which explains why a man from Michigan is down in Texas. From that miltary entry date, it puts a small window of time of marriage and when Joyce and Russell Jr. is born. If I accept the city directory information, I know that Russell is part of the military, because the city directory states that he is an employee of Fort Sam. Other than that, for the time being, I am at a dead end for now. I have reasons for hope. (And so do we his parents.)

Yes, I know, I need a haircut. I have plans on doing it today. Neither my companion nor I are the district leader. Somebody else is doing that.

Yeah, I did what I could in Appomattox. It was difficult, but I did the things I needed to do. I am more focused on what is going on here. We have some obstacles to climb.

Monday, after the P-day activities, after dinner, we visited one investigator who is still sick and his family is now getting sick. We had an appointment that night with our ten year old investigator and his family as a family home evening. It turned into more of us, the investigator, and his member brother. We went on with the plans and encouraged them by inviting them to read the Book of Mormon. We gave them a small chart to check their progress.

Now, let me summarize a big chunk of the week that we have done and one major obstacle we have to the work. We have tracted apartments and townhouses, attempting to find. We have received some
potentials and some people that are not at all interested. Then, we met our obstacles: the presidents of homeowner associations or people that have been on the board for these homeowner associations. A lot of the apartments have no trespassing and no soliciting signs. None of those apply to us until somebody tells us that we are trespassing. By continuing, we are trespassing (if I am understanding things correctly). Now, soliciting I understand usually applies to those that are selling items or trying to get gain, none of which we are doing. But, we have been accused of soliciting our word and no matter what we explain, no matter if we tell that we have ministerial certificates, they tell us to stop. Well, we have been asked to leave and much as I want to stick it to their face and keep on tracting, we thank them for informing us and leave. Granted, we had tracted a big portion of the apartments in some cases, but it is a hindrance. We plan on finding ways to overcome this.

We have also been trying to contact part member families, but not many are home when we go by. We also contact potentials, former investigators, and investigators that we have. Some people have not progressed beyond the first lesson, which we are trying to improve that to help them progress. A lot of people do not answer their doors or are not home.

Despite these setbacks, I know that as we steadily accumulate potentials and they will become investigators. My goal and vision for the area is to set up a steady foundation for future missionaries wherein growth will increase. I believe that if we have at least five progressing investigators, or a substantially bigger pool of investigators, the work will progress; member exchanges can more fully be utilized and thus, increase member presence. It is not about numbers, but helping these people progress towards baptism and eventually the temple. I have been trying to organize our efforts so that we can be more useful. We have agreed upon places. Also, expedient to our work is a balance. If we spend a lot of time tracting, we will burn ourselves out and become frustrated. If we spend a lot of time visiting less actives, then we cannot help the work progress, which is our main focus. It is a balance of the two, which is fundamental for us. In other words, if we are diligent, the Lord will bless us.

Thursday, it snowed. Well, first it rained ice and we headed to the health center to perform service for that. Then, we drove home in the snow. Seeing as I had no visibility (for I was the driver), I drove carefully, slowly, and made it home safely. My companion, who is from Draper, Utah, was like, "Oh, it is not that bad." As I reminded him, "Well, the roads are slick and oh yeah, I am a Californian who has never driven in snow." For the rest of the night, we walked. 

Friday, we had zone meeting, where I obtained the vision for the area. We agreed upon what we were going to do. We went out to find people that day. We visited with the "dark lit house" where we help the two members there understand the Book of Mormon. They are a mother and daughter (both are adults); they are recent converts. The mother understands, but the daughter is having a hard time. The daughter told us to teach as if she was new to it all. We began with the Restoration and plan on helping her to progress. We went to Goochland that night for dinner and contacted a family there. The family that we had dinner with told us that they are trying to help those in Goochland invite us over. Hopefully, that will help.

Saturday, we completed our progress record. We contacted some potentials and our Bible loving investigator, who scheduled a time for us to come by that night. We contacted some part member families, with some success, but not much interest. Well, we saw our investigator who loves the Bible and holds to the Bible. I felt prompted to read 3 Nephi 11 with the investigator, which I am not sure why. He has a problem with Jesus appearing to the people in America. He believes that when Jesus ascended to heaven, He is there ministering in a heavenly sanctuary. That he gets from the epistle to the Hebrews, but the references to Jesus and a heavenly sanctuary are there to show to the Hebrews that Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for us. Secondly, he feels as though the apostles went to all the world spreading the gospel that when they died, they passed on the commission to others, reaching down to those like Martin Luther and such until it reached the whole world. I re-explained the apostasy and we all explained the need of faith and prayer. He would not have it and stated for us to try to prove from the Bible that Jesus came to America. There is no help there. What if we were even to prove it? What does that substantiate? It does not encourage faith, which is the point of the gospel of Jesus Christ and so many things of the Bible. Well, we have another appointment with him, so we will see how that goes. (This whole argument is fascinating to his father and perhaps some reading this could shed some light. We feel our son is right in his conclusions; however, there may be some different approaches.)

Sunday, we woke up early for ward council, only to find that it was cancelled. After church and lunch, we helped some members give the sacrament to "Mama."
We talked with Mama afterwards.

After dinner, we had a lesson with our ten year old investigator. His mom, a recent convert, is considering baptism for him around April or May. She is hoping that he understands repentance and making the right decisions. We talked to our ten year old investigator and tried to help him to listen. He has not yet read on his own.

Well, things are going forward!

Tout va bien!


Elder S. Todd

#Virginia Richmond Mission

No comments: