So this past week was pretty good. I have more fully adjusted and kind of know what to expect now so I'm not as all over the place with my emotions. I've decided to give my investigators Harry Potter character names so I can tell you about them and you won't have to change their names on my blog or anything. And then I can keep them all straight from week to week as well. Additionally, let it be known that the character names I pick are in no way related to the personalities of those I am writing about. So the first person I'm going to tell you about is Harry Potter. He is pretty solid. We're just waiting on his bankruptcy to go through so he can get married and then get baptized. I may have already told you that though. Things went well with him this week. Ron Weasley is my favorite, mainly because he is a challenge and I've known him from the beginning almost. They only had one lesson with him before I got here. I think I need to interject here something else before I continue with him. First of all I have been getting frustrated with how my companion and I prepare and teach our lessons. I feel like they are robotic and aren't addressing the needs of the individual. I brought this up and there was some tension between us as I tried to explain I didn't like our process without telling my companion that she's been doing everything wrong her entire mission. She let me plan the way I wanted to and begrudgingly asked if I wanted to take the lead in the lesson we had with Ron. I said that I did. The thing with Ron is I knew there was something we were missing. Something wasn't clicking with him and he wasn't progressing because of that. I wanted to mainly take the time to ask him questions and figure him out before we kept bulldozing through lessons. I questioned him and got a lot of information out of him. Mainly he isn't praying sincerely because he is afraid that the church is true. And if it if true he is afraid of the lifestyle changes and persecution that may follow. He was a born again Christian for a while and was all crazy about religion and lost all of his friends. He doesn't want that to happen again. It was so nice to finally get an honest response from him. Now we know what to do to better help him. I was a little straightforward with him and he appreciated that as well. He said he is going to actually try harder now and read and pray with real intent. Next is Hermione Granger. My companion has been working with her for a while and gets defensive about her because she knows her. I was frustrated again and told her that I need the opportunity to get to know the investigators so I can help them. Additionally, some people will share more about something you already know about if you bring it up again. I felt like I needed to ask Hermione why she has had a sudden slide backward (I suspected I already knew the answer, but wanted to hear it from her). My companion told me she already knew the answer to that and that we didn't need to ask. I told her I was going to ask and then she could take the lesson wherever she wanted to, but that I wasn't doing my job as a missionary if I wasn't asking inspired questions and I felt like we needed to bring up her lack of motivation. So I did. I was bold and straight up asked why she had started smoking again, why she wasn't reading her scriptures, and why she was being lazy in general. She gave us a super lengthy and informative answer about her past and her need to feel in control and her coping mechanisms, etc. I asked if she wanted baptism or not (her family is all baptized and she isn't--she has to wait until her parole is finished). She said she did. I asked if she was acting out because she knows she can't be baptized for a few months and she felt the need to be in control of something. She said that is why she started smoking again and why she stopped reading her scriptures. So we spent the entire lesson being blunt about repentance (she's blunt, so we knew we could be too). It was nothing like we had planned and I knew that would happen if we took the time to figure her out instead of teaching her about something just to teach her about something. We also teach Hermione's whole family on a different day. We were going to show them a Mormon Message and it wasn't working. My companion was just going to disregard it, but I told her I was going to act it out. So I did. The kids loved it (probably more than they would have loved the video) and it was more interactive. My companion said that I should just plan on acting them out from now on because people actually pay attention to me. It was fun. The girl with us for exchanges told me I was born to be a missionary. I responded with, "Born to be a missionary...eh, probably not. Born to get an Oscar, yeah that is likely." Hahaha, I'm so funny. I really like connecting with the people and finding out what their real issues are and digging down until I find something I can work with. We also met a random man on the street and talked to him for about 10 minutes. He wasn't interested, but it was good practice. I spent my first few weeks being timid with my companion, but realized I need to be forward. Just because she is in charge doesn't mean she knows what she is doing all the time and because of that our lessons were suffering. I'm glad I set some things straight because 1) I feel like our lessons went a lot better this week and 2) I feel a lot better about the missionary I am becoming and actually feel like I am using my skills and talents and being directed by the Spirit and not by logic.
Our one ward is doing a 40 day fast. It's going well; we're fasting for missionary work. My companion and I did our day of fasting last week. We haven't really had any work in that ward and we've already had a less active family express interest, so that is a blessing! We went to dinner last week at a member's house and their daughter was there. She is a lesbian and asked us a lot of questions about the church and same sex attraction. It was really good. I enjoyed it. My companion was glad I took the lead on that conversation. She was very polite and it was really a two sided discussion.
There's a crazy pigeon in our complex. It literally hid in a bush and jumped out to scare me as I walked past it. I kid you not; it was like a child hiding in a clothes rack at a department store waiting to scare someone as they walked by. That pigeon planned it and was the mistress of Satan himself, I am sure.
So I keep forgetting to tell you about my screwdriver! I brought 4 part floral screwdriver with me because I figured I would need it. In the MTC every one mocked me. Well guess who has gotten to use it. Me! A single sister needed help putting together a bookshelf and only owned one screw driver. Luckily I have one so I brought it with me and now I keep it in my purse so when service presents itself I am ready. We were able to use two screwdrivers and put together the furniture much more quickly. She sincerely thinks I was inspired to bring it for her. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I mainly brought my screwdriver so I would have a weapon if the zombie apocalypse happened while I was out.
I've learned a lot about being a leader without being in a position of power since I've been out here. I have subtly taught my companion things without teaching her because I don't want to step on her toes. I sneakily teach her so that we are both growing. Before neither of us were. We also had another sister with us last week (the one who likes it when I open packages) and she is young and kind of quiet. She has a lot to say when you give her the chance and I really love her. I wanted to help her, so after our day together when she asked for advice I spent some time talking to her. I told her that she is quiet and contemplative and because of that her companion runs over her and that she doesn't get the opportunity to shine. I also said that I don't doubt that she would shine if she was given the opportunity to do so; she is so powerful. I encouraged her to talk to her companion about it. She got teary-eyed and told me that is what she needed to hear because she isn't give the chance to show people that she knows anything. I really liked working with her and think that I'm an average missionary, but an above average missionary motivator. I really think a lot of the reason I'm on a mission is because I help the sisters I know...it reminds me of when I worked at camp. I just like mentoring people and helping them with their problems.
I have had some crazy dreams, let me tell you. I think I get frustrated by all the rules of missionary life, so I break them in my dreams. I had a dream that there were people that kept dropping their baby on the hot, hot, hot Arizona pavement and I wanted so badly to go and pick it up but I didn't because we aren't supposed to hold children. I was so angry. I then went swimming, but felt like it was okay because I put my missionary badge on my swimming suit. I also had a dream that dad went crazy and wasn't going to church and that he was lying to me in his letters and he wasn't praying for me or wishing me well. I was so mad.
Remember that one time we DVR'd the CES devotional that was on the same time as the Golden Globes and then I never watched it? Well we were told to read that talk this week so I did! It was really good. You should read it or watch it if it's still on the DVR. It's by Elder Callister of the 70 and is called something along the lines of The Blueprint for Christ's Church. You should also watch the Mormon Message that I acted out (sorry, you'll miss my rendition), Wrong Roads. I've been reading the Bible too. It's hilarious. Man. It cracks me up. Seriously, the Earth was only around for 7 chapters of Genesis before it was flooded. And then not that long afterward the Tower of Babel happened and the people were punished again. That is why we can't have nice things. Human beings are literally always causing trouble. I wonder if Moses got a kick out of all of this when he was learning about it via the burning bush? In the Book of Mormon I'm in 2nd Nephi and I read a really good scripture this week in chapter 4, verses 27-30. Basically Nephi is like, I spend so much time being bothered by my enemies and getting down on myself for being a sinner, and being frustrated about things I can't change when I should just be focusing on Christ and the positives of life. It was good for me to read because I, too, focus on my faults more than the power of repentance and the positives in my life.
Wow. This was long this week!
Thanks for all the prayers.