May 31, 2010
My goodness, and I thought last week was busy… Seriously, I am exhausted. Not so much physically, we’ve just been everywhere and back it seems. Last week, we taught 13 lessons, averaging 2 a day, most of which last around and hour and a half, often longer, and that doesn’t count the lessons we scheduled that fell through. We’ve had a surge of investigators thanks to the efforts of members and our own findings. While this keeps us always teaching, unfortunately we have had to let some people fall through the cracks. As a result, a few investigators are not progressing as well.
Also, our dilemma of having broken everything in the flat was finally solved. We’re moving. Our wonder office missionary Elder McGrath said he’s had it with our lazy landlord not fulfilling his end of the bargain of fixing our heater, dishwasher, oven, and garage door, so we’re packing up and shipping out. I don’t know how long it usually takes to move, but we’re planning on getting it done today (missionaries don’t really have a ton of materials). We’re having a few members coming to help us out, and the Zone Leaders have a trailer. It will be a lot of stuff, though.
Our new flat is great though, we got a quick tour of it. One of the rooms is pink with frilly heart curtains by the window. We’ll just save that room for when it becomes a four-missionary abode. Otherwise, it’s got heaps of space, and is quite nice.
So our business has come from teaching lessons every day, preparing for our move, and public transportation. We are limited very much by the rhythmic bus schedule, which is subject to change constantly. One day the trains broke down, which destroyed our planned transportation for a district meeting. Then when we teach, we teach for a loong time answering questions and explaining things clearly.
Our overflowing schedule has gone as far as to make me dread talking to people, not out of fear of the overt awkwardness of the situation, but for fear they will accept what we teach and set another appointment for us to prepare for, travel to, and teach. Too many people are interested! Slow down! Give us a week or two, we’ll have to get back to you!
That’s not to say it has been a bad week. Remember what I said before? Teaching is the best part of a mission. I’m starting to lose count now of how many times I have walked out of an appointment thinking, “That was the best teaching appointment I have ever had!” It started with Ellen, happened with Angrej Singh when we took our recent convert Gagan Rehel, and has since then happened with John and new investigators Joanna and Tuvao. When you have a person who is prepared to receive the Gospel actively, wonderful things happen. I think that’s the case in any kind of teaching; an enthusiastic student amplifies the learning experience.
So, let me give you an update on how these folks are doing.
John came to church yesterday! Last week he didn’t come, mainly because he just wasn’t feeling up to it. Do you understand that feeling? He’s been ground down pretty hard, and sometimes when you feel that stress it clogs up your ability to take initiative and do things. When we saw him this week, he said he felt bad about dodging church and that he just didn’t feel like doing anything. He said he would come this week. Later that week, we brought a member named Luke Bonnar, who is a convert for 5 years. He’s in his late twenties. When we sat down, Brother Bonnar immediately connected with him, talking about similar lines of work, and making suggestions for John to get back on his feet. Then Brother Bonnar just started talking about being in the exact same situation, and how the church helped him with it perfectly. He talked about bad influences that bogged him down. He talked about prayer giving him the strength and inspiration to keep going. He talked about the renewed joy he feels in separating himself from worldly influences that feed us false ideas. On and on. John just soaked it up, and agreed with it all. One of the coolest things about it was that the spirit was there, and it wasn’t anything I was doing. The connection of these two people just crackled like lightning. That’s something amazing to see.
Another investigator I mentioned is Tuvao. She is Samoan. Her family since its roots has been Catholic, every single one. She grew up in it. However, in her experience of it she noticed little things she didn’t quite like, which grew worse and worse. Things like members of the congregation having jealousy, snide behavior, and questions that couldn’t be answered. Since coming to our church, though, she has felt the spirit so much more strongly than she ever felt before. Since, she’s been hungry to know more, especially about things like the Book of Mormon, eternal families, and the spirit of prophecy. Unfortunately, her family is completely against her curiosity. They threatened to kick her out of the house if she continued her pursuit. She said she wanted to learn more. So she got kicked out a couple weeks ago. Hopefully, the parents will understand the togetherness of a family is more important than the pride of a church, but in the meantime all we can do is teach her. I am staggered by her devotion. She said that despite being kicked out, she feels truly happy for the first time in her life. That’s what the Spirit can provide when you are that close to it in faith.
Anthony, the first bloke I baptized, is doing phenomenal. He loves church. We came yesterday a bit early, and he was already there saying hello to people with this gigantic smile on his face. He brings the gigantic Book of Mormon to work and reads it during his breaks. People ask him, “What are you reading?” He says, “It’s the Book of Mormon, like the Bible. It’s part of this church I go to. It’s really great! Want to come?” Hahahaha! I’m cracking up to myself just thinking about it. He’s so much happier now. He’ll be receiving the Priesthood soon. I feel like a proud father.
Tonight we’ll be seeing the Hepi family for Family Home Evening. They’re less active. I went to see them several weeks ago when Elder Peek was still here, and for a game we taught them Big Booty. It is now pretty much they’re favorite thing in the world. They have a little toddler that doesn’t even know how the game works, who every now and then breaks out with a “Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig Booty!” At church, a family member who I hadn’t even met yet even knew me as the Elder who taught them that game. He shook my hand, said Hello, and then went, “Booty booty booty!” I was so confused. I’m probably going to walk down the street today and have someone come up to me saying, “Hey, you’re the Big Booty guy!” Crazy. (Editor’s note: link to how to play Big Booty: http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Big-Booty)
So, yeah, it was an incredible week. I hope moving today won’t be too stressful. A member just called me saying he was going to send a guy over with a truck, it might be a part of his business or something. Another member is coming as well, he’s got a 4week holiday from his paramedic work.
Thank you all so much for your support! I miss you all, but I’m so happy I can report to you the work I am doing. Keep in touch!
Heaps of Love,
Elder Scott Baker