June 6, 2010
Hello hello hello!
Wow, is this week already over? What did I do? Hmm… Oh right!
We got all moved in last Monday, but there were still several small things still at home. Each morning we were walking over to the previous flat to pick up dishes, tools, racks, foods, etc. It really took up a lot of time each morning unfortunately, as did the whole “we just moved” thing because we have stuff scattered everywhere out of organization or order. We’ve been spending the week cleaning the place up, and now our flat is inhabitable, just still quite dirty.
We also got a call from Elder McGrath saying, “Um, Elder Baker, there’s an investigation going on right now about an oil spill by your previous flat. Do you know aything about that?” I had no clue. He told me there was a black barrel full of oil that was leaking. I remembered seeing a barrel by the garage, but I didn’t know why it was there or what was in it. Apparently, someone dumped it outside our flat because they know missionaries don’t have a clue what the history of the flat is, and we’re too busy to take perfect inventory of our living quarters, so I had just ignored it was there. Then it started leaking. We came back later to fetch more stuff, and the barrel was gone, and sawdust was everywhere to soak up the oil. I guess the next tenant will have fun with that, and the landlord too. That’s what they get for not fixing our heater!
So while a lot of time has been spent cleaning, we’ve also still been teaching quite a bit. Unfortunately, a lot of our time is spent traveling, and sometimes the people we have appointments with are not home, which kills an hour. That happened with John. We scheduled to see him about 4 times, but he was never home. Luckily, this means he’s been out and about searching for a job, so he’s doing the right thing. He came to church yesterday, but when he walked in something seemed a bit wrong. He looked utterly wasted. At first I wasn’t sure if he was drunk or something, but later I found out he was just really tired. He had trouble sleeping. He was nodding off during all of the meetings throughout church, but he was awake for a few moments to pick up what was being taught. He didn’t try to skip out either with his tiredness as an excuse, he wanted to stay. At one point he asked to use the toilet, and later a brother came to us and said, “Hey, did John smoke in the toilet? It stinks.” That was a little embarrassing, and we mentioned it to him later. Just part of the learning process. The Word of Wisdom is our next priority for him. He’s doing very well, though, he has much more zeal than when I first met him.
We also saw Joanna on Thursday with the Sitas, who are her friends. Brother Sita is the Bishop’s Second Counselor. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and it all just made perfect sense to her. She’s actually been going to church websites and books and stuff to research everything. She likes to do her homework. She likes what she sees, and she’s found a new patience in the stresses she faces each day. She said, “Normally, things that would bother me just don’t, ever since I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon and praying.” At the end of the lesson, I invited her to be baptized so she could have the Holy Ghost with her constantly to help her make decisions and deal with everything. She said yes, she wants to be baptized! So we set a date for the 19th! She was actually quite giddy about it. Unfortunately, her husband has absolutely no interest at all, but he will be coming to it. Hopefully he will allow the feelings of the Spirit to testify of the differences Joanna’s choice to be baptized are allowing. The Sitas are of course ecstatic.
Tuvao is doing great, too! We saw her on Saturday. She said that she should be moving back with her family within the next few weeks, how or why I don’t know. She works at a call center for a business, and when she’s not on the phone, she’s studying her Book of Mormon and the pamphlets we give her. She loves it. People pass by and say, “What are you reading?” She says, “The scriptures!” You can imagine what kind of reaction that gets. We taught her the commandments and standards we follow as members, and at the end, again, I invited her to be baptized to receive the Holy Ghost. She said she wants to, but she’s scared, just because it will be a new life that in a way she will miss, and yet won’t at the same time. Does that make sense? It’s understandable, considering the new difficulty she faces with her family because of the church, but really, she’s been feeling much happier since investigating these things. So I told her to turn to Luke 17:32. It was actually pretty funny, because all it says is “Remember Lot’s wife.” She was about to mark it, and then she read it and paused. I’m pretty sure she thought I gave her the wrong one. “Remember Lot’s wife? What does that mean?” I laughed and put it into context. In case you don’t know, Lot was commanded by God to leave Sodom and Gamorrah because it would be destroyed for its wickedness and abominations. Lot and his family was commanded not to look back. Lot’s wife did, and she turned into salt. The message is that we don’t look back upon our previous lives of sin longingly; we are to trust in the Lord to pave the true path for us, even if we don’t understand it. It made much more sense to her then. So, we said we would set a goal, a date that she can prepare for and be ready when the time comes. The goal is the 26th, a week after Joanna’s baptism, three weeks. I’m pretty sure she only needs 2, but we’ll see how it goes. She’ll most likely come to Joanna’s baptism, and for all I know she might get so excited then she’ll want to do it right then and there. Haha, that would be pretty funny.
So those are the highlights of the week. We have lots of other people that we have found because we are constantly seeing and talking to people whenever we travel. It’s strange, it feels almost like people come to us now. It’s overwhelming, we have probably about 25 people who need our attention. As some of them are scattered quite far, it is very difficult to see them without a car. But, the members are getting more involved now, so I bet if we schedule things right we can probably arrange to have members drive us around on some evenings, maybe even split up. Now that would be cool.
The Zone Leaders pretty much love us because of these accomplishments. It’s strange, because I don’t feel like we can take any credit at all for these people who are anticipating baptism; they came to us from members, or just came into our path out of God’s plan. We’re just the messengers, we just teach the Gospel. The rest is all Him. But what a privilege it is to be such a messenger, and witness this power of the Gospel! I don’t know if I’ve told you about Anthony, but he comes to church early every Sunday, says hello to everybody, and has the widest grin I’ve ever seen. Before he was much more quiet and weary. It’s only been a little over a month, and that’s how much he’s changed. When you have to full truth in your life, it changes your being. Incredible.
I love all of you so much, and thank you for all of your support! I love your letters, and I hope this report brightens up your day!
Elder Scott Baker