Sunday, August 14, 2011

"You really believe that?"



I got the box with all of the stationary in it! Its super cute, I just wish I actually had time to write letters. Geez I'm so behind. I have to write SO many people back and I feel bad every week when I don't get the time to. If any of them read this blog, I hope they know that I really am trying. I didn't forget about them!

Well. Things are going pretty well here. Our investigators are all doing about the same, the ones that are progressing are continually progressing, and the ones that aren't- well they seem to be avoiding us. We have been working at finding more people, but we haven't had a lot of time. We have a ton of referrals we need to follow up on in Beloit, but all of the numbers are bad, and we only spend one or two days in Beloit a week- and most of our investigators are up there. Its pretty crazy trying to find time to do everything we need to do.

We have had a little bit of discouragement with the branch. It seems like every single family in the branch is having issues of some king, generally marital- and its making it difficult for everyone to be united. Also, a lot of the women are very clique-y and gossipy. Its hurting a lot of the hermanas in the word. One hermana told us that the only reason she still comes to church is because she has a calling- she is a return missionary, super strong testimony, but because her marriage is suffering and the women in the branch have offended her so much, she says its hard to come. In relief society this week the president spent the whole time talking about how words can hurt people and that we need to not be gossipy and spread rumors. That night we visited a family and another family was over and they were talking about how ridiculous the lesson was and that we don't need it. Of course these two women are the most gossipy women in the branch. Its just really frustrating. We feel like its hard to try to build the branch and get baptisms when its falling apart from within. We spent the last two days visiting primarily members, just trying to bring the spirit. But its rough.

Update on Maria y Luis. We went to their Bible study again last week, and Maria seemed really happy to see us. We had to leave early because Hermana Summers was feeling sick, and Maria seemed really sad to see us go. We stopped by the next day to explain why we had to leave and to make another appointment, and she wanted us to just come in right then, but we had another appointment we had to go to so we couldn't. Last night we had our first real appointment with her after her bad experience concerning the Book of Mormon. The last couple of appointments Luis hasn't participated at all, so it was just Hermana Summers and I, Maria, and her little boy. We started talking and she said she still just feels bad about reading it, and maybe its not her time. We were going to just testify and let it go, we didn't want to pressure. So I read her what Christ says in the Sermon on the Mount about knowing a tree by its fruit, and while one of us (I don't remember who) was bearing their testimony about the Book of Mormon, Luis came out. Luis asked us if the Bible talks about the Book of Mormon. I had a couple scriptures marked in the Bible, where it talks about the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph, where Christ talks about having sheep that are not of this fold, etc, so I hesitantly started to share those and talk about why they make sense to me and why the Book of Mormon makes sense to me. I was terrified, because A) I didn't know if he just wanted to ask questions to cause contention or if he really just wanted to know, and B) because I have never talked so much in a lesson in Spanish. I was shaking and my heart was pounding. Hermana Summers said that my face was bright red, which is embarrassing, but whatever. After we had read these scriptures together and talked about them he had more questions about what the Book of Mormon actually is. He was confused about why we would need it if we had the Bible. We just told him that it doesn't take away from or add to the Bible and that the real question for us is that if we have something more from Christ about how to follow him, why would we not want to read it? It was actually interesting at this point because Maria started helping us teach almost. She was like agreeing with us and telling him about how the Bible tells us what is going to happen and what happened in Jerusalem, and the Book of Mormon tells us about what happened in the Americas. We had him read the whole introduction to the Book of Mormon so he could understand more about what it was, he had a lot of questions about who Mormon was and things like that. Then we asked him what he thought about the promise at the end. He said he doesn't think God has ever answered any of his questions before, and how would he receive an answer. At this Maria really got involved in the lesson and was telling him it was because he doesn't have enough faith, or he didn't really want to know the answer to his questions. It was kind of funny. We just talked about the steps we need to take when we ask God something, how we need to have real intent to act on the answer we get and we have to really want to know. We also talked about the Holy Ghost and how He guides us and gives us answers. We read the Moroni 10:3-5, and then I told him if that if he really wanted to have God answer a question that he had, that if he would read part of the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true, he would get an answer. He asked, "You really believe that?" and I responded, "I know! I promise you!" It was really awesome for me to feel that so sure in my response. We gave him Alma 32 to read, because he has so many questions about faith and its just an awesome chapter, even if it is a little long. He said that he'll read it this week. And I know if that if he really does, and really prays about it and gets the answer I know he can get if he really wants to know, that this will change everything for Maria. I feel like this can be a huge answer to prayers.

But yeah, keep up those prayers for Maria y Luis. They need them. I have a lot of hope for them. Plus their little boy is the cutest thing ever. He just BARELY started to walk on Monday and he is adorable.

I hope you guys have an AWESOME time at Bear Lake! I'm super jealous. I love you all!

Hermana Brown

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