This week we had a really cool experience finding and teaching someone by using the ward list. We chose a random name and address on the list and went to visit them. The name on the list was no longer living at that address, but their extended family was there. The sister to the member on the list is named Annie, and the brother is named Harold, and some of their kids were all there--very smiley, super awesome! We went up to the door and said, "Buenas!" They invited us to come in and sit down. Many of them knew all about the LDS missionaries, and some said they had gone to church as younger children with their sister before she moved out.
So we sit down, teach, we give them a Book of Mormon, then we ask them if they will come to church on Sunday. They all say yes. We ask them if they would like to get baptized, and they say yes. Then we tell them we'll be back to visit. So we pass by their house later that week to see if they had read the things we had assigned them, and they said yes! So we said, will you be at church tomorrow, and they said, of course! So we go to church, and there they are! They really came to church. It's every missionary's dream--like they have a sticker on their forehead that says, teach me!
Now we're planning to go over to their house tonight for Family Home Evening. It was really awesome. Using the ward lists is awesome. We feel like using them was pretty much direct inspiration. Now we have the whole zone working on their ward lists, and searching for all of the people that need to be found or taught. Those are the blessings of doing the right thing.
I've noticed that all of the best training we do on the mission come from things we are doing in our own area. I've learned that if you haven't tried doing something, you shouldn't teach it. You can't go tell someone to clean their house, if your house is a pigsty. It just doesn't work that way. The most effective teaching is when you live what you preach. We hope all the missionaries can have similar experiences.
This week I was trying to write in my journal a little bit more, well kind of... Ha. But we're so busy! This week we had transfers. That means we had to wake up at 2:00 in the morning, go find everyone at the bus terminal, pick up all the missionaries and get them delivered to their new companions. So we didn't sleep very much.
We had a great Zone Meeting this week. President wants us to focus on the Book of Mormon. We started the meeting with prayer, and all the usual business. Then usually you end up teaching something, then demonstrating it, then everyone practices or role plays how to do it.
But this time we had everyone pull out their scriptures and start with practicing. We assigned people to be missionaries, sand ome to be investigators. We wrote down some of the doubts that people have about the church when we are teaching them. Then we just said, ready-set-go!
Everyone looked at us a little weird, like what is going on? Aren't you going to show us what to do? Everyone tried to role play, the investigators were great, saying all the things they didn't understand about our religion. The missionaries tried to answer the questions as best as they could, using scriptures, trying to prove a point. But it became a battle of who's right and who's wrong.
At the end we asked everyone how they felt. Most of them felt not so great. No one likes to Bible bash. And the truth is, it gets you know where. In Colombia that the missionaries know more about the scriptures than the people do anyway, so that's not even a fun competition. We always have answers. But we didn't have the spirit. So it felt yucky.
Then we turned to the Book of Mormon. Elder Selman asked Elder Kletsey--he's the really tall missionary that plays basketball, "If someone offers you tea, why don't you drink it?" He said, "Because it's a commandment and I feel bad when I break a commandment." That was a really good answer! He was exactly right.
A lot of times we teach things by saying the excuse first--like not drinking alcohol is good for your health. It's not really about your health. That's not the reason you refuse a drink. The real reason is because it's being obedient to what God has asked us to do. It's about testimony. The truth is, if you have one beer, or one cup of coffee, you're not going to die. We taught the missionaries that we need to start answering people with real answers, and stating what we believe--bearing our testimonies of truth. We know the Word of Wisdom is a real commandment of God, because we know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And we know that he was a prophet because we have read the Book of Mormon and asked God if it was true. That is where a testimony comes from.
We talked a lot about how our job as missionaries is to get people from their doubts, which is like the fruits at the top of the tree, and move them to the trunk which is like Joseph Smith, then move them to the roots which is the Book of Mormon. By the end of the meeting all the missionaries were doing it right, being more bold, and answering questions with statements of truth. They took the investigator from where their doubts were, to the roots where the Book of Mormon states truth. It was really great seeing it all come together.
An example of what we were teaching happened this week with Daria, the guy we found a few weeks ago from Inspired Hunger. He said his wife had some doubts. Her name is Anyela. She didn't want to listen to us the first 2 times we were there. By the third visit, she started asking us questions about strange things she found on the internet. We just listened. Then we asked her if we could say a prayer. After the prayer, instead of debating about all of the little details that were not true, we started reading the Book of Mormon with her, telling her about how the church started with Joseph Smith and the Restoration. Soon she was feeling the spirit, and was really liking what she was learning.
...and that's where the recording cut off, so the rest will have to be left up to your imagination...