Quotes (both funny and good) of the week:
1. While street contacting a man named Paul who doesn't have a lot of hope in humanity, who used to be an atheist but is now trying to find his faith--
Paul: "I think the world is desperate for you and what you have."
2. In district meeting, discussing the skill of LISTENING--
Me: "So what do you do when you're listening to an investigator, and afterwards you and your companion just have absolutely nothing to say? Just nothing."
Elder Wolsey: "Well I guess it depends on if the Spirit's there or if it's just awkward. If the Spirit's there, the silence will be good, and if it's awkward, it's probably something they shouldn't have brought up in the lesson."
Elder Widdup: "And maybe it just means that it's a problem the investigator needs to sort out on their own."
Elder Sloan: "Yeah, like how we're not supposed to counsel investigators. We can't give them counsel to solve the problems they need to solve on their own."
Elder Erickson: "Or it usually just means the missionary doesn't have any skill."
Me: (jaw drop)
Then all of us died laughing. The end.
This week was super crazy in every way! Everything happened!
Monday. Conducted a companionship study over Skype with the Bathurst sisters so we could monitor their goals and roleplay with them. All 3 of our appointments fell through. Knocked the entire night, but it was pretty warm, so it was fun! Got a million referrals.
Tuesday. Conducted a companionship study over Skype with the Summerside sisters so we could monitor their goals and roleplay with them. All appointments fell through again. Every single one. Contacted at the riverfront, contacted at the mall, knocked all day. Got a million more referrals.
Wednesday. Conducted a companionship study over Skype with the Montague sisters so we could monitor their goals and roleplay with them. Mission Leadership Council with all the ZLs and STLs over Skype. It was good and uplifting, also hot and hard to stay focused on! Elder Waldie and Elder Roberts came down from Charlottetown to be there for it. We left feeling really inspired as to how to help the sisters, who are all really struggling in different ways right now.
Thursday. Had district meeting. 1 of our 3 appointments fell through. Contacted at the riverfront and knocked all day. Had really great conversations with the people we talked to.
Friday. Spent the day in Tracadie, an all-French area that just opened up by Elders Nzojibwami and Collett! It was really fun, we were there with the Bathurst sisters and I spent the day working the area with my baby Sister Vera (WHO'S NOT SUCH A GREENIE ANYMORE BECAUSE SHE'S A THIRD DONE WITH HER MISSION, WHAT ON EARTH). It was really fun and I couldn't understand their accents and they couldn't understand mine and it was about 28 degrees!!!
Saturday. Had a Skype call with our zone leaders and the district leaders in the zone to discuss the progress and problems of the areas in the zone. The last of our investigators dropped us. So we have a teaching pool of one excommunicated member right now. All our appointments fell through, everyone we stopped in on didn't want to see us. We knocked and street contacted all day until we randomly dropped in on an inactive family (who was active last time I was in this ward) and worked on resolving concerns. Basically she told us that her life got so busy and overwhelming that something had to give, and that it was church. We were really bold with her but tried to do it lovingly:) They are going to have us come back regularly to work with them and help them make church a priority again.
Sunday. Got transfer e-mails. The Moncton elders (Elder Wolsey and Elder Sloan) are going homethis Thursday, and the zone leaders for our zone will take their place and now be stationed in Moncton. Elder Erickson's going BACK to Bathurst (crazy!) to be a district leader there! So he'll be my future district leader. We picked up several new companionships of sisters to be over. Went to church. In sacrament meeting, both Jessica* and Simone* got sustained to be ward missionaries!!! I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on the organization of Christ's church. All our appointments that evening fell through. We went knocking all afternoon and all evening. It rained in the evening and I think I might've been slightly too bold at a door, hopefully he's not offended, woopsD:
Anyway, it's been a rough week, and we're working on keeping our faith up. My theme for this week has been the following:
"Consecrated missionaries are willing to give up any negativism or sarcasm. Instead they are optimistic and positive. They have a 24-hour smile. They live the invitation of the Savior, 'Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.' There is not a negative bone in their bodies. There is no rejection at the door or on the street that can dim their enthusiasm. They are willing to pay the price of repeated rejection for the hope of a single conversion. Whatever the world throws at them, they throw back with a smile."
And that's the key for me to keep going. It's really hard not to feel discouraged or negative when your life gets into a rut, because it's a temptation to feel that way. The adversary wants us to feel like we can't help the situation, like we're inadequate, that it would be better and easier if we stopped trying. And he eats away at our weaknesses and even our strengths. He wants us to worry and feel despair.
On the other hand, Heavenly Father wants us to feel inspired when we get into life ruts. He wants us to have confidence in ourselves and find the motivation to keep going, even when all circumstances are telling us not to. Quitting is unacceptable. Doing less than our best is unacceptable. Failure is not an option. We can succeed, and He will help us. He wants us to exercise faith and trust Him. That is how He wants us to feel.
I'm not the greatest at getting rid of the negative thoughts and not thinking them or believing them. In fact, I'm really pretty lousy at it. But one thing I take solace in is that Heavenly Father's always on my side, that He always wants my righteous desires to succeed. And when I'm in the car, and we just finished praying to find someone before we'll get out of the car and go knocking for a few hours.... In that split second, when the exhaustion and discouragement and weakness hits me.... That split second makes me either stronger--when I choose to speedily obey and get out of the car immediately despite the way I feel--or it makes me weaker--when the adversary helps me rationalize to stay just a moment longer and think about myself.
The lesson we had with the less active family this week really affected me. She was talking about all these horrible things that are happening in their lives right now (which I connected to... "We have no numbers for our area, all of our investigators are dropping us, none of our investigators are progressing"). Then she said that because all those hard things got overwhelming, it made sense that something had to give (which I connected to.... "I just need to take 5 minutes for me right now, I just need a break for a minute, I'm not going to stop to talk to this person"). And people naturally let the adversary take over and tell them that they need to focus on themselves, when in reality Heavenly Father sometimes legitimately wants them to push through, EVEN IF you're tired, EVEN IF it's hard, EVEN IF your feet hurt, EVEN IF the rain's freezing, EVEN IF no one will listen to you. I think it's in those moments where it's very difficult to push away real concerns that great, consecrated, heroic people are made. Sometimes it's unacceptable to "take time to think about me right now". Sometimes it's unacceptable to give in "because it's really hard and I'm completely exhausted." Sometimes we need to push our carnal desires out of the way and do it anyway.