Elder Stange entertaining a bunch of kids.
Happy early Easter everyone!
Monday we didn't do all that much cause we are starting to run low on the amount of miles we can drive per month. It was a very slow evening missionary work wise. We were finally able to see Laura, one of our investigators who is trying to stop smoking. We shared a few scriptures with her and developed a game plan to help her stop smoking. She told us that in order to get a needed kidney transplant she would have to stop. But she was kind of nervous about getting one. I can understand how creepy it can feel to know that a part of someone else is inside of you, but it is also a gift of life, too.
Tuesday we went over and saw an elderly man who is the husband of a less active. He kind of bashed us a bit which wasn't too fun. It's hard not to be prideful in those situations. We also went over to see another elderly less active lady and read some of Isaiah with her and helped her understand what he was talking about. Again, we didn't have too much success knocking doors. A lot of people are away for spring break, but some just don't like us that much -- haha.
Wednesday we had a meeting down in Paducah, KY and got to meet a new missionary named Elder Senatore who is from Florida but originally from Venezuela. He is being trained by Elder Porter who is the district leader. It was hilarious because everyone didn't believe he knew English due to Elder Porter constantly having to translate for him. At the end of the meeting when Elder Senatore gave the closing prayer, he did the entire thing in English and had everyone fooled. It was a good prank.
Later on we had dinner with our branch mission leader and then went out to Dairy Queen with them to celebrate their daughter being inducted into the honor society. It was fun blending in with a bunch of other kids wearing white shirts and ties. Work wise we ended up getting dropped by like three different families, but we are staying positive. This just shortens our teaching pool and narrows down the solid people.
Thursday we went to go see our less active member who was in jail. It was interesting having another phone call conversation through the window. He was happy to see us, however it was kind of awkward listening to all the stuff he's done. After that, we went over to see one of our elderly potentials. She was going through a really rough time and was happy that we had stopped by. Her husband just had a stroke, and she just found out that she had cancer and had to go through radiation and chemo. She was in tears but maintained her testimony of Christ which was great to see.
We went over to our Branch President's house and I got to talk to his wife more about the internship program at Disneyworld. There are very few things I know that I want to do when I get home, but doing that is one of the big ones. She encouraged me to try out for a character, but said that even doing small stuff is still fun. I'm looking forward to it.
Friday we had lunch with one of the former branch presidents at this great place here in Harrisburg, IL. It's called the Burg and it had some fantastic catfish. Later on we went over to Eldorado and were dropped by a few other people sadly. But then we had an awesome dinner of burritos at a recent convert's home. For dessert they fed us deep-fried ice cream. Now that was an experience. I can't remember how you make it, but it's a process that involves lots of freezing. It was pretty good, except for the coconut.
Four words: Deep Fried Ice Cream. How is it done? Absolutely no clue. What's it taste like? Imagine if KFC made ice cream. It's crunchy on the outside, cold and creamy on the inside. You have to eat it quickly once it's out of the fryer. I probably lost about a year of my life eating it, but it was really good. A member kindly made it for us. It was REALLY good! In the south they deep-fry literally everything. Deep fried Oreos are legendary apparently.
Saturday not too much happened. It was overall a pretty boring day of not getting to teach anyone. People just weren’t home.
Sunday we had a great fast and testimony meeting. The Russell's daughter, who got home from her mission about a week ago, spoke about how she has been a missionary even after her mission. She also referenced a really tough decision she had to make recently. We found out from her dad that she broke up with her boyfriend after he waited for her for 18 months. I felt bad for the guy but she was a completely different person than 18 months ago. I've noticed a definite change in myself as well. I'm certainly not the same guy I was 10 and a quarter months ago. I'm more confident and even more loving than I was before. It's been awesome to see the change.
We also went up to one of our investigators who lives in Carmi but meets us in Norris City. He had gotten into some legal issues, but didn't really open up. After hearing testimony and connecting with him, he looked me dead in the face and suddenly unfolded all this stuff that has happened to him. I was shocked that he trusted me that much but he saw that I did care. And he felt the Spirit big time. We had a recent convert with us and he testified about the spirit that he felt when he was baptized. It was powerful. The dude just has to figure out his legal standing as well as the word of wisdom stuff first.
Not really sure why I took the picture other than it looks awesome, very inspirational.
This is in Galatia, IL.
Sunday's miracles weren't over though. Later that evening with another member, we went over to Laura's house again. She was still struggling with the whole kidney deal. We had a pretty fun conversation, and then I realized it was late so I whipped out the Book of Mormon and flipped to a random page. The first scripture I chose was Ether 12:6, but I felt prompted that there was a better scripture for the situation. Asking for some more time, I slowly flipped to Alma 7. I read the verse 12 which says:
"12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
I illustrated that Christ not only sacrificed Himself for our sins, but He also took upon Himself our infirmities, our problems, our worries, our fears, our heartaches, our pain, so that He could know how best to help us. He literally walked a mile in our shoes from the Garden to the Cross. I testified that He knows exactly how to help her and if that means getting a transplant, then that's what she needed to do. She made the connection and instantly agreed and was more confident now that this was something she needed to do. It was so awesome. The spirit was really strong and everyone felt it.
It's moments like those that make me glad I'm a missionary. They literally make all the difference when you see that you personally, were able to bring a point across to someone who was struggling, and helped them see how Christ can help them. It's amazing being an actual instrument in the Lord's hands and I never really connected with that until this week.
(Please write me at: Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org; I am not on Facebook at this time.)