This week was a really good week. We didn't teach very many lessons, J-- got 2 jobs this week so he's been REALLY busy, but we are meeting with him tomorrow which is good! And D--, we couldn't get a hold of him. And we picked up a few more investigators, I don't remember if I talked about them last week but it's a family of Muslims....and they are really interested in what we have to say. It's pretty cool! It's a part of their culture that they have to feed us every time we are there so we are eating a lot of African food. Ugh it's tough but I'm getting used to the funkiness--haha African food is hard to explain but it's getting better and better. Haha and we picked up another African named P-- and he is the nicest guy ever! We taught him for the first time this week and he is really nice, I hope it continues to go well, we are meeting with him in a couple days!
we went to a zone conference and Elder Nielsen from the Seventy was there and holy cow, it was incredible. We talked about a lot of things with the atonement, and the spirit was SO strong and it truly is amazing being in the presence of a general authority. And then right after the zone conference we had a baptism with a lady named J--! She's from the Congo, and the other Portland elders taught her but we all got really close with her and her kids. And it was a great ending to the day-- that was easily one of my favorite days I've had on my mission. Another crazy thing with that baptism is that right after she was baptized, the senior sisters here took her back to Utah with them! So they finished their mission and then yeah.....she's gone too! Haha--with refugees here in Portland it's packed, so she's been living in a shelter with her kids and idk it's just a lot of legal things that are easier to deal with in Utah, and it will be good for her to learn English and to be surrounded by more people in the gospel. It was hard to say goodbye but I'm happy for her! I hope that wasn't confusing. Hahah it's been a good week. This week will be good too, we have a lot of appointments set up and we will have a temple trip with all the recent converts and it will be amazing.
My spiritual thought this week is on fellowship. Gordon B Hinkley in Preach my Gospel tells a story about a lady and telling him her story about becoming a new member: “My journey into the Church was unique and quite challenging. This past year has been the hardest year that I have ever lived in my life. It has also been the most rewarding. As a new member, I continue to be challenged every day.” She goes on to say that when she joined the Church she did not feel support from the leadership in her ward. Her bishop seemed indifferent to her as a new member. Rebuffed, as she felt, she turned back to her mission president, who opened opportunities for her. She states that “Church members don’t know what it is like to be a new member. … Therefore, it’s almost impossible for them to know how to support us.” I challenge you, my brothers and sisters, that if you do not know what it is like, you try to imagine what it is like. It can be terribly lonely. It can be disappointing. It can be frightening. We of this Church are far more different from the world than we are prone to think we are. This woman goes on: “When we as investigators become members of the Church, we are surprised to discover that we have entered into a completely foreign world, a world that has its own traditions, culture, and language. We discover that there is no one person or no one place of reference that we can turn to for guidance in our trip into this new world. At first the trip is exciting, our mistakes even amusing, then it becomes frustrating and eventually, the frustration turns into anger. And it’s at these stages of frustration and anger that we leave. We go back to the world from which we came, where we knew who we were, where we contributed, and where we could speak the language.
I love this story and his input with it, because it is SO important to include new members or new people to the ward, because everyone needs a friend and everyone needs to feel loved. It's the easiest 20 seconds of your life to go up to someone new and just say "hi it's good to have you today!" Being out here and seeing recent converts explaining how important it has been for them to feel loved has been great. And I hope that if someone new moves into the ward you will go up to them and say hi. It goes a long way. And it truly is missionary work, because a simple hello can keep them in the church, because it makes them feel accepted.
I hope you all have a good week! The book is blue and the church is true!
Here are some pictures of me and Elder Nielsen, and some elders from Lone Peak as well. And yes, that's Robby Ferrell, Mom and Dad haha it was cool seeing them! Maybe comps one day! That would be cool! And picture from the baptism, and of J's 2 little boys. I speak with them in French, they are like 2 and 4 and their French is way better than mine will ever be hahaha I got pretty close with the 2 boys we had a lot of fun.