Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013 - The Lost Sheep

What an eventful weekend it's been. I say weekend because everyone in Arizona last week was in either Rocky Point, Mexico or California for fall break. The town of Gilbert started to come back to life on Saturday as everyone was coming back into town. Let's just say we knocked a lot of doors this week with no answer. But, the weekend totally made up for the rest of the week. I'm sure fasting totally made a difference since our Sunday was crazy. In a good way. There's just not enough hours in the day to get everything done that we want to.
We were able to meet with Brad twice this week. Hurrah! We just have to stop by and try to catch them because they're so busy and don't really see the need yet of meeting with us very often. We found out a lot from the lesson about Brad and his concerns which was fantastic. He was definitely not where he thought he was in his progression with the gospel. Yesterday we had a great lesson with Brad. We think he's finally seeing the need for the gospel. We are now able to meet with him on a more regular basis. His girlfriend who was less-active is kind of holding him back which can be frustrating, but we think she's finally seeing the need for us to come more than just once a week. For fast Sunday we had been fasting so he would see the need to change and meet with us more often. Our prayers were answered and we were able to have a powerful, but short lesson about the power of prayer and how it can help us with our families and every day life. We found out he's really interested in the church because he wants to learn how to be a better father and he's not really drawn to the doctrine. We also finally were able to get him to read the Book of Mormon. They really want to read and pray as a family and we're hoping they'll keep that commitment. Good things are happening with that family!
We were also able to meet with Carl this week and we were also able to address his concerns and find out more than just the surface level concerns. He has a lot to work through though. We also are pretty sure he has aspbergers which makes it kind of difficult to talk to him about the gospel.We're trying to see if we can help him find a job and see the need to come to church. The ward he resides in as no mid-singles; all are 30 something with 2.5 kids or 60 something empty- nesters. It's really too bad he doesn't live in either of the other two wards boundaries so we could help him find someone like him- single 40 year-old. We're still working with him.
The area is starting to finally come to life after 2 months of us being in the area. The members are really starting to catch the vision of missionary work and are inviting their friends and family. It's been great to hear how everyone is doing in our follow up appointments. There are so many people we're working with who are so close to taking the discussions. We're excited for what this next week brings! Hopefully many more miracles. We have had 2 referrals this week. One was from one of our Bishops to one of his neighbors, Wesley. We went on Saturday and set up an appointment with Wesley for Sunday after church. We were like sweet! Hopefully we'll have a new investigator! It turns out Wesley had been baptized years and years ago in Michigan and we don't have his records. He now goes to a non-denominational Christian church because he was offended years ago. He's African American and he thinks there's racism toward colored people. We really wished we had an iPad so we could show him Edward Dube's talk from this last General Conference. We have another appointment set up with him next Saturday which should hopefully go well.
We also received a referral from a member for a lady who's kids she watches in her daycare. She happens to live in the ward boundaries which is amazing and she is really drawn to the church because of the unity of the ward members. We knocked on her door yesterday after church as well, but she wasn't home. We're hoping to talk with her tonight and the member said she'd set up an appointment for us as well. We're excited to meet Jill as well!
If you can't tell already that after being in church from 10:30-5, our Sunday was pretty well packed. We had 4 appointments that night not including dinner. We were only able to be at dinner for 10 minutes because of all of our appointments and Wesley changing his appointment for during dinner. Luckily our Ward Mission Leader was feeding us and he totally understood. Sorry to dine and dash! lol We have been having powerful member visits as well. The Lord is truly helping us discern every one's needs.
Now to the best part of our day. A less-active family we had finally been able to contact last week came to church yesterday! All of them! It's kind of a long story about all of their background. Here's the readers digest version: there are 3 families all living in one house and they're all related to each other. Mike and Montana are married. Montana is a convert and hasn't been to church in 2 years, Mike a lot longer. Laura (Mike's sister) hasn't been to church in over 5 years. Montana's non-member parents live with them with their non-member girls. We had met Laura a couple of weeks ago and really hit it off with her. We had invited her to church, but she said she really wasn't ready. We had been trying to meet with Montana and Mike since we've gotten to the area. The Friday before General Conference we were just coming from Montana's neighbor's house(who's a member) and were outside when they pulled up! We were like sweet! Thank you Heavenly Father for putting them into our path! Montana and Mike had been asked to help out with our Fall Festival and they had said yes. We go over there and ask if we can share a message with them. Montana says yes, right now would work! We go into the house and end up sharing a message with Montana and Laura. Montana said she had been thinking about coming back to church since they had invited her to help out with the Fall Festival. We invited them to church and had a very powerful lesson with them. We set up a time every week to come and have Family Home Evening with them and to have the Scripture of the Day sent to them each day. They said they'd come to church the next week! And they came to church. All of them. Even Mike who really didn't want anything to do with the church these past couple of years. And even Laura who didn't really want to come to church. And even Montana's non-member little sisters came. It was a great day. Montana said she's coming back for good because she's missed it so much. Miracles!!! Mike and Laura only stayed for Sacrament Meeting, but it's a good start. I'm so happy for them! Heavenly Father truly cares about each one of us and he will help those who have strayed come back into the fold.
These past couple days I've been studying about sanctification. I went through the Topical Guide and looked up all of the scriptures relating to the word sanctify because as a mission we're really working on sanctifying ourselves. It was very enlightening to really find out what it means to become holy or clean and what we have to do in order to become like our Savior. I know the power of the Atonement and righteous living will have a sanctifying effect on our lives. We will be happier because we will be coming more like our Savior. I'm so grateful for this opportunity for 18 months to sanctify myself and become closer to my Savior through prayer and scripture study. There's nothing like being able to spend hours studying the gospel. I love this gospel and the effect it has had on my life for the better.

Sister Collins
P.S. How are you doing on the commitment I gave you last week?