Tuesday, June 14, 2016

16 May 2016 - Takin' the yoke


I've been ruined because I was recently introduced to a phenomenon that will prevent me from returning to my old ways.  FARM-FRESH EGGS.  Who knew that they'd even taste better than regular store-bought ones.  We know people around here that give us eggs and potatoes - I'm amazed by people's generosity.  A woman who came to some lessons with us went and bought our  13 yr old investigator church clothes when she realized they didn't have any.  Another person is driving us and our investigator to the Idaho Falls Temple Visitor's Center this week to take a tour and feel the spirit there.  People reach out to us missionaries and to those we teach in so many positive ways.  It's been an example to me of Christlike love.

Sister Reupena is doing well!  America is still a shock to her in many ways (especially the food) but her English is improving and she is happy!

We contacted a woman who isn't a member of our church.  Her husband died a few months ago, and her daughter died just a few months before that.  She's been through a lot, but the Bishop told us she'd be a good one to visit and talk about the gospel with.  So we did.  Her name is Virginia.  We knock on the door, chatted for a bit, and she told us that the Mormons haven't reached out to her and haven't been nice to her for the 20+ years they've lived there.  (Side note: It's really interesting for missionaries when we get conflicting stories about the same situation.)  We listed to her for a bit more, then she started saying things like "I know what I believe and I know what you Mormons believe, so don't even try to teach me."  I asked what she believed.  She talked about treating others with kindness, following Christ, who is our Savior, and praying to God.  I talked about how we believe in those same things, as well.  She then started to trash talk Joseph Smith and our "views" on grace.  All of it was wrong.  I'd try and explain the truth, but it was obvious that she just wanted to bash with me, and was upset that it wasn't working.  She basically just kindly asked us to leave, so we did, but left her our card with our number and told her that we're good workers and would be happy to help her.  She didn't seem enthused.  

A few days later, someone knocked on the door of our house and it was Virginia!  She asked around and found out where we lived.  She told us she needed our help.  We changed into t-shirts and went and helped her.  She's getting ready to move in the summer and her garage is a mess full of things that we helped her organize into piles - to sell, to trash, and to keep.  And there was a burn pile.  That was exhilarating.  We talked with her about all sorts of things while sorting.  Her family, her work, the Teton Dam Flood (it's a big deal).  Anyways.  I'm not sure exactly why I'm going into this much detail, but this is missionary work. 

Let me explain.  Following is a conversation I'll have a lot with members.
Member:  So, how's the work?  Are you having much success?
Me:  Oh, yes!  It's wonderful!

The member then expresses how surprised they are.  Every time.  Surprise.  Why?  It confused me.  Do we not strike them as diligent missionaries? haha.  The next time I tried something.

Member:  So, how's the work?  Are you having much success?
Me:  Depends - how do you define "success" in missionary work?
Member:  Well.. baptisms, of course!

NO WONDER they're surprised.  Yes, we actually had a baptism a couple weeks ago, but as missionaries, we don't measure success with baptismal statistics.  Some do.  But we shouldn't.  It's not about numbers and it's not all about baptism.  That is the end goal, sure.  But our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ.  When they ask if we're having success, I think back on our efforts.  Were we busy?  Did we reach out to a lot of people?  Did we do our best?  Were we obedient?  If so, then yes.  We were successful.  People have their own ability to choose.  Missionaries can choose to work hard.  Those we teach can choose to work hard to learn, feel the spirit, keep commitments, etc.  

May we all make the choice to come closer to Christ rather than farther from him.  I know that is what He wants for each of us an I know that it is the way to more peace and more happiness in this life.

Thank you all for all you do.

Sister McIntosh

I discovered this guy in the St. Anthony stake center during zone training.  Elder Ieti (yeti) got way too excited (I guess they eat bat in Samoa) and kept playing with the poor guy.  The bat was alive, just stunned, so he was frozen in one (creepy) position and shaking.  The sisters insisted he take him outside, but it didn't happen soon enough haha.

1.  In the middle are our Sister Training Leaders, Sis. Kolo (Tonga) and Sis. Crandall (California).  Sis Crandall is the only other palangi (white) sister in our zone.  We talk to each other when the others speak in Tongan and Samoan to each other.  I love them all.

2.  A member we had dinner with taught me how to play three songs on the cello - Twinkle, twinkle little star, The Alphabet song, and Baa baa Black sheep. ;)  Ignore my terrible technique and form.

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