I will do my best to keep my eyes open as I write this to you. We've had a short week with even shorter days, and don't even get me started on the month of October. Time is flying by, and keeping up with everything is a challenge, to say the least! I felt like my mom several times, who frequently says "I just need a couple extra hours in a day that nobody knows about!" - So true. I'm very happy though. We were able to teach a couple of skype lessons - one to a lady in Indiana named Crystal. She's very spiritual, and talked about the "good energy" she was getting from us, even across the states! Very open to learning, says she reads the Book of Mormon a lot and already knows it's true!!! I hope that we get to teach her again.
Our second lesson was with a girl named Amanda from Colorado. Her skype didn't end up working, so we did a whole lesson over the phone. She's met with missionaries before, but didn't really enjoy it because she was expressing her concerns about her purpose, where she came from, what's going to happen in the next life and they just kept talking about Joseph Smith and getting baptized next month, which weirded her out. She didn't understand why that applied to her. She still doesn't - not yet, at least. We started teaching her about God's plan - the Plan of Salvation, and it ended up being just a discussion on prayer - how to receive answers. The conclusion that we came to was that God will speak to us through the Holy Ghost in whatever way we allow Him to, in whatever way we'll listen. Some hear God's voice through music, others through the scriptures. Some feel him in nature, others in feelings.
We tried to explain this concept to another one of our investigators, Ethel. She's an 86 year old widow, and is stubborn as all get-out. I'm allowed to say that because she and I talk about her being stubborn all the time haha. She's been through all of the lessons and believes all of it. She feels it's true, but "hasn't gotten an answer" about being baptized yet. She says she doesn't know if it's really what God wants from her. We had a good, long talk with her about how God talks to us. She's going to try an experiment this week - she's going to pray for answers with a BELIEVING attitude. Instead of asking what to do and then waiting for a fireworks show, she's going to pray and tell God that she knows it's true and she wants it in her life. She's going to pray with a believing heart. When we do that, it breaks down some language barriers of the spirit.
Learning to hear and recognize the spirit is a lot like learning a language. I haven't had to learn a new language on my mission, but all of my companions except for one has had to learn a language, and let me tell you, ENGLISH IS WEIRD. It's way too complicated. I didn't realize to what degree until I helped mongolians, tongans, samoans, and mexicans speak it. I am convinced that learning to recognize the spirit isn't as silly as learning to speak English. The Spirit already speaks our language, just in a different way than we're used to. When I say that the spirit speaks our language, I don't mean English, spanish, mandarin, etc. The spirit speaks to our SOUL in a way that OUR SOUL will hear it.
The hard part is learning to break the language barriers that keep us from recognizing the spirit, like pride, anger, cynicism, disbelief.
Instead, let's be humble, happy, positive and believing!
Love you all so much,
PS - I took a total of 0 pictures this week, so there's no way to know if I haven't dyed my hair black or gained 50 lbs. Sorry.