Monday, July 16, 2012

It's About Them, and About the Lord

Hey, whats up?

It was a pretty mild week. We didn't travel anywhere or do any exchanges. We just had our regular business with President and a good amount of time to work in our area.

For P-day we had a little going away party for Elder Ortner with the missionaries and a couple members he was close to.

Tuesday we had our regular office stuff in the morning then in the afternoon we went over to a member who lives really close to us. She was remodeling her apartment. We went and helped her rip down all the wall paper and clean off the walls. Then clean the ceiling. The next day we spent an hour there painting the ceiling. Then an amazing thing happened and it was just like the textbook - do service for members so that they like you and they will give you referrals to teach. Just as we were heading out she said, "Well, just come back tomorrow and I've got this friend who has been reading the Book of Mormon and I'll invite her over and introduce her to you." So it was awesome and that is exactly what happened. And as a matter of fact, that is the first member referral that I have ever gotten (not counting within a part member family or from recent converts). So it was sweet. We spent a couple hours doing home improvement work that was really fun and now we have this lady who we can hopefully start teaching soon.

Wednesday evening I did the "micro-sermon" at the end of English. (I like that terminology better, because spiritual thought sounds weak.) I was talking about prophets and showing all kinds of pictures of all these prophets of old and getting people to realized how important they are then talked about our modern day prophet. It was really cool because people were really surprised when I whipped out a picture of Thomas Monson right after Moses. It got people really interested, and it was a little hostile just preaching that to like 30 people who are looking at you like "this guy is crazy what is he talking about?" But it was cool because a lot of people wanted to ask missionaries questions after. One guy even laughed when I said that there is a prophet on the earth today. So after, I went up to him and said, "So I guess that's the first time you've heard that, huh?" And he says "Yeah that's pretty strange." We talked for a few minutes and it was sweet because he agreed to come back the next day and Elder Anderson and I taught him the first lesson and he listened really well.

Last Saturday there was a branch activity. We took that cruise down the river and got off at an island to have a picnic. It was really sweet because of the awesome turnout. Aleksei the younger came and it was huge for him because he just took off with the other guys his age and even after the thing he told us that they all hung out together all night, so he's in now and has friends in the branch. Also, Andrei who is our part member guy who we have been struggling to help actually do anything, came and brought his little daughter even though his wife was working. Also the member referral came, and a few other members brought some friends who we got to meet. So it was a really productive activity. It was awkward that it was on a beach and most people went swimming and we were in slacks and ties on the beach. We tossed around a frisbee and a volleyball and at one point people from around the beach who were there drinking and partying came over and wanted to play with us and it was me, Elder Anderson, and like 10 of them. They questioned our apparel a bit but I told them that's the fashion in America, and everyone goes to the beaches like that. It was also cool because one of the members brought a friend with them who was crippled and struggled to walk with a walker, but had no chance on the sand. So Elder A and I got to carry him from the boat and across the island and back. It was super hard work but awesome to be able to help out like that.

We had a really disappointing day at church. We were expecting several investigators but absolutely nobody came. So it was a really disappointing day at church. And I'm worried about our 2 investigators with baptismal dates not being ready.

I learned a very strong lesson this week. I was in a bad mood one night because our best investigator canceled on us, we had bad results on the street, and a member was rude to me over the phone for no reason. I was just in a bad mood and thinking what the heck am I doing wrong? Why are they treating me like that? Why do they treat me like I'm dumb or say rude things to me? And just thought "whatever, I'm going to bed." The next morning I had this amazing experience. I prayed that I would be able to have the right attitude to do missionary work that day and to be happy and positive and I got an amazingly clear answer. Actually, it came from some words of a song that was playing during breakfast and the scripture study that morning. This piece of revelation just smacked me in the face, and it was like, "It's not about you. Why are you looking at these things that happened as why did they do this to ME what I'm I doing wrong? You need to think about them, it's sad that they didn't accept it for them, but this work isn't about you. It's about them and about the Lord." It's kind of hard to describe, but that idea changed my whole outlook and mood.

But there was one big highlight of church. And sometimes I forget to look back and see the success that we've had and the impact we've made and I just think that nobody came so we were failures that week. But at church Misha, the formerly inactive, told us that he wanted us to come to his Sunday School lesson because he was teaching. It's his new calling and it would be his first time teaching. It actually worked out well because none of our investigators showed so we didn't have to go to Gospel Essentials, so we went to Misha's Sunday School class and he did a great job teaching the lesson. And as he was up there you could see the light in his eyes and his spirit radiating from him, that he has been converted and it was a wonderful sight.

Well I think that's it.

Elder Topham