I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people in the Skyway Ward. It is a difficult area, but it is so rewarding to see the fruits of your labor when at least one person you meet stops to talk with you. Elder Tibbits has a low tolerance for people who say things like, "I'm pretty sure all churches are the same, I don't need organized religion, I'm already saved, We're Catholic," etc. I try to help him by saying that if we have faith, we'll find someone who is open to us. We always do. We have four investigators that are accepting lessons from us. We can usually weed out the new and potential investigators that aren't committed, because they almost always discontinue the lessons, and say, "we'll call you when we're ready." It is really disappointing, but I know that they weren't at all committed to learning more. Hopefully they'll remember what they felt when we approached them on the street. I am trying my best to extend the invitation "come and see" to everyone.
I felt the spirit in each General Conference session. I am grateful to know that we have prophets on the earth today. I testify that by following their counsel, we will not be led astray. So many people we meet rely upon their own interpretation of the bible, or the interpretation of their pastor. Many have not read any of it for themselves. They say as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, "A bible, a bible! We have got a bible. We need no more bible." Some people had been Christian, but said, I went to church until I read the bible. Without the doctrine of Christ, we have no gospel. There is nothing as sweet, simple, and powerful than the words contained in the Book of Mormon. No earthly power can convince me otherwise.
Thank you so much for all of your support. I know the Lord is with me, because I've had what are referred to as "barking dogs" verbally attack us in the street. Yesterday, four obviously intoxicated men walked around the street corner and said, "Look, Mormons!" They immediately contended against us. They bombarded us with questions and scarcely left us any time to respond before attacking the Book of Mormon. "Where the heck in the Bible does it talk about the Book of Mormon?" Another man was shouting about the evils of organized religion. It was so chaotic, but I kept smiling the whole time. It was such a pathetic attempt to tear us down, that I couldn't help but be amused. Thankfully, they left. Then, we immediately found a young woman who was a member of the church, standing at the bus stop with her friend, and we chatted for some time before heading our way. Her friend was Jehovah's Witness but not strong in her faith. She said she went proselyting a couple of times with her family, and didn't like it at all. She said we were really brave.
We are still teaching the homeless man, "B". I am touched by his humility and patience through difficult circumstances. One morning, we cooked breakfast at the homeless shelter and I was so grateful to see the love and charity that these poor and needy have for others. One man told me that there are always people less fortunate than he, so he never takes more than two pancakes. We are teaching "B"at the church with Brother F, who teaches the church's 12 step addiction recovery class. We'll give him a lesson, and Brother F will explain the program to him. Brother F will also take him to the addiction recovery class.
"E" is progressing so well. We invited her to watch a session of conference at work, so hopefully she was able to do so. She saidwas down time in the nursing home, and there is never really anything to do. After we taught her the word of wisdom she was already trying to quit smoking. She went from a half pack a day to only two a day. The Lord is preparing His people. It is a miracle, especially for her. She has a hard time keeping her commitments, because she has the mentality that she'll be able to do it "someday." But lately she's been good about reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and striving to keep the word of wisdom.
We haven't been able to teach "J" and "T" this week, because they are always working or running errands. "T" texted us though, and said she has Sundays off work now! "J" will probably have to wait until he requests Sundays off because it has something to do with seniority. We invited them to watch General Conference yesterday, but they couldn't find the BYU channel! :( It's ok, we'll show them how to watch it online.
I love you all and wish you the best. I'll have to get a USB drive with an SD card slot for the camera, because I can't find any plug for the cable. I did take a few pictures though!