Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"The more you think about it, the more it makes sense... Darth Vader is Cailou." - Elder Hawkes

From February 16, 2016

Flawless. That's all I can describe this theory as: flawless.

So I should really proofread my emails now and again because I know that last week's wasn't really anything at all and I apologize for that. Lots of crazy things happened last Tuesday and it was not very much fun. Thankfully those really stressful P-days only happen once in a while, so I can look forward to having some relatively-stress-free P-days in the future!

This week, we...
- Get in the door with some less-actives
- Do more service!
- Go on exchanges with the zone leaders
- Teach more less-actives!
- Add someone! :D
- Listen to Elder Renlund throw down
- Convince some old women we aren't Jehovah's Witnesses (which is a success in and of itself)

This email is really really not going to necessarily be in chronological order because that's not the way this week went. Yes, that's right. This week was not in chronological order. And neither is this coming one. Sometimes your weeks feel more like the Topical Guide or the Index to the Triple Combination, and sometimes your weeks just feel like Song of Solomon. 

Speaking of Song of Solomon, we had a bunch of less-actives to visit from the Ward Council. So we visited them over the past week! A lot of them, to be honest, weren't home. We got to see two or three of them, but none of them were interested. One told us he had asked to not have much contact. One said, "Check back in a month." One said, "Yeah you could come by, but I'm not sure what we'd talk about..." I'll get to him in a minute. Anyway! We met this one named Bro. Layton who we had never met before. He let us in very politely and told us he wasn't really interested in changing or coming back to church or anything. He talked to us about how much family means to him and how his faith in Christ helped him. Really, he needed someone to just talk to. I was grateful we were able to help him out. 

We also did a lot of service this week. We've been helping an elderly lady tear out her grass and get new seed in. Every time we go over we think "We'll finish this in half an hour!"

And every time it doesn't work like that. 

We also helped a blind man sort his mail this week, which was great. We'd been trying to get ahold of him for the longest time and we finally stopped by. Turns out, we had the wrong phone number. So now we know. 

On Thursday we added someone! His name is Lance. Elder Belnap had street contacted him on MTE's last Monday (as an aside, I went to La Mesa for MTE's and nothing noteworthy happened) and he said to come by Thursday at 3. So we went by and knocked. And knocked. And knocked. 

Right as we were about to leave a card saying, "Sorry we missed you" he came out and said, "Sorry about that." We then sat down at a nearby pavilion and taught him the Restoration. We went waaayyyy too fast and he seemed really confused by it all, but at the end he prayed and told the Lord he'd read from the Book of Mormon and looked forward to doing so! We have an appointment on Monday with him and I'll be sure to let you all know how that goes. 

On Friday we had exchanges with the zone leaders. Elder Godby came with me to Arabic North, and we had an awesome day talking with everyone. We went and visited the less active that told us to try in a month, and we were looking around and seeing who we could talk to right after that. We looked up the road and there was the less-active we'd been teaching, Bro. Dunlop. We were talking with him and the thought came to my mind to have him bear his testimony of the Restoration. And that was exactly what was needed! We testified of the reality of the Restoration, and right at the end Elder Godby invited him to church. He paused for a minute and said, "Yes," followed up with "You invited me so fast that I couldn't come up with an excuse not to come!" It was awesome!

On Sunday we had a regional broadcast. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke. It was awesome! He started off with his story of when he and his wife were at Adam-ondi-Ahman and someone asked them what the Church taught about the place because they "felt a special spirit" there. "How do you start a gospel conversation with Adam-ondi-Ahman?", he asked. His wife started with "The short answer is this...," then testified of the First Vision and the Restoration, turning it back to her husband by saying, "And now my husband will be more than happy to explain what this place has to do with that!" She did the same thing in Athens about coffee, and then he did the same thing when someone asked him about the Law of Chastity. The point of it was that in order to teach commandments, it's important to have the context of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. Pure medical statistics or social mores or surveys or scientific research is not enough to explain the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, etc. He also talked about disagreeing without being disagreeable. Overall it was awesome! Bro. Dunlop had something come up and didn't come, but Arabic South had two Muslim women attend the broadcast and they loved it!

Yesterday we had a member come out with us during the evening to visit some potentials. As we were walking in a complex some old women flagged us down. One of them was asking about Moses and why he wasn't able to enter the Promised Land (it took four or five repeats to understand what she was saying), and the other made a comment about how Jesus was crucified with his arms outstretched, not above him. I realized they were talking about Jehovah's Witnesses, and told them, "We're not Jehovah's Witnesses." 

And they believed us!

Picking up a thing or two from the broadcast on Sunday we talked about who we were by saying, "The short answer is this..." And then shared the message of the Restoration with them. They were really receptive, although initially hesitant to take a Book of Mormon because they thought it cost us money to get. When we were able to explain that it was for them, they were really grateful! We're going to follow-up this week and see how things went. 

Lastly, a thought tied to an event last night. Remember that less-active that said he wasn't sure what we'd talk about? We went by last night and knocked. He didn't answer, so we were about to ring the doorbell. Right then I felt that it wasn't the right thing to do. I told my companion and he said, "Okay." We were wondering where to go and we felt that we should go to a less-active a half-mile away. We went there, knocked on the door, annnndddd.... Nothing. So we said, "Okay, the Lord told us to come here, so where should we go?" As we were walking, Elder Belnap felt we should go knock on one particular door. So we did, annnndddd.... Nothing. What I felt impressed upon me last night was this:
Oftentimes I think that when the Lord tells me to knock on a house it's because there's someone there just eager to hear the message or to be baptized or come to church or get sealed in the temple or whatever. But many times it's to see how obedient I'm going to be. The Lord tells me to knock on a house and I knock on it, I've obeyed. The Lord tells me to tract every house in a neighborhood and I do it, I've obeyed. And because I've obeyed, He's more willing to trust me with people willing to progress towards baptism. 

Now that's something I knew, and I'm sure everyone knew that already, but last night for me was yet another "one step closer" experience wherein a simple lesson was impressed even greater upon my mind. I love those moments. 

That's it for this week! Thanks to everyone for their letters and emails and more importantly their prayers and fasts. Have a great week! Don't be afraid to repent!

-- Elder Hawkes

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