This week has been so busy! It's been great! I really feel like things are going to start picking up a lot. Last transfer was kind of hard because of the office situation (along with some other factors). It's crazy though because I've never been in this area without a car, so Sister Lee and I are having to basically start from scratch. We've been doing a lot of figuring out this past week. It's really nice not having a car again though! I mean, it's tough because we now have to figure out the buses, which members are available to give rides at what times, when the heck we eat because we don't like going home to eat since we live so far out of our area, etc. Last night we sent out a huge text to the ward asking who could have us over for dinner and we got a great response, so hopefully we won't have to worry about meals so much because we'll be able to stay in the area.
The only downer is that Sister Lee doesn't have a bike yet (her last area wasn't conducive to biking, so she just never ordered one), so we're having to walk a lot more. Walking is good sometimes, especially on busy streets with lots of people, but in most places biking is more effective because you can get places faster, but still stop and talk to people. So she requested a loaner bike until she gets her own. We're trying to figure out where to leave our bikes though, because with buses, we can't be sure that the bike rack will be empty, and we don't want to wait for a bus with our bikes and then not be able to get on because the rack is full. So we need to be able to leave our bikes in our area every day. We'll figure it out though I'm sure. Sister Lee has been great at getting things figured out. She has been out for nine months, so she knows what she's doing. It's also nice because since we're both fairly new to the area, we can kind of figure out how we want to do things/what works best for us. Last transfer it was kind of hard because one of my companions had been in Pasadena for her whole mission (7 months) and so she kind of took control of everything since she knew the area, members, etc best. Which meant that me and my other companion didn't get to learn the area as well. But now Sister Lee and I are kind of figuring things out together, so we've been able to change things as needed which has been really helpful.
But anyway. The reason I titled this email "The Restoration" is for two reasons. One because of our new investigator, and two because of a Young Men/Young Women activity that we did this week.
So our investigator:
Her name is Ebonee, she was a referral and she is amazing! She is an 18 black girl who is just so ready. So apparently some missionaries talked to her on the bus the one day, got her address, and then Ebonee had to get off to switch buses. Well she gets on the next bus, and there happens to be a Restoration pamphlet sitting on one of the seats! She immediately fell in love with the cover picture (I'll attach it), picked it up and looked through it, and took it home with her. She didn't even know that the pamphlet was connected to the same church that the missionaries that she talked to represent. CRAZY. So we got a referral from those missionaries and stopped by. She didn't say much, but was really sweet and said that we could come back.
So we taught her the Restoration on Saturday. As soon as Sister Lee pulled out the pamphlet, her face lit up and she started smiling. That's when she told us about finding it on the bus. She thinks that it is really cool that Joseph Smith got to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ face to face. She just believes it. She didn't question it, just immediately started talking about how cool it was. So after the lesson, we knelt down and had her pray and ask if Joseph Smith really did see them. We told her that when she finished praying, we would just sit silently so that she could listen to the Spirit. When she said "amen" we did just that. I just looked at my lap for a while, and then finally looked at her. Her eyes were still closed and she looked like she was really listening, really trying to feel something. It was so powerful to me. Finally she looked up and we asked how she felt. She said that she felt really happy and that as she was waiting for an answer, the wind started to blow and she feels like that was an answer. She really is incredible.
She came to church the next day (yesterday). She told us that she read through the pamphlet (which we gave her) right after we left and that she kept turning back to the picture of the first vision. So we showed her an even better picture of the first vision that's in the foyer. Watching her face and seeing the wonder and excitement in her eyes really made me appreciate the magnitude of the first vision even more.
I don't think that she got much out of sacrament meeting, but we made a return appointment for tomorrow. She is just so incredible. She's so humble and teachable, I am so blessed to have the opportunity to teach her.
Anyway, then there's the YM/YW activity. It was my idea to do it. I remember one fireside when I was in Young Women's where we did a tracting role play. I don't remember the rest of the fireside, but I do remember the role play. They put us into companionships and then sent us tracting around the church building. The different classrooms were "houses" and they had members of the ward as the investigators. One person was really busy, one was really rude, but eventually, someone would let you in and you would teach them. That is something that I always remembered doing, so I thought that it would be cool to do it with the youth here. Pasadena and East Pasadena wards had already planned to have a combined activity for that Wednesday, so it was perfect because we were able to do it with all of the youth in both wards.
We didn't to tracting, but instead we first: had a discussion about talking to your friends about the gospel, and second: had them role play a seven minute Restoration. I really hope that it was beneficial. I have heard a few comments from the leaders that they feel like it went really well and helped them a lot. I just really thought a lot about when I was in high school trying to share the gospel with my friends. I have always had a huge love for this gospel and was very excited to share it with others. But now as a missionary, I am able to see ways that my discussions with my friends could have been more beneficial. As a born and raised member of the church, I didn't realize that the biggest difference, the most important thing, and reason that we have the true church and others don't, is the Restoration. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the one true church because we have prophets. We have the priesthood authority from God to preach His gospel. When I would talk to my friends, it would go anywhere from polygamy, to the word of wisdom, to the plan of salvation, etc. If I had realized then just how important the Restoration was, I think that I may have been able to help my friends understand better. So I had the youth give me a list of things that they get questions about a lot about the church. And then I showed them how to relate any question to the Restoration. Because if people really understand that we have the exact same church that Christ established so long ago with the same authority that He had (and help them connect the fact that God had a pattern of calling prophets all throughout the Bible, so why wouldn't He call a prophet to guide us now?) then they might be more willing to learn more.
Anyway, now that I have written a nice long tangent, I should probably stop writing so that you can all move on with your lives.
I love and miss you all a bunch!
Teach someone about the Restoration this week!