Dear family, friends, family of friends, friends of family, and so forth,
This week was really long. We had five appointments with investigators and potential investigators that fell through. That amounts to eleven people who we were going to share the gospel with who cancelled on us. The circumstances are various: some investigators forgot to be home, some didn't let us in when we came, some had a trip to the emergency room, and best of all some had an empty house that was awkwardly coughing at intervals between us knocking. It was one of the strangest empty houses I've ever come across, almost as strange as the house we met last week that shouted at us, "Nobody's home!" when we knocked. Some people's houses need to learn manners. Tisk, tisk.
Sister Tait and I have been feeling rather discouraged this week. We've both been experiencing some depression. It's so weird, I never thought I would be the one in my family to deal with depression. I'm the happy one, though not as much and not as easily anymore. I lost it in the car on Wednesday on the way to our last appointment. I felt so raw and tender. I cried until we were almost twenty minutes late. The appointment was with the incredibly sweet family on the hill. When we went in, it was still pretty obvious that I was distressed and had been crying. They all gave me giant hugs except for Harry (he's the only guy). God be thanked for kind people. We proceeded to go through the restoration again, which seemed to be from where there questions continued to stem.When Robyn (the mom) started mildly Bible bashing at us, her daughter Holly stepped up to defend the Book of Mormon and affirmed verbally that she knew it was true! Her mom stopped trying to Bible bash after that. So cool!
I am sometimes puzzled at why we are called to pass through so much pain and grief, but even more often I'm thankful for the gift of sorrow that I've been given. There is a depth of soul that can only be gained through suffering, and the intensity of your joy can only be as intense as your suffering has been! I wonder how deep Jesus's soul is, that He can swallow up all of our pain and suffering when we turn to Him. Probably infinite and eternal. That would work. I hope to be more empathetic, because I feel like by becoming like Him, I can draw near to Him. So much mercy and peace. I am eternally thankful for my Savior!
Other happenings this week, we have two lovely individuals who are progressing!!! They still haven't attended church, but they are keeping all of the commitments that they make. They haven't committed to come to church yet. Holly and Emmy have both been reading the Book of Mormon and praying. The other night when we were in with them, Holly defended the Book of Mormon like I said earlier.
We were walking out of an appointment on Thursday and Sister Tait felt like we needed to turn around and give a card to a young man we had just passed. She gave him a card with the Elder's number on it and said, "call this number, and good things will happen." He looked shocked speechless and took the card, still looking at us as we walked away. The next day, we were on the porch of an apartment complex chatting with Ashley, Nicholas, Chase, and Mariah when Austin walked up. He asked, "Why did you give me this card?" to first me then Sister Tait. We both replied that we felt like we needed to give it to him. He told us that earlier on Thursday, he had been talking with his dad. His dad REALLY wanted him to go to church, and had been praying for him. His dad told him that he would get a sign soon that he needed to believe in God and go to church. That night was the night he was handed a www.mormon.org card by Sister Tait. Now we understand why he looked so shocked. He expressed a desire to believe in God, but he's afraid to have his hopes crushed if God isn't real. We taught him how to pray and challenged him to read the Book of Mormon.
One of my favorite things I've heard all week was when we were discussing the Plan of Happiness with Doug and his son Logan. We asked Logan if he would open our discussion with a prayer and here's what happened:
Logan (son): "I've never prayed before. I don't know how to pray."
Doug (dad): "The only thing you gotta do is mean it."
I've thought a lot about how true that statement is. Once we know to begin our prayer by greeting Heavenly Father and to end whatever we say to Him in the name of Jesus Christ, all we really gotta do is mean it! It was the most beautiful thing, seeing this father teach his seventeen-year-old son how to pray. Never is it too late, and never is it more worth the time of a parent than to teach their children the doctrines of salvation and the principles that will bring them happiness in this life and in the world to come!! I've experienced so much joy from this one experience of seeing truth being taught! Wow. Just Wow.
Feel encouraged and feel loved!!! Y'all are the best!
Sister Naomi Rapier (: