(Pic- 9-11 at Pepperdine. A flag for every person that was killed.)
Well, I'm repenting. This week has been full of tender mercies and I'm very certain that the Lord does not allow us to be tested beyond our limits. Nearly every day something came up for us to do. Whether it was a lesson or someone allowing us to render service we had something to do. It was so much better! One day we were going from appointment to appointment and the time just flew! Otherwise we always had at least one appointment. In my previous life I would have never imagined that I would be begging people for service opportunities. There's an elderly man in our ward who has suffered a few falls recently and we were able to go with a member a few days this past week and clean up. His son is also in our ward and when we offered to come help he didn't want to waste our time... Waste our time?! I hope my pleading wasn't too obvious, but finally he agreed and it was so nice to be there and feel like we were helping someone. It's funny how sometimes getting people to allow you to serve them is like pulling teeth. Anyway, we also finally spoke with some potentials(a couple) that we have been after for months now and have an appointment with them tomorrow at a member's home. We're excited to teach them and I certainly hope it sticks. It's been very difficult to get appointments with people this summer so now that school is in session hopefully our work will pick up. Speaking of that, we also met Isaac! Isaac is a grad-student at Pepperdine Universtiy who we met tracting. His father is a pastor, but he says he is not at all Christian. He is very well-versed in the bible and has come to the conclusion that there is no God, or if there is he doesn't like him. Can you say challenge? He has a lot of extremely difficult questions and I have learned a lot just trying to figure out how to answer him. Still, we know that the one way for him to understand the nature of God for himself is to pray, and to ask. I don't know that he is ready to do that quite yet, but we will continue to invite him. The great thing is that he is open to talking with us, and has a good friend that's a member who he met on a study abroad trip to Israel. He's extremely busy and we have only been able to meet him at the cafeteria where he is studying, which isn't the ideal setting for a lesson, but better than no lesson! He is curious about how we are different from other Christian religions, and so far seems to like the differences. He tells us that there is no convincing him about God because of the terrible things he saw when he was in the service. More than once he has stared me down and said " You can trust in God, but I'm keeping my gun powder dry." Long story short, he is a tough cookie... I know that he has had gospel discussions with his member friend since meeting us and he said that he would read the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of issues with the fall of Adam and Eve and the concept of agency so we gave him 2 Nephi 2 to read. I hope he does because I want to see what he thinks and I'm sure that he won't find the contradictions that bother him so much about the bible. Richie is still struggling and said he didn't know if he will feel like coming to church on Sunday. I'm singing for ward conference and once I told him that he said he would be there. I wish he was coming for other reasons. Sister Hara and I were both feeling pretty hopeless last week. We don't have a lot in common and often have a difficult time understanding each other. However, we are trying hard and when we were discussing all that has and hasn't happened this transfer we were able to look back and see how much we have grown in just five weeks. The only thing I can compare it to is a growth spurt in a teenage boy(maybe Christopher :) I feel like I have been forced to change so rapidly this transfer and honestly it's been a little painful. Sometimes it can be difficult for me to be grateful for a trial or smile through all the stretching, but I do know that it's never for nothing. Today I can say that I'm thankful for these difficult opportunities to grow and after a set of growing pains I hope I will be able to stand a little taller and be a little better. People are always willing to go to great lenghts for an extra couple of inches right? I love you all and pray for you always.