Our Mini-missionary, Sister Tanuvasa
Elder Kyler Pugh came into the Visitors' Center and I was floored! He was called to Spain, but is here waiting on his visa.
Family and Friends,
This week has been wild! The Visitors' Center has been insanely busy since the lighting and concerts began. I'm exhausted, but we're having a lot of fun! The reception went over well although there was more excitement that night than I ever thought I would experience on my mission. Maybe not more, just a different kind. The Visitors' Center was transformed into another place with well dressed caterers serving everyone hors d’ oeuvres, a band of guitarists in the corner playing Jazz standards, and all these people from the Chilean Consulate, to representatives from the FBI. The program preceding the lighting was all opera and because I was given the job of shadowing the photographer I was the only missionary that got to go in. This is good because I'm probably the only one that would have appreciated it :) The whole night felt like a movie. I followed the photographer around and took down everyone's full names so they could match the pictures up with the right people. It was all very glamorous and overall a fun night, but I have to say I felt more like Anne Hathaway in "The Devil Wears Prada" than a missionary. It's just not something you're anticipating when you fill out your papers you understand.
Anyway, back to the real world. Richard is... well he's Richard! There aren't words to describe. It's a joy to teach him. Missionary work can be challenging and I can honestly say that it is mentally and emotionally the most difficult thing I've ever done, or tried to do in my life. But, when I'm sitting in a lesson with Richard there is honestly nowhere else I would rather be, and nothing else I would rather be doing. He made my day yesterday. It was fast Sunday and I was remembering that the last testimony meeting he had said he wanted to go up the next time. I was crossing my fingers that he would, but wasn't going to pressure him. Halfway through the meeting I decided to nudge him. I just had to. I said, "Your turn," to which he replied, "I wouldn't know what to say!" I pointed emphatically at his Book of Mormon plastered with sticky notes each representing an answer to prayer and responded "You know what to say." He gave me a look and returned to listening. A few minutes later he shot up and walked toward the pulpit. The first thing he said was, "I came up here for a lot of reasons, but in the end I just can't tell my missionaries no." Ha ha! I don't take no for an answer :) He bore a powerful testimony about the changes that he has undergone in such a short amount of time and summed conversion up as "not a change in our behavior, but our very nature." I could go on and on about his testimony, but for the sake of time just know that, he KNOWS. When he sat down I just said "Excellent"(one of his favorite words) and he replied," It's your fault you pain in the you know what." and smiled. After Sunday school he told me that he wanted to thank me. I guess that morning he was feeling a little low. He felt distanced from the spirit and wondered where the fire had gone and how to get it back. He said that me nudging him was a very specific answer to a very specific prayer. I was beaming. Best feeling in the world. Apparently the reason for me being the "bad cop" is that I'm always "nudging" or making uncomfortable suggestions, but he didn't think that was a very accurate title so he has now changed it to "The Conductor." I didn't really follow the explanation behind it, but it had something to do with attention to detail and the power of persuasion... He told me he was going to pull a "Sister Davis" and invite me to "own it." Calling me to repentance, ha ha, he's a character. He never ceases to amaze me. For Christmas he gave us each a rack of ribs that he smoked himself. Not bad! We were also discussing families and he expressed how eager he was to meet ours. He wants to invite you all to his baptism. We explained that that wouldn't be possible, but I mentioned to him that I would be coming with my family next summer. He was thrilled and even said that he would want to come to Idaho for Isaac's baptism. Can you say too good to be true? I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but it doesn't get better than that! Everything is ready to go for his baptism. He had an interview with President White that I guess was very unique (are we surprised?) Apparently Pres. White just asked him how he felt about what he had been learning and he ended up answering all of the questions before they were even really asked. Long story short he passed with flying colors. He asked me to sing at the baptism and surprise him with the song choice. I'll be singing "Savior Redeemer of my Soul" and Sister Jones will accompany. We will also do a little "Missionary moment" which I'm honestly a little nervous about seeing as he has invited everyone in Culver City! It will be great. I could go on about him all day.
We have two new investigators that I'm really excited about. We were originally teaching their dad, but he kind of lost interest. We taught Angel (18) and Enrique (20) on Wednesday and they were at church and the Christmas devotional on Sunday. They both loved it and Angel specifically mentioned that he is wanting a change and willing to give God his life. Cool! He has been reading and they both have committed to pray.
We finally heard from Susan. She was MIA for about a week and we thought she was just dropping us. She kind of still did, but only because she is very sick and recently found out that she won't live much longer. We are praying for her and trying to help in any way that we can, but it sounds like finishing the lessons will be impossible.
I almost forgot! We had another mini-missionary this weekend. We had a lot of fun together. She is 20 and is turning her papers in this coming January. We tried to give her the best advice that we could as you can see from the picture. She'll be great! We had a high stress tour with a group of university students studying the bible and she handled it very calmly. We did witness something a little crazy while she was with us. I was stopped on Santa Monica Blvd. and some guy ran across the street. He was running fast enough that I barely saw him. The car in the lane next to me was coming at about 35 mph and hit him!! I couldn't believe it! He went flying up over the car, cracked the windshield, and then landed on his feet! I was in shock all day and I'm surprised our mini wasn't hit since it happened right next to her window. This whole week has just been like a movie!
I'm out of time. Happy Holidays!!
Thank you Kelli and Michael for the 25 days of Christmas. It makes our apartment feel like Christmas :)