Tuesday we had our first trade-offs with Elder Wilkins. I went with Elder Rencher and we had a decent day. We had a lesson with a former investigator that we set up as we were going through the records again. The lesson was okay but she had a massive aggressive dog that made it difficult to get to her door. Flashback to a few days prior Elder Magalei and I knocked the door to first make contact with the lady.
I'll add a little bit of context before we move on, Grand Rapids seems to have had a difficult time during the recession. The reason I think of that is that in the sketchier parts of town, the areas are often times filled with large homes in complete disrepair that are then often divided up into 3-4 apartments which are often filled to capacity with people. When you come to a home to knock the doors you basically knock all the doors because all could be a different apartment. It's okay most of the time. This is what Elder Magalei and I did. No one answered the front or side door so we moved to the back door. Elder Magalei knocked the door that turned out to not be locked and as his hand hit the door it swung open. To our surprise a deep growl met the opening of the door and a large dog jumped against the door that by that point was being held shut by Elder Magalei's hands. I jumped so bad. There was only a curtain and some 2x4s separating the inside of the porch from us on the outside. The dog jumped as if to jump through the curtain presumably to kill us. Its front legs made it through the barrier but the dog's head got caught in the curtain giving us just enough time to execute a dignified but very quick retreat to the car. He tried to scramble out once he got his head free but thankfully couldn't muster enough traction with his back legs. Pics down below. We called the lady and we were able to meet her a few minutes later.
Mercedes is our investigator in Holland who is pretty awesome. She has been facing a lot of opposition but seems to be handling it okay. She was reading in 1 Nephi 13 and had a lot of questions about Nephi's vision. It talked about a great and abominable church and then gives a few attributes of this church. I'm sure she was a little upset or disconcerted as she probably assigned a specific church or denomination to what was described without really reading into what it was saying. We talked about that which opened up almost a floodgate of questions that seemed to have been pent up. We answered a few and it went pretty well. It actually was kind of fun. It was all over Facebook chat and I had written out a pretty solid essay on why we go to church on Sunday but it's probably too bashy to share. But it was fun to write. We are actually going to be driving out to Holland later today and I anticipate that she will be wanting a lot of answers to some questions we told her we would cover at a later day. I'm all for answering questions but sometimes people need a stronger foundation of core doctrine before we jump into the deep end. Hopefully things go well!
Thursday I had an amazing personal study. It wasn't really about anything all that important but the spirit was super strong that confirmed to me yet again that the BOM is the word of God. I've been reorganizing the Book of Alma from chapters into years to be able to better observe the pride cycle of the Lamanites and Nephites. It's been an interesting study. You just can't really ever hit the bottom of things you can learn about the BOM. There is just so much depth that you miss when you read quickly. The scriptures are awesome. It's really too bad that most people don't really give diligent heed as they really should. You just miss out on tons of blessings if you don't break the barrier that so often keeps people from having uplifting experiences with the word of God.
"And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God". D&C 84:43-44
We had one of the new member lesson with Francesca on Friday that was SO good. The Plan of Salvation lesson really is an awesome lesson. We talked about the role of agency at every step of the plan of salvation and the spirit was just so strong. I was thinking about why it was so strong and I was reminded of a talk by Bruce R McConkie I heard a while ago. I may have already included this in an older email, so if I did I apologize. The teachers through their preparation are more capable of bringing larger quantities of living water to the lesson while the students through their preparation are more able to collect larger volumes of living water. The best lessons I've had are when the student was very ready to receive our lesson and we were very ready to share what we had. When that happens the spirit is more capable of being present and testifying of true doctrine. D&C 50:22 sets the standard of good teaching. It teaches that when we teach by the spirit of truth "he that preacheth and he that recieveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." It's a joy when that can take place.