Weeks go by really quickly. It's pretty hard not to get into a daily grind of things sometimes. The good thing though was this week was a lot better than the last.
Tuesday we had an interesting call with Mercedes. A few days prior the church published a bunch of new stuff under the church history section in gospel library and in the app there was a pop up to inform everyone of the new free media. It's super interesting stuff to read but there are a few articles that have doctrine that can be a little hard to understand, it's the whole milk vs meat kind of idea (1 Corinthians 3:2). Some time in the evening we got a call from Mercedes and she had a lot of questions about what she read. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with her talking about some of the articles she read. My favorite part was when she said a particular point was blasphemy. It was a good opportunity to correct some false doctrine. People just don't read their scriptures. Elder Magalei and I were worried about how so much meaty doctrine would effect someone who really needs the core doctrine at the moment. Ezra T Benson said something along the lines of how everyone eventually will be backed up into the wall of faith and will have to make a decision. It's a pretty powerful statement and we figured this was going to be a make or break moment for her.
Wednesday was a super busy day for us. We would have had time for everything we wanted to do but we accidentally got locked out of the church building for an hour. Around mid day we had a video call with, Elder Rencher, Elder Wilkins, and Elder Guerrero, who is currently in St. Joseph's. We spent about an hour discussing possible area boundaries. As we were leaving the building someone pulled up into the church parking lot and asked for a tour. We consented and began a tour with him. The other Elders had to leave so Elder Magalei and I gave the tour. About half way through the guy starts to anti us and getting a little animated. Instead of really not liking Joseph Smith he really didn't like Brigham Young and the BOM. After a few minutes of being talked at we just told him we weren't going to have someone try to fight us in our own Chapel and we lead him all the way out of the church building. That gave us an opportunity to bear our testimonies about what we are doing and the truthfulness of the message we share. Not wanting things to end harshly we offered to shake his hand goodbye but he ignored the gesture and stomped off. We walked to our car as if to leave as well but we realized we had left the keys in the now locked church building. We walked to the other side of the church as if to grab something so we wouldn't look like we just locked out selves out and called the other missionaries to come save us. They where able to come an hour later, but we were able to set up a few appointments over the internet in that time.
Home field advantage is pretty nice when it comes to anti. If we had been sitting down in this guy's living room it would have been significantly harder to cut him off and leave a bad situation.
Right before I left on my mission I was reflecting on the restoration and realized that I didn't really know all that much about other churches. That bothered me a little because I felt like I wouldn't be able to authoritatively say that we were the only true church in the world. I spent time thinking that through and I remember one day I realized that I knew the Book of Mormon is true and that the LDS church was the only church to fully incorporate it as canon. With that alone I knew that this was the only true church regardless of what others say. The BOM is super not only because its an awesome story, teaches doctrine not found in the Bible, clarifies doctrine found in the bible, but because it truly is irrefutable evidence of the restoration. Unfortunately the guy who came to the church to be mad at who ever he found had never read the BoM or even prayed about it.
Friday we had a meeting with Mercedes that went super well. She talked about how she was reading all these articles and realized that this was deeper doctrine than she was ready for and decided to stop prioritizing it over reading the BOM and praying to know if it is true. It was a miracle that she was able to realize that and change her focus. In that same meeting we also were able to figure out that she was waiting to finish the BOM to ask if it was true. We invited her to specifically ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and if the BOM is true. There is no other way to gain this kind of knowledge without prayer.
Our church is different from other churches. We are the only ones who have a real claim to have the authority of God. We are the only church built upon the foundation of Apostles and prophets today with the chief corner stone being Jesus Christ today.
We've been able to have the branch missionaries come out with us a few times and that has been pretty good. Andres is a kid from Guatemala. He grew up speaking Mam and another dialect native to the area he grew up in. He learned Spanish as teenager and came to the United States. He shared his conversion story in a lesson, and its interesting. Apparently he grew up being told legends about his ancestors by his grandma. She said that all these stories had been written down in a lost book with an unknown name. He then comes to the states and meets Mormon missionaries who gave him a BOM and to his surprise he found many of the same stories his grandmother had taught him. I'm not sure about their validity but there are tons of little stories and cultural insights that members from Central/South America will mention offhandedly that relate to the BOM that really makes me want to know more about what is known of the Americas between 600BC-400AD.
Also the Saints publication is super cool. There is a lot of cool stuff in there that I actually didn't know.
So I might be incapable of sending the right address. The zip code was wrong but that shouldn't do too much harm
( mi nombre )
1650 R W Berends Dr SW
Wyoming, Michigan 49519
As a reminder I can't chat over email anymore there really isn't a way to have a continuous conversation on the same day.