Transfers have come and gone and here I am in White Salmon with a native companion! Her name is Hermana Hernandez and she's from Jalisco Mexico but came from Portland. She's a convert of about 3 years and has always wanted to serve a mission since the missionaries first began teaching her.
So this week, like most other weeks, I learned a thing or two about faith.
We have an investigator pool of about 12 people, the majority being Hispanic. There's never enough time and yet way too much every day, a paradox I'm still trying to figure out. So we've begun to weed people out here and there. We've invited just about all of them to baptism but the main concern is that they were already baptized and they have no need to be baptized again. We discuss the whole authority thing but still, it just doesn't seem to stick.
Thursday we decided to go knock Klickitat. We brought Matt (our recent convert) with us and we started from one end of the town and knocked every door on the street (and it's a long one.) Lots of people weren't home, lots of people were and mostly looked like they couldn't believe that we dared to stand on their porch and ask them if they knew their grandparents. Sometimes, they would just laugh and then shut the door. I got a little bit indignant honestly, I wanted to tell them, "Hiwe'remissionariesandI'monly19andI'veleftmyfamilytobehereandtotalktoyouhere'sacardthatexplainshowyoucanfindallofyourancestorsandprintoutyourfamilytreebecausehowawesomeisthatIhavevikingsinmyfamilyhistoryandyoucanevendoitallbyyourselfyoudon'tevenneedusthankyouhaveniceday!" Just kidding. But seriously. They won't even listen to something that could bring them so much joy because I'm standing on their porch in a skirt. It's actually rather comical. Anyway, we knocked about 20 doors and no one was interested at all. And I remained positive and happy even though I really hate knocking doors. There came a point where I wanted to call it quits and head to find some less-actives, but I remembered the Ricciardi letter where he had been sent to a horrible and rotten area so that he could learn and grow and was eventually blessed for it. So onward we went. And two houses later, out come a couple of people on bikes. Matt had now seen us attempt to talk to someone 20 times and took the lead as we talked to them. He started with fishing and then just told them upright that we were sharing a message about family history. They asked, "Have you had any luck?" "A little" And then, we got to talk to them about family history and I got so excited. When I get excited I tend to talk really fast and I was off, talking a mile a minute about how awesome family history is and they loved it. She told me I reminded her of her niece and was excited to check out her ancestors. It was a reminder to me that we have to just keep going. So we did. And silly me, I lost a little faith once again as we were knocking and nothing was happening. And right before I was about to turn around and call it a day on this street, Matt said "Hey lets talk to that guy." Again, he initiated the conversation and got us a return appointment. I'm rather embarrassed to admit how much faith I had lacked but I am grateful that even though I really hadn't wanted to continue, I pushed forward and was blessed for it.
I had a similar experience that Saturday. We knocked a handful of doors and everyone was so offended that we were there. So I said to heck with it, lets go up to Underwood. As we were driving we pull up to a car that had just barely crashed on one of the really windy roads. She was pretty shaken up and we immediately pulled over to the side and directed traffic and made sure she had people coming. She looked like the last person that would have wanted missionaries to come to her door but she was so grateful that we had stopped and waited with her. When her guardians showed up they weren't very kind and basically shooed us off but she gave us a big hug and said "Thank you for stopping!"
I thought a while about that. If someone had let us in while we had been knocking, we wouldn't have been driving to Underwood at the very same moment that happened. And perhaps we won't ever see her again. But, I know that we made a difference to her in that moment and maybe in the future, she'll remember those two girls in skirts that stopped when missionaries knock on her door.
Anyway, we continued to Underwood and decided to knock because every single appointment had fallen through. I decided to finally just abandon every bit of pride and unwillingness and just knocked on doors I knew white people hid behind with an attitude of "They are going to love us!" I have gained a testimony of spiritually creating physical happenings because two of the doors were totally willing for us to come back and the third was this awesome lady named Carolina. She talked to us for a bit until she asked what church we were from. We told her and she said, "Riiight the Jehovah's Witnesses." "Actually the Mormons!" She blinked and then said "I was baptized as a Mormon when I was 10 years old." We talked a bit longer and then she said, :Come in."
I am so glad I kept knocking!
She let us in and told us about all of the different churches she's been to and made us some herbal tea. Then she asked for a summary of the Mormon church. We gave her about a 5 summary of the Restoration and ended with the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much and I promised her that this book is how she could know that what we are saying is true. I got really excited and started telling stories from it and her 15 year old son Justin said, "Wow! I think I'm going to really like this book!" She then asked whether we believe in Hell or what happens after this life and so we explained the three kingdoms of glory. She sat there with a pensive look while Justin exclaimed, "Wow, what a cool religion!!"
On Sunday we had a lesson on faith and I was reminded of the story from the Bible of the man who brings his son to Christ to heal him.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
To me it is such an incredibly tender moment and how I felt often this week. ALL THINGS, not just some things, but ALL things are possible when we have the faith to believe. And we do believe! We do have faith, but sometimes we have just the tiniest bit of doubt, of fear which causes us to cry out "Help thou mine unbelief."
Sunday night we visited a handful of families and helped them make a family mission plan, starting with inviting friends to the Primary Program because it's easy and not a huge commitment. I think we all tend to forget that missionary work isn't always knocking on doors but inviting anyone even to just a mutual or the Primary Program. It's so simple! It's helped me to realize how to better help the members become more missionary oriented and it gives them a purpose.
I invite you all to ask the Lord this week to help your unbelief, help you overcome the doubts, fears, walls you may be facing. We have the promise that all things are possible when we have the faith, but even when we lack it, He will be there to make up the difference.
"27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties,even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise aparticle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire tobelieve, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe ina manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words."