Calm in the Face of Adversity

Blog 10/24

This week was pretty great!  It was so much better for me because I am getting to know the area better and know some of the people better.  The ward here is great and we have a couple of great investigators that are progressing well.

Monday night we had a really interesting experience.   We took Dennis out with us to go see some people.  He is 16 and is a convert of about 2 years or so.  Well the first person we went to see was a guy named Bobby.  Elder Day talked to him once before I got here and said he was pretty interested.  Well we got there and he was inside so we were talking to his friend Richard, who was outside.  Richard was really great and just got over some hard things in his life and is even looking to get closer to God. 

Well then Bobby came outside.  He was holding a beer and you could tell it wasn't his first one of the day.  He was being really aggressive and taunting us then told us that he was schizophrenic.  He was seeking help from us, but it was in a really demeaning way and not with good intent.  He was looking for a sign and looking for things other than God.  He was all up in our faces about tons of stuff, literally probly like 4 inches away, and claiming to be Satan.  Definitely scary, but we just stood behind what we know to be true, testifying the whole time of Jesus Christ and that he is stronger than Satan. 

Eventually he let us leave, but not until he said a prayer with us.  Half way through me saying the prayer he freaks out and starts screaming about the devil…the most amazing calm feeling came over me and I just stood there until he was done and finished my prayer then we left.  The miracle out of all this craziness is Richard, his friend.  Richard had recently gotten out of jail and was only there because Bobby (who he met 3 days ago) let him rent out one of his rooms.  You could tell that he was scared as well and was looking to get out of there.  He secretly asked for out number and we gave it to him.  We haven't heard from him since, but I know that he definitely felt the spirit among all that chaos and saw a difference in us through the power of God. 

The rest of the night we went and saw Paul, my little friend from Africa.  He is amazing and loves Joseph Smith.  We talked about the Restoration and he had some really great questions about the Plan of Salvation as well.

Tuesday was sooo hot!  It’s October and it was like 85º! We did some service this morning mowing Kathy’s lawn which was great.  Then we had a meeting with the Richmond stake president and the other zone leaders and sister training leaders in the stake.  It was cool to see even how much a stake president wants to be a part of all of our investigators and missionary activities. 

This afternoon tracting we found Shareeve.  At first he didn't look very interested and was kinda just sitting outside but once we started talking he got more into it.  He was really hooked on prophets and had some crazy ideas about prophets telling us "Tupac was a modern prophet among others." We also saw Bruce tonight, another one of our recent converts.  He is on dialysis and was having a tough time but we had an awesome Plan of Salvation lesson with him and he is really gaining a testimony of the gospel.  We saw a couple people besides that and went out with Christian tonight but it wasn't that exciting. 

Wednesday morning was district meeting and on the way over there we stopped off at the hospital to give someone a blessing.  District meeting was ok, we had some discussion about how we can work with the members in our areas and get them more active.  Then we went on exchanges with the assistants, it was awesome!  I look up to Elder Genduso so much and we had a good day of teaching and talking.  We first found this guy named Raul.  He is disabled and was outside when we came up and he said he was looking to change his life.  We talked to him about how Jesus Christ can help and how God is there for him and he said he would love to start meeting with us and come to church.  Then we taught Natasha and talked about the Book of Mormon and the holy ghost.  Elder Day has been teaching her and she seems to be kind of interested. 

We saw Brother Cranney right before dinner and were able to have a lesson with him and just talk about his mission and everything that he’s been going through.  He is a great guy and is really sincere.  He said he is going to come to church this week which should be awesome.  We also met Ricardo in his complex and he invited us in and we taught him the Restoration.  We talked a lot about how a modern prophet would help us in the world today and how Ricardo could know if the Book of Mormon was true. 

After dinner all of our lessons seemed to cancel or fall through.  We were only able to see Kathy for a minute and talk about the priesthood and give her a blessing.  Then we went tracting in a little complex where nobody was really interested.  Besides that I learned a lot on the exchange and am starting to relearn how important it is to love the people and step into their shoes. 

Thursday we had studies and it was so good.  I studied desire and how that is the root of everything we do.  That's how we can truly change out heart is desire then action.  Then we went to Waffle House and met Elders Kauer and Day again.  Weekly planning was good, super long and Elder Day wasn't feeling well so we took it easy today. 

Tonight we had a lesson with Shawnte again and talked about the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon.  She is really interested in helping her family come closer to God and is wanting to recommit herself because she knows that God can help her in her life.  It was a good lesson. 

Friday was long.  We went and finished mowing Kathy’s lawn since we didn't get it all the way done.  Then we went home and met Brother Scott.  He took us to have a lesson with Bruce again and it was great.  We talked about the resurrection and how all of our bodies will be restored which made him really happy because he’s having some health struggles. 

Tonight we saw Paul again and were able to talk to his friend Amaru who has been learning about the Church with us lately.  We taught him the Restoration and he was really starting to get why we needed the priesthood back on the earth.  So cool for a 13 year old kid.  Then we took Norman to see Brother Elrod who is a less active member starting to come back.  We talked about patriarchal blessings and how they are a map for our lives. 

Then we e saw Kathy again and her friend Deb was there.  We talked about how there is opposition in all things and how we need to love as Christ did.  It was hard because Deb was really nice but she was kinda taking over the lesson so we didn't have tons of time to talk to Kathy but hopefully she felt the spirit. 

Saturday was also a really packed day.  We helped Brother Fox move some of his stuff this morning which was great.  He’s just moving to a new house in the ward boundaries. 

We got a call around lunch from another set of elders who have an investigator who is in our area.  He is here in a hospital and wanted us to go see him.  That's kinda all the info we got.  Well it took us like 30 min to find this guy and then we had to go into this kinda mental hospital place and had a lesson with Jose.  He is awesome and really, really smart.  He’s been studying other religions and just found the missionaries and wants to be baptized.  He is pretty much ready but just needs some fine tuning.  The main problem is he is in this hospital so he’s not sure when he can come to church.  But he is awesome. 

Then tonight we had a lesson with Jennifer cause she's been having a hard time.  She has been seeing God’s hand in her life though so much and he has been answering her prayers.  We talked about how we can receive revelation from prayer, reading and fasting.  Those all take faith and it’s hard but she said she is going to come to church tomorrow! It was great. 

Sunday was the primary program! We had Kathy come to church again and she loved it, we also had Brother Cranney come and stay the whole time and he was really into it.  The sisters had some people there as well and the chapel was packed for the program.  After church we took Norman and saw Lewis one of our investigators.  He is struggling to know what to put his faith in and how to follow Christ.  So we talked a lot about that and how he can learn from the Book of Mormon.  Then we went to an apartment complex which is where we took that picture of those kids with the masks.  Lol. 

Our evening was awesome, we went out with Brother Lunde and saw Jose again.  We talked to him about repentance and the Atonement.  He was really receptive and is really smart, even though he has some problems to fix.  I think he could be baptized soon.  Then we went to see Jennifer and made sure she is good to come to dinner tomorrow with the Meads.  It was a good lesson and we talked about the Book of Mormon as well.  She is really gaining a testimony and its soo cool to see God act in her life. 

The end of our night was teaching Kathy the Word of Wisdom.  She is already following it and agrees with it all so it was really easy to teach.  She is progressing so well and is looking forward to being baptized 11/19! I know she can make it!. 

Anyways its going really great here in Mechanicsville and I can’t wait to keep the work up this next week!  Love y'all! 

Elder Larson