Wow what a week! This was my 4th week in Hopewell and it’s been busy as ever. It seems like this week was a little up and down which was kinda strange. There were times that we were super busy and had a ton of stuff going on, but then besides that it just seemed sooo slow and so dead and we were just trying so hard but nothing was working. That's pretty much how Monday night went after we finished out p-day. We had a couple lessons with people but they canceled because of sickness.
Tuesday was a pretty good day and the morning went really fast because we had to do our transfer suggestions for the elders in our zone and send them in to President Smith. This afternoon was kind of a drag and then this evening was packed. We were able to see the Pearsons again and talked to them about the Restoration. We also had a really good lesson with Jessica on the Restoration. She has been reading her scriptures for like two and a half weeks straight and we really think she has been making a lot of progress. She understands repentance, which is really important. Well, tonight’s lesson was on the Law of Chastity and it was a really good spirit filled lesson, but it was also really hard for her because she isn't living it. As we talked about it and read through the pamphlet she understood it and felt the spirit and by the time we left she was still hesitant, but was willing to think and pray about it. Well the next morning we got a text and she said she didn't think our church was for her and didn’t want to meet with us. That was kind of a bummer, but I think eventually if she keeps reading her Book of Mormon like she is that she will be baptized.
We also saw Leslie Tuesday night and talked to her about prayer and finding her answer. She had read 2 Nephi 32 before we came over and had some questions about it but we also read it again with her and it was a really good lesson. Leslie really wants to know her answer is true but has had some bad experiences in the past with churches so she is taking her time and making sure it’s right which is great.
One of the really good verses in that chapter we talked a lot about was 3-5 about praying and feasting on the words of Christ. It was so amazing because she knew immediately after she read those verses what she needed to do to really solidify her answer about if she knew this was true or not. The spirit was definitely working on her. We weren't able to see Leslie at all the rest of the week and her week was a little rough. But she did come to church and it was amazing to see her countenance change as she was at church and see her spirit really be lifted. She really liked church and I think it was really good for her and she is progressing a lot.
Wednesday morning I had a really powerful experience in my personal studies. I finished the Book of Mormon again and it’s not like it was the first time I finished it or anything but it was just as amazing. I’m not sure if I included this almost 17 months ago in my letters but the first time I finished the Book of Mormon just reading it cover to cover was on my mission, probably the first or second week I was here in Virginia when we had the mission wide "Book of Mormon read-a-thon." It was probably one of the most mentally tough things I’ve ever done and I wouldn't have been able to do it without Elder Bronson. I’m so grateful he was there to push my through it. That was one of the biggest moments of my mission, and probably my life, to this day and like I’ve said I’ve done it a couple more times since then. But, I finished it again this week and it was just the same as that first time. I can honestly say that the Book of Mormon is true and I know it is personally. The promise at the end of the book that if we ask with a sincere heart is true and if we ask with a sincere heart we will get the answer. I’ve had the Holy Ghost testify to me that it is true and I know that every single time I do that it will be the same answer.
The rest of the day Wednesday we were able to go to a World Wide Missionary Broadcast for missionaries all over the world. It was kind of neat to watch because they put it on like a council and had the mission executive committee there speaking. Elder Bednar, Elder Oaks, Elder Anderson, and a couple other people were there and giving comments about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the things we teach as missionaries and how we can improve them. It will probably be on LDS.org soon so y'all can watch it but it was really good. After that we had interviews with President Smith and that was also a great experience, just like always. I was able to just talk to him about the missionary work and about myself and it was great. Really love President Smith a lot.
A lot of the rest of the week we were really grinding it out just trying to stay productive and be lead by the spirit.... but I’ll just share the highlights, haha. We went out with Elder Baer, like every Thursday, and were able to try some people.
We had a really good lesson with Emma and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ with her. She has been seeing missionaries for a long time and is really good at studying her scriptures. I think she can be baptized soon because the spirit was really strong in the lesson but it’s all about the consistency we can have teaching her. We also saw Sister Heacock again with Elder Baer and watched the Mormon message "Mountains to Climb" which is a really good one. We talked about faith which is so important in life. Without faith we will never progress to anything greater.
Then we had a lesson with the Bennett family who is returning to activity and talked about the 10 commandments and also just a couple of other random topics that they had questions about. Those are always fun lessons I feel because the people really want to learn and they control the lesson not just us telling them stuff. They're a great family.
K so yesterday morning we really hit a huge wall and this morning was the exact same thing, but it’s fine we are trying to work past it, haha. So we made a ton of calls this morning and also knocked some doors because I guess that’s what missionaries do or something. Then the rest of the afternoon was just straight grinding it out. We met a guy named Austin who was our age and had talked to missionaries a while ago. He was a really strange kat but by the time we finished talking to him we really got to like him. He has some pretty dark things he has seen but he is really interested in talking to us and even said he would take us to a Chinese Buffett so I guess that means were friends.... ;)
Honestly, sad to report, nothing really happened Saturday or Sunday. It was just one of those weeks I guess. Elder LaMarr and I did have a good time keeping each other's minds occupied while driving around on endless country roads. Saturday we were driving by a trailer park and this guy had a king sized mattress on his tiny little trailer going down the freeway and the mattress caught wind and flew like a kite into the bushes by the road haha. That was pretty exciting for me until I got thorns in my pants getting the mattress for the dude lol. We also found out that one of our less actives lives in a prison which makes it a little harder to knock on his door.
Sunday was Ward Conference and it was great. I think my favorite part of the day was going to Fort Lee branch though. We had a pretty good amount of soldiers there today and there were like 8 women soldiers and 6 of them were from Samoa which was cool. There are surprisingly a lot of soldiers that are originally from other countries. The spirit of those meetings is really amazing though. We had a couple soldiers speak, one on the power of prayer and another on service. It’s so cool to hear their little moments from their lives when they have been able to use the gospel and grow from it. Definitely one of the coolest branches I’ve ever been to.
Well if you’ve made it this far congratulations! Haha it was a long week for me but it was still great and I love being a missionary. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I know this church is true and the gospel is the only way to happiness. I love you all!
Elder Tys Larson - VRM