Tuesday, September 10, 2013

*Smack Forehead* My First Atheist

This week has been pretty good. A lot of interesting things have happened.
On Monday last week we went to the Hospital to Email. It was literally the only place open. So for lunch we knew exactly where we wanted to go: Golden Corral. Only place open on Labor Day. So we told the Elders where we were and what we were doing, and they decided to join us. We started speaking in Scriptural language:
"The Sisters of Wheelersburg entered the land of Portsmouth with much rejoicing as they grew closer to the area previously prepared to eat lunch." "The Elders used much haste to get to the head there of to make it to the Land prepared before the Sisters" Yeah we are totally awesome! Anywho, We were able to talk to our Waitress lady for a little bit. She was really glad to see some really young, church going adults. I guess our badges, dresses, and suits kinda gave us away. We told her that we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and she smiled and said "That's nice, They must be doing something right to have you young people out here" Yes Mam you are correct! It was really neat to talk to her for a moment and see that she was very comfortable with being around us. Everyone else in there just kinda looked at us funny like "Why are you wearing nice clothes? It's super hot outside."
For dinner we went to the Biggs. We are still teaching Marie. I'm not sure how much I have said about Marie so I will just say it again: she is from Germany and she is here to go to a year of high school to see what it is like and to immerse herself into the English language more. She is also a Roman Catholic. I don't really know what Roman Catholics believe, but she is pretty cool. We gave her a German copy of the Book of Mormon and hopefully she starts to read it soon. Anywho, we had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. I'm not really sure how much she understands of what we are saying because of the language barrier between us, but the lesson went pretty well. During the middle of it she randomly brought up this story about Paul and this slave. Paul was trying to get the master to treat his slave like his brother. The way she said it was super confusing, but I knew exactly what she was talking about. It was one of the stories I learned in my New Testament class at BYU. The story has a little more detail than what she gave it, but Paul had Onesimus who was the slave to Philemon. so Philemon in the Bible is a letter from Paul to him asking him to take back his slave and take care of him and forgive him for running away. Paul asked Philemon to treat Onesimus as his brother and how he would treat Paul if he were there. Basically Paul was writing a letter to Philemon to take Onesimus back so that he wouldn't be in trouble for having a run away slave, and Onesimus wouldn't be killed if he was caught. So yeah random story that she brought up that I knew - how strange.
On Tuesday we talked to Summer about false prophets again. We believe that is the only thing that is holding her back from moving forward with anything else. So we read "improving personal prayers" with her because she said she had been praying, but we don't really know how or what she has been praying for. So once we shared that talk with her. We committed her to Pray more to know if what we were teaching her was true. We also left Alma 1 and Jacob 7 for her to read. False prophets is a big thing for people out here. Once you bring up prophets they instantly turn and question if they are a real prophet or not. They doubted before they even started to learn more about them. Hopefully Summer can read and tell that by their fruits ye shall know them, and if they are a good fruit then it must be right - if they are doing it for the right reasons, without pay and everything else then you should know that they are good. It is sometimes hard to move people from their ways and helping them move toward something bigger and brighter.
We also met with three little girls: Laiken (9), Brailey(11), and Lexi (6) they are the most adorable little girls. Laiken is super into religious things and really likes to answer our questions that we ask. Lexi loses attention pretty quickly but is interested on what we have to say. Brailey doesn't talk much, but she listens to what we say and answers our questions. Brailey and Lexi are step-sisters and Laiken is their next door neighbor. It was a funny story on how we met them. We got a Mormon.org referral for Lexi.. but Lexi is 6 and doesn't have internet. So we found out that her mom had gotten online and found the website, and they could get a free bible if they sent in their information. so she put her daughters name down, because Lexi is the one who is interested in religion. So Low and Behold we show up and we have been teaching them for about 2 or so weeks now. They are super cute, but they lose attention very quickly. so it is great to learn how to teach kids. What is nice is that Brailey and Lexi's parents are totally supportive of us teaching them. They have thanked us for coming and spending time with them and teaching them more about Jesus. We haven't really met Laiken's parents, but we hope everything will be fine with them when they find out.
On Wednesday We went and saw Lucy! I love Lucy she is awesome. Anywho, do you know what is great about this time that we went and visited her? We actually taught a Lesson!! Lucy usually does all of the talking and we spend about an hour listening to her life story and at the end we give her a spiritual thought. But today, I was determined to share the Restoration with her. So I straight up said, Lucy! We are here to share a Lesson with you Today. She looked at me and said, "Ok" We taught the Entire thing and she didn't get off topic once!! It was so awesome! At the end she brought up baptism again. She said that she doesn't want to be rushed into anything, and that someday she will get baptized when it will be important to her and she does it for herself. I think that time will be coming soon :)
That night we helped Mandy, a less active in the ward, make cupcakes.... worst planning ever. she said that she would have everything all made up and ready to go by the time we got there. We were planning on going to YW's later that night and spending time with them... but When we got to Mandy's she was sitting outside with her husband and told us that she had just woken  up! She then found out that she didn't have any vegetable oil. So she sent Michael to go and get that. We probably spent 2 hours at her house waiting for the cupcakes to bake - she also didn't have any cupcake pan thingys. they were interesting looking cupcakes. Anywho, we decorated them to look like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for her sons birthday that was the next day. They were pretty cool. When we were almost done frosting them... we ran out of Green frosting... But we also ran out of time and sister Richards and I had to leave. So we told her good luck and sorry that we couldn't help more. It was fun to be able to help her out the little that we could.
Another funny thing that happened that night. There is an awesome young lady in our ward named Jill. She is 18, and she goes to Shawnee State. Sooo, we received a referral from the Bishop to go and see a Less-active member named Sierra who was also attending Shawnee State. Jill, being a kind wonderful person, decided that she would go and see if Sierra was home so we didn't have to drive all the way out there to be turned away. She went over to Sierra's apartment 4 times!! in one night! She is awesome to help us out, but she also realized that she was getting kinda creepy going over there so much trying to meet someone she didn't even know. But Jill is a Stud and so willing to help us out all of the time.
On Thursday we had Zone Meeting up in Ashland. We met our new Zone leaders and had a lesson on finding new investigators. We had an object lesson where we went into the gym and tried to find little golf tees that were all over the gym. we started off first with the lights turned off completely and all of the doors closed. The Second time we had flashlights and they were shouting out the different places that the golf tees were located. It was an example of using our Faith, and using the members in our ward to help us find Investigators. The more we turned to them for help the more people we would find that were ready for the Gospel. It was a big emphasis on the Members and how much they can help us out in the missionary work. They said it would be great if the wards would just "catch the fire" themselves, but that only happened after something started to kindle it, and usually the missionaries are the ones who kindle the fire.
After the Zone Meeting we had exchanges and I was given Sister Gray to go back with me to Wheelersburg. sister Gray is awesome. The first thing that we did together is we went and saw Polly and Vikki. Polly is a member but I don't think she has ever been to church her entire life. she was baptized way back when, with her entire family. So Polly doesn't really know much about the church but she is a member. Her Daughter Vikki, doesn't know very much about the church. Last time, Sister Gray and Sister Richards were the ones who taught Vikki. This time I got to be with Sister Gray and teach them. It is funny that Sister Gray has taught Vikki more that Sister Richards and I, and she isn't even in our area. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. Sister Gray mentioned Temples, and how temples are how we can be with our families forever. That really caught Vikki's attention. Hopefully we will be able to continue visiting with them. They are both great.
After Vikki and Polly we went and saw Jaylene. Last time that Sister Gray had met Jaylene was the first time that we had contacted Jaylene, and Sister Gray thought that Jaylene was an elect as well. So when she found out about all the trouble we were having with her she was shocked. When we talked to Jaylene she explained that she felt like she was being rushed and that she was being 'Shoved into the Baptismal Font' (she didn't really say that, but that is what she meant) She said that we had high expectations for her and expected her to do so much, and she didn't' think that she would/ could do all of those things. Unfortunately for us, we can see what she can become. While she is stuck seeing where she is at. Jaylene also mentioned that she didn't really like the Strong, Passionate attitude that Sister Richards had, and that it didn't go well with hers.... Boo... We will have to try some new things to try and get her back to where she was.... We also found out that she has been talking to Psychics and stuff. Ugh, talk about "False Prophets".
Our goal for the exchange was to find a new investigator. We were able to find the new investigator through Sister Grays awesome way of different tracting. With every house she did something different. She handed out the pamphlet, she read scriptures, she just did a whole bunch of things that just expanded my ideas of how we can tract. Which is AWESOME!! We were able to get a new investigator, her name is Becky and she is very open to learning more about other religions and she actually already had a Book of Mormon and had read a little out of it!! Say what? it was pretty awesome.
The Next day we exchanged back. It was interesting to see all of what sister Gray did and how she did things differently compared to Sister Richards. It was a nice change for a day... Funny, but not Funny story... When sister Richards and Sister Boldrin got to our apartment to do the exchange, Sister Richards thought it would be funny to scare me. Thus, when she scared me she knew to stay a good distance from me so I wouldn't be able to swing and punch her... cause for some reason that is my natural reaction to being scared. So, she scared me - it did not make me very happy. I almost tackled her... but then I remembered her back had been hurting so I didn't. We Love each other enough to scare each other :P Next time she might not be so lucky.
On Saturday sister Richards and I went and Visited the Larry, and Jim Wright. They are Polly's Brothers. Polly's Family kinda fell apart and stopped talking to each other when their mother and their brother Gary died. There are 12 of them and they don't talk to each other... at all. So it's pretty sad. Our conversations with them weren't very long.... because we mostly talked at them, they didn't really say anything back. But it was nice talking to them. After the Wrights we tried the Stevens again. Their drive way was all newly paved so we walked to the top. Low and Behold we finally met Russel. He was just getting ready to go down and tag a new calf, So we had just barely caught him before he left. We didn't really share anything with him, but at least we had finally met him.
After that we went to the Bradleys for dinner. We found out that Caleb (he is 15) has started smoking.... It was super sad to hear. but not much of a surprise because Ronda and Shane both smoke. Caleb later that night started having difficulty breathing and they found out that his asthma was affected negatively due to the smoking. Maybe that will prevent him from smoking more. We were able to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and committed them to quit smoking as a family. We will see how well that goes :)

This entire week we have been going and seeing Shauna. she is our investigator who is getting baptized this Saturday (hopefully). We have been going through the lessons again and just re-teaching them... because the Elders who were here before us... didn't do such a great job at teaching anyone. So we went over the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Law of Chastity, and the Word of Wisdom these past two weeks. She told a Sister Sherman that she really enjoyed us going over everything because now she knew more about what the Gospel really contained and what being baptized really meant. Unfortunately, we found out that she had been previously married, but was separated from her husband (they are not divorced). and in order to get baptized you have to get written consent from your spouse saying that it is okay for them to get baptized. It was quite a shock because we found out both of these pieces of detail this last week and yesterday. So we are hoping everything works out and she will be able to be baptized this weekend.

This Sunday I met my first Atheist this week. It was an interesting conversation. Sister Richards kept trying to bare her testimony to him, but with every word she said he would say something and expand on what she said and turn it negative. He said that Religion was stupid and that they were all praying to something that they couldn't even comprehend. We then started to tell him about Joseph Smith and he said "Any body who is can believe a story like that is stupid *smacks Head*, Gold plates, you are a bunch of fools.... You should read the Greek bible it will show you all of the things that were changed.... scientists have said this... theologians have said this.... I have read this...." it was a really long conversation, but in the end he basically said that we were fools for taking our religion from a book, and I made a comment (now that I look back I'm not sure if it was snide or not...) I said that he had gotten all of his information from books as well. He kinda just looked at me and Sister Richards told us to have a good day and went inside. It was interesting. Sister Richards said that the best thing we can do for people who just want to pick a fight about religion is bare testimony and walk away... for me that is difficult. I like to fight for the things I believe in and if someone is attacking me, or my beliefs. I have learned that arguing/ contention is of the devil and that is what he wants us to do. In Word, Deed, or Thought. Satan wants us to Argue and Contend one with another so that we are all miserable like him.

Stay strong, and move along. Something I told Shauna to do this week as she went through the struggle of being looked down on by those around her: Whenever someone tries to say something negative, or whenever you see someone who has said negative thoughts to you before; complement them. say something nice about how they look or something they did. But be honest. Don't make up things, be sincere. At the beginning it won't feel that sincere because we are saying it to our enemies, but as we treat others with love they will start to treat us better as well.

I Love you all. Keep praying and reading your scriptures. Stay Awesome!!

Sister Karen Call

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