Okay, to start off another great update on the status of missionary work from Ryan:
"The size of the MTC is going to practically double over the next month. The church bought out an entire apartment complex for the next two years and they took over a bunch of BYU housing and are basically setting up a second MTC in Provo. You know what that means right? More hours for me :) We are also going to start doing devotionals at the Marriott center which should be fun!! "
Craziness!!!!! Missionaries are so great!!
Okay, last week was kind of a crazy week for me. Like the before last we had dropped 14 investigators. By we had 10, by 6 of those had dropped us. Sad. Also, I got sick and threw up several times, so we didn't leave the apartment at all. It was super weird not going to church as a missionary and that it has been a long time since I haven't gone to church. By I was mostly better but my intestines were still a little weird and it was also a lazy basically stay at home except for laundry and food shopping day. By I was all good again.
The good part is that I got a priesthood blessing and the priesthood is so great! It is one of those things that makes everything in this church click that this is the one true church. The priesthood, the power and authority of Jesus Christ-- the same power and authority he used to create miracles- is on the earth again because of the restoration! And receiving the priesthood blessing was really beautiful and inspiring and I believe it also helped me get well. One interesting thing said was that my name Whitney is closely associated with the word white which is associated with purity. However, it is less well known that white also is the color of victory. And Christ is helping me to gain victory over all of my battles, the things that are hard for me in this life.
One of those victories of a sort was that we had interviews with the mission president this week. (Which was kind of funny. We were the very last in the zone to go and we had been scheduled to be interviewed at . We ended up having our interviews finish at about or so and we got home at . Haha! We're supposed to be in the house by 9 and in bed by haha. Not our fault!) But I had the chance to talk with him about what was upsetting me from the exchange the week before. I love him because he took the time to really understand my point of view. I am a person who is extremely hard working, very obedient, very independent, intelligent, problem solving, patient (but not very tolerant), charitable, et cetera. Those are qualities that make me who I am and I don't plan on changing them about me ever. And the thing that President Hall helped me see is that I am a perfectionist too. It is like a huge strength and a huge weakness at the same time. As such, I constantly am trying to do my best on my own and as such I am my own biggest critic. I constantly am analyzing and trying to improve and work to get better. So if criticism is offered in the wrong way it feels like an attack at me. I feel like there are probably books about how to communicate with a perfectionist haha. But the interview was able to help me so much because I was able to analyze myself through someone else's eyes which was very enlightening! He is so great! But now that I realized that about myself it helps because I can better notice what feelings happen in me in some conditions, understand why, then choose whether or not to act upon them. In 3 Nephi 12 and Matthew 5 it asks us to be therefore perfect. But in the last few verses of Moroni 10 it clarifies that we can come unto Christ and become perfect through him. I still have plenty of pondering about perfectionism to do, but that is my start for right now.
But yeah, we started off the week with 4 investigators and we may not even be keeping all of them for long. But we did get 2 cool new investigators last night and their lesson went so well! What I kind of want to tell, though, is the story of how they were found. The process, rather. This is how it happened.
~It started with the elders in San Fernando (the next city over, still in our ward) who wasn't interested but they asked if she knew someone who was going through hard times and she referred her sister who lives in Sylmar. We visited this sister and she speaks English was better than Spanish, so we referred her to the English elders here.
~We really liked the feel of the neighborhood because it just had the right feeling for neighborhoods full of Hispanics. So we decided to come back when we had more time a different day and knock some of that street. By so doing we found Benancio who was a really cool person and seemed so prepared, but wouldn't progress because he wouldn't set specific appointments and didn't come to church or read.
~One day while we were trying by Benancio's place no one answered, so I was in the process of writing a note to leave on his door when Hermana Hardy saw someone walking by on the sidewalk and she wanted to go give her a pass along card. So we did that and she seemed so prepared. She said she had talked to missionaries before in Guatemala. She was just moving into her house and so she didn't know her address right then but she gave us her phone number and said she'd come to church the next day. The phone number ended up being a disconnected number that didn't work.
~But while I finished up Benancio's note, Hermana Hardy was watching where that person was walking to. She just kept on walking and walking on that road, so we decided to try knocking somewhere further down the road. On the day we came back, we were driving on that road until the end and we weren't sure where to stop because there was a lot of rich and poor mixed together in this neighborhood (we typically look for the poor houses to find the Hispanics who speak Spanish). So we stopped and prayed. Afterward, we both felt we should get out and go to the house on the right. That person talked to us but didn't have time right then. But we kept coming back and coming back several times. We finally were able to meet with them and the lesson was so amazing! The wife especially seems so prepared. She was born, baptized, and confirmed catholic but she doesn't believe in that and especially the saints anymore. She has talked to a lot of missionaries and people like that before, but in going to churches, she hasn't found one yet that felt right yet. She is a truth seeker! She is interested in learning about ours and reading and going to church to see if it feels good and she said that if she finds out it is the truth, she would be baptized. She said that it doesn't make sense to her why there are so many churches because if God isn't a god of confusion, there should only be one church with all the truth! And she doesn't know it yet, but she needs the peace this gospel can bring to know that families can be eternal. She lost the only baby she has had so far when he was 5 months old. So she needs the peace that the plan of salvation brings. She is so great and we are so excited to have found her!!!
The part that amazes me about her story is that God couldn't have just inserted her address directly into my GPS and said "go here now." Rather, as we did good things that we were supposed to (contacting referrals, knocking around the referrals, talking to everyone, listening to the spirit guide us, et cetera) we were able to be directed to one thing that lead us to another thing that eventually led us to her. I think that is how God works. He doesn't always just give us the easy solution of go here right now, do this right now. Rather, by allowing us to use our agency to listen and be guided by the spirit, we are able to come to know how great God is by seeing how his hand is in everything!
That's about all for this week.
Oh, one more random story. I love service! We helped someone in our apartment complex bring up their groceries because there were too many of them to make one trip. It was a simple thing we did but they said we're the first neighbors they've talked to since they've moved in. They aren't looking to change religion or anything, but they do have an interest in learning about family history! Random acts of service are so great! And I hope the English elders are able to help her eventually find the truth through that!
Tenga el espiritu consigo para siempre!