I just finished 3 Nephi yesterday in my Book of Mormon reading. I started in Alma when I got here using the marking method that President Mullen has asked us use. So that's around 260 pages or half of the Book of Mormon. I'll have to go back and finish marking the beginning of the book once I get to the end. I really like marking it the way that we've been asked to do. 3 Nephi was a struggle though, because just about everything needs to be marked because it's all Christ speaking, it's all doctrine, and a lot of it is strictly related to our purpose as missionaries. So pretty much every page in 3 Nephi is a rainbow of colors.
One of my favorite experiences from this week was when we were asked by our new high priest group leader to go over to the home of a less active member. He said she needed a blessing but he was out of town. So we went over there and talked to her for a bit. She's a really cool lady. She teaches at Riverside Community College, and her cancer that had been in remission for 15 years recently came back. So Elder Camper gave her a blessing and when we were done she asked how often she could get blessings. I'm really looking forward to going back to get to know her and get her back to church. She said that she just doesn't feel like she fits in, now that her kids are raised and she's divorced, and people with cancer just get too much sympathy. So we're making sure she has visiting teachers and home teachers and people to help her get to church.
As for an actual teaching experience, this past week we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon to one of our investigators. We used the introduction and the pictures in the front and Moroni 10:3-5. It was just kind of cool because that's really the first investigator we've taught according to the usual path, or really the only one we've taught period. We work with so many less actives that I sometimes kind of worry that I'll get out to a different area or with a less knowledgeable companion, and he'll need me to help teach, and I won't know how to do it because that's not where the work is focused in Corona right now.
Other stuff that happened this week was that we had our interviews with President Mullen for this transfer. It wasn't so much an interview as it was guided training. I mean of course he asked me how I was doing and how Corona was and such, but because I didn't bring up any issues we just moved on. So we did training on prayer, receiving revelation during study, effective planning, and standards on music. Some of these were done individually and others were done as a companionship.
Also, this past Sunday, Mitch got ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. We're not quite sure how or if he'll be able to pass or bless the sacrament. That's something the Young Men's organization will have to figure out, but it's really good to see him continuing to progress in the church. He is always at church and he comes to our Book of Mormon class every week too. He is a really great guy, I hope that all the medical procedures he reads about will be able to help him get back to where he was physically, now that he is in a much better place spiritually.
Also, this past Wednesday, all of the bishops met with the missionaries to discuss the combined ward party. Earlier in the week I had typed up an agenda with assignments and a general layout of the activity. They seemed a lot more excited about the party now. I'm not sure if that's because they have assignments, or just the fact that the piece of paper in their hands makes it seem more real. It's a church tour and a talent show with refreshments. We have a guy in our ward who does improv, and plenty of musically talented people and a guy who can juggle really well, so plenty of variety. I'm really excited, hopefully none of us who have been working on this event get transferred before the activity takes place.
One last story for the week. There was a lady we received as a referral from the sister missionaries. This lady had gone to church in their ward because she was looking for a church, but she lived in our area. We went over there to meet her and the first time some guy answered the door and told us she wasn't feeling well. That was like a week and a half ago, before Labor Day. He alsosaid she'd be out of town, so we waited and went back earlier this week, like Tuesday I think. This time he said that she wasn't home, so we gave him a card and asked him to have her give us a call. Then on Saturday, because we hadn't heard anything in almost a week, we went over there that night, just to invite her to church, make sure she knew when and where the meetings were. The same guy answered and told us that she wasn't interested anymore because of our persistence, and she was going to look for another church tomorrow. And that really got to me, when we got in the car I was devastated. We had only been doing what we thought we were supposed to do as missionaries, and we never even got the chance to meet the lady, and yet she dropped us. What else could we have done, and if persistence is a bad thing, what else are we supposed to do?
Elder Camper however looked at it as a teaching experience for me. Not a teaching experience that you need to wait 'X' amount of days before going to see someone, or anything like that. But more about the attitude that people have. He said that if something like that turned her away, she was probably not going to want to listen to us, or would have eventually started looking for another church down the road whether she got baptized or not. He said she was looking for A church, not THE church, so there wasn't much we could have done. So I took that experience with a grain of salt, but found it a little ironic, that by telling us that our persistence was a bad thing, we only have to be more persistent in looking for other people to teach.
Well it's still over 100 degrees or close to it most days. I've heard it doesn't really cool down here until Thanksgiving and it heats up again by Valentine's day, so we'll see. It did rain this past week though, so maybe all this talk of El Nino isn't just wishful thinking.
See you soon,
"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work." -Gordon B. Hinckley