This week has been realllly long and realllly fast all at once! It is weird how time can do that. I can't believe that it is already May. It seems like it should only be March...but at the same time I feel like I have been here for a really long time! I am trying to remember what happened this week. Oh! We met a man named Patrick this week. That is an experience I will never forget.
We tracted into this guy on Thursday and when he opened the door he already looked upset to see us. As we introduced ourselves and told him that we had a unique message about Jesus Christ, he looked very skeptical. Then he asked us who WE thought Jesus was. And we told him that He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is the son of God and truly the person who has done everything for us. He then drilled us on the whole Godhead/trinity thing. We told him from the very beginning that we respect the differences that he has with our beliefs, and we were going to leave. But he would not let us go, until we understood how wrong we were. From there, he rejected everything that we told him about. He bashed on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon....We asked him if he had ever read the Book of Mormon and he told us no. So we told him, "you know, you really can't tell us that our church is false, if you haven't even read the Book of Mormon. You may have done your research online about our beliefs, but if you have never read the actual book yourself, you can't make that claim" (something like that, but simpler and probably more polite). He alluded to the fact that he thought we were worshiping the devil and have been seriously mislead. Then Sister Cordner asked him straight-up, "So do you think we are going to hell??" and He said "Yes." Ouch. Yup, this week, I was told by a gentleman that I was going to hell because I believed in a twisted picture of the gospel. I bore my testimony to him at the end, but he just ripped it apart. It was a very hard hour. He told us that we needed to go home and read a Psalms a day and pray for God to reveal the truth to us as we read. Then when we had done that, he wanted us to come back and tell him our experiences. After walking away from his house, I have to admit I cried a little bit. It hurts pretty bad for someone to say something like that to you. I prayed a lot to Heavenly Father to strengthen me. But, I took Patrick's challenge.
I read a Psalms the next day in my personal study. I read the first chapter of Psalms. And it talked about how the righteous are blessed. That they will bring forth fruit..kind of like "by their fruits ye shall know them." and I thought about our church, and the fruits that come from us. And not to be prideful...but we do pretty darn good! We help a lot of people. Then I prayed very fervently to my Heavenly Father that he would let me know if I was truly serving him. If I belonged to His kingdom on the earth. I decided to look for my answer in the Bible, so that I could share it with this man when we go back. And as I flipped through the pages, my eyes were caught by a verse in Matthew 10:22. It reads "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." When I read that, i knew that Heavenly Father was telling me that I was on His team. I am preaching the gospel for Him. Then I read from verse 11-22 and it comforted me. It let me know that even though people will reject me and tell me that I am going to hell and essentially hate me, as long as I continue with faith, relying wholly on Him, no one can tear me down.
Lets see..other than that, this week has been pretty good! I went on an exchange in Seymour, Indiana and had some fun with Sister Mayberry. We met with some less active people and a person who has been meeting with missionaries for over 40 years (Sister Malone). When we were at her house, I ended up just boldly asking her, "Sister Malone, why aren't you a Mormon??" She then said to us, "I don't feel worthy to be one of you." We asked her why, and she explained that she drank Coffee and she knew that we didn't. So we mentioned the Word of Wisdom. She said that she knows that body is a temple and that we need to take care of it, but she didn't understand why we would eat sugar, fat, cholesterol, and such, if we can't have bad stuff. But I just told her that really what it comes down to is if Joseph Smith is a prophet. Then she paused and said..."Well, I struggle with that too." Bingo!! Sometimes you just have to be bold as a missionary to find the concern as quickly. Asking inspired questions is key to being a missionary.
We also had a really amazing turning point with a part-member family here. I was on exchanges with two sisters here in my area, while Sister Cordner was at a meeting. The husband is not a member, and the other day I stopped by on an exchange with other sisters. We talked with him for a little bit. I testified to him that the reason we keep coming back is that we know that the gospel can bless him and his family. I testified to him about eternal families and the sealing power. He told us that he really admired what we do and that he loves us..but he just doesn't know if he is ready. I asked him what he thought he needed to do to be ready. Then he paused...and thought about it for a second...and then said "I don't know." Then I invited him to pray with his wife and ask Heavenly Father if the message that we share could bless his family and if this is the right time. Then he went inside and got his wife to come out and pray with us. You could see that he felt the spirit when we were testifying, and the spirit was softening his heart. I told him that they could pray privately together, or we could pray together now. He asked me if I would say a prayer for them together now. So we all held hands and we bowed our heads in prayer. After the prayer, he was crying a little bit. I could tell that he felt the spirit, but he just said that it had been a rough week in their family. They said that they didn't know if they wanted the lessons now, but I know that it was a very big turning point in their family progression. I am so grateful for the power of the spirit! Without it, missionary work would be pretty much impossible.
A tradition that Sister Cordner and I have started is playing the ABC game as we drive to exchanges (as each area is over an hour away). But we play it that you have to think of a principle from the Restoration, or Plan of Salvation that starts with that letter. For example, the Plan of Salvation could be A-Adam, B-Baptism, C-Creation, D-Death, etc. It is lots of fun! It reminds me of when I was a little kid and would do that on road trips. But now it is gospel centered! Yes, we are nerds.
Also, it is finally spring here in Indiana!! And the Geese are having cute little goslings!! I have attached a picture of them crossing the street :)
They are the CUTEST things ever. We see them almost daily, and we still slow down and oogle over them. They bring us so much joy inside! Also, I attached a beautiful picture of the green scenery here.
Anyways, I have to go, I am out of time! I love you all! I appreciate all of your prayers and help. I can definitely feel them strengthening me! I wouldn't be able to do any of this work without my Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I know that He loves me and that he is always watching out for me. He knows my struggles, and he is always reaching out to help. I just love this gospel!!! :D
Sister Emilee Farr