Once again, I'm not sure who started praying for us again, but it's beginning to work. Don't stop! Actually, this week was a pretty great testimony builder for me about fasting; Elder Davis and I fasted last weekend that we'd have a better week, and we did :D
Norma was finally baptized! We still didn't have water in the chapel on Friday, so we combined the baptismal service with the elders in Heroes. We discovered on Saturday that there actually was water in the chapel, but it was a little late. Either way, she's continuing on her way now.
Elder Davis and I have also gotten a lot better at our street contacting abilities. According to Elder Davis, contacting in the street gives him "the willies," whatever that's supposed to mean. Therefore, we're working on getting rid of his willies. It's been going quite well. President has made us a promise that if we get 300 contacts in a month (contacting 10 people every day), we'll get 3 baptisms. Elder Davis and I have made the goal to test that promise by contacting a ton. Our street salesman skills are going up quite a bit. I'll be able to sell knives like a pro when I get back from the mission!
We've also been changing our focus to be up in The Hill more; everyone is like, "no! Don't go to The Hill! It's so dangerous!" But Elder Davis and I have yet to see anything bad up there; all of the times we've had bad/strange things happen to us (like be assaulted, almost get assaulted, and have strange drunk and/or drugged men ask us for drug money), it's happened down here below by our house. Therefore, we're going to go up to The Hill. There are so many really receptive people up there! We were up there contacting for like 2 hours, and a pretty large portion of the people we contacted were totally on-board to have us come back another day to teach them! It was awesome! Hopefully they're home when we go back. In the words of Flynn Rider, "I'm not gonna lie, that woud be stupendous."
Unfortunately, of all of the people that we invited to church and said wholeheartedly that they would be going, not a single one showed up... Even after we had a charla franca with a less-active family, they didn't show up. Oo! That's another fun story!
I think I've explained this before, but a charla franca is when we tell our investigators that don't progress that if they don't start complying with their commitments, we can't teach them anymore. We've been teaching a less-active family for about 2 months now, and they still have not gone to church; the mother of said family has made excuse after excuse as to why she doesn't feel ready to come back to the church, expressing constantly that she doesn't understand. I've wanted for quite some time now to completely rip her excuses to shreds and lay it down straight for her. And that's exactly what I got to do. Long story short, I said in the middle of the lesson, "that's why we've invited you to come to church time after time."
Then one of the daughters asked, "What happens when the people you teach don't come to church?" I then proceeded to explain what a charla franca was... while having a charla franca... It was one of the strangest things I've ever done in my mission, but it was strangely awesome. I then proceeded to invite them all to church again, and every single one of the daughters said yes. I then looked at the mother straight in the eyes and said, "and you, Sister?"
She gave me this sheepish smile like she thought I was kidding. I had mistakenly in the past given in to said smile and smiled back, but I was certainly not backing down this time. I knew what I needed to do, and I knew what she needed to hear and feel. She began with the excuses, and as we tore them down, she said, "it's just that you don't understand!" That's what I was waiting for. I felt so spiritually empowered (like, you have no idea) when I said, "No, Sister. We understand perfectly. You don't understand the blessings you're missing out on and the condemnation you are causing yourself by not going to church."
She still wouldn't give us a straight yes or no, so we ended with our testimonies and a prayer and left. I don't know that I've ever felt so spiritually comforted before than I did after that lesson. I was so stern with her, and I thought I would feel bad, but I knew afterwards that I told her exactly what the Lord wanted me to tell her, and it brought to mind something that President had taught me in an interview I had with him a few months ago.
President taught me that there is a line with every single person we teach. On one side of that line, they don't necessarily know or understand what it is they need to do. That is when we teach with a lot of love and pacience until they understand. Then they cross to the other side; the side of understanding. If they are on that side of the line and still don't do the things they know they need to do, that's when we learn from the example of Christ when he throws the tables out of the temple. We need to be very stern with them and let them know that they are losing blessings and only gaining condemnation as they don't do the things they have come to understand. I applied that teaching very directly in that lesson, and I knew it was exactly what I needed to do. She didn't go to church, which was her choice, and there's absolutely nothing more we can do.
This is a marvelous work. Sometimes it's a little hard, and sometimes it seems downright impossible, but with the Lord's help, it will progress. I confide in that promise and have dedicated two years of my life to it.
Iré y haré,
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)