Monday, September 8, 2014

at least I got what I asked for!

                                                                       Sister Griffin & Sister DeBry

                                                                   Sushi Celebration at our 1-year Mark 
You know, Sister DeBry made a comment yesterday that really made me feel better. She mentioned how much our area is truly emotionally and mentally exhausting. All of our investigators need to be babysat constantly and getting the ward to help is like pulling teeth. (Not all of them, just most of them. There are a few gems.) I was just glad that I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Story time. 

So Brother J. He is in his 80s and probably has not been to church in 50 years, and he definitely has not ever been to church in Billings, although he has lived here for 25+ years. He married a non-member who was pretty anti, so he just stopped going, although he maintained his knowledge that he knew the church was true. 

Missionaries have been working with him for years, especially since his wife died 5 years ago. When asked if he will go to church, he will straight-up tell you "no" because he is scared of the change, does not feel worthy, and other such concerns that come from being away so long. 

I have been visiting him since the beginning of the summer, and he always has refused to come to church. He loves reading the Book of Mormon with us, though, and talking about the temple. He has always wanted to go to the temple, and he never has gone. 

We visit him every Thursday night. This last Thursday lesson went really well, we had a great member come with us and the spirit was really strong. He gave us the answer that he "maybe, yes" would come to church. He has been giving us the "maybe" answer for the last month or so, and so I wasn't that convinced he would come. 

We showed up Saturday night to follow up. We sang him the "Saturday" Primary song, which he had a good laugh at, and we told him that we expected him at church the next day at 9 AM. As we were driving away, I commented to Sister DeBry that "I don't care if we don't have a single investigator at church, so long as Brother J comes. I don't even care if H. (our solid investigator who is there every week) gets sick and can't make it". 

Well guess what? H's dad was sick, and so she didn't make it. And no other investigators made it. But guess who we saw coming through the door??

BROTHER J!!!!!!!

Holy cow, I was so excited!! I almost gave him a huge hug, but then I caught myself just in time and only shook his hand. I know coming back to church is so hard, especially when you are gone for so long. But he came! That's the first step in his being able to work towards the temple :) And there were members there who knew him and greeted him. :) :) :)

So there you go. I got exactly what I asked for. 
Still a bummer no investigators came, but as I predicted, I did not even care.

But that was the most exciting news.. The rest of the things this week were a little trying. For instance, our most progressing investigator dropped us (again... hah this is the third time. See why it's exhausting here?) because her husband is angry at how much time she is spending in lessons and at church. We're backing off, but not giving up. And she has some good neighbors from church that are going to reach out and fellowship while we cannot.

Our Tennessee family is still struggling, and we learned of some additional addictions that need to be resolved. We are grateful that they trusted us, but healing and recovery will take time. So there you go!

Right now I am working on improving my prayers. Because you shouldn't really pray for something that is out of God's will, such as things that would take away people's agency. So I am trying to "align my will" more with God's. It talks about that in the Bible Dictionary under Prayer. This week I prayed to be able to fulfill my purpose in helping these investigators & less-actives partake of their next ordinances in the gospel. I definitely saw that prayer answered with the new development in the Tennessee family & Brother J.. So investigate your prayers, see if there is a way to change the things you are praying for so they are more in line with God's will.

And of course I learned that God listens even when you aren't praying, even when you are just expressing thoughts & wishes to your companion. I feel so blessed that Brother J came to church. Change is always possible :) We'll catch all of those MIA investigators next week. 

Sister Griffin

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